. . .AND THEN THERE ARE THE HARD DAYS AND THE BIRTHDAYS

Kingston’s Confederation Basin to a mooring ball in Picton, Ont. (38 miles and 0 locks)

Picton to Port Trent Marina (42 miles and 0 locks)

Port Trent Marina onto the Trent Severn Waterway (TSW)  Lock #7 (8 miles and 7 locks)

TSW Lock #7 to Lock #12 and Campbellford (17 miles and 5 locks)

Miles traveled this blog: 105

Total miles traveled:  6460

Kingston was a wonderful stay with great shops, where Jim bought a new hat, I added to my pitcher collection and we had a delightful dinner at Cheze Piggy.  After three days of rest and regrouping we moved on to the small town of Picton where we picked-up (pun intended) a mooring ball at the local yacht club, toured town and enjoyed a most peaceful evening on the fly bridge after the threat of a storm that never materialized.  We declined an invitation to a dart throwing competition at the yacht club.

The boat next to us at sunset on a ball in Picton

Jim rowing Sammy back from her morning walk at the Yacht Club

A Great Blue Heron in the golden glow of sunrise.

Meeting up with Dan and Jenny Lynn on Melody going into Trenton, Ontario

This day led us into the lovely Port Trent  marina where we stayed two nights.  Great people, nice amenities and free laundry (it is the little things in life)!  The showers rank in the top 5 of those visited throughout the Loop and may end up second only to our home-port at the Harborage in Boyne City!

Port Trent City Marina – one of the best yet!  All Loopers pass here and stage for beginning the Trent Severn.

Dock-Tales at Port Trent and some people with whom we are still traveling.

We are now beginning to merge with the Loopers with whom we parted ways at Waterford on their way through the Erie Canal – a much shorter route than the Northern Triangle (Champlain, Chambly, Richelieu, St. Lawrence, Ottawa River, and Rideau) that we had just accomplished but we all then meet here at the mouth or east end of the Trent-Severn Waterway for the next leg of the trip.

Now, lest you think this adventure is all about reading True Love Magazine and eating chocolate bonbons, let me tell you about the next two days.  Not wanting to travel on the weekend with the local recreational boaters, we left the marina early on Monday morning heading to the fuel dock for diesel and a pump out and then on to Lock #1 just a mile ahead.

There is another boat on the other side of the one on the far right.  By the time we got docked there were 5 more boats waiting.

We arrived at the fuel dock only to determine that we were 6th in line. There wasn’t room to tie up so we proceeded to dance around out in the river awaiting someone’s departure.  Finally, we were waved into a much too small space next to a construction site where air hammers and suction machines where pounding and whining away at top speed and decibels.  You can see the yellow digger to the left.  The noise was beyond intolerable and Sammy had that stressed, get me out of here look on her face.  Two hours and forty minutes after leaving our slip at the marina we finally pulled away from the dock with 440 liters of diesel, a pump out and our pockets lighter by $600.   However, not before our gas tank burped some air spilling diesel all over the port side deck, the result of a too-fast fill combined with a plugged vent caused by a mud-dobber!  Even after efforts at clean up, the smell permeated our day.  But alas, we crossed under the bridge into the long-awaited Trent Severn Waterway.  Our plan was to clear 6 locks and stay at the town of Frankford meeting up with friends from the fleet of 2015 on Sum Escape.

All went well for Locks 1-5 when the wind kicked up and we learned that there wasn’t any room for us at Lock 6.  Either we would stay at Lock 5 or move on to Lock 7 where the preferred dockage was at the top of the lock so one more lock to climb.  For good or ill we moved on to the bottom of lock 7 hoping to beat some of the crowd staying at lock 6 while waving at friends Tom and Julie as we passed by.  The TSW locks are somewhat harder (higher lift, smaller space and more turbulent) than those we had encountered previously and I was having trouble holding the bow line tight around the cable.  In addition, during Lock 6 the boat-hook jammed between the windshield of the boat and the lock wall with the boat bouncing and me unable to do anything.  Jim yelled at me to “let go” which, of course, was not the issue.  Miraculously the current in the lock shifted, the wall let go of the boat and the mangled hook was set free with neither the boat nor me any the worse for wear.  At this point in the day we were exhausted and ready to stop but had to push on to complete another 8 miles (about an hour) and yet one more lock before we managed an untidy tie-up for the night some 10 hours after our showers that morning.  Oh, did I mention that the heat index was 94 and while there was power at Lock 6, not so at Lock 7?  Jenny Lynn and Dan had us for supper and we relished in their generator driven air conditioning but still slept on the Namaste in smothering heat.

Namaste docked at the top of Lock #7.  Nothing around except a rusty old railroad swing bridge that hasn’t been used in years.

We wrote it off as a less that pleasant day and hoped for a better start in the morning but not so.  We awoke to light rain predicted to last all day and while we could have stayed at Lock #7 there was absolutely nothing there so we risked moving forward.  Locks 8-10 went well.  The rain and cooler temps were actually welcomed and the visibility remained good.

Except for getting pretty wet, we easily proceeded to Locks 11 & 12 just prior to our destination of Campbellford.  We entered the huge lift lock with no problems, placed our bow and stern lines around the cables (see the black lines hanging from the top of the cement along the sides of the lock) and I walked to mid-ship to turn off the engine – a lock rule instituted to reduce the diesel fumes for health and safety.  As I did so the lock master announced over an unexpected loud speaker “hold onto your lines, we are going up,” – sounding as if he was announcing some kind of carnival ride!

Lock #11 going in.  (picture taken later on a walk as we are way too busy to shoot pics during the locking procedure)

Lock #11 from above – about a 25 foot lift.

As I moved quickly forward to get my lines around a cleat for stability, water gushed into the chamber and threw the Namaste’s bow left, away from the right side wall with me watching as the lines slid right out of my hands and the bow continuing to swing left toward the opposite wall.  This was a disaster in the making but three things were on our side:  the length of the Namaste was longer than the width of the chamber so we couldn’t get sideways or even worse rotated in the lock; the anchor kept the bow of the boat from scraping against the wall; and thirdly Captain Jim was still at the stern hanging on tightly to his line. As terrified and helpless as I felt for what seemed like an eternity the water eventually quit gushing whirlpools of water at us and as it settled, I pushed hard for several minutes to get us off the offending wall while Jim was able to pull us back snug to the appropriate wall. I got my line back around the cable and we proceeded as if nothing had happened. Dan standing on the stern of Melody, just 6 feet ahead of us watching said, and I quote, “Now that was quite a side-trip.”  Although funny now, at the time I was ready to throw in the towel or anything within my reach at anyone within hitting distance.  My arm and shoulder muscles are still sore today!  We have completed 12 of the  42 locks on the TSW with 30 to go before we get into the open water of the Georgian Bay.

A mile and a half later we were tied up to the city wall, in a peaceful park with power in the darling town of Campbellford.  It was a pay for two nights and get a third night free so we are happily staying three.

Chamber of Commerce tourist center, boat marina, and licensing bureau!

 

Huge Replica of the Toonie – Canadian $2 coin.

 

Dinner in the Park with our boating buddies, the Girvans.

Namaste docked at the Campbellford Old Mill Park.  Lovely spot!

After a good night’s sleep and a sharp talking to myself, I was back in shape enough to begin planning for Jim’s 75th birthday!  It turned out to be a wonderful day beginning with a four-mile hike to the Ranney Falls Gorge and walk across the suspension bridge, sharing a pan of pecan rolls at the Doohers Bakery, a beard trim, reading, naps, dock-tales on Melody and a fabulous dinner at Antonia’s Bistro for 12 Loopers complete with Jim’s favorite, a carrot cake.  It may be one of our most memorable Looping restaurant meals!  Happy birthday Buddy!

Sammy, what do you mean you’re not going to walk on that grate?

 

A couple hundred yard run just for fun!

 

Dock-Tales and laughs on Melody

Dinner at Antonia’s

A big birthday wish!

Good Boat Name:  Gratitude Adjustment

Quote of the Day: “Here in Canada, many of us believe we are witnessing the fall of the U.S. empire.  Would a civilized country limit health care or food assistance for the poor; leave crops rotting in the fields; destroy the educational system; target women and attempt to eliminate their reproductive rights while refusing to help resulting babies; abuse desperate immigrants; pretend to believe in Christianity while perverting and debasing its tenets; and refuse to protect the Earth from destruction.  The world is watching.”  Paul F. Hacker

Happy Birthday to Jim and Jane

Feel better soon Margaret

 

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