The waterways have been busy this past week, many Canadians are vacationing and there are lots of us Loopers in the area, which makes finding space at the “free” walls a bit of a challenge. Well not exactly free, but less expensive than marinas on the East Coast of the US, for sure. We purchased a pass from Parks Canada which allows us to go through locks and tie to walls near locks and in towns at no cost, and if you’re lucky enough to get a spot with power (or hydro as they call it here) you pay just $9.80 Canadian for the night. It has been VERY hot and humid here, though I hear it’s not as hot as it as at home, so I wasn’t very happy when we didn’t get spots with power a few nights this week. We do have a generator that we can use to power the A/C but you can’t leave it running all night – it’s noisy and the CO2 would be dangerous, so I am more than happy to say that we’ve been in a marina plugged into power since Thursday. It’s amazing how luxurious it feels after sweating all week on the walls! I guess it was only three nights that we were roughing it – but they were long nights!
We stopped in the towns of Bobcaygeon, Fenelon Falls, Thorah; these are all small towns in the province of Ontario, if you’ve never heard of them don’t feel bad – neither have we! We are nowm. in Orillia, which is a big town with lots to do. Over the weekend there have been as many as 15 looper boats here, our friend Susan organized a big docktails event on Friday night and we got to meet some more new Loopers. There was a Scottish festival complete with a parade of bagpipers and we went to a great Farmers Market yesterday morning. I had a little retail therapy yesterday while Danny did some trouble shooting on our A/C units……fingers crossed he’s figured it out! It’s been such a good spot that we decided to stay an extra day!
A few days ago we reached 840 feet above sea level, the highest point of the Trent Severn Waterway. That means that in the remainder of the locks our boat will go down, vs. up as we did for the first 35 locks. We have traveled through 41 locks so far since leaving the town of Trent! We have 4 more to go before reaching the Georgian Bay. On Thursday we went down on the Kirkfield Lift Lock; in this lock the structure or “basket” you’re in isn’t enclosed and you’re suspended nearly 5 stories in the air before it moves down. Our boat wasn’t right up front (and I’m glad), I’m told that the view from there can be pretty scary if you’re afraid of heights! I’m not necessarily afraid of heights, then again I’ve never been in a boat 5 stories high over a river…..until now! This trip just keeps bringing more and more “firsts”!
This part of the journey also brought us through some VERY NARROW waterways, our guidebook describes these areas as “those narrow rock cuts all cruisers dread”. I did. For about the past three weeks I’ve been reading about the area, and then started getting texts and photos from Loopers ahead of us that pretty much said (paraphrasing here) “Oh My God you’re too wide you’re never going to make it”. I would calmly (hahahahahahaha) relay that information to Danny who would patiently (hahahahaha oh my God I’m killing myself here) say “we’ll be fine”. We were. So far, so good – there are more narrow and shallow parts to come, but we made it through the spot that everyone kept warning us about. Phew.
While we’ve been at the marina for a few days we’ve taken the opportunity for some boat and self maintenance! I had a mani/pedi, Danny had a haircut and we did some cleaning; Danny spends hours cleaning dead bugs and dirt from the rivers and locks off of the boat, only have to do it all over again a few days later. It looks nice while it lasts! We also grocery shopped, or “provisioned” as they call it in boating life and I caught up on laundry. Laundry is a bit of a challenge, I miss having my own washer and dryer. Sometimes it takes hours to do a few loads because there’s only one washer and dryer for a big marina. You also have to make sure you have plenty of quarters – or loonies ($1 coins) here in Canada. When you’re living on a boat, you still have to take care of all of that day to day “stuff”.
Tomorrow morning we’ll head out for the last section of the Trent-Severn before getting to Georgian Bay. Three more locks to go including the Big Chute and the skinniest one yet ! Hopefully my next update will have good news and photos for those as well. Fingers crossed…..it’s getting tricky!
Thanks as always for following along our journey with us. Sending hugs.
Captain Dan & Cruise Director Jodi