Champ III: Going Places

The adventure starts here.

Fraser Park Marina, Trenton Ontario to Old Mill Park, Campbellford Ontario — June 24, 2013

There was an old car show in Trenton on Sunday evening.  It was nice to see a lot of the old cars and some were works in progress.  Not a huge show but nice just the same.  There was probably 24 or so cars at the show and it was only a block from the marina.

The winds were pretty still this morning.  We are going to start the Trent-Severn Waterway today.  A total of 44 Locks, 240+ miles to the Georgian Bay.  Seems funny to say the Georgian Bay because we have spent so much time cruising there in the past that in some ways it feels we will be home, but there is still a distance to go.

2 other boats from the marina left for the 9:00 lock opening with us this morning.  The Canadian Government tried to triple the fees this year for the Historic Canals and needless to say there was an uproar among the people along the Canals and the couple of tour boat operators.  They decided to rethink the fees with some increase next year but they shortened the hours.  In the past the locks were open in the summer from 7:00 am to 8:00 pm and now they are open from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm. They also cut back staffing significantly.  Some of the operators take care of 3 locks and drive between them while the boats motor along.

We decided to see how far we could go today.  Some people said to figure 20 minutes per lock and the speed limit between locks in most places is 10 kph (6.2 mph).  Ontario has also experienced a lot of rain recently and the canal system is draining.  We experienced anywhere from 2 to 3 mph of current in many places on the canal and there is a lot of overflow at the dams.

The 3 boats from Fraser Park Marina locked thru Lock 1 and the lock master told us there was a sailboat that would join us for the 2nd lock.  The sailboat had arrived at Lock one last night when they were ready to close and they gave him a choice of the railroad noise at Lock 1 or the 401 Highway noise at Lock 2 and he chose Lock 2.  Each of the locks has a wall above and below the lock where you can tie up for the night.  Only 2 of the locks in the system have power available and that was because the local town/village put it in to attract boaters to stop for the night. You can tie up for 2 days and a few of the locks will allow a 5 day stay.

We stayed together as a 4 boat flotilla until just after lock 7 when one of the boats had an alarm going off.  He anchored so he could check it out but told us to go on.  The sailboat stayed with him but the trawler and Champ III went on.  It was close but we were able to make Ranny Falls, Locks 11 & 12, before they closed for the end of the day.  We only traveled about 33 miles but we did 12 locks and the heat was on with temps that must have been in the mid to high 80’s. There was a good breeze in most locks until they closed the doors.  We had rain for about 20 minutes to 1/2 hour and wouldn’t you know it started during a locking operation.

Most of the locks are about 18′ of lift but the Ranny Falls twin locks lift you a total of 38′.  At Ranny Falls you drive out of Lock 11 right into Lock 12.

You can tell along the waterway that there is high water with all the greenery right down to the waters edge and not a lot of bank height at the cottages along the shore.  We kept our speed down for the most part with a little higher speed on some of the more open parts of the waterway.

The first six locks are probably a total travel of 5 miles and 8, 9, 10 and 11-12 are probably 1.5 miles between each of the locks. The cottages are in the areas where there is distance between the locks.  Lots of smaller recreational boats for this area.  Campbellford is a larger town in this area so it affords more options for docking and eating and sightseeing. It is nice travelling during the week with most of these boats tied to shore.

We are staying at the Old Mill Park in Campbellford.  It is run by the Chamber of Commerce.  It is a park setting across the canal from the main part of town.  There is a band shell and a nice area for walking Candy. There is a drug store and food store just across the street from the park and I was able to find a pizzeria that delivered last night.