End of the Locks (for awhile)

We are currently in Port Severn Ontario, which is the Northern end of the Trent Severn Waterway on the shores of Lake Huron. We have completed the 240 mile waterway with its 44 locks. We are looking forward to Lake Huron and Lake Michigan which are lock-free, until we reach Chicago.

A view forward while in the rail-car.  Yikes!

A view forward while in the rail-car. Yikes!

This is a view looking from the aft camera on our boat while we were cradled in the rail-car.

This is a view looking from the aft camera on our boat while we were cradled in the rail-car.


Yesterday we had a unique experience of having the boat put on a rail-car and lowered 90 feet to the next lake instead of using a traditional lock. The theory is that you drive onto a flatbed car and you are held upright with slings cradling the boat while out of the water. However in our case, just as we were entering the car a line squall with strong wind gusts, thunder, lightening, hail and rain came through which made the experience a little more exciting than normal. No damage to the boat, but a lot of stress for the crew. But all survived!

We are spending two nights at a wonderful marina. Andy departs tomorrow morning after a two month stay on Next Dance. He is anxious to get back home. He can’t believe that we kept him hostage that long! We are also going to take advantage of getting our mast put up today and the dinghy inflated (it was lowered in Troy, New York so that we could get under all of the low bridges between there and here). It will be so great to have the boat looking ship-shape again.

Tomorrow after Andy leaves we will enter Lake Huron and run up to the Georgian Bay. Georgian Bay has 30,000 rocky islands along the coast that are supposedly very scenic and provides many lovely anchorages. This part of Ontario is lake cottage country and every rocky island larger than 50′ in diameter has a cottage. We hope to reach Killarney, which is the boundary between the Georgian Bay and the North Channel, in 5-6 days. Thank you Andy for all of your help and good company. See you in Milwaukee later this month!

Our last night together in Canada.

Our last night together in Canada.


So far the weather has been generally very good, with occasional rain but no high wind or storms – the exception, of course was our rail-car ride yesterday. Now that we are entering “big water” we hope the weather continues to hold. The cats are much happier without the boat bouncing around. Our Kadey Krogen can handle much rougher weather than it’s crew can. As a matter of fact there is currently a 42′ Kadey Krogen (Dauntless) crossing the Atlantic Ocean right now. That is one thing that we have no interest in doing. If we were ever to think about cruising in Europe, we would have the boat shipped over.

Traveling through the Trent Severn has been an interesting experience going through all of the locks, the lift locks, the canals, the lakes, quaint towns and villages, all of the lovely cottages. You are allowed to tie up to the lock walls above and below the locks overnight. Each lock has bathroom facilities, which have been better than most marinas.
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Getting "cozy" in the lock.  They like to pack you in with not much room to spare.

Getting “cozy” in the lock. They like to pack you in with not much room to spare.


Panacea and Limelight waiting for the lock to open

Panacea and Limelight waiting for the lock to open

Andy in one of the three "lift-locks" we went through.

Andy in one of the three “lift-locks” we went through.

Narrow canals always an experience.  Stay in the middle!

Narrow canals always an experience. Stay in the middle!

Canal

Cormorants destroy the vegetation on islands.  There are hundreds of them in the trees.

Cormorants destroy the vegetation on islands. There are hundreds of them in the trees.

Andy and Pema hanging out on the aft deck

Andy and Pema hanging out on the aft deck

Andy catches a nice big mouth bass!

Andy catches a nice big mouth bass!


The canals, as you can see, are very narrow and the stress levels go up when you come to a boat coming towards you. The courtesy is to radio ahead and tell oncoming boats that you are coming through so that they can wait for you to pass. However, they have to have their radios on for this to work!!

We have been traveling on and off with two other boats – Limelight and Panecea. The owners of Limelight are from Manitowoc, Wisconsin and the owners of Panecea are from Huntington Beach, California. Limelight will be ending their two year Great Loop adventure when they get back in Lake Michigan. Panecea will be continuing their trip until they arrive in Tennessee, where the Great Loop Rendezvous will take place in late September. We are not sure if we will be attending the Rendezvous or not. If we do, we will probably be somewhere where we will rent a car and drive to it rather than have the boat there. There will be over 300 boaters there.

Don and Anita from Limelight

Don and Anita from Limelight


Jan and Larry from Panacea

Jan and Larry from Panacea


Speaking of Panecea, they decided to go on yesterday on to the Georgian Bay. They had just gone through their last lock and were proceeding. Unfortunately they didn’t realize that the marker buoys changed and they hit rocks and bent one of their props. We heard them calling the marina below us to come in for the night, where they had their prop switched out this morning. Luckily there was no damage to their shaft.

We feel complete once again by getting the mast up and the dinghy inflated. We launched the dinghy and went to a little restaurant on the water for lunch. Tonight our farewell dinner with Andy.

Putting the mast up at last!

Putting the mast up at last!

Inflating the dinghy

Inflating the dinghy


Pema finds a new place to explore!

Pema finds a new place to explore!


Chillin out

Chillin out


Transportation once again!

Transportation once again!

We don’t expect to have internet coverage in the Georgian Bay, so the next update may not be for awhile.

Until then, fair winds and calm seas.

Sun going down last night

Sun going down last night


Cheers!

Cheers!

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The Great Loop

We are beginning the journey to cruise the rest of the “Great Loop”, which we began 14 years ago on our sail boat “Beau Soliel”. That journey then took us from Milwaukee to the Straits of Mackinaw, North Channel in Lake Huron (part of Canada,) Detroit River, Lake Erie, Erie Canal, Hudson River, Atlantic Ocean, Chesapeake Bay, Intra-Coastal Waterway, around the Keys and into Tampa Bay. That’s when, after keeping the boat there one year, we decided to put the sailboat on the market; wanting to spend more time in Colorado.

We began this leg of the Great Loop by heading into the Trent Severn Waterway, on Lake Ontario. This waterway allows us to bypass Lake Erie and the southern half of Lake Huron. We will next be in the Georgian Bay and then North Channel (both part of Lake Huron with literally thousands of small islands), through the Straits of Mackinaw, down Lake Michigan, and enter the Illinois River at Chicago, down the Mississippi River, short run up the Ohio River, then into Tennessee and Tombigbee Rivers and finally reach the Gulf of Mexico at Mobile Bay. From there we turn east and follow the panhandle of Florida for a while, before heading across the Gulf to Tarpon Springs and Tampa Bay. At Tampa Bay we will have crossed our tracks and completed the Great Loop. We hope to be in Tampa Bay sometime around the beginning of December. We plan on wintering in either the Fort Myers or Bradenton areas, depending upon where we can get a 3 month slip rental.

Entering the Trent Severn Waterway

Entering the Trent Severn Waterway


While in the Milwaukee area we will spend a few days visiting friends and family, but due to weather concerns, we plan on being off Lake Michigan by the middle of September. Finishing this Great Loop has been a long time a dream of Mark’s. There is a flag (called a burgee) for those doing the “Loop” that is flown on the foredeck (it is waiting for us in Wisconsin). All Loopers know what it is and is always an attraction to start up a conversation with other boaters. We have met several boats along the way which we continually run into at new marinas or anchorages. One couple we have been traveling with the last few days is from Manitowoc, Wisconsin! We are going to have “docktails” on the dock tonight with them and two other “Looper” couples.

Personally though, I think I will be glad to be done with the locks on the Trent Severn in another 4 or 5 days (22 more to go) and enjoy the beautiful anchorages of the Georgian Bay and the North Channel. Glad to say we have done it, but I’m over that adventure. It took us three hours yesterday to go five miles because of waiting for the locks to be ready, then we go in, the lock fills, then we go out and then the same thing again and again. We do, however, see some lovely cottages right on the shores in many places. Everyone here proudly displays their Canadian flag. In one lock, the water was overflowing from an adjacent lock (the water is used to help fill the lock) and the boat ahead of us was getting wet. Andy was glad not to be in the first position this time! All of the locks have beautiful gardens.

Flowers at the locks

Flowers at the locks


Getting wet in the lock

Getting wet in the lock

Pema in her life jacket

Pema in her life jacket


Pema checking things out

Pema checking things out


The Canadian "Twoonie"

The Canadian “Twoonie”


We are currently in Peterborough Ontario (city of 350,000) at a lovely marina. There was a free outdoor concert right next door. The orchestra played all of the music from World War I and II and showed a fabulous slide show along with it. We were going to take off after spending two nights here, but decided to stay put one more day. It rained all last night and is windy and cold today. I even had to break out the fleece and long pants! Mark and Andy want to break down to put jeans on, but they are trying to tough it out in shorts. That weather is moving out later today and will be nice for the next five days. When we arrived we went to the little restaurant here. Mark had to finally check out a Canadian favorite – Poutine. AKA French Fries with cheese curds and gravy. It is a heart attack on a plate.
src=”https://nextdanceblog.files.wordpress.com/2014/07/img_1824.jpg?w=300″ alt=”Concert in the Park” width=”300″ height=”225″ class=”size-medium wp-image-150″ /> Concert in the Park[/caption]
Mark trying the Poutine

Mark trying the Poutine

We continue to eat well. I made the boys lobster rolls for lunch the other day. Mark said that it sure beats Andy’s hot dogs!! Mushroom risotto last night – yum! I am missing not getting fresh seafood. Won’t expect that for some time.

Mark grilling Italian sausage

Mark grilling Italian sausage

Andy is getting ready to leave us soon. He has agreed to stay with us through the remainder of the locks and then head back to Wisconsin. I think he is ready for his vacation to end. Ha! When I told him it would be an adventure, he didn’t have any idea what I was talking about! Putt putt . . . a slow moving boat to somewhere! He keeps telling people that he has been Shanghaied. I tell people he is on the prison work release program whenever he wears his orange T-shirt! At least he has finally been able to get his fishing rod out and to no good use – no Walleye in sight!! I am still waiting.
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Until next time, fair winds and calm seas.

…"Red sky at night, sailors delight"

…”Red sky at night, sailors delight”