LAKE HURON!!

 

Post #20 – July 26, 2014: On board:Dave & Joan Luciano, Pat & Paul Coates, Jim & Trish Koningisor

Four and a half billion years ago, in the area now known as Georgian Bay, the earth’s crust cracked and enormous amounts of molten rock rushed out of the earth below. It then cooled to form very hard, igneous rock – most of it hard granite, which are some of the oldest rocks in the entire world. Over ensuing eons, shallow lakes flooded the area, and sedimentary rocks were formed, intertwined with some of the ancient granite.  The earth’s crust moved time and again, and the rock formations became twisted, folded, and buckled.  Then, between 23,00o and 10,000 years ago (a blink of an eye in geologic time), tremendous ice sheets descended upon these rocks from the north – at times, the ice was over one and a half miles thick! As these enormous sheets of ice moved, they gouged out the softer sedimentary rock in places and scoured the hard, granite rock clean.  In addition, the tremendous weight of the ice sheets caused the earth’s crust to sag. When the ice finally melted, the result of all of these events is what we now call the Great Lakes, including the unique and spectacular landscape of Georgian Bay.

Georgian Bay, on the north side of Lake Huron, is separated from the rest of the lake by a long peninsula. Due to it’s enormous size, Georgian Bay was once considered to be a 6th Great Lake since it has it’s own currents, wave patterns, and weather systems – it is nearly as big as Lake Ontario. However, it was ultimately designated to be part of Lake Huron, and so it is.

Our trip brought us along the northern edge of Georgian Bay, through what is known as the 30,000 islands.  In reality, there are over 100,000 islands if one considers all of the outcroppings of rock to be islands. A navigable route that winds its way among these islands has been charted and marked, and is known as the Small Craft Channel. While the winding channel and narrow, heart-stopping passages make the trip through the Small Craft Channel unforgettable, it is the incredible, one-of-a-kind rock formations that make this area unique in the world. The hard, bald, granite rock surfaces, scoured smooth by the glaciers, protrudes everywhere both above and below the water surface.  In places, the channel may be only 20 or 25 feet wide with granite bedrock on both sides, but the depth finder may show 40 or 50 feet of depth below the propellers.  In other places, we hold our breath as rocks seem to protrude everywhere as we slowly pick our way through the winding channel.  Here are some pictures:

The smooth, almost polished granite rock formations, scoured clean by the glaciers. The people in this picture are from a local kids camp, exploring the rocks and swimming in the pools formed by the rocks - what a playground!

The smooth, almost polished granite rock formations, scoured clean by the glaciers. The people in this picture are from a local kids camp, exploring the rocks and swimming in the pools formed by the rocks – what a playground!

The sea of smooth rocks, both above and below the water, seems to go on forever

The sea of smooth rocks, both above and below the water, seems to go on forever

More rock formations along the channel

More rock formations along the channel

Where is the channel - YIKES!

Where is the channel – YIKES!

More amazingly beautiful seascape

More amazingly beautiful seascape

The channel is well-marked, but we sometimes find ourselves holding our collective breath as we pass through narrows laced with unforgiving rocks

The channel is well-marked, but we sometimes find ourselves holding our collective breath as we pass through narrows laced with unforgiving rocks

As we approached the end of the Georgian Bay closer to the North Channel (also part of Lake Huron), the rock formations became more vertical and the elevations higher

As we approached the end of the Georgian Bay closer to the North Channel (also part of Lake Huron), the rock formations became more vertical and the elevations higher

A narrow channel with 40 feet of depth

A narrow channel with 40 feet of depth

OK, enough about rocks.

We have now entered a new phase of the trip.  Technically, our Great Loop trip started in New York, not Boston – Boston is not on the Great Loop route, but we started there because that is where we live and where the boat was.  However, we technically entered the Great Loop route when we arrived in New York.  Since that time, in early May, we have been primarily on rivers, canals, and small inland lakes connected by rivers and canals.  To get from New York to Georgian Bay, we went through a total of 115 locks, ranging from small locks with an elevation change of a couple of feet in which we barely fit to enormous locks on the St. Lawrence River designed for ocean-going cargo ships to a single lock that raised us 7 stories in one lift to the two amazing lift-locks on the Trent Severn Waterway to the only-one-in-the-world marine railway at Big Chute. We now are in the continuously-connected waters of Lake Huron and then on to Lake Michigan. We have no more locks until we get to Chicago around Labor Day. Weather and especially wind will become even more important as we navigate through much more open waters in this next phase of our voyage.

So we left Midland Sunday morning with our new crew and stopped at Henry’s restaurant – another waterfront restaurant on an island accessible only by boat. Henry’s is a bit larger than The Waubic, but just as unusual in its own way. When communicating by radio with Paul, the Owner, regarding docking arrangements, I requested to be at the water-end of a long dock since we often leave before other boats in the morning and I didn’t want to get blocked in (the customer is always right, correct?). “Absolutely negative” bellowed Paul, without apology. What could I say?  “Roger that”. Paul had been doing this for 12 years and he know exactly how he wants things done. He turned out to be a great guy and shared a wealth of information with us. Here are a couple pictures of Henry’s:

Henry's Restaurant as seen from the bridge of the Joint Adventure while docked

Henry’s Restaurant as seen from the bridge of the Joint Adventure while docked

Henry's with the Joint Adventure at the dock (at the inland end, per Paul)

Henry’s with the Joint Adventure at the dock (at the inland end, per Paul)

While at Henry’s that afternoon, a seaplane taxied up to the dock and dropped off three passengers to have a late lunch. Since the plane and its pilot were to sit idle while the passengers had lunch, we made a deal with the pilot to take our three wives for a ride on the seaplane.  Here they go!

Trish and Joan in the back seat, ready for take-off

Trish and Joan in the back seat, ready for take-off

The pilot decided to let Pat fly the plane....

The pilot decided to let Pat fly the plane….

Off they go!

Off they go!

Henry's Restaurant and associated dockage, from the sea plane

Henry’s Restaurant and associated dockage, from the sea plane

From the air -

From the air –

Also from the air -

Also from the air –

They made it back safely!  Pat made a perfect water landing

They made it back safely! Pat made a perfect water landing

Henry’s serves fresh fish – pickerel, perch, whitefish, or lake trout, all caught in Georgian Bay or Lake Erie. Paul explained that commercial fishing on the American side was closed in the recent past due to intense lobbying by the sportsmens’ lobby – only sport fishing is allowed. However, commercial fishing is allowed and thriving on the Canadian side, and Paul claimed to be the largest purchaser of fresh water pickerel in the world (I don’t think there are a lot of purchasers outside of Canada).

The day was warm and sunny, so we went for a hike among the rocky landscape and forest:

A stop along the rocky coastline. On the way back, the girls stopped at a rock outcropping and went skinny-dipping after sending us back to the boat. Sorry, I couldn't get any pictures to share

A stop along the rocky coastline. Left to right, Paul, Pat, Joan, Dave, and Trish.  On the way back, the girls stopped at a rock outcropping and went skinny-dipping after sending us back to the boat. Sorry, I couldn’t get any pictures to share

Our next stop was Bayfield Inlet.  Everyplace can’t be wonderful. The only thing at Bayfield was the marina, which was, shall we say, less than wonderful. The  single, unisex shower was in a run-down shed and was not piped with hot water. Dave found out that the cold water is VERY cold. The marina itself was run down. However, we made the most of a beautiful afternoon with a long and enjoyable bike ride to get ice cream at Point Au Baril, marred only by the horse flies that we couldn’t outrun, even on our bikes. Upon our return, we went for a swim while Dave suffered with his cold shower.

On to Byng Inlet. The wind kicked up and we got knocked around a bit as we navigated an amazing, zig-zag route that took us alternately between protected channels with rocks everywhere and the open bay with 3-4 foot waves. Byng Inlet was a treat, more for the people than the town, which was nearly non-existent.  The marina was family run, owned by four brothers from a family of 11 (many of whom we met). The brother who was overall in charge was also the chef at the on-site restaurant – “when you grow up in a family of 11, you learn how to cook”, he explained. However, he was a chef, not a cook. The next day was windy and the run to Killarney, our next destination, was 62 miles and included 20 miles of open water on the bay, so we stayed in Byng Inlet on Wednesday and caught up on chores. We went exploring on our bikes during the afternoon.  Here are some pictures from Byng Inlet:

A unique way to carry a dinghy - I wonder what happens in a strong headwind?

A unique way to carry a dinghy – I wonder what happens in a strong headwind?

A unique way of carrying a canoe

A unique way of carrying a canoe

We ventured down a dirt road and came upon widespread outcroppings of smoothly scoured rock. The road in this picture is actually bedrock, with the painted arrow pointing the direction in which the road turns

We ventured down a dirt road and came upon widespread outcroppings of smoothly scoured rock. The road in this picture is actually exposed bedrock, with the painted arrow pointing the direction in which the road turns

The first 50 feet or so of this driveway is simply exposed bedrock

The first 50 feet or so of this driveway is simply exposed bedrock

 

A view from our bike ride

A view from our bike ride

Knowing we had a long open-water passage and with the wind predicted to increase during the day, we left Byng Inlet at first light, casting off before 6:00 AM - this is the sunrise as we headed out the inlet

Knowing we had a long open-water passage and with the wind predicted to increase during the day, we left Byng Inlet at first light, casting off before 6:00 AM – this is the sunrise as we headed out the inlet

Our 60 mile run to Killarney was uneventful, as the wind behaved and the ride was very pleasant. Killarney is at the crossroads of Georgian Bay and the North Channel, another renowned cruising ground that is a part of Lake Huron. It is a busy little town in July and August, as everyone passing between these two cruising grounds passes through and usually stops for a day or two in Killarney. There are 3 or 4 restaurants in town and 5 marinas along the narrow channel, the largest of which is the Sportsmans Inn where we stayed. A couple of pictures:

The Sportsman's Inn, taken from across the channel

The Sportsman’s Inn, taken from across the channel

You've heard of a drive-in - Killarney has a boat-in.  The movie is projected on the screen which faces the docks and you tune into a particular channel on the FM radio and watch the movie from your boat

You’ve heard of a drive-in – Killarney has a boat-in. The movie is projected on the screen which faces the docks and you tune into a particular channel on the FM radio and watch the movie from your boat

Our trip this week again brought us by hundreds of cottages of all types and sizes built on some of the thousands of islands along the way.  Here are pictures of just a few of them:

Just like the many island cottages along the Trent Severn....I could live here....

Just like the many island cottages along the Trent Severn….I could live here….

or here....

or here….

or here....

or here….

or here (even in the little house at the water's edge)....

or here (even in the little house at the water’s edge)….

or here...

or here…

or here.

or here.

This is one of the larger, more elaborate houses that undoubtedly has been built more recently

This is one of the larger, more elaborate houses that undoubtedly has been built more recently

I couldn't resist taking a picture of this one - the geometric shapes are interesting, but to me, it looks totally out of place - it turns its back on the water, with virtually no windows or deck - in fact, there is a deck on the other side, facing into the island

I couldn’t resist taking a picture of this one – the geometric shapes are interesting, but to me, it looks totally out of place – it turns its back on the water, with virtually no windows or deck – in fact, there is a deck on the other side, facing into the island. I could have recommended a good Architect….

Doing everything by water becomes a way of life when you live on an island - islanders come to the market by boat to buy food and supplies

Doing everything by water becomes a way of life when you live on an island – islanders come to the market by boat to buy food and supplies

I know you're out there, fish - I'm going to catch you if it kills me!!

I know you’re out there, fish – I’m going to catch you if it kills me!!

On Friday, we officially entered the North Channel and docked at Little Current, located on Manitoulin Island – which is the largest freshwater island in the world!  Little Current is a thriving tourist town during the summer season, with boats coming and going all day long. Sadly, Dave and Joan will leave the boat from here today (Saturday), but happily Jim Small and Chrissie Bell will join us for the next week.

Here are some pictures from Little Current:

Main Street adjacent to the harbor has several restaurants and numerous shops

Main Street adjacent to the harbor has several restaurants and numerous shops

Our new friend Tania, whom we met along the way, was unable to get a place to dock at Little Current to stop for lunch, so she rafted up to us for a few hours. Her boat is a really cool 25' Nordic Tug that is perfectly set up for her

Our new friend Tania, whom we met along the way, was unable to get a place to dock at Little Current to stop for lunch, so she rafted up to us for a few hours. Her boat is a really cool 25′ Nordic Tug that is perfectly set up for her

This cruise ship came into Little Current shortly after we docked - this picture is taken from the bridge of the Joint Adventure

This cruise ship came into Little Current shortly after we docked – this picture is taken from the bridge of the Joint Adventure

The cruise ship docked at the Little Current waterfront, also taken from the bridge of the Joint Adventure

The cruise ship docked at the Little Current waterfront, also taken from the bridge of the Joint Adventure

Four young guys on this boat were on the prowl yesterday - I guess this is the best they could do.

Four young guys on this boat were on the prowl yesterday – I guess this is the best they could do.

My kind of store....

My kind of store….

WHAT!!??!?   Mom always told me I AM special....

WHAT!!??!? Mom always told me I AM special….

Sure - NOW you tell me...

Sure – NOW you tell me…

Tomorrow we cast off to explore and transit the North Channel.

 

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GREAT ENCOUNTERS

Post #19 – GREAT ENCOUNTERS – Day 78: Sunday, July 20, 2014. On Board: Pat & Paul Coates, Doug & Janet Lawson, Jim & Trish Koningisor

The scenery is spectacular, and the adventure and challenge are unforgettable, but some of the best moments derive from the people we’ve encountered. After arriving back on the boat early Monday evening from our jaunt to Vermont, we cast off the lines Tuesday morning and ran to Bolsover, Ontario. We stayed at Sunset Cove Marina and looked forward to a restaurant meal, only to discover that the nearby restaurant was closed. Not to worry – the owner of the marina, a wonderful, gregarious guy named Joe, tossed us the keys to his family’s minivan to drive the 10 miles or so to the nearest town. He didn’t even know if we had a drivers license!

In the afternoon, we went for a bike ride and crossed a wooden swing bridge that we had passed through on the boat a few hours earlier. The bridge tender came out to chat, and we asked her to take a picture of us crossing the bridge on our bikes. In order to get the best picture and not be interrupted by cars, she closed the bridge gates to traffic – “ding-ding-ding-ding” – down came the gates! Cars waited while she took our picture!

Here are a couple of pictures that captured our day in Bolsover:

Biking across the bridge with the gate closed so we wouldn't be interrupted by traffic

Biking across the bridge with the gate closed so we wouldn’t be interrupted by traffic

Jennifer, our favorite bridge attendant -

Jennifer, our favorite bridge attendant –

 

Exploring a dirt road on our three hour bike ride around Bolsover

Exploring a dirt road on our three hour bike ride around Bolsover

 

There were only 4 seats in the minivan, so Janet & Trish made do

There were only 4 seats in the minivan, so Janet & Trish made do

One of the 4 seats had a car seat firmly attached.  No problem for Pat - we're goin' out!

One of the 4 seats had a car seat firmly attached. No problem for Pat – we’re goin’ out!

A dance party in the boat after dinner - OK, we had a few glasses of wine....

A dance party in the boat after dinner – OK, we had a few glasses of wine….

"I KNOW I can do this....OK, here I go...but the water will be SO cold...no, I'll be glad when I get in...OK, here I go...no, I can't do it...yes, I can...here I go...AARRGG!!!

“I KNOW I can do this….OK, here I go…but the water will be SO cold…no, I’ll be glad when I get in…OK, here I go…no, I can’t do it…yes, I can… I MUST go in – what will that cute poodle think of me if I’m too chicken to go in the water…OK, here I go…no, I can’t…AARRGG!!!

Our next potential challenge and physical barrier was crossing Lake Simcoe.  The fourth largest lake in Canada, Lake Simcoe is notorious for large waves and steep chop due to its large size, shallow depths, and windy conditions. The weather was cloudy and windy on Wednesday, so we decided to position ourselves near the entrance to the lake to try to cross it early the next morning when winds are typically lighter. We therefore ran about 20 miles and through 6 locks to a marina down a shallow, narrow creek – the kind of entrance I normally avoid at all costs. We crawled our way through, then planned an early start to get through a swing bridge and into Lake Simcoe.  A few pictures:

The shallow, narrow, winding creek to the marina, choked with weeds

The shallow, narrow, winding creek to the marina, choked with weeds

 

The canal leading to Lake Simcoe, with the last swing bridge up ahead

The canal leading to Lake Simcoe, with the last swing bridge up ahead

Dinner on the bridge - making good use of the table with the extension that my Dad built over the winter so we can have a sit-down dinner for six on the bridge

Dinner on the bridge – making good use of the table with the extension that my Dad built over the winter so we can have a sit-down dinner for six on the bridge

We successfully crossed Lake Simcoe in a moderate chop, a crossing of a bit less than two hours. Our next highlight was the Kirkfield Lift lock.  You may recall the incredible Peterborough Lift Lock from a previous blog.  Only eight lift locks were ever built in the entire world, and two of them are on the Trent Severn Waterway in Canada (the others are in Europe). Peterborough is the highest in the world (at 65 feet) and Kirkfield is the second highest in the world, at about 50 feet.  We’ve now passed the high point on the Trent Severn and are on our way down to the level of Lake Huron, so our trip on the Kirkfield lock was down.  Here are some pictures of this amazing engineering wonder from 100 or so years ago:

You may recall from the pictures of the Peterborough lock that the lift lock consists of two chambers that each connect to the canal at the upper and lower level. From the top, we drove our boat into the chamber, after which a submerged gate rises into position to separate the water in the chamber from the water in the canal.  A foot of water is added to the upper chamber and a valve is opened.  The extra weight of the upper chamber causes it to descend, while pushing the lower chamber up at the same time. A single piston about 5 feet in diameter supports the entire weight of each chamber as it rises or lowers - steel structure, water, and boats

You may recall from the pictures of the Peterborough lock that the lift lock consists of two chambers that each connect to the canal at the upper and lower levels. From the top, we drove our boat into the chamber, after which a submerged gate rises into position to separate the water in the chamber from the water in the canal. A foot of water is added to the upper chamber and a valve is opened. The extra weight of the upper chamber causes it to descend, while pushing the lower chamber up at the same time. A single piston about 5 feet in diameter supports the entire weight of each chamber as it rises or lowers – steel structure, water, boats, and all

The massive structure that is part of the lift lock

The massive structure that is part of the lift lock

 

This picture is taken from the boat after we drove into the upper chamber of the Kirkfield lock. The solid wall at the front is the gate that will submerge and allow us to drive over it when the chamber reaches the lower canal, 50 feet down.  Doug is deciding whether or not to jump rather than spend the rest of the week on the boat with us

This picture is taken from the boat after we drove into the upper chamber of the Kirkfield lock. The solid wall at the front is the gate that will submerge and allow us to drive over it when the chamber reaches the lower canal, 50 feet down. Doug is deciding whether or not to jump rather than spend the rest of the week on the boat with us

I swear, Doug, the one that got away was THIS big!

I swear, Doug, the one that got away was THIS big!

This picture is taken from the walkway at the top of the lock after we descended - the right-hand chamber is at the bottom and you can see the left-hand chamber suspended in the air on the left side of the picture. The Joint Adventure is tied to the wall at the bottom.

This picture is taken from the walkway at the top of the lock after we descended – the right-hand chamber is at the bottom and you can see the left-hand chamber suspended in the air on the left side of the picture. The Joint Adventure is tied to the wall at the bottom.

The canal at the upper level goes over the roadway - when approaching the tunnel, drivers often see a large boat above them, entering the upper chamber

The canal at the upper level goes over the roadway – when approaching the tunnel, drivers often see a large boat above them, entering the upper chamber

Thursday night we stayed at the docks of a unique restaurant that is located on an island, accessible only by boat, called The Waubic. George, the proprietor, is the friendliest guy you’ll ever meet. Now in his 70,s, he bought it about 12 years ago and refers to it as his “retirement gone awry”.  It was vacant and derelict when he bought it, serving as home to several raccoons. After nearly a year’s work, he opened the restaurant, which has now become a fixture on this end of the Trent Severn. Run by multiple members of his family, the restaurant has a unique ambiance, great food, and a happy camaraderie among the boaters and everyone involved in running the restaurant. Here are some pictures:

The Waubic, as seen from the Joint Adventure while docked out front

The Waubic, as seen from the bridge of the Joint Adventure while docked out front

The cozy inside bar/dining area at the Waubic.

The cozy inside bar/dining area at the Waubic.

We decided to have our pre-dinner  "happy hour" at the bar instead of on the boat - from left to right: Paul, Trish, Pat, Doug, Janet, Jim

We decided to have our pre-dinner “happy hour” at the bar instead of on the boat – from left to right: Paul, Trish, Pat, Doug, Janet, Jim

George, the proprietor of The Waubic.  He mentioned that he would like to bring his wife to Boston and/or to Tanglewood to see the Boston Pops - he has an open invitation to stay with us or Doug & Janet in Boston or with Pat & Paul in Stockbridge

George, the proprietor of The Waubic. He mentioned that he would like to bring his wife to Boston and/or to Tanglewood to see the Boston Pops – he has an open invitation to stay with us or Doug & Janet in Boston or with Pat & Paul in Stockbridge

Alright, the engineer in me is about to take over once more.  As amazing as the two lift locks are, on our last day on the Trent Severn, we descended the Big Chute Marine Railway – the only one of its kind in the entire world!  You may recall that the Trent Severn was built piecemeal over a 90 year period rather than as part of a master plan. However, early in the 1900’s, the only missing link was at Big Chute. Having dawdled for 90 years, suddenly completing the Waterway as quickly as possible became an urgent priority (it must have been an election year….).  Since a lock would take several years to build, the government decided to install a temporary marine railway to move boats from one water level to the other while the lock was being constructed.  The marine railway was therefore opened in 1917 among much fanfare.  Funds for the lock itself dried up following World War I, so the lock was never built.  In the meantime, the original marine railway has been upgraded several times over the years to carry bigger and heavier boats, and is today a marvel to see. In 1978, the government considered building a conventional lock to replace the marine railway rather than upgrade it (the marine railway is much more expensive to run), but decided against it because a lock would allow an invasive species – the lamprey, a species of eel – to spread.

So what is a marine railway, anyway? It is best explained with pictures:

This is the carriage that holds the boats. It is mounted on a unique track system and is moved back and forth along the tracks by steel cables.  The tracks take the carriage into the water and partially submerges it so boats can drive into the carriage

This is the carriage that holds the boats. It is mounted on a unique track system and is moved back and forth along the tracks by steel cables. The tracks take the carriage into the water and partially submerges it so boats can drive into the carriage

The carriage has been lowered into the water and a boat is being driven into it.  This sequence happens to be of a rather small boat and only one boat is in the carriage, but the carriage will accommodate boats up to 60 or 70 feet in length and can handle as many as 8 boats at a time, depending on their size

The carriage has been lowered into the water and a boat is being driven into it. This sequence happens to be of a rather small boat and only one boat is in the carriage, but the carriage will accommodate boats up to 60 or 70 feet in length and can handle as many as 8 boats at a time, depending on their size

The boat is on the carriage and the cables are pulling the carriage out of the water and up from the lake at the upper level

The boat is on the carriage and the cables are pulling the carriage out of the water and up from the lake at the upper level

The carriage is now at its highest point, and is passing over a roadway with its payload intact

The carriage is now at its highest point, and is passing over a roadway with its payload intact

The carriage has now started to descend the hill to the Severn River below

The carriage has now started to descend the hill to the Severn River below

The carriage is massive. It actually rides on two separate tracks, which you can see in the picture - the tracks change elevation relative to one another as the carriage descends over the crest and down the hill - the front wheels are on a higher track and the rear wheels are on a lower track, allowing the carriage to stay level through its journey. The relative level of the tracks is the opposite at the other end

The carriage is massive. It actually rides on two separate tracks, which you can see in the picture – the tracks change elevation relative to one another as the carriage descends over the crest and down the hill – the front wheels are on a higher track and the rear wheels are on a lower track, allowing the carriage to stay level through its journey. The relative level of the tracks is the opposite at the other end

The carriage is about to descend into the water on the lower level of the Severn River

The carriage is about to descend into the water on the lower level of the Severn River

Once the carriage is submerged at the lower level, the boat simply drives off

Once the carriage is submerged at the lower level, the boat simply drives off

Three boats entering to be lifted from the lower level, including a larger boat of about 36'

Three boats entering to be lifted from the lower level, including a larger boat of about 36′

Notice that the larger boat is suspended from cables.  Smaller boats sit in cradles built into the carriage. The Joint Adventure, since it has two hulls,  sits directly on the wooden deck of the carriage.  Notice that everyone stays on the boat and rides with it as it transits the marine railway

Notice that the larger boat is suspended from cables. Smaller boats sit in cradles built into the carriage. The Joint Adventure, since it has two hulls, sits directly on the wooden deck of the carriage. Notice that everyone stays on the boat and rides with it as it transits the marine railway

The larger boat descending into the river above

The larger boat descending into the river above

These are the cables that pull the carriage up and down.  There are four separate redundant cables, each one of which is sized to support the entire weight of the carriage, fully loaded.

These are the cables that pull the carriage up and down. There are four separate redundant cables, each one of which is sized to support the entire weight of the carriage, fully loaded.

It's difficult to capture the ride with a camera, but this was taken as we ascended from the lake at the top and over the road

It’s difficult to capture the ride with a camera, but this was taken as we ascended from the lake at the top and over the road

Descending to the river below

Descending to the river below

Apparently the first man to run the original Big Chute railway – William “Billy” Jobe – was quite a character. If there were children among the passengers on a boat, he would ask them “Can you swim?” If they said no, he would grab them by the scruff of the neck and the seat of the pants and throw them in the water.  If the mother objected, he would say “They are your children, you don’t teach them to swim and I can’t watch them all the time.  I’ll teach them, but it will be the hard way”.

The people who ran the marine railway in the early days lived in stone houses with no plumbing and no heating system. They were on duty 24/7 from the time the canal opened around April until it closed in November.

OK – back to the rest of the trip.  This end of the Trent Severn is incredibly beautiful, with picturesque scenes of landscape, nature, and quaint cottages at virtually every turn, none of which can be truly captured by camera.  However, here are a few samples:

I could live here...

I could live here…

Or here...

Or here…

Or here...

Or here…

Or here...

Or here…

Or here...

Or here…

Or even here!

Or even here!

An arch bridge to test our attention

An arch bridge entering one of the many lakes that form a part of the Trent Severn Waterway

Trish with a steady hand on the helm

Trish with a steady hand on the helm

Doug & Janet watching the world go by as we mosey through the channel

Doug & Janet watching the world go by as we mosey through the channel

I hope SOMEBODY is driving this boat! From left to right - Trish, Pat, Janet, Jim

I hope SOMEBODY is driving this boat! From left to right – Trish, Pat, Janet, Jim

So on Friday after descending the Big Chute Marine Railway, we went through the final lock on the Trent Severn Waterway at Port Severn and entered Lake Huron – another major milestone!  We will transit Lake Huron through the Georgian Bay section of the lake, otherwise known as the 30,000 Islands.  More on that later. We went 5 miles into the bay to Midland, where we stayed through Sunday morning to change crews. Sadly, Doug & Janet had to leave us to go back to real life, but happily, Dave & Joan joined us for the next leg through Georgian Bay.  However, before parting, we had one last night with Doug & Janet.  After dinner, we went dancing to a rather loud rock band who referred to us throughout the evening as “the Americans”. Doug managed to drag several other innocent patrons onto the dance floor, including one gentleman (who turned out to be the father of one of the band members) who, after being spurned by Janet, Trish, & Pat, took a liking to Doug – he and Doug became best buddies. Preserved for posterity:

Doug and his new friend Bill - made for each other.   We made sure Bill didn't know where our boat was docked.

Doug and his new friend Bill – made for each other. We made sure Bill didn’t know where our boat was docked.

Tomorrow (Sunday) morning we cast off the lines again and start to pick our way through the 30,000 Islands of Georgian Bay.

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TIME OUT #2

TIME OUT #2 – Post # 18 – Day 71: July 13, 2014.  On board:  No one

Forty years ago, the summer after we graduated from college, my friend and college roommate Dave Luciano and his two housemates decided to host a party at the small rented three bedroom suburban subdivision house where they lived. They had no idea who or how many would show up – about 75 people came.  Did I mention that it was a small three bedroom house in a suburban subdivision neighborhood?  Overflow sleeping arrangements comprised of tents scattered throughout the lawn. The third time the police showed up on Friday night, about 1:00 AM, as I recall, they were quite serious and made it clear that everyone had better be gone first thing in the morning (they were savvy enough not to force us to vacate that night, knowing that many people would have to drive). The next day, Dave & Company moved the party to a local state park, returning to the rented house in the middle of the night – very quietly, again with many people sleeping outside in tents. An hour or two before dawn, it started to get windy – VERY windy. Soon people were desperately trying to hold their tents on the ground.  The noise from the wind grew to a deafening roar, then gradually subsided.  The next morning, a path of total destruction was discovered a couple hundred yards from the house, taking down all the trees in its path and blocking the road with downed trees. A small tornado of the type that occur in western Massachusetts from time to time had passed a couple hundred yards from the “tent city” in the back yard.

So began a 40 year tradition – a party each July, usually attended by 75-100 family and friends. Starting with Year 2, the party has been held at a ski house in Vermont. It has evolved from what could generously be called “frat party” status in the early years through child-rearing years to a gathering that is now dominated by the twenty-something and thirty-something Second Generation (some “frat party” remnants still emerge from time to time…). We’ve managed to keep it fun and exciting each year, but we’ve been successful in avoiding the level of excitement of the first year of cops and tornadoes.

So we left the boat near Fenelon Falls, Ontario, rented a car, and drove to Killington Vermont to attend the FORTIETH annual party commemorating that first year. Here are some pictures from the long party weekend:

Jenny made a gigantic cake to commemorate the 40th

Jenny made a gigantic cake to commemorate the 40th

We started the tradition of a "kids vs. adults" soccer game when the kids were little and we could be assured of beating them.  That didn't last long. Now we arbitrarily divide into two teams and the older folks mostly just get in the way - but we're still out there playing!

We started the tradition of a “kids vs. adults” soccer game when the kids were little and we could be assured of beating them. That didn’t last long. Now we arbitrarily divide into two teams and the older folks mostly just get in the way – but we’re still out there playing!

We bring grills, food, beer, and everything else needed for lunch at the fields

We bring grills, food, beer, and everything else needed for lunch at the fields.  Wendy & Nif watching the show.

An afternoon softball game provides some great entertainment each year

An afternoon softball game provides some great entertainment for the spectators each year

A new tradition this year was a "cornhole" tournament, complete with brackets, playoffs, and trophies

A new tradition this year was a “cornhole” tournament, complete with brackets, playoffs, and trophies

The "cornhole" tournament finals were held back at the ski house Saturday evening

The “cornhole” tournament finals were held back at the ski house Saturday evening

Volleyball games go on nearly non-stop through the weekend - when the competitive juices get flowing, at times it's not for the faint-hearted!

Volleyball games go on nearly non-stop through the weekend, both at the house and at the athletic fields. You’d better be prepared to sacrifice your body.  The court at the house is adjacent to a steep hill that goes about a half mile to the valley below (notice the orange fence).  Job One is to keep the ball from going over the fence and down the hill

There is a pool adjacent to the athletic fields - a great way to cool down throughout the day or to just hang out!

There is a pool adjacent to the athletic fields – a great way to cool down throughout the day or to just hang out! Left to right, Russ, Mary Beth, Barb, Trish, Louise, Elizabeth, Danielle, Colleen, Jen, and Ange

Back at the ski house in the evening, the foosball games become VERY serious!

Back at the ski house in the evening, the foosball games become VERY serious!

After a dinner spread, the serious partying starts - Joel & Kevin are the makers and purveyors of the margaritas, while others wisely stick to beer, wine, or their favorite drink

After a dinner spread, the serious partying starts – Joel & Kevin are the makers and purveyors of the margaritas, while others wisely stick to beer, wine, or their favorite drink

More partyers Saturday evening

Warming up Saturday evening

Saturday night features dancing on the outside deck till the wee hours.  This year, Laura & Emily rented DJ equipment and developed an awesome playlist including some classic "baby boomer" music with a healthy dose of "second generation" music mixed in. We ended the evening with our unlikely traditional last song - "My Way", by Frank Sinatra at 1:15 AM, to which we shamelessly sang along at the top of our lungs

Saturday night features dancing on the outside deck till the wee hours. This year, Laura & Emily rented DJ equipment and developed an awesome playlist including some classic “baby boomer” music with a healthy dose of “second generation” music mixed in. We ended the evening with our unlikely traditional last song – “My Way”, by Frank Sinatra at 1:15 AM, to which we shamelessly sang along at the top of our lungs – not a pretty sight (or sound!

The women often take to the floor for various line dances - I have no idea where they learn to do them - I think it's innate. I sometimes try to join in but usually end up hurting myself

The women often take to the floor for various line dances – I have no idea where they learn to do them – I think it’s innate. I sometimes try to join in but usually end up hurting myself

More line dancing which is far too complicated for me

More line dancing which is far too complicated for me

And still more dancing...

And still more dancing…

Carly got into the act as well...

Carly got into the act as well…

At about midnight, someone turned on the makeshift lights over the volleyball court. In between volleys, the players danced to the music, stopping briefly to hit the ball when it was served

At about midnight, someone turned on the makeshift lights over the volleyball court. In between volleys, the players danced to the music, stopping briefly to hit the ball when it was served

While the baton is in the process of being passed to the Second Generation, the Third Generation is starting to make their presence known - we had three Third Generationers this weekend, including Liam, Ryder, and Charlotte (Liam shown here)

While the baton is in the process of being passed to the Second Generation, the Third Generation is starting to make their presence known – we had three Third Generationers this weekend, including Liam, Ryder, and Charlotte (Liam shown here)

So now that the weekend is over – back to the Great Loop. We drive back to the Joint Adventure tomorrow (Monday), and plan to cast off the lines on Tuesday morning. In the meantime, our friends Jason & Kerrin sent us some pictures that they took of us as we cruised near them over the last couple of weeks.  Here are a few of them:

In Peterborough Harbor, approaching the village and the downtown marina

In Peterborough Harbor, approaching the village and the downtown marina

 

In the lock with Jason & Kerrin

In the lock with Jason & Kerrin

 

The joint Adventure departing a lock

The joint Adventure departing a lock

 

Our crew of eight from the week before last

Our crew of eight from the week before last

The Joint Adventure tucked in the corner in the marina at Bobcaygeon

The Joint Adventure tucked in the corner in the marina at Bobcaygeon

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CHANCE ENCOUNTER

CHANCE ENCOUNTER – Post # 16 – Day 67, July 9, 2014. On board: Pat & Paul Coates, Jim & Trish Koningisor

We missed our crew of eight as soon as they left!  It did give us a chance to reinstate some order in the cabin (to a degree), but we wish they were here.  Peterborough charmed us for another day before we moved on – here are a few more pictures from our last day there:

I'm not much of a shopper, but this marketing strategy did cause me to park my bike and go in for a look...

I’m not much of a shopper, but this marketing strategy did cause me to park my bike and go in for a look in this store…

There was a rock concert in the park in Peterborough on Saturday night - the good news is that the Joint Adventure was docked immediately adjacent to the pavilion that housed the band. The bad news is that the Joint Adventure was docked immediately adjacent to the pavilion that house the band.  The music was hard rock - LOUD!

There was a rock concert in the park in Peterborough on Saturday night – the good news is that the Joint Adventure was docked immediately adjacent to the pavilion that housed the band. The bad news is that the Joint Adventure was docked immediately adjacent to the pavilion that housed the band. The music was hard rock – LOUD!

On our way out of Peterborough, we saw what looked like a huge school of fish churning up the water ahead - it turned out to be about 500 swimmers participating in the Peterborough Triathalon at 8:00 AM on Sunday morning - good thing we didn't cast a line...

On our way out of Peterborough, we saw what looked like a huge school of fish churning up the water ahead – it turned out to be about 500 swimmers participating in the Peterborough Triathalon at 8:00 AM on Sunday morning – good thing we didn’t cast a line…

Sunday we arrived at Young’s Point late in the afternoon, as the Peterborough Lift Lock was closed for repairs until noon.  Sometimes a Chance Encounter has surprising results. While we were fueling up at the dock, a grandfather with his son and two grandkids in tow (ages 3 & 4) asked if the kids could look inside the boat. After we were done fueling, we hoisted them aboard and gave the whole group a tour.  Later that evening, we happened to sit a few tables from them in the restaurant overlooking the dock.  Before we knew it, an order of bruschetta arrived, compliments of the grandfather. We finished dinner and were preparing to leave when a bottle of wine arrived, also compliments of the grandfather – not that we needed to drink another bottle of wine at that point, but what could we do?

The weather Monday was cloudy with rain predicted, but we decided to head to Bobcaygeon about 35 miles and three locks away.  Although the weather was cloudy and breezy and we did get some rain, the scenery was spectacular, with rock outcroppings, islands, and picturesque cottages galore. Here are some pictures from Monday & Tuesday’s runs:

Friends Jason & Kerrin that we met along the way and passed in Peterborough

Friends Jason & Kerrin that we met along the way and passed in Peterborough

Now that the Bill Burke aka "Mariner of the Year" has left us, his understudies Pat & Trish had to step up and carry on without him

Now that the Bill Burke aka “Mariner of the Year” has left us, his understudies Pat & Trish had to step up and carry on without him

Sometimes the sun just doesn't cooperate...

Sometimes the sun just doesn’t cooperate and the rain comes…but as my daughter Jenny says, it’s only water

The Kawartha Lakes section of the Trent Severn Waterway is spectacularly beautiful, but the helmsman had better pay attention - there are rock outcroppings everywhere both above and below the surface.  However, the channel is well marked.

The Kawartha Lakes section of the Trent Severn Waterway is spectacularly beautiful, but the helmsman had better pay attention – there are rock outcroppings everywhere both above and below the surface. However, the channel is well marked.

These folks take the boating lifestyle to a new level - this church is on a small island in Stoney Lake, accessible only by boat. I wonder how well-attended the service is on a rainy Sunday morning

These folks take the boating lifestyle to a new level – this church is on a small island in Stoney Lake, accessible only by boat. I wonder how well-attended the service is on a rainy Sunday morning

Rented houseboats abound on this section of the Waterway due to the abundance of lakes and the incredible scenery.  This one had a bit of a challenge maneuvering in the lock

Rented houseboats abound on this section of the Waterway due to the abundance of lakes and the incredible scenery. This one had a bit of a challenge maneuvering in the lock

Speaking of houseboats, if you are looking for a unique, relaxing, and spectacular vacation, consider renting a houseboat in this section of the Trent Severn Waterway which features calm and protected waters, many marinas and villages in which to dock and explore, great swimming and fishing, well-marked channels, and incredible scenery. They are easy to operate and the rental companies will provide on-water lessons on driving the boat if you need them.  Two local companies that rent them are Happy Days House Boats (www.happydayshouseboats.com – 705 738 2201) or Egan Houseboat Rentals (www.houseboat.on.ca – 800 720 3426).

We stayed in Bobcaygeon Monday & Tuesday nights. Bobcaygeon is a pleasant town with many interesting shops, including world-renowned Bigley Shoes & Clothing, which includes a mind-boggling selection of shoes. Bobcaygeon is also home to the Kawartha Settlers’ Village with 22 historic homes and buildings on 8 acres depicting life in the Kawartha region from 1830 to 1935, and the nearby Horseless Carriage Museum depicting early transportation and mechanical antiquities, including an 1890’s General Store.

As I mentioned in a previous blog, the Trent Severn Waterway was not built in response to a military need or a master plan, but resulted from the eventual linking of individual locks and sections over a period of 90 years.  The first lock to be constructed was in Bobcaygeon as a result of a government grant in 1833 (I guess there were earmarks even back then). It was made of wood and was intended to speed transportation between Sturgeon and Pigeon Lakes, and was to have a lift of 10 feet. However, when it was completed and the water let in, it was a disaster – it had been built on porous rock, so the water entering the upper level literally disappeared into the ground before reaching the lock. In addition, it was built at the wrong elevation, so there would have been insufficient depth even if the water hadn’t disappeared (sounds like a big Change Order in the making…).  After two years and the expenditure of a lot more money ( sound familiar?), the lock was finally opened in 1838. However, because it was still at the wrong elevation, the depth was not adequate nor was the lock long enough for the only large vessel on the lake at that time – therefore, it could be used only for small boats and logs. A new, usable lock was finally built in Bobcaygeon in 1857. Thus began the checkered history of the construction of the Trent Severn Waterway, today a unique gem that is a boaters dream.

Sometimes things just don’t go as planned, even when those plans were made weeks ago. On Wednesday, the weather was cold, cloudy, and windy, but we wanted to get to Fenelon Falls where we had made arrangements with a marina to leave the boat through next Tuesday. The marina was on Cameron Lake, so I was concerned about it being exposed to the weather – however, I was assured by the owner that there was a breakwater to provide protection.  We arrived in a stiff wind blowing across the entire length of the lake, directly into the marina – no breakwater.  After some scrambling, we found a place on a river about 4 miles away at the other end of the lake that could take the boat thru next Tuesday – so that’s what we did. Anyway, there were some interesting houses along the way – here are a couple of pictures:

A long climb down to the water - notice the geodome house at the top

A long climb down to the water – notice the geodome house at the top

A family compound making full use of the island

A family compound making full use of the island

So back to Chance Encounters – this has to be the granddaddy of all Chance Encounters.  We’ve had a nagging but s0 far manageable problem with our shifting mechanism on the starboard (right side) engine since we bought the boat a year and a half ago. We thought we had it solved three different times, but after a while it recurs, and recently started to occur again, with increasing frequency. I decided that, whatever it took, I had to get it fixed once and for all. It’s a design and configuration that is somewhat unique to this model of boat (a PDQ), so we couldn’t find anyone who was familiar with or had experience with this system. Then, while we were in Campbellford, a gentleman on a sailboat (Michael) immediately recognized the boat as a PDQ and approached me to chat about the boat. He told me that his brother-in-law (James) had worked at the factory that built PDQ’s (they went out of business in 2007 after building 114 of them) and suggested I contact him to learn more about the boat. So I did.  The Joint Adventure is PDQ hull #10 (the 10th boat built).  It turns out that James (1) worked on the construction of many of the PDQ’s that were built, including hull #10 (2) commissioned hull #10 (3) performed warranty work on hull #10, and (4) is the only person from the original factory that routinely performs work on PDQ’s. He lives not far from Bobcaygeon so agreed to drive down and look at the shifting mechanism. Within 10 minutes he had diagnosed the problem, and 30 minutes later had it fixed – this is a problem that three different very good mechanics over the past year and a half had been unable to permanently fix. What are the odds that I would happen to run into the brother-in-law of the guy that helped build and commissioned this exact boat, and that would know exactly how to diagnose and fix the problem within minutes?

One last image – I really wanted to watch the Brazil-Germany World Cup semi-final, but the nearest pub with a TV was a quarter mile away and it was absolutely pouring rain and would not let up – so I decided to ride my bike through the rain. Pat snapped this picture as I was about to leave the boat and made me agree to put it in the blog.  Of course, the rain stopped 10 minutes after I got to the pub.

No, it'd not a creature from outer space....

No, it’d not a creature from outer space….

 

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AND THEN THERE WERE EIGHT….

AND THEN THERE WERE EIGHT – Post #16 – July 5, 2014 – Day 64- On board: Jim & Trish Koningisor, Pat & Paul Coates, Red & Mary Beth Southerton, Bill & Kathy Burke

We had the great fortune to have Trish’s sister and brother-in-law Red & Mary Beth Southerton and our good mutual friends Bill & Kathy Burke join us in Trenton for a week on the Joint Adventure:

Our crew of eight - from left to right: Red Southerton, Bill Burke, Kathy Burke, Jim Koningisor, Trish Koningisor, Paul Coates, Pat Coates

Our crew of eight – from left to right: Mary Beth Southerton, Red Southerton, Bill Burke, Kathy Burke, Jim Koningisor, Trish Koningisor, Paul Coates, Pat Coates

The four musketeers getting ready for the voyage in Trenton

The four musketeers getting ready for the voyage in Trenton

The boat is ideally designed for four and can be comfortable with six by converting the dinette into a bed – so eight is clearly stretching unless one gets quite creative regarding sleeping space. So I sleep comfortably on two stacked air mattresses on the floor of the main salon and Trish sleeps in a tent which we put up each night on the bridge (she opted for the tent over the floor inside – something about snoring…). The eight of us have great laughs together which more than makes up for the minor inconveniences:

Trish's sleeping quarters for the week - she's awesome!

Trish’s sleeping quarters for the week – she’s awesome!

Campbellford-tent 2

 

Our first day’s run included 6 locks in the first 6 miles up the Trent River, then an overnight stay above lock 7 at a place called Glenn Ross. I’m not sure why it is called that, because there is nothing there except a small convenience store – but that store serves GREAT ice cream, each a SUPERSIZED dish for $2. Although the areas below and adjacent to the lock were well-landscaped and lovely, we stayed above the lock in a “rustic” setting so we could get an early start in the morning before the lock opened. We swam in the river off an old abandoned railroad bridge and cooked on board, eating in the park area adjacent to the lock. Here are some pictures:

Dinner in the park area adjacent to Lock 7

Dinner in the park area adjacent to Lock 7 – we told stories and laughed till my stomach hurt.  I can’t believe we did some of the things we did when we were young and foolish (some last week)

I could lie and pretend this was me getting ready to jump off the top of the abandoned railroad bridge, but everyone knows I'm really a wuss - it's a local kid who came for swim late in the day

I could lie and pretend this was me getting ready to jump off the top of the abandoned railroad bridge, but everyone knows I’m really a wuss – it’s a local kid who came for a swim late in the day

YIKES!!!!

YIKES!!!!

A view off the stern of the boat at dusk at Glen Ross

A view off the stern of the boat at dusk at Glen Ross

Our next stop was Campbellford, where we stayed for two nights – partly because it was such a pleasant place and partly because of thunderstorms in the forecast. We tied to the seawall in the middle of town adjacent to Old Mill Park.  It was Canada Day (equivalent to our 4th of July), so there were activities in the park all day – a $5 pancake breakfast, a petting zoo, music, etc.). A former industrial town in the late 19th and early 20th century, the town has successfully re-positioned itself as a tourist destination that has taken full advantage of the riverfront on both sides of the Trent River. Nothing could stop the four women from visiting the Chocolate Factory (I went too…):

The World's Finest Chocolate Factory (self-proclaimed)

The World’s Finest Chocolate Factory (self-proclaimed)

The woman who designed the Canadian $2 coin (affectionately known as the Tooney) was from Campbellford, so they built this enormous monument in the middle of the park

The woman who designed the Canadian $2 coin (affectionately known as the Tooney) was from Campbellford, so they built this enormous monument in the middle of the park

Since we had a lay-day in Campbellford, we took the opportunity to do some chores – which includes laundry. It was my turn for Trish & I, so off I went with a large load. When the wash was done, I dutifully moved it into a dryer – or so I thought. Why anyone would make a washer that looks like a dryer is beyond me. As soon as I put the money in and pressed the button, I realized that I had put the laundry into another washer. Nothing had happened yet, so I tried desperately to open the door, but it had locked, not to be opened until the machine went through it’s full range of cycles.  If this ever happens to you, please be advised that yanking the door with all your might and kicking the machine doesn’t help. So there I sat watching the clothes be washed a second time through every cycle of the machine.  Our clothes were REALLY clean – twice as clean, which means two things to me: (1) I can now wear them twice as long before washing them again, and (2) Trish has to do the laundry the next two times, since I have now done our laundry twice.

Our next stop was Hastings, a small town that has seen better days and suffers from a lack of planning – although there were some attractive and historic buildings in town, Main Street was a hodge-podge with 50’s-era non-descript buildings mixed in everywhere.  However, Kathy started us on a tradition that lasted the rest of the week – happy hour on the bridge with vodka gimlets, wine, cheese, crackers, humus – you name it:

Happy Hour with this crew quickly became a daily ritual at 5:30 - rain or shine!

Happy Hour with this crew quickly became a daily ritual at 5:30 – rain or shine!

Our next planned stop was at the Bensfort Bridge Resort (so-called). Here’s a picture to give you a flavor of this Resort:

The Bensfort Bridge Resort - notice, in particular, the Confederate flag prominently displayed

The Bensfort Bridge Resort – notice, in particular, the Confederate flag prominently displayed

So the large Confederate flag was our first clue that this place might be a bit different. We then noticed that there was not a single other boat now camper nor tent (it was also a campground) nor car in the parking lot.  Undeterred (we are on an adventure, right?), in we went to dock up. We then noticed that the posts holding up the docks were pine saplings pounded into the mud and that two docks were bound together with a come-along, apparently using one dock to hold up the other. Someone then came out to direct us where to tie up – remember the movie “Deliverance”? That will give you an image of his appearance, although I think the folks in Deliverance had bathed more recently that this gentleman. Anyway, we finally tied up after changing locations once due to my discomfort with the water depth then stirring up tons of mud despite the gentleman’s assurance that there was “plenty of water”. After a brief conference on board, we decided this might be a little more adventure than we wanted, so we cast off the lines and continued on our way – calling the gentleman to tell him we decided to move on only after we were around the corner and out of sight.

Now that the summer season is in full swing, the waterway has gotten busier.  Here are some pictures of our journey this week from Trenton to Peterborough, through about a third of the Trent Severn Waterway:

Squeezing into locks 11&12 at Ramsey Falls with three other boats - a combined rise of about 50 feet

Squeezing into locks 11&12 at Ramsey Falls with three other boats – a combined rise of about 50 feet

The view looking backwards from the top of locks 11&12

The view looking backwards from the top of locks 11&12

Bill making sure the wall doesn't get way as the lock fills

Mariner of the Year, Bill Burke, plying his trade.  If you see him around, ask to see his trophy

Earning "Mariner of the Year" is hard work - Bill resting up after the rigors of mastering his trade

Earning “Mariner of the Year” is hard work – Bill resting up after the rigors of mastering his trade

 

 

Red doing bow duty in one of the locks

Red doing bow duty in one of the locks

Mary Beth tending the lines of a boat rafted up to us in a lock

Mary Beth tending the lines of a boat rafted up to us in a lock

Paul taking a stint at the wheel through a narrow section of canal

Paul taking a stint at the wheel through a narrow section of canal

Relaxing on the front deck - affectionately known as the "front porch" - while cruising along the waterway

Relaxing on the front deck – affectionately known as the “front porch” – while cruising along the waterway

Soaking in the scenery on the front porch

Soaking in the scenery on the front porch

We shared one lock with three paddleboarders

We shared one lock with three paddleboarders

Lock 16 & 17 is a flight (double) lock - I was able to get off the boat and go up to the gate of the second lock to take this picture

Lock 16 & 17 is a flight (double) lock – I was able to get off the boat and go up to the gate of the second lock to take this picture

At the top of lock 16, about to enter the second chamber (lock 17) - what a funny looking boat!

At the top of lock 16, about to enter the second chamber (lock 17) – what a funny looking boat!

After leaving the Bensfort Bridge Resort, we pushed on to Peterborough, arriving around 4:00 PM (in time to tie up for Happy Hour). Peterborough Marina is next to a park immediately adjacent to downtown. Peterborough is a small city which, I’m told, has over 300 restaurants. There was a Blues Festival Friday night with a fabulous well-known Canadian band that comes to Peterborough once a year.  There is also a concert tonight in a pavilion in the park next to the boat, which we plan to attend. Yesterday we visited the Peterborough Art Gallery and the Canoe Museum – an unusual museum with a very interesting exhibition on the Aboriginal people that inhabited Canada before Europeans, and on the “voyageurs” who formed the backbone of the fur trade for nearly 150 years. One of their canoes could carry up to 8,000 pounds!  Half of that weight was food for the voyage, as each voyageur consumed 5,000 calories per day – their daily consumption of pemmican alone was equivalent to 11 Big Macs. In a typical day, each voyageur muscled 30,000 strokes of his paddle – about 50 strokes per minute!

A couple of images from Peterborough:

I think this is the mosquito that snuck into the boat and kept me up last night....

I think this is the mosquito that snuck into the boat and kept me up last night….

Now here's a guy who has his priorities straight....

Now here’s a guy who has his priorities straight….

For boaters, Peterborough is home to one of the most remarkable engineering marvels of the late 1800’s, known as the Peterborough Lift Lock.  It is one of just 8 lift locks ever built, and is the highest in the world, lifting boats 6 1/2 stories in a single lift (one of the other 8 lift locks is also located on the Trent Severn, in Kirkfield). The Peterborough lock was the first lock in the world to use unreinforced concrete, cutting edge at the time.  It took 8 years to build, from 1896-1904.  As you will see from the pictures below, it is nothing like a conventional lock. Though the lift lock was far more expensive, it would have required at least 3 locks to raise boats the required height, so the lift lock was utilized because it significantly reduces the time required to pass through. The pictures can describe it far better than I can:

This is the view approaching the lock in the boat.  There are two chambers - the one on the right is in the air, at the level of the canal above, 6 1/2 stories higher than the level we are on.  We enter the chamber on the left after a gate at the entrance to the chamber submerges so we can pass over it

This is the view approaching the lock in the boat. There are two chambers – the one on the right is in the air, at the level of the canal above, 6 1/2 stories higher than the level we are on. We enter the chamber on the left after a gate at the entrance to the chamber submerges so we can pass over it

This is a side view of the lock with the right-hand chamber raised and the left hand chamber at the bottom. Filled with water, each chamber weighs 1700 tons and is supported by a single piston underneath the chamber. To activate the lock, the lockmaster adds about 1 foot of water, weighing 144 tons, to the upper chamber and opens a valve in a pipe between the two chambers. The extra weight causes the upper chamber to lower, and the lower chamber to simultaneously rise.  The weight difference alone powers the lock - there is no pump or electric power involved.

This is a side view of the lock with the right-hand chamber raised and the left hand chamber at the bottom. Filled with water, each chamber weighs 1700 tons and is supported by a single piston underneath the chamber. To activate the lock, the lockmaster adds about 1 foot of water, weighing 144 tons, to the upper chamber and opens a valve in a pipe between the two chambers. The extra weight causes the upper chamber to lower, and the lower chamber to simultaneously rise. The weight difference alone powers the lock – there is no pump or electric power involved.

This picture shows the two chambers passing each other as one goes up and the other down.  The chambers weigh the same whether there are boats in them or not, since the boat displaces an amount of water equal to it's weight (remember Archimedes Principle from high school science?)

This picture shows the two chambers passing each other as one goes up and the other down. The chambers weigh the same whether there are boats in them or not, since the boat displaces an amount of water equal to it’s weight (remember Archimedes Principle from high school science?)

In this picture, the right-hand chamber has now reached the bottom and the left-hand chamber has reached the top.  The gate at the other end of the top chamber will then submerge and the boats will proceed on their way into the canal at the upper level.

In this picture, the right-hand chamber has now reached the bottom and the left-hand chamber has reached the top. The gate at the other end of the top chamber will then submerge and the boats will proceed on their way into the canal at the upper level.

This is a view taken from the stern of the boat in the chamber after reaching the upper level - 6 1/2 stories high

This is a view taken from the stern of the boat in the chamber after reaching the upper level – 6 1/2 stories high

A truly amazing engineering marvel, especially for its time!  We went through the lock to the upper level, then tied to the canal wall and went to the Visitor Center/Museum adjacent to the lock.  We then went back down the lock and went back to the Peterborough Marina, about a mile away. This morning (Saturday), Red, Mary Beth, Bill, & Kathy left to go home – so now we are 4 again.  We’ll miss them!We plan to stay here today doing some chores (but not laundry) and some more sightseeing, and the plan to continue on tomorrow.  Next milestone – Fenelon Falls, where we plan to leave the boat next week for a long weekend.

 

 

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