The day started with rain. It was not a hard rain but Candy went out in the rain. It stopped about an hour later just before we started the preparations to leave. The sky was overcast and the visibility was maybe 2 miles.
Conditions started to improve when we were about 1/2 way across Lake Couchiching. The sun started to peak out when we arrived at the first lock for the day. There were 3 other boats there but as it turned out they were moored for the night and they did not go thru the lock. That was fine with me because generally once you are in a pack of boats you stay together for the locks.
There are only 4 locks today for us to be in the Georgian Bay. The second lock was the Swift Rapids Lock that drops us 47′. There was one other boat there and it was Ookpik. We had first seen them at the Fenelon Falls Lock. They were only going to Big Chute today and they would moor on the lock wall because they had some visitors coming to see them.
The Trent-Sever north of Swift Raids is really cut thru the Canadian Shield rock. We took some pictures of this. The water level is still pretty high in this section of the system. One of the lock operators told us Lake Simco and Lake Couchiching are high ad it takes a long time to drain them thru the Trent. Lot of narrow channels in this section especially Macdonald’s Cut (see picture). This was hand dug around 1907.
We arrive at the Big Chute Lock which is the Marine Railroad. This is one of the real highlights of the Trent-Severn. When we drive in we go over slings that the lock operator then firms up to hold the boat in position. The railway car is really a bottom and two sides with both ends open. We were the only boat in this transit. After we were in position the car comes up out of the water and crosses a road that has railroad gates and bells to stop the cars. We crossed a level section and then started down the side of the hill. We went up probably 5′ and then dropped 62′ They list the drop as 57′. The neat thing is the car stays level throughout the transit and is pulled by cables. We took lots of good pictures.
The last section of the Trent is really cut out of the rock and meanders thru small bays, cuts and lakes to the Severn Lock. We had to wait so I went up to the lockmaster and asked about the channels after the lock to get out into the Georgian Bay. I had asked numerous people and had heard both channels were bad. The lockmaster said to stay in the channel and take it easy. He said he has had boats arrive at the lock from both of the channels without having problems.
We exited the lock and the current was swift and the channel markers were very close together so only one boat could be in the channel at a time. I had decided to take the Potato Island Channel because it was shorter to Honey Harbor. The charts are good and the markers are all numbered and where the charts show them. We took it slow and had no problems. Once in the small craft route the channel is not quite as foreboding. There are several areas where you cannot pass a boat in the channel but those areas are not very long.
We finally arrived at South Bay Cove Marina after 8 hours on the water. It was nice to be greeted by the harbormaster with “Welcome back Mr. Ancypa, its been awhile”. Lenore and I think this is one of the nicest marinas on the Great Lakes. With all the marinas we have seen this year, I would still consider it the top marina we have ever visited.