The Final Stretch, Crossing Our Wake, Coming Full Circle and a Dream Complete

September 5-11, 2019

September 5 – Mackinaw Island to Charlevoix (62 miles)

September 6 – Charlevoix

September 7 – Charlevoix to Boyne City (13 miles)

September 8-10 – Boyne City

September 11 – Home to Highland

Miles traveled this blog: 75

Total miles traveled:  7031

On Thursday, September 5th we were all up early preparing for a 62 mile day to Charlevoix – California Lady, Melody and Namaste.  The weather/wind forecast had deteriorated from the evening before but we all wanted to move on for similar and different reasons so no one was ready to call a no go.

NVjAT7jGT7utzohJZ0%SmAFirst Light

8fi8%o3BR4GE2equnCYLjAAs are most early mornings on the water, it was a beautiful sunrise and calm beginning.

g9BMQQMzQXKuo2vgzdUFhgAs we pulled out of our slip and rounded the end of the “T”, we met a huge cruise ship coming into the Mackinaw City harbor.  Having successfully dodged him, we led the way across the straights and toward the Mighty Mackinaw Bridge.  The boat Blessings joined us from St. Ignace but held back into fourth place taking great pictures of each boat as we passed under the huge suspension bridge.  Maybe the longest of the trip.

GdOhoS3yRmiAR4nkcNj3kARound Island Passage Light – near the entrance to Mackinaw Island Harbor – If you have taken the Ferry you have passed by this landmark.

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Straights of Mackinaw and Bridge – Picture #1

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Picture #2 – note the freighter coming toward us.  I cannot believe that not so long ago, I would have been anxious to meet another boat under this bridge!!!  Ha!

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Namaste passing under the Mighty Mac – photo credit to Blessings

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Looking back into the rising sun. . .California Lady followed by Melody in Sea following.

d7BzI9lTTtGOtPqQIqcl8A The island, the bridge and the American Flag.  Although we have made this passage several times, the thrill remains.

Our calm waters turned choppy as we passed the protection of the mitten and downright rough as we made the left turn down lake Michigan after Grays Reef.  It wasn’t dangerous or even particularly difficult but uncomfortable trying to find a navigation point to take the waves on our bow instead of our beam.

With Namaste in the lead, we bounced our way for four hours along the west coast of Michigan past Cross Village, Little Traverse Bay and finally into the Charlevoix Channel for the 2:30 pm Bridge opening.

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As we made the approach, impatience abounded and all four boats plus a random sailboat entered the channel prematurely causing  angst as we all tried to mark-time with the wind pushing us “kittywampus” to the channel.   Waiting out the 8 minutes for the bridge to open felt like an eternity.  We all suspect the bridge tender saw our predicament and thankfully opened a little early.

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Captain Jim thinking:  Please, please let’s just get through this final channel and to the dock without incident!

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Coming full circle

It is here that we crossed our wake and completed our dream-adventure.  With lumps in our throats we looked at one another in disbelief, gratitude, and love; crying and laughing; kissing, hugging and sharing high 5’s.  We had accomplished something for which we had unknowingly spent a life-time of preparation.  Our feelings of pride and satisfaction are second only to the feelings we share for the lives and accomplishments of our three boys!

The docking was perfect and the celebrations spontaneous.  First it was a gratitude ceremony complete with champagne toasts and wine offerings thanking the gods and goddesses of the sea (text below).IMG_5722

Lowering the white flag of a currently Looping boat and raising the gold flag signifying a completed Loop.

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Next it was a docktale event onboard the Namaste with California Lady, Melody, Blessings, Tuscobia, Twice Blessed and a borrowed (that is yet another story) gold flag from Pura Vida.  Finally several of us gathered at the Weather Vane for dinner, stories and more celebration.  California lady had also accomplished her goal of reaching the Great Lakes as their new boat home and Melody would cross her wake in just days.  How could we have orchestrated a more celebratory ending?

Well, we followed-up on Saturday with  Pat, Nate, Mike, Lee, Curt and Leonie who drove North to cruise our final leg from Charlevoix to Boyne City and/or to meet the Namaste at The Harborage Marina.

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Yep, it was a little chilly that morning!

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Entrance to the Harborage Marina at the east end of Lake Charlevoix in Boyne City – Namaste Too is home!

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Tying lines and arranging fenders for the final time.

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A proud Namaste Too taking the slip of The Namaste

 

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Our gold tissue paper and black magic-marker burgee to be replaced by an authentic gold flag waiting for us at home!  Our attempts to have it mailed to us in Canada all failed to reach us so we borrowed one and then finally made our own out of yellow tissue paper and a black marker, evidence of the make-do spirit so often needed on the Loop.

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Thank you to the gods and goddesses of so many things, wine for the sea and champagne toasts around.

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Congratulations and a certificate of accomplishment  presented by Mike and Nancy of California Lady.

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Serious smiles of love and approval.

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. . .and final docktales!  Picture blurry, perhaps because the photographer was crying happy tears.

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Nate and Leonie doing party set up.

Cafe Sante Dinner – our favorite restaurant on the Loop!

What wonderful endings to our 4 year and 71 day, 7,031′ mile adventure.  We thank everyone for your support, encouragement, blog post comments, texts, calls, emails and visits.  Having a rich life made all the difference and more likely made it possible at all.

It has been painful to write this final blog post, maybe because I am  tired of wrestling with the technology, or because I am just tired of writing but much more likely because I don’t want it to be over.  It has been a labor of love and meant specifically as our legacy of adventure for our soon to be 10 grandchildren.

What next? We will not try to think about what’s next until this adventure feels finished.  We are not there yet.  We crossed our wake and the physicality of the Loop is complete but condensing what we learned about ourselves, each other and the world; acknowledging each morsel of gratitude; cataloging and savoring the memories; and fitting everything into the grand scheme of our lives will take some time.   Clearly we have much to look forward to and we will know when it is time to move on but right now what we know for sure is that it is not time yet!

 

 

Best boat name ever:  NAMASTE

 

Celebratory Looping Dock Ceremony -Thanking the Gods and Godesses:

In the spirit of nautical Looper gratitude we wish to thank:

Poseidon, the Greek God of the sea who has each vessel listed on his ledger of the deep.  He calms the seas and grants successful passage for those he deems worthy.

Neptune, the Roman God, equivalent to Poseidon.

Aeolus (I’-o-lus),  the Greek God of the winds and storms and perhaps the most important God of boating

And yet there is so much more.  We are grateful for the privilege of this mighty adventure. Some specific Gods or more likely Goddesses that will share our eternal gratitude,

in no particular order of importance:

There is the Goddess of the weather: sun, warmth, blue skies, and even a few storms and rainy days along the way

Goddess of the currents, tides, winds, and wind directions,

Goddess of the sky: sun, moon, stars, clouds,

Goddess of sunrises and sunsets

Goddess of biking and walking paths, trees, flowers and red chairs

Goddess of the states and provinces: Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, DC, Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, New York, Quebec, and Ontario

Goddess of the cities: Chicago, St. Louis, Mobile, Sarasota, Venice, Naples, Miami, St. Augustine, Hilton Head, Beaufort, Charleston, Beaufort, Norfolk, Washington DC, Annapolis, Baltimore, NYC, St. Jean’s, Montreal, Ottawa, Kingston, Little Current, Mackinaw Island, Charlevoix, our homeport of Boyne City and the countless villages and towns who open their hearts and doors to boaters around the Loop

Gods of engines, switches, starters, alternators, filters, pumps. . .

Goddess of electronics and electronic information: chart plotters, iPhones, iPads, Macbooks,  Navonics, Aye Tides, CBP Roam, Sail Flow, Wind Alert, Weather.com,  NOAA Weather, Bouy Weather, Weather Underground, Google Earth, and Nebo,

Goddess of marinas, docks and docking, cleats and lines, fenders and fender-boards

Goddess of anchors, snubbers, anchorages, boat batteries and windlesses (manual and electric)

Goddess of personal flotation devices, handrails, and life rings

Gods of electrical sources and water stations, pump-out hoses, and fuel tanks

Goddess of bridges:  fixed, lift, bascule, and swing

Goddess of the locks: big, small, manual, hydraulic,

Goddess of animals, birds, fish and insects that kept us company: the puppies, kitties, dolphins, turtles and alligators, deer and otters and mink;  blue herons, sea gulls, pelicans, osprey, and an eagle or two; butterflies, spiders, mosquitoes and flies and the pesky no-see-ums of south Florida, crabs and countless fish

Goddess of health and wellness:  we thank the Universe for watching over and keeping us and each of you safe over these four years and 71 days.

Thank you to the Namaste and the Namaste Too

And finally thank you to the people – family, friends, lock masters, bridge tenders, marina managers and dock hands, wait staff, meteorologists, mechanics,  fellow loopers/boaters and the helpful local folk all along the way.

To quote Jenny Lynn Girvan: “Thank you for the moments, like beads on a string.”  Each is a treasure!

 

Completing the Great Loop is so unique that last year more people:

Finished the Boston Marathon – 26,500

Walked the length of the Appalachian Trail – 1100

Climbed Mount Everest – 600

Swam the English Channel – 215

than

Completed the Great American Loop – 150

 

Namaste & Namaste Too Loop Stats

As Jim and I are not much for spreadsheets, the numbers here range from accurate records to estimates and  a few wild guesses.

Left Boyne City on June 28, 2015

Arrive Charlevoix on September 5, home to Boyne City on September 7, 2019 and home to Highland on September 11, 2019

Four years and 71 days on the Great Loop

217 days traveling

50 months total:  25 aboard and 25 at home

Traveled a total of 7,031 statute miles

Boats 2 + a dinghy Namaste- Fuji 35  Ketch sailboat with Perkins 50 engine

Namaste Too – Albin 36 trawler with Ford Lehman 120 engine

Miles 7031
Travel Days 217
Average miles per travel day 32.4
Total months on the Loop 50 25 onboard and 25 at 1563

Began June 28, 2015 and Finished September 5, 2019

Extended Home Stays 5
Countries 2
States and Providences 21 Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, New York, Quebec, and Ontario

 

Miles per gallon 7.5

3.4

4.6

Sailboat (3532 miles total)

Trawler (3499 miles total)

Average

Average Gallons per hour 1.5
Total Gallons burned 1,508
Fastest speed over the ground 11.2 mph Riding the current through St. Louis
Bridges – fixed, bascule, lift, swing 608 About 15% had to be opened
Locks 158
Anchorages Not enough
Free walls, docks, and Canadian Pass moorings As many as possible
Marina nights The rest
Marina stays over a month 4 Faro Blanco X2, Dinner Key in Coconut Grove near Miami, Fort Pierce
Trips around and through Florida 3 We were somewhere in Florida from December 2015 until April 2018.  Lost Namaste to Hurricane Irma in September 2017 and

Purchased Namaste Too in November, 2017 in Fort Myers.

Overnight guests 12 Average length of stay 3.5 nights
Boat cards collected

 

 

Blog posts

262

 

 

93

We had at least a conversation with 262 boaters if not dock-tale, dinner or shared travel days
Special shout-outs to AGLCA, Canadian Park Service, Tow Boat US, Geico insurance, Navionics, Nebo, WordPress, Women Who Sail
Grandchildren 9 + 1 (due on Thanksgiving day) = 10 3 boys born while on the Loop – Cedar, Oscar and Felix
Expenses Unknown because it just doesn’t matter. Given our economical boats but the less than economical fact that we weren’t “all in” (we still owned and maintained our house and cars), we estimate that we spent less than $1,000 per month over our regular living expenses while aboard.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE NORTH CHANNEL – WHERE SUMMER BECOMES FALL ON THE LOOP

 

August 24-September 2, 2019

August 24 – Killarney

August 25 – Killarney to Little Current (21 miles)

August 27-30 – Little Current

August 31 – Little Current to Meldrum Bay (60 miles)

September 1 – Meldrum Bay to Drummond Island (40 miles)

September 2 – Drummond Island to Mackinaw Island (42 miles)

September 3-4 – Mackinaw Island (gale winds)

Miles traveled this blog: 163

Total miles traveled: 6954

We had been in Killarney twice before when it was a small fishing resort/village.  Most memorable then was seeing a bear just off the road while riding our bikes out to the township park for a picnic on Canada Day, probably 2009.  While we didn’t see a bear this time, someone a week or so before our arrival posted the picture below from our dock!

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Killarney Docks

Story has it that a local guy done well, invested millions in the Killarney Mountain Lodge resort/marina/conference center and location extraordinaire.  The good news is that the new structures carry the north country allure and the original Sportsman’s Club still stands as it was 100 years ago with a few welcome improvements including new marina docks.

0JFz5vWuSQ+kZCUsnePqUgEast entrance into Killarney

g3oNl2KiTheNst8QKbs0bQThe famous Sportsman’s Club and old Killarney

LPZqnYIURyaD9kfWr0Pz1gAll over Canadian waterways are red chairs such as these signifying a relaxed Canada.  I spent an afternoon sitting here eating blueberries and watching the traffic go by.

uZthYe4QQNaT7Jf4xS4wlQSunset over the west entrance or in our case exit from Killarney

We spent two and a half days with a half dozen Looping boats and much of the surrounding community as it was music festival weekend in Killarney.  Dinners at the famous Fish Restaurant and Sportsman’s Pub, ice cream, long walks, and relaxation were the orders of the weekend.

AOER%0mOTwe5LAAwTNIwDQAn historic picture of the Mr. Perch restaurant run out of a bus back in the day.  It is now a new building but the fish are served in the same paper containers, probably by some of the same staff.

The farmer’s market was the best of the rest with $8/pint tiny blueberries bursting with flavor that we ate for days and some fabulous homemade veggie relish.

fullsizeoutput_10553The entire farmer’s market:  one truck, two tents and great produce

Before we departed on a gorgeous Sunday morning we dingied across the Killarney Bay with Mike and Nancy to Covered Portage, an anchorage where we spent Jim’s birthday – maybe 42nd – with the Steiners a few years ago 🙂  About 6 boats were anchored in calm waters where the high cliffs give protection from any weather.  Next year. . .

h1Vt2y8kRy211SIrYNE7vQCovered Portage on a Sunday morning

xtxH4nhcRPyx2AqwXuDOxQA great dinghy ride with Mike and Nancy

8m5Zds00TEWn8Mx4rCtGiQThe run to Little Current.  None of the strong winds today!

Looking at weather, we determined to make a run for Little Current as some nasty winds were heading our way.  Ultimately, we spent six days enjoying the Little Current life.  This is the largest community in the North Channel with a city marina, a tour boat and weekly cruise ship visits.  In spite of the frequent marine traffic, there is quite a “little current” running under the swing bridge and through the approach channel making docking a challenge, particularly with the persistent strong winds.  In fact, watching other folks dock became our entertainment of the day.  The town had a laundromat, library, two restaurants, and several stores including an interesting Bargain Barn where we got some free “digestives” (cookies) and paid a dollar for a box of Godiva Chocolate and another dollar for some maple Bousin cheese.

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The Anchor Inn, Little Current, Ontario – A landmark and town center for more than 100  years and where we met Janet and Dennis 10+ years ago!

We attended the Little Current Cruisers Net, end of the season, pot luck dinner attended by 70+ boaters including about 10 Loopers.  The food was fabulous, the weather cold and windy, and the door prizes a hoot.  Now I must mention Ray Eaton, the originator and 16 year host of the LC Cruisers Net broadcast every morning 7 days a week at 9 a.m. on VHF channel 71 from June to September.  This is a news, weather, roll call, and call-in service to all boaters in the North Channel.  We attended in person (second floor of the hotel above) one day and listened and participated the remainder of the days from our radio on the Namaste.   Ray is well known throughout the Great Lakes for this service and we were honored to spend time with him even though he could never quite say the name Namaste and substituted No Mistake instead!IbgSQC0cSISObjV3a9%PzACruiser’s Net pot Luck supper with some mighty interesting folks.

JlISAAJ3TaGgqzY1nxck8wThe famous Ray Eaton, host of the Little Current Cruisers Net.  Ray hosts the VHF radio show seven days a week at 9 a.m. from June through September.  We were there for his last broadcast of the season.

A second highlight was taking the local tour boat to Baie Fine and climbing up to Lake Topaz for the view.  This is a famous tourist attraction and since we were running out of time and weather, we would not get there on our boats this year so for something new Nancy and I boarded the trimaran, Le-Grand Heron for an eight-hour boat ride.  Our captains stayed back doing boat chores.  As mentioned above it was windy so the waters were rough and the skies opened up to add to the entertainment but the pictures tell the real story.  If you ever get to Little Current this is a must do.

zvik%fvbRfO7MqlBPOK7hAThe truly spectacular Baie Fine fiord.

NDtsxkS6TMSLKuqdqZzV9gLake Topaz at the end of the Baie Finn fiord – (above and below)

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fullsizeoutput_10520  The climb was “easy” by Canadian tour standards.  Nancy and I had a hard time leaving it behind.

fullsizeoutput_10522The Evinrude (think outboard motors) family cottage at the bottom of Baie Fine and the entrance to the climb to Lake Topaz.  How fitting!

tQmWg2TcSzmIJKRrD%JaFQAnd then the rains came

Thirdly, it was Nancy’s birthday. As a gift Kathy and Ed, on Vitamin Sea, gave her a group tour of the famous Little Current (Ontario Hwy 6) swing bridge compliments of our new friend Bob, the delightful and knowledgeable bridge master who sits in occasionally for Ray (above).  We climbed the outside stairway, were treated to more facts and figures than I can begin to repeat here and were hoping to ride the 11:00 opening but due to rough waters no boats appeared for a requested swing so we contented ourselves with the vista, the story and a tour.

Z+qipysyR923KWFjLKoMwQNancy’s birthday party/progressive dinner.  Dessert was blueberry pie carried in a back pack, later known as blueberry cobbler.

J%8GnEM4R5er6uXWwSWMtwThe famous Little Current swing bridge swinging to let us through.

jtPanZPMTZirM5IrIawiOQ We climbed this outdoor stairway in 20-30 knot winds.  Note the swirling current below.

SLE0emWNRlS%vfXNdvo%TQBob, the local bridge master who knows everything there is to know about this bridge and these waters.

Looking at the next weather system to come through we skipped Gore Bay and pushed on to  Meldrum Bay with a helpful dockmaster but no room at the Inn for dinner.  Again, next year. . .

raRtZ0UgSUOw2NjQd3llyAHere is one brilliant idea of putting colored picnic tables at the end of each dock helping those who have no idea where they are going find their assigned space in the marina.  In this case we were on the west side of the orange dock – bow in port side tie!!

fullsizeoutput_1051eMore red chairs – these oversized folding chairs mark the end of the road – literally – Highway 540 ends in Meldrum Bay

From Meldrum it was a nice trip to Drummond Island, our first American port since Lake Champlain over two months ago!  As we crossed into American waters we took down the Canadian flag and using the ROAM app attempted to clear customs – really the only option.    The short version of the story is that we logged in and complied with required steps but when it was time for the video chat with a customs official he could see but could’t hear us so promptly hung up.  I then called the help number where someone told me that I wasn’t on the passenger manifest so he denied the request, suggesting that I go back in and add myself to the trip.  Since I had absolutely no idea what he meant I mustered all the tenacity I could and went back to the app, kept trying things, resubmitted the request, and this time the video chat officer reported that he could hear but could not see us.  Not exactly sure what I said but at this point he kindly replied, “well, it probably isn’t your fault so I will approve you for reentry!”  Yay, within seconds we had our official notification and on we came.  Given my level of angst I can only imagine the frustration of the officers with the relatively new online process to say nothing of my ongoing respect for anyone not a citizen trying to enter this country.

fullsizeoutput_105e6Whew!  Thank you Canada for an excitingly beautiful summer!  Also happy to be back in the USA.  Enjoy your stay?  We live here!  Sure hope we are legal!

Drummond is a large island with a beautiful old marina which opened in 1945!  We did a few maintenance of life activities, had dinner at the Northwoods restaurant and headed out the next morning for Mackinaw Island.  We guessed and were correct that this would be a slightly lumpy but doable ride arriving at the Mackinaw State Marina in time to take a carriage ride and share stories at dock-tales with Melody in Sea, California Lady, and Cantata.

Yubb2xYERFankQUxVNu%UAOur entrance into the Mackinaw Island State Harbor – always beautiful!!

u3WuvN0KRsOoSeann0TPWwThe Namaste safely in her berth just below the Fort

jeY8UBO6RfXaTzRGbfwBy late afternoon it is getting chilly and this turned out to be our final official dock-tale event.   It was a fun one in a beautiful place with great people!

Mackinaw Island would be our safe harbor to wait out gale force winds on Tuesday and Wednesday giving us time to enjoy and show off one of our favorite places.  Tuesday was miserable enough outside that we spent the day relaxing, organizing and relishing one of our last days aboard the Namaste for the 2019 season.  Wednesday was a beautiful but still windy day so we walked and walked and walked enjoying the old haunts and finding a few new ones.  Preparing ourselves for what would be our last travel day on the Loop.  Stay tuned for the final Wave From Namaste blog entry. . .

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It is a longer story but on windy/rainy  Tuesday Mike helped us figure out how to change our name to Namaste in the AIS data system that shows flashing tiny boats on your chart plotter as an information and safety feature.  We have been trying to change this for the 21 months we have owned her.  Now when people call us on the VHF radio we are happily the Namaste!  Thanks Mike!

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My iconic Mackinaw photos

.fPmlCRGQTpSX+laPAH1vUgLunch at the Iroquois

IMG_5329Ice Cream at Sadie’s of the Grand Hotel

XudIWD47TISEeX66iVK5ugChili supper onboard the Namaste with singing by Jenny Lynn

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. . .and an island walk for Sammy, Leroy, and Mac.  Note the handy fire hydrant for the boys!

Good Boat Name:  Living in Awe

Bad Boat Name:  Marine Disaster (no kidding)

Quote of the Day:  “Destroy the idea that you have to be constantly working in order to be successful.  Embrace the concept that rest, recovery, and reflection are essential parts of the progress toward a successful and happy life.”  Zack Galifianakis

Happy birthday to: Erin, Nancy

Love and energy to the Bahamian people of the Abaco Islands.  A  paradise lost!

Sammy Sayz:  Boy do I need a haircut or what?  They keep snipping here and there so that I can see.  The picture below was taken two weeks ago so you can only imagine.  Jo Ann calls me her rag-a-muffin but the “boys” (Leroy and Mac) don’t seem to care. Being the only girl is a plus!

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GEORGIAN BAY – SO MUCH TO SAY

August 14-23, 2019

August 14 – Hockey Stick Bay (previous blog)

August 15 – Indian Harbor/Bands Island (14 miles)

August 16 – Henry’s Fish Restaurant (11 miles)

August 17 – 18 Kilcousie Bay and Killbear Marina (5 miles)

August 19 – Regatta Bay (12 miles)

August 20-21 – Wright’s Marina (47 miles)

August 22 – Bad River (30 miles)

August 23 – Collins Inlet and Killarney (40 miles)

Miles this blog:  159

Total miles traveled: 6833

We are currently on the eastern shore of the Georgian Bay (GB) which is on the eastern shore of Lake Huron which is on the eastern shore of our beautiful Michigan where we will cross our wake in a couple of weeks.  Draw a line due west from Severn at the bottom of the Georgian Bay and it will take you to Traverse City and from Killarney at the top of the GB it will take you to Mackinaw Island.  As mentioned in the previous blog, we were happy to be into the open, rugged and pristine waters of the Georgian Bay.  However, this area is not as open as it first appears as it is also known as the land of 30,000 islands meaning that the coast is sprinkled with large and small picturesque rocks.  Many are covered with trees, bushes and wildflowers growing from cracks where earth accumulated and seeds sprouted sometime between yesterday and 100 years ago.  Buildings dot the landscape here and there with the occasional marina or tiny community.   Otherwise it is a mecca of beautiful bays, cuts, and inlets creating endless unique anchorages.

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Unlike others who elected to diagonally cross the bay directly to Killarney, we decided to gunk-hole or move from anchorage to anchorage up the 100+ mile coast and I am so glad we did!

As planned we finally met up with Mike, Nancy and Leroy on California Lady in Hockey Stick Bay on our Mike’s birthday – how appropriate. We spent a glorious afternoon swimming and sharing dinner together on Melody in Sea.  There were several boats anchored nearby for the day but by nightfall it was just the three looper boats and a sailboat or two left in the bay.

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A great swim

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A sea plane – picture right off our anchored bow.

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Mike helping to tie the Namaste stern to a tree – Med style

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Help with raising the mast after the many weeks of reduced air draft needed to get under all the bridges of this leg.

Sunset and a full moon reflection in Hockey Stick Bay

On to Indian Bay the next day, a short two-hour trip allowing time for resting, swimming, and playing once we got anchored.  There were 12 other boats anchored with us on a Saturday but it was a large bay and no risk of swinging into one another. We dinghied through a tiny channel between rocks out to the open water and saw perhaps our most beautiful day’s end of the GB.  I didn’t have my phone as it was too risky riding in the dinghy and climbing rocks with an un-backed-up device so no visual report.

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Picture credit goes to a Looper with a drone.  Posted to the AGLCA FB page from an unknown anchorage in the Georgian Bay

The following day we up-anchored early heading to Henry’s Fish Restaurant and Marina, a not-to-miss establishment and indeed we found the fish to be delicious and the people kind.  Captain Jim had been silently questioning the battery capacity/charge/etc. so instead of anchoring a fifth night in a row we decided to stay plugged-in getting those pesky batteries all filled up.  We have a portable generator for just in case but determining if there was an issue was more the point so we stayed the night learning much about running a popular restaurant from a small island.  By morning all was good so on we went to Kilcoursie Bay.

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Seaplanes, boats and wave runners the popular modes of transport.

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Sunset at Henry’s

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Sunrise over the Namaste at Henry’s

Kilcoursie bay is surrounded a Provincial Park with more activity on a Sunday than we had seen in a while.  We had front and center seats to a women’s kayaking class that lasted the better part of two days and we experienced some of the best hiking of the trip along beaches, in forests and on top of huge rock formations sculpted by glaciers.  Still a little nervous about the battery issue and with high winds predicted we ducked into the Killbear Marina for a night where the fun began.

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Captain Jim doesn’t look too nervous here.

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Hiking the trails

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We were napping in the aft cabin on a Monday afternoon with a fan cooling the air around us when, all of a sudden, the fan stopped.  Jumping up, we learned that our section of the dock had lost power but no big deal as that was a marina problem.  Well, when everyone else’s power returned and Nancy continued baking her Key Lime Pie which was perhaps the source of the original problem, we had nothing.  Had we blown the entire electrical system on the Namaste too?  Our not frequent but scary touch with, would this be the end of our Loop?   After much chin scratching and problem-solving conversation, Walt, the marina manager and master technician came aboard and took over.  The responsible culprit was a $70 battery switch which he had in stock and which was likely the source of our charging problems of the last few days.  Whenever such things happen we see is $$$$ but this time we celebrated with California Lady by dressing up with clean t-shirts and enjoying a surprisingly delicious dinner at the upstairs marina restaurant.

Next up we headed to Hopewell Bay but the 30 mph wind gusts and open water helped us decide to cut short and stay in Regatta Bay instead, perhaps one of my favorite anchorages of the trip.  With California Lady we were the only two boats in the bay until late when a sailboat joined us.  A highlight of this stay was observing an adolescent/middle school group of boys on a kayac/camping trip from a few hundred yards.  We could hear their voices and music off in the distance gently reminding us of our grandchildren and our own youth.  In fact, grandson Lee is currently experiencing such a trip north of Sudbury, Ontario with his 8th grade Steiner School class.  We explored the bays around us in Mike’s (California Lady) “hard” dinghy coming upon the boat JADIP (Just Another Day in Paradise) with whom we had managed many of the Trent-Severn locks.  Anchored off by themselves we learned that it was a sad day as one of their two geriatric Bishons, Biscuit, had fallen and was injured on top of her already several chronic illnesses.  They had made arrangements to backtrack to Killbear Marina where they would meet a vet and lay their beloved Biscuit to rest the following morning.  We left them to share their final day together commenting that she would come to her end in one of the most beautiful places on earth . . . and so it was.

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Two of seven kayaks of Middle school boys in Regatta Bay.

Dinghy riding with Mike and Nancy

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Best Loon picture so far

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Dinghying and climbing

Latrine in Regatta Bay for campers and hikers I’m guessing.  We saw neither.

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The pirates.  Mike got a haircut and Jim a beardcut today!

Since we were in need of provisions and a pump-out we happily found Byng Inlet and Wright’s Marina in Britt Ontario, regrouping with Melody in Sea and several other Loopers.  Surprise of surprises they offered a great internet connection so I got the last blog posted and paid bills but intentionally decided not to look at the news.  Britt was a small community sporting a two-story cement block building that housed the grocery store, hardware store, gas station, restaurant and where we ate possibly the worst pizza ever but enjoyed a glass of wine and wonderful conversation.  A most special dock-tale event occurred one evening with spontaneous entertainment by Jim on Steelaway who is currently a Looper but a Sea-Tow Captain in his real life.  Sea-Tow is a marine towing/rescue/salvage operation similar to Boat US in Michigan. His stories ranged from the fascinating to the terrifying to the hilarious with most of us experiencing considerable relief that it wasn’t me he was talking about!  Although in the end there was a general consensus that each story could have happened to any one of us on any given day.

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Sea Tow dock-tale stories

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Changing of the Coast Guard at the Byng Inlet Light

We perused the coast up to the Bad River.  Now there is nothing bad about the Bad River except that the channels are narrow and the shores rocky but that has been our cruising life since we entered the Georgian Bay.  Of these 30,000 islands, many are submerged and dictate that you maintain your course through the center of the green and red markers, allowing for not a moment’s distraction.  We decided to put the anchor down early to explore the Bad River by dinghy plus climbing and were thus treated to perhaps the most unique examples of geography and geology yet.  Until now we had experienced spotty Verizon phone coverage, some 3G, and almost no LTE data availability but for this 48 hours the upper left corner of my iphone 7 said No Service and it felt good!

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Great example of the rock navigation hazards in GB

Our final day in the Georgian Bay began by retracing our wake back out of the Bad River and ended in Killarney through the awe inspiring, fiord-like Collins Inlet, a 20 mile passage as we began our trek to the west across the top of Lake Huron into the North Channel.  Local reports suggested that we not miss this passage and I can say nothing better than a quote from Captain Jim, “I feel like I am living in a National Geographic Magazine.”  The grey, pink, and white granite cliffs were something of a fairy tale.

Photos below are of the Collins Inlet – no commentary needed.

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As the Collins Inlet widened back into the GB we scooted along with glassy, open seas into the Killarney Channel and what we consider to be our “home-waters”. We have boated here on and off since the mid 1980’s with Ron and Marilyn Steiner on Connectivity and our own Fuji ketch, the original and sadly missed, NAMASTE.  Killarney was a more than welcome sight and the beginning of reflection.  Stay tuned.

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Kayakers dwarfed by the scenery

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Lighthouse welcoming us to Killarney, the North Channel and home waters.

Good boat name:  Dues Paid

Bad boat name:  Sotally Tober

Happy birthday to: Sally and Brooke

Happy anniversary to:  Mike and Nancy (29) and Curt and Brooke (9)

Quote of the day:  “The one who plants trees, knowing that he or she will never sit in their shade, has at least stated to understand the meaning of Life.”  Rabindranath Tagore

Rest in peace: Pretty Biscuit

CHUTE INTO THE GEORGIAN BAY AND GREAT LAKES WATERS

August 8-14, 2019

August 8 & 9 – Remain in Bobcaygeon – Lock #32 because of wind

August 10 – Bobcaygeon to Rosedale Lock #35 (19 miles & 3 locks)

August 11 – Rosedale Lock to Talbot Lock #38 (21 miles & 3 locks)

August 12 – Talbot Lock to Orillia City Marina (21 miles & 4 locks)

August 13 – Orillia to the Big Chute (33 miles & 2 locks)

August 14 – Big Chute to Hockey Stick Bay, GB (25 miles, THE BIG CHUTE and 1 lock)

Miles traveled this Blog: 119 miles

Total Miles Traveled: 6696

This blog entry covers the final third of the Trent Severn Waterway (TSW), locks #32 through #45 and while we have gotten miles and locks better at this, it remains an effort with lots of unknowns and potential for missteps and mishaps. It was vital to maintain focus!

See that focus!

After two days on the wall in Bobcaygeon because of wind and rain, shopping and a park concert, we set off early for Fenelon Falls.  The lock wall there had power and it would be exciting to get everything charged up again.  Upon approach, however, we quickly assessed the crowd, busyness of the place, and then the fact that within seconds a small 12′ fishing boat had taken up the middle of a 100’ section of  “our” wall.  The wind was blowing, the channel exit narrow, and absolutely no way to turn around.  Chaos reigned momentarily until Captain Jim backed the Namaste enough to turn left into the channel and exit under a notched cut in an abandonded railroad bridge and we were outta there.  Now whenever I cannot remember where something happened, it happened in Fenelon Falls.

We proceeded several miles to the next lock of Rosedale with a quiet little park and as peaceful an afternoon and night as we have spent.  We walked over five miles  enjoying the late summer wildflowers, a few cozy cottages and conversations  with some local folks.

One of so many beautiful hikes.

The following day we faced three locks, one of which was Kirkfield and similar in style to Peterborough with the large tubs that gravity transitions up and down with the help of 1300 tons of water. The difference was that it was newer and reinforced with steel girders instead of cement so it didn’t look quite as intimidating and after all we had already done one of these.  Piece of cake!

Kirkfield Lock – same tub operation but without the fancy structure of Peterborough.

Guess who in the Kirkfield Lock

View out of the tub on our way down the Kirkfield Lock.  Picture compliments of Jenny Lynn who had the front seat view.

It became a windy Sunday afternoon of narrow, shallow, busy and rocky channels so not much fun, particularly with approaching recreational vessels going way too fast for Looper liking.

Narrow

Rocky and Shallow

Busy!   Please, please don’t let there be boats coming the other way!

We celebrated the day’s end with a pot luck in the Talbot Park including reindeer sausage  (don’t tell the children) served compliments of our new and interesting Alaskan friends on Summer Lynn.

Not to worry, I got this!

After an uneventful crossing of Lake Simcoe, we arrived at the Orillia City Marina where we used their free laundry and provisioned for the next couple of weeks we will spend in some of the most remote places on the Loop.

Just after Lake Simcoe was the town of Orillia and a welcome stop with the delightful surprise of one of the finest parks in Ontario.  I just love to say the name:  Lake Couchiching

Now about the Big Chute!  I know, I know, there has been much emphasis on lifts and locks but since we have traversed over 100 since we left home in May, they do deserve respectful attention.  Since our life is as one-day-at-a-time as you get, we hadn’t attended to the upcoming lift until we got there.  Well, it quickly became another highlight, engineering wonder and perhaps favorite.  As recommended, we spent a night tied to their dock watching the process and eating breakfast at a their tiny marina restaurant to assuage our anxiety until it was our turn to move to the blue line ready to go through.  The pictures say it all but in a nutshell, instead of creating a regular lock lifting the boat with water from one level to another like everywhere else, this site is to “chute” us onto a huge railroad car, hang us from slings out of the water, take us up, over and down a hill on tracks and then chute us back into the water some 58’ below.   Happily, I can report that it went as smoothly as taking the train from Ann Arbor to Chicago only a lot faster.

Summer Lynn entering  the Big Chute

. . .Namaste going up to the top of the hill

. . . cresting the hill

. . .starting down

  . . .and sliding back into the water!  Whew!

In the disappointment category, we missed seeing Brian’s family cottage which we have heard about for more than 20 years.  We had the address and knew which day we should pass by but when google maps told me it was 13 miles away I figured we had about two hours at 7 mph.  Well, of course that was driving distance, not waterway route and we went flying by.  None the less, this section was the most beautiful of the TSW and probably of the trip so far.  I will include several pictures but not the one I wish we had taken of Brian’s cottage.

Ooops, oh shoot we missed it completely!

 

Just two of many beautiful homes along the TSW

Had to include this picture of the wall of our very last lock and yes, I did wear gloves!

We left the Big Chute and headed a couple of miles to lock #45 at Port Severn.  When the final lock doors opened (and not easily I might add but that is another story) we immediately emerged into the open waters of Georgian Bay with hoots and hollers of celebration.

Into wide open water and no more locks!

The Trent-Severn (241 miles and 45 locks) was a huge accomplishment. We are proud and happy that we did it but also are not sad that it is done.  A warm shout out to the Canadian Park Service for their time, efforts and patience in providing a wonderful boating experience.

Good boat name:  License to Chill

Bad boat name:  Phat Girl (again, probably has meaning to someone)

Happy Birthday to: Mike, Carrie

Congratulations to: Camps Lookout and Carvella for a wonderful summer, now closed for the season.  Where has summer gone?

Lexi for a successful engineering internship and return to MSU as a junior.

Happy new home to:  Rena and Linda – we will miss you!!

Rest in peace: Margaret

PETERBOROUGH LIFT LOCK AND THE COTTAGE COUNTRY OF KAWARTHA LAKES, ONTARIO

August 2 – 7, 2019

(Readers, please feel free to skip this paragraph as it is more for our records than of interest to you!)

August 2 – TSW Lock 12 Campbellford to Rice Lake Anchorage (33 miles & 5 locks)

August 3 – Rice Lake to Peterborough City Marina (24 miles & 1 lock)

August 5 – Peterborough Marina to Lock 22 at Nassau Mills (5 miles & 3 locks)

August 6 – Lock 22 to Lock 26 at Lakefield (5 miles & 4 locks)

August 7 – Lock 26 to Lock 31 at Buckhorn (22 miles & 3 locks)

August 8 – Lock 31 Buckhorn to Lock 32 at Bobcaygeon (18 miles & 0 locks but weather)

Miles traveled this blog: 107

Total Miles Traveled:  6567

After three days at Campbellford celebrating and preparing, we ventured into more locking challenges.  On the waterways before the Trent Severn (TSW) we had been alone in the locks or with Melody but now the traffic picked up and locking became a three but most often four boat adventure.  Thus, more difficult and time-consuming waiting for space, getting everyone in, secured and back out again safely.  Captain skill levels vary considerably!

On our first night out of Campbellford we anchored in Rice Lake.  It was a gorgeous day and the forecasts were all good so we pulled up to a beautiful spot within First Nation territory, dropped anchor and had a refreshing swim, tasty dinner, quiet evening and energizing cup of morning coffee onboard.

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Sunset complete with fire tower watching over the islands.

S8eVbd%kR86FduKPEupsugMelody, in first light.

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See the ripple (center) caused by a little fish in the stillness.

3KbogiG5TJOeqIKBGnSnHQJfi05a6nTbeJtrSI0Gi+wQDaybreak, 8/3/19

The 45 locks on the TSW are really only 42 because some locks are “missing” or were decommissioned years ago.  However, I mainly want to highlight the Peterborough Lift Lock, the most spectacular so far.  We arrived a day ahead of our planned lift in order to take a tour of the lock and understand how it works, what to expect and what will be expected of us going through.   The Parks Canada people were more than accommodating to the 12 Loopers.

478reWdTSPurUzr3el0JOwApproach to Peterborough Lift Lock – only slightly intimidating!

ShFtrUGtSryqcSYVsjp8KQPeterborough Lift Lock looking up.

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Peterborough Lift Lock looking down.

yigcR1XDTEK10pcAFojUhgThe shaft that carries on tubs – looking at ground level.  There is an 85′ hold in the ground that the shaft descends and raises with each lift for each tub.

IMG_1867On tour under the lift learning more than I ever cared to know about physics!

IMG_4400Jim and Dan conversing with the Lift Lock Master and tour guide.  What a great teacher!

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Lucky Julie (Pilgrim) was selected to work the lock for a complete lift including p.a. announcements for the crowds.  Go Julie Go!

IMG_4399Our tour group including Misty, Encore, JADIP, Pilgrim, Melody and Namaste!

Briefly, the famous Peterborough Lift Lock was completed in 1904 at a cost of $500,000 and was an engineering marvel of the time (look for it on YouTube).  The mechanism basically consists of two tubs side-by-side, each weighing 1300 tons when filled.  One tub is always up and the other is always down balancing one another.  Boats (1-6/tub depending upon size) enter the lower tub and others enter the higher tub at the upper level.  When it is time to transition or lower one and raise the other, an extra foot of water (130 tons) is released into the upper tub allowing it to push down 65’ and raise the lower tub 65’ to the top level taking only 90 seconds.  The tubs are then fastened into place and that extra foot of water is released from what is now the lower tub.  The gates open and everyone goes happily on their way.  Actually, this type of lift is in some ways easier to manage because there is no water turbulence involved for the boaters.   An important take away was that the simplicity of design has withstood the test of time.  Any attempts to upgrade it with newer technology have ended in disappointment.

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This picture is a little confusing but taken by me as we were lifting and the other tub (center bottom) was lowering.  Note the rounded grate access door and the orange life ring.

Then it was full speed ahead to complete the many locks, tying-up overnight to the rural, pristine adjacent parks with no power or facilities but an abundance of peace and quiet.  Two consecutive nights we slept to the tune of muffled but roaring waterfalls.  Have I mentioned the Loons?  We have seen and heard several but they are difficult to photograph as they prefer to dive.  However, two have responded to Jim’s Loon whistle by rearing, puffing their white chests, and spreading their wings in acknowledgement of their reputation and beauty.  Next to the Blue Heron, my favorite bird of the trip!

8gQu1X%jSXO2ZyRwa6zOXgMy best Loon photo so far!

At last the pressure of continuous locks has subsided and we find ourselves in the middle of Ontario Cottage Country, northwest of Toronto – spectacular and clearly the highlight of the Trent-Severn Waterway.  There aren’t words so I will let the photos speak for themselves.

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Today our plan had been to get to Fenelon Falls but we bailed below the Bobcaygeon Lock due to the weather forecast of thunderstorms and high winds.  We grabbed a coveted, free wall with power deciding to spend the day and night.  There seems to be good shopping here too!   At first it looked like the weather might pass over but we are currently sitting in one of the heaviest downpours we have seen all summer accompanied by lightening, low visibility and high winds.  Whew, dodged that bullet. Captain Jim, thanks for the right call!  Since the winds tomorrow are predicted in the 20-33 range we will probably stay another day.

d0BvM4G9SCyjdaPXEeENVQNamaste at rest in Bobcaygeon

DDx3r4lTS9yr9eMByTEBOQIf there aren’t flowers it isn’t Canada!

Good Boat Name:  Sun Burn (on a sailboat with red canvass)

Bad Boat Name:  Cirrhosis of the River

Quote of the Day:  “We cannot force someone to hear a message they are not ready to receive, but we must never underestimate the power of planting a seed.”  _the Mankind Project

Happy Birthday to:  Joe, Judy, Libby, Kirsten,

Congratulations to:  Author Mike on his new book, Grind.  We are so very proud of you!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

. . .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

 

Let’s Redo the Rideau

July 14 – Dows Lake to Hurst’s Marina (19 miles and 7 locks)

July 15 – Hurst’s Marina to Merrickville (23 miles and 7 locks)

July 17 – Merrickville to Smith Falls (15 miles and 5 locks)

July 18 – Smith Falls to Newboro Lock (17 miles and 6+2 locks)

July 20  — Newboro to Morton Bay ( 19+6 miles and 7 locks)

July 21 — Morton Bay to Upper Brewers Lock (11 miles and 0 locks)

July 22 — Upper Brewers lock to Kingston (17 miles and 7 locks)

Miles Traveled this Blog:  121

Total Miles Traveled: 6355

As indicated by the title above, we loved traveling the Rideau (pronounce Redo)!  The entire trip from Waterford to Kingston through Champlain, Montreal, Ottawa, and the Rideau is considered a side-trip of the regular Loop route which goes from Waterford through the Erie Canal and to Kingston. This Northern Triangle Loop was a section of the route that we had anticipated as our 2015 boat buddies, Ron and Vicki on Sea to See talked about it often and fondly.  It lived up to every expectation – difficult but beautiful, remote but friendly, cold when they were there in June, 2015 but hot, hot for us in July, 2019!

p1UTsW6NS6mg40s3EvjlEAOne of the many picturesque scenes along the Rideau and yes, we had to go through that narrow passage!

 We left Dows Lake on a quiet, beautiful Monday morning with clean laundry, full water tanks, empty holding tank and cupboards & fridge full — ready to traverse the Rideau Canal.  This is yet another Canadian historic canal site operated by the Canadian Parks System the route of which (Ottawa to Kingston) has been in use since the beginning of recorded history.  During the war of 1812 Kingston (at the SE end of the canal on Lake Ontario) was an important British Naval Base and because of the hostilities between England the Americans, the British became concerned about the supply route between Kingston and Quebec and thus, the Rideau Canal was constructed.  Along the way, fortifications were built to defend the waterway against America and remnants can still be seen.  The canal was never used militarily but did support successful commerce until railroad transport became available.  Small towns and villages sprang up along the banks and particularly at the locks.  Today the Rideau is a pleasure craft highway but has maintained the rural nature and historic manual operation of 170 years ago.  It is a national treasure!  The route is 126 miles with 49 locks depending on how you count them but that is another story.

wBnV7KFjQPeENoM+hUlopwRemember these?  Christ Craft of the 1950’s.

wZezqYDARlqfk5mmhRHMjwJonathan Livingston Seagull allowing our safe passage!

TfbujRbNTaKUXkzr6qruewRements of a Shoal Tower – One of the types of fortification along the Rideau

After miles of gorgeous scenery, beautiful homes and quaint cottages, our first stop was Hurst Marina because it had a pool and the heat was blistering 90+ after 9 pm.  We swam for several hours getting our body temperatures down while the plugged-in Namaste was generating cool air for sleeping.  The only time we can run air conditioning is when we are plugged in at a dock through a big yellow cord.  This is becoming important!

3sicutCtQCCALEY22JP3wgCaptain Jim swimming in the pool.  I cannot explain how refreshing it felt that day.

Next stop was Merrickville and perhaps the most interesting of our stops along the Rideau.  It is a darling little town with a blockhouse museum and park right at the lock.  Shopping was high-end with lots of cute, unusual and yet unnecessary stuff.  I so wanted to bring home a 10’ metal giraffe sculpture but Jim said I would have to sleep with him.  Shopping and a pedicure melted away the recent stressful and hot 7 lock days.  After solving some non-urgent medical issues in the group we shared a lovely dinner and ice cream with Dan and Jenny Lynn!  We even made an early run to Nana B’s bakery for her famous butter tarts the morning we left.

s+x2vX7cQ%KDKlewidlVdAHeading to dinner in Merrickville across the lock from the Namaste.

YKHDCZqFQuK6IEfhMohzCgNanna B makes great butter tarts and beautiful flowers!

Smith Falls lock and a larger but less quaint town welcomed us.  Most importantly we encountered our first close-up Loon and Swan in route.  The Falls were lovely but even better was the Smith Falls “beach” on a 90+ degree evening.  The beach was really a laddered cement wall in a clean water basin offering us the first real lake swimming of the season.  We stayed afloat on our noodles as the raft accommodated the towns young teens:  running, jumping, screaming and splashing until almost dark — just like the old days on any lake in Michigan.

VHrQjs%5Q%yp6d0v%UzVPQOur nightly goal was to stay up long enough to hear the Loons

CUI3wqDjSs663Iq5f3SbwgSammy says “hi” but when no food appeared the Swan hissed at her and moved on.

A few more bridges and locks and we arrived at the Newboro Lock.  As you can see by our mileage above, our daily progress was slow with between 5 and 7 locks to manage with intense heat and a growing collection of boats with whom we traveled.  The more boats in a lock the longer it takes.  The more boats in the waterway the longer the waits.  We spent two nights here because we had power, thus air for  better cooking and sleeping.  We swam off this dock in the lake at the end of the lock.

+CGf4CbuTkysyKhJuDYwywPeaceful and some of the best swimming so far.  Water temps were 80 degrees F.

OgaX0ENKRs6odfGey+oIvwA homemade vessel on a three week holiday.  The captain wants to do the Loop but wife says, not on this boat!!!

Morton Bay was by far the highlight of the Rideau as far as serenity and beauty.  We arrived Saturday afternoon to lots of boats in the anchorage and everyone playing in the water.  After two attempts we got the anchor to hold, put on our suits and joined the fun.  By 8 pm all local boats were gone except Melody and Namaste as severe thunderstorm warnings had been posted.  We were concerned but felt save in our totally protected anchorage with high stone cliffs around us.  The storms never materialized and we heard Loons and saw a far off lightening show late into the evening.  The following morning was likely one of the longest and most peaceful cups of coffee we have shared in our 53 years together.  Even a little skinny dipping (no pictures)!

OrigylkQRIuF34yaG9hceAOne of the highlights of anchoring:  Sammy to shore at least 3X a day.

ndl59UloR%GlInDLR%ysZgDoes it get any more lovely than this!

GpTKmMNbTTSXut5VtD50cQAnother issue are the weeds that sometimes come up with the anchor.  It was as big and heavy as a Christmas tree but a few whacks with the machete knife and they fell away.

The following day was a short 11 miles and no locks to Upper Brewers Bay where we secured above another lock on a powered dock.  Funny story here!  The lock master asked us to move the Namaste up the dock so that a 44’ houseboat could pull into the space behind us.  Fair enough until we learned that he was having engine trouble and could only move forward at high rpms – too fast for docking. About ten men including the staff helped him out of the lock, turned 180 degrees around and cozied up to the dock behind us without hitting anything, including us.  Hear applause!  Carburetor class then ensued on a picnic table with master engineer Dan Girvan teaching the specifics of unclogging the idle and low speed carburetor jets.  Success – again, hear applause and a very grateful houseboat owner!

EZMb7f8iRGysHCxRsZHnnQAhhhhh, fresh water lake swimming!

The next morning we were first into the lock with three larger-than-us boats destined to travel together for the day.  After squeezing into 7 locks with only inches to spare on each end and between boats, a nerve weary group pulled out of the Rideau and into the St. Lawrence Seaway, waited 40 minutes for a 2’ above the water swing bridge to open and scurried for the Confederation Basin in Kingston, Ontario.  We will stay here three nights to regroup, provision, do the laundry, change the oil and manage some sight-seeing of this lovely city which hosts Queens University and three colleges.  It has finally cooled down and we love having the boat windows open and sight-seeing in the cool fresh air.

TIqfNk9sR8iSqr+zbmOKiwYet another unusual bridge as we head into Kingston.  Note the three small sailing school vessels ahead.

ESeEAdfuSnqQ%YlG9XuV7AGuess where we are?

ipKe1GFxTAKf+QYrmfthFwNobody has a prettier waterfront park than Kingston, Ontario.

Good Boat Name:  Soul Purpose

Bad Boat Name:  Sooper Pooper (now really – did I say we weren’t seeing bad names?)

Quote of the Day: fullsizeoutput_10039

Happy Birthday to:  Dawn, Lynn

Happy Baby Felix at 4 months:IMG_3896Caption:  Of course I want to go boating with Grandma and Grandpa!

Happy Super Starter Lookout Campers:IMG_3997 Nate & Leonie (lost a front tooth the first official day of camp).