I usually update once a week, but yesterday was such an eventful day that I thought I’d write a “special edition” of Done Diggin’ Diaries! We completed the Trent Severn Waterway portion of the Great Loop and entered the Georgian Bay. Since starting the Trent Severn on July 3rd, we’ve traveled through 45 locks which brought us up to more than 840 feet above sea level then back down. We cruised through gorgeous lakes and very narrow river ways and saw quaint little towns and met lots of nice people. We “oohed and ahhhd” at some unique and interesting homes built into the ledges along the way and loved seeing people swimming and enjoying summertime, but the big deal for me was that yesterday we went through Locks 44 and 45 – the ones I was most nervous about.
Lock 44 is called the Big Chute. It is literally a railway that takes your boat out of the water, across a street and over a lawn, then down a steep hill and into the bay. AMAZING!!! You stay on the boat while this is happening, and though it takes only about 7 minutes, it is truly a boating experience of a lifetime. I remember Danny showing me a video of it a couple of years ago when we (ok he) was planning this trip; it seemed so far away and too make believe – and now – we’ve done it! When we got to the lock we tied up and walked around for a while to watch other boats go through and we talked with the lockmasters about our boat so they could plan how we’d fit. After a while we looked at each other and said ‘OK, let’s do it”. It was a bit of a thrill and I’m not gonna lie – there were some awkward victory dance moves on the bow of the boat when we finished. Guess which one of us was dancing………
Once out of the Chute I could focus my worry on Lock 45 – the last one before dumping out into the bay and the most narrow one on the waterway. More than one boater told us we couldn’t fit because of our beam. Danny kept reminding me that he’d done the research and we’d be “fine”. God, I hate how much he uses that word – “FINE”! All of the literature and a phone call to the lock assured us that the lock was 23’ wide and we’re 21’ wide, so the “math” worked. But that meant Captain Dan had to carefully maneuver in between the unforgiving cement walls and hold the boat while I grabbed a cable and tied a line to secure it to the wall on the bow, and then he had to run down and hold the stern line. OK, we’ve done that over 70 times by now (Erie Canal has 23 locks and Oswego has 8), but never in such tight quarters. The lockmasters who operate the locks are incredibly knowledgeable and encouraging and it actually seemed like they were pretty excited to put a boat of our size through the lock. I’m relieved and happy to say that it went beautifully; although we only had about a foot and a half to spare, we fit and got in and out successfully. Weeks of worry about that are over. Phew!!
So now we are in the Georgian Bay, a beautiful and huge body of water with challenges and opportunity unlike others we’ve had so far. Tonight we’ll attend a briefing that the marina manager offers to outline some routes and some anchorages. We hope to be going out “on the hook” often over this next part of the trip which means swimming and kayaking and dinghy rides with our Looper buddies. Life is good, we are blessed.
Thanks for following along with us,
“Getting better all the time Captain Dan” and “Getting a little less nervous all the time Cruise Director Jodi”