Port Of Orillia Marina, Orillia, Ontario to South Bay Cove Marina, Honey Harbour Ontario– July 8, 2013

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.

Sunset Cove Marina, Bolsover, Ontario to Port Of Orillia Marina, Orillia, Ontario – July 5, 2013

There was a swing bridge about 1/2 mile before the lock today and it is operated by the Lock operators.  We were waiting at 5 minutes to 9 so we could get a quick start.  I had talked to several people at the marina and they suggested that the way the locks were being operated this year the trip to Lake Simco could take 4 hours.  There are 5 locks and the total distance is slightly less than 5 miles.

They opened the swing bridge at 9:10 and we went on to the lock.  The people at the 1st lock stayed with the three boats until the 3rd lock and there was a new set of lock operators for the last 2 locks.  We had another swing bridge after the 5th lock, just before the lake.  The bridge opened just as we approached.  We were pretty lucky as we were entering Lake Simco at 11:10 and the lake was absolutely flat.  The wind that there was light and variable.

The weather today was overcast and it started to rain just as we were pulling the lines at Sunset Cove Marina.  The rain was never really heavy but it was on and off until after we were docked in Orillia.  It cleared in the late afternoon and we had a warm sunny end to the day.

The 18 mile trip across Lake Simco was fairly uneventful.  Lake Simco is separated from Lake Couchiching by a river called the Narrows.  There are several marinas in that area and lots of boats in their slips.  I am glad it was early Friday and raining so the boat traffic was pretty light.

Lake Couchiching is long, narrow and fairly shallow at about 9′.  Lots of boat traffic considering the rain.  We had been advise to watch the area closely and stay in the channel because of known shallow area near the Narrow in Lake Couchiching.

The Port Of Orillia Marina is about 2 miles off the Trent-Severn Waterway route.  We have been to this marina probably 4 previous times in our vacations in the Georgian Bay.  The Marina had replaced their docks last winter and added slips and put in all new electrical and water to the slips.

We did see Off Leash (catamaran from Connecticut) docked in the marina and had an opportunity to talk to them later in the day.  Candy like Orillia because of the large park along the shoreline.  There are plenty of dogs being walked from local residents as well as the boaters. We have pictures of the marina and the park.  With the weather the way it was we were lax in getting photos along the way today or was it 5 locks in 5 miles in the rain.

We are here in Orillia for the weekend and Monday we will travel the last 4 locks, including the Marina Railway, to the Georgian Bay.  We are going to South Bay Cave Marina in Honey Harbor.  I always felt South Bay Cove was the finest marina on the Great Lakes and it still is right at the top after we have seen all the marinas we stayed at during this trip. I hope it has not changed.

Rosedale Marina, Fenelon Falls Ontario to Sunset Cove Marina, Bolsover, Ontario – July 4, 2013

We did not get an early start this morning but our start was accelerated by the fact they needed to use the gas dock.  The other boat that was on the dock with us left about 20 minutes before us. Apparently when the locks open at 9:00 the gas dock gets busy right away after the first lock-thru.

I looked at the genny water intake strainer again and could tell that the intake pipe was full of weed. I pulled out what I could reach and then tried to get the hose connection off the strainer but that did not happen.  The marina has a service yard so I asked for some help and they came down to the boat and the gentleman was able to get the hose off and fished out a lot of weed.  The genny sounded great when it was started.

We did not have a great distance to travel today.  I thought we could stay at or near the Kirkfield Lock.  Kirkfield is another of the hydraulic locks where there is one basin for up and the other for down.  They just add an extra 1’ of water to the upper tub and that is enough to push the lower lock up as the upper one descends.  There is limited tie up space at the lock and no marinas close by.  After looking what we could do the next marina was Sunset Cove Marina in Bolsover just before the Bolsover Lock.

The Trent Canal was really something today.  As we entered from Balsam Lake there was a sign that boats 40’ and over should issue a security notice on the radio.  A little unusual, but readily apparent why once we got into it.  This section was about 3 miles long and not much wider than the boat. The certainly was not enough room to even get a small fishing boat past us.  The boat that was following us stayed at the start of the canal for a short period of time but then came in.  It did widen out somewhat as we neared Mitchell Lake but after Mitchell Lake it narrowed for s short distance and then
got a little wider.  It is a good thing because we had some boat traffic coming from the Kirkfield Lock.

The Kirkfield Lock was really something.  It is the highest point on the Trent-Severn
Waterway so we entered the lock and would go down.  Entering the basin was pretty strange because the other end of the basin from the entrance is only about 2’ above the water and you look out over the tops of the trees. The drop at Kirkfield is approximately 48’ so it is a long way down.  This is really hard to capture in pictures. It was also interesting to note that the waterway on the upside goes over a road because you can see the traffic on the lower side so it is really an aqueduct.

We crossed Canal Lake which was created when the Trent-Severn dams went in.  A well marked channel and the guides all tell you not to stray from the channel.  As you cross the lake you pass under a bridge which is called “Hole-In-The-Wall”.  See the photos and it is obvious why.

We arrived at Sunset Cove Marina and it is a really nice small marina that is family run.  It is a good stopping point coming up from Lake Simco and we all set for tomorrow with
an early start to go to Lake Simco.  The Marina is dog friendly as the owner has two dogs that have free run of the marina grounds keeping the geese off and the chipmunks at bay. Candy was mildly interested but after a while the other dogs wanted to get back to their daily routine.

One interesting thing that took place while we were at Sunset Cove Marina, I was at the table near the marina office when the Bolsover Lock let out 5 boats southbound.  This
section of the canal has a 10 kilometers per hour (6.2 mph) speed limit.  The first boat thru was going a lot faster and the marina owner’s wife yelled to the captain to slow down.  When he did not, the owner yelled and then the marina worker really yelled.  So what did the boat captain do, he yelled back and kept on going. He never slowed down.  It is a good thing he did not need a slip for the night.

We did see an older couple come into the marina late in the afternoon.  They were travelling on a pontoon boat that was completely enclosed in canvas and screens.  The pontoon was probably a 22’ or so in length and was rigged for shore power so they had some 120 volt conveniences on board.  Quite a site and very unusual.

One real nice benefit of the shorter lock hours is the peace and quiet at night after the locks close.

Young’s Point Lock to Rosedale Marina, Fenelon Falls Ontario – July 3, 2013

Pretty quiet morning today as we were the only boat at the Young’s Point Lock.  It was a peaceful night and there was no noise from the cottagers.

The fishermen at the dam start real early.  There were 2 at the dam when Candy and I ame out for the morning walk and that grew to 5 by the time we got back to the boat.  I saw them land some sunfish yesterday.

Lot of lake travel today and the lock traffic is starting to pick-up.  We have not had to  wait at a lock because the one was already full of boats but that may come. All different sizes of boats in the locks, from the 16’ runabout to the 60’+ motor yacht.

Quite a few of the locks were not to much of a lift today, a couple of 6’, an 8’ and two 4’.  We are starting to get near the summit of the Trent Severn and then we will start down
into the Georgian Bay.

The scenery has changed from the marshy grasslands to the Canadian Shield (Niagara Escarpment).  The rocks are now everywhere and it is even more important to follow the channel and stay between the red and green markers.

We did have a problem with the chartplotter today.  A few miles after we got started  the charts ran out which usually just means changing the map overlay to a new area. Well I spent some time on this without any success.  The best a could get was a rectilinear layout of the lakes and rivers on a land background with no features or annotations.  I was back to navigating by paper charts.

We had planned on staying at Fenelon Falls at the lock wall because the Village had put in power to try and attrack more boaters.  Well a free thing will always attract a crowd and there was no room on the wall when we got there at 2:00.  I think all the spots had been taken for several hour already.

I called the Fenelon Falls Marina but the only thing he could do for a boat our size was to put us on the outside of the outer wall and there would be no power.  Well that was
not going to work.  We were having some problems with the generator and I did not want to take a chance.  The generator did not appear to be pumping the normal amount of water and it sounded a little louder.  I emptied the cooling water strainer which was full of weed but that did not appear to help much.

Anyway I called the Rosedale Marina, approximately 6 miles from the Fenelon Falls Lock and they could put us on the gas dock for the night but they asked us to arrive at 6:00 when they were closing so they could use the gas dock during the day.  We went on across Cameron Lake and thru the Rosedale Lock and tied up at the upper lock
wall to wait before going the last ½ mile.  The lock area was a very scenic spot with a nice park setting, just no power.

We had traveled with a boat named Ookpik, which means snow owl.  The gentleman and his wife had completed the Loop several years ago and we chatted a little bit.  They pulled in behind us at the lock wall and we had great conversation for the time we were there.

We arrived at the marina a little before 6:00 and there was a 46’ SeaRay tied to the gas dock. I called the marina and they said there was room behind them so I brought the boat in behind them and it was a tight fit but we were tied up for the night.  The 46’ SeaRay was down bound and they were out of Owen Sound on the Georgian Bay.

I decided to look at the generator in the morning because the engine room was way to hot to go in to do any serious work.

Peterborough Marina, Peterborough Ontario to Young’s Point Lock– July 2, 2013

Canada Day in Peterborough was quite something.  They started by setting up small booths in the park and billed it as a multicultural event.  ½ of the booths were food from various nations, Thai, Russia, Poland, Jamaica, Caribbean, India, Canada, and
Mexico.  There were several from a couple of the nations.  You got a chance to try
a small portion of a lot of different foods and the food was good.  Lenore was not keen on the spices.

They had a Canada Day parade on the main street out in front of the park.  Lots of floats, marching bands and rock bands on moving trailers.

They had a concert in the park at the band shell from about 8:00 to 10:00 as a warm-up to the fireworks display that was about ½ hour long.  Unfortunately it started to rain
right near the end of the fireworks, not hard, but enough to send some of the
crowd home.

Most of the day there probably was several thousand people in the park taking in the festivities. It really was something to see.  Most of them wearing Canadian flags.

We also attended a Looper’s Docktails on the dock last night.  The Harbor Hosts for AGLCA in Peterborough put on the Docktails which included munchies and a barbeque.  There were only 2 Loopers in the Marina.  Under normal circumstance there might be as many as 10.  The Erie Canal has been closed due to flooding and damage for the last 2 to 3 weeks and they are predicting another 2 weeks right now.  Don and Freya were great hosts.  They used to own a resort on the lakes along the Trent/Severn so they are really good.  Lots of good talk and stories swapped.

This morning was cool and cloudy with the forecast for possible rain, 30%, throughout the day. We left Peterborough at 8:40 to give us time to get to the first lock and be there when they opened at 9:00. The 2nd lock was the Peterborough hydraulic lift lock.  The two basins are identical in size and they are filled with the same amount of water.
The boats displace their weight in water so the 2 basins weigh the same.  They add an extra 1 foot of water to the upper basin and it is enough to lower it and raise the other basin.  There is no turbulence and it was quick and quiet.

There was no boat traffic today.  We traveled alone north and we passed 3 boats going south.  Everyone must have been hung over from Canada Day.

We did a total of 7 locks today and decided to take a break at the Young’s Point Lock.  It is just before Clear Lake so we went to the upper side of the lock to tie up.  That will allow us to get an earlier start tomorrow because we have 8 miles before the next lock.  Nice cottage area with a canal side gift shop with an ice cream counter.   About a block down the road was the local General Store but I did not go in as we really were not in a pinch for anything.

Tomorrow we will travel until we find a nice place to stop.  There are several possible
stops.  We will see how well we do with the locks.