Cruising on Island Time

America's Great Loop here we come

Baie Fine to Drummond Island

Posted on September 28, 2018

Mon / Tues, Sept 17 – 18. Baie Fine. Departed Killarney and headed to anchorage known as “The Pool” in Baie Fine (pronounced Bay Fin). It’s about a 10 mile stretch from the entrance to Baie Fine to the area known as “The Pool”. On the way in you pass by beautiful high rock cliffs (fjords) of the La Cloche mountains. The anchorage on a summer weekend is very popular and we were told by a local cottager that he has seen as many as 40 to 50 boats anchored there. Fortunately for us there was only one other boat there when we arrived.

After our wonderful fresh grilled Pike dinner (topped with butter, garlic and lemon), Bob took the dinghy over to check out the area and stopped to talk to Wayne and nephew Chris that own one of the only 3 cottages in the area. The Evinrude family owns one of the other two cottages and apparently won a lawsuit against the Crown when the government wanted to take over their property in this area that is now a Provincial Park. While Bob was sitting with them on their porch, they spotted a moose and beaver swimming across the bay.

On Tuesday morning, we took the dinghy over to the dock at the base of the trail to do the 30 minute hike up to Topaz Lake. Normally it takes 30 minutes and its pretty steep but we missed the turn to Topaz and kept going on another trail. 30 minutes turned out to be 90 minutes on a fairly rugged trail. When we came back up the trail and turned to what we thought might be the right trail, Bob decided to mark it with his hat to make sure we were coming back the correct way. Fortunately we found the hat and our way back.

Wayne had given us tips in the event we came across a bear such as “don’t run; dinner runs” and “stand tall, make noise, make eye contact, etc.” Well since we are a couple of Florida crackers with no bear experience, we were quite anxious on our hike so we played music the whole time to let the bears know we were coming! The lake was a beautiful topaz green and the return trip only took 30 minutes. Stopped in to chat with Wayne and Chris on return then spent the day relaxing. While we were on the trail, another boat came into the anchorage and we were invited over to Gary & Karen’s trawler “Slo M Ocean” after dinner. They had another couple with them and we all chatted away for a couple of hours. The dinghy ride back to boat was pitch black.

 

Wed / Fri, Sept 19-21. Spyder Bay Marina, Little Current. Weighed anchor in the morning and headed to Little Current. Gary & Karen on “Slo M Ocean” keep their boat in Little Current so we decided to follow them to their marina. The weather forecast was calling for up to 56 mph wind gusts & rain in the next few days so we decided to hunker down at the marina until it blew over. Wednesday evening, Bob and I dinghied over to the town docks and walked the main street stopping at Anchor Inn for dinner. On Thursday, Gary & Karen invited us to a First Nations event just outside of town on the reservation. Here is Canada, what we refer to as our Native Americans, they are referred to as First Nations. The event was intended to show off the traditional culture of several First Nations tribes in the area. We then drove to Gore Bay for pizza and visited Lookout Point and Glenn Veil Falls. (photos)

On Friday, we caught up with all the mundane maintenance stuff and then Karen drove me into town to the grocery and LCBO. By now it was getting windy and by 4:30 it was gusting bad. The marina’s floating docks were not holding up very well and the ramp to our dock had moved significantly and we feared that the ramp to our dock would give-way so we offloaded our laptop, tablets, passports, and some personal items, adult beverages (of course) and headed to the Captain’s Lounge by the marina office. A backhoe was brought in to secure the dock & ramp we were on with line and chains. Originally I wanted to stay on boat to protect it but then realized that we would not be able to do anything in this wind so we opted for safety. This wind seemed worse than some of the hurricanes we have been through. Scary! 5 of us had our own hurricane party in the lounge then drove to town for dinner. It was cold and blowing really hard. So glad we weren’t anchored out somewhere by ourselves.

 

Sat, Sept 22. Meldrum Bay. We were originally going to anchor out a few more nights before heading to Drummond Island but the weather this time of year is unpredictable. The wind direction can change hourly and come from all directions; unlike in Florida, where it may change after a day or two. So we bypassed a couple of anchorages and went to Meldrum Bay Marina and our last stop in Canada. Tried reaching the marina earlier in day via telephone and left message. Tried hailing them on the VHF when we arrived and no response so we just docked at one of the empty slips as the marina was virtually empty except for a few local boats. We heard that the restaurant at the Inn was excellent and called about a reservation but the owner’s said they close for the season September 15th. The owner felt really bad about being out of town as they probably would have accommodated us in some fashion so we will just have to go back upon our return next spring. We had a quiet night to ourselves but were rewarded with seeing two foxes, two beavers and a couple of loons. Later in the evening, two of the community leaders came by to chat and agreed to meet us in the morning so we could pay our dock fee.

 

Sun, Sept 23. Drummond Island, MI. Back in the USA! After two wonderful months in Canada, we departed the docks at 9:00am for the 35 mile trek to DI. Our weather apps were reporting light winds from the north but once we got into the bay, it was bumpy and getting worse. The Canadian Coast Guard put out a broadcast that strong winds were reported in Lake Superior, Lake Huron and Georgian Bay and we experienced it. We were getting tossed around quite a bit so ended up heading to the southside of Drummond which would be the lee side of the island. This route would add another two hours but it would more comfortable cruising. A Canadian Coast Guard Cutter was patrolling the border between Cockburn Island (CA) and Drummond Island (US) and we were delighted to have them for company in the rough seas. As we made our turn to the U.S. Bob hailed them on the VHF and thanked them for the escort.

The winds were blowing pretty hard (and cold!) by the time we arrived at Drummond Island Yacht Haven so the dockmaster directed us to the fuel dock which would be easier for docking. It was a long stressful day getting here but we are now where we will leave the boat until next Spring. We used our new Roam app to check in with US Customs and had a video chat with them and were given our clearance. There are certain items, such as citrus, produce and lamb, that you aren’t allowed to bring back (or into) the U.S. which they question you about but other than that it is a fairly simple process. Because it was cold and windy, we opted to stay in even though the marina offered a courtesy car to drive into town or a restaurant. Low tonight will be 46 degrees.

 

Mon/ Thur, Sept 24 -27. Drummond Island.  Monday we finalized the deal on our new Ford Explorer that we are buying here in Michigan to drive home. Since we have been car less since starting this trip, we decided that it would be a better option for us to buy a car here since we needed to offload quite a bit of stuff from the boat. Now its time to pack our belongings, and prepare the boats for storage until our return in May 2019.

On Tuesday, we were dropped off in Petoskey (2 hours away) at the Ford dealership where we picked up our new car. On drive back, we drove through the “Tunnel of Trees” which is a beautiful and famous 20 mile drive along the coast of Lake Huron. Caught the Drummond Island ferry which runs almost 24 hours per day year round. Yes, even in the ice.

On Wednesday, we packed and loaded up the boat ALL day. In the late afternoon, we were invited to join Dan & Nancy for dinner at the local restaurant. I asked what restaurant and they said there was only one in town! Dan & Nancy own a 74′ Hatteras motor yacht and will be storing here for the winter as well. They have spent most of their summers in Georgian Bay, North Channel & Lake Michigan and just rave about it. They live outside Chicago. Had a fabulous time with them at dinner and hope to see them when they come down to the Fort Lauderdale Boat Show. We also got a chance to see quite a few deer on the way to and from the restaurant.

On Thursday morning, the travel lift hauled “Island Time” out of the water and we sadly said goodbye to our Tiara and dinghy as we won’t see them for 7 1/2 months. It will be strange not to have a boat at the house but hopefully we will keep busy with other things. So this will be our last blog posting until we resume next year. We will enjoy a road trip on the way home visiting friends and family. So thanks for being part of our trip and for all of you that offered supportive comments. It’s been a wonderful journey and we look forward to taking you with us next year!

 

Parry Sound to Kilarney

Posted on September 17, 2018

Mon/ Tue, Sep 10 -11. Parry Sound / Kilcoursie Bay. As predicted, Monday was rainy, windy and cold. We took taxi up to grocery store and then hung out at boat most of day. Went back up to Boston’s Pizza to watch Monday night football. Didn’t want to walk to far in the rain the cold. On Tuesday morning, we took the dinghy over to the seaplane docks and went for our tour. Normally, the tour is 35 minutes from dock to dock but since it was the first flight of day, the plane needed extra time warming up so we were 48 minutes. While it was still overcast, it was a beautiful flight over the region and a very different perspective from the air. We flew over the areas we would be transiting and over the areas we had already been by. One cottage had a tennis court and a pool and believe the owners are American according to pilot. I got to sit in the co-pilot seat and enjoyed talking to our pilot Alex. After our flight, Bob and I walked into town for breakfast at Orr’s Meats & Deli. The famous hockey player, Bobby Orr, is from this area and the deli is owned or was owned by an uncle in the Orr family. There is also a Bobby Orr museum right next to the marina.

Once we got back to the boat around 11:30, we departed for an anchorage off of Kilbear Provincial Park in Kilcoursie Bay with a stop across the bay for fuel & a pumpout. While there weren’t any other boats at our anchorage, there were lots of RV campers all along the shore and many of them were out paddle boarding, canoeing, kayaking, swimming, etc. Bob and I stayed bundled up on the boat as it was still chilly out there. Enjoyed a quiet (and dark) evening under the stars and watching the glow from all the campfires on shore.

 

 

Wed, Sept 12. Hopewell Bay / Wright’s Marine, Britt, Ont. Weighed anchor in the morning and headed to another quiet bay called Hopewell Bay. Again, no one around and we were enjoying our solitude when we realized we had an issue with our holding tank that required our being in a marina. (will spare you the details). There aren’t a lot of marinas in these parts and our options were to back track 15 miles or continue forward for 25 miles. It was already 3:30 in the afternoon and our concern was getting to the marina before dark. You do not want to be underway in the dark while dodging gigantic granite boulders everywhere. In addition, the wind was up in the afternoon and we had to cross an open expanse of water so it was bumpy, making 90 degree turns, and stay in the marked channel. The markers were not easy to see in the late afternoon sun. But we made it to the marina at 7:00pm and even though the marina was closed, we had 3 people come out to assist us (resolved our holding tank issue) and get us into a slip. It was a very stressful afternoon which called for some strong Cosmos for Bob and I. Munched on some cheese and crackers and called it a night.

Thu, Sept 13. The Bustards. In the morning, we went for a dinghy ride to buy a few needed groceries then headed out. The topography from here on really starts to change as you head towards the North Channel. Whereas Georgian Bay is populated by granite islands and lots of trees & cottages, the North Channel is a lot more barren with these gigantic granite boulders everywhere that look like whales in the water (not very many trees) . One must keep total focus & vigilance and STAY in the marked channel or end up shipwrecked on a rock. There were lots of hair pin 90 degree turns and narrow channels. Arrived safely at our anchorage in The Bustards and were immediately greeted by our favorite Loons. The Bustards is a collective group of islands and we picked one of the coves that had been written up in Active Captain. Thought we had the place to ourselves but late in the day a sailboat made its way in but anchored a good ways from us. Very few cottages in the area so the anchorage was pitch black at night. Grilled some pork chops with roasted Brussel sprouts and watched our Loon friends come near.

 

 

Fri, Sept 14. Bad River. Chose another anchorage that was supposed to be pretty cool due to the “rapids” you can ride in your dinghy. We arrived and went to explore the rapids. There was a bit of strong current racing through the narrow shallow cut but “rapids”? No. We kept exploring thinking we would come to actual rapids but guess that was it. Again, we are the only boat anchored here but did see a couple of boats zip by to go through the rapids and a few boats fishing. The area is supposed to be a great place to catch Wall Eye (Pickerel). Unfortunately we didn’t bring any fishing gear or have the requisite license to fish. Sure would love to catch some pickerel and cook it up! We are hoping to find a fishing guide that will take us fishing.

Sat / Sun, Sept 15 -16. Kilarney Mountain Lodge. Wow, this place is picturesque. As soon as we arrived, decided that we would stay more than one night. Beautiful property with lodging, pool, sauna, restaurant and bar with great view, red Adirondack chairs on all the docks, picnic area, canoes & paddle boards for rent, short walk to general store and liquor store. Made reservations for dinner at 6:30 at the Lodge. Dinner did not disappoint. Bob decided to try their “game special” which was Elk and I had their rack of lamb. Delicious. I tasted the Elk and it was good and not too gamey. Met a nice couple from Stratford, Ontario (David & Laural) that were docked next to us and enjoyed talking to them.

Also called a fishing guide (Robert aka“Bungy”) and made arrangements to go out fishing on Sunday morning at 8:00am. Morning arrived and the fog was as thick as pea soup and we had to wait until 1:00pm before it cleared and off we went. What fun! Not only catching fish (Pike) but zipping around with Bungy’s local knowledge at fast speeds while dodging rocks. Bob and I both landed some fish and we missed a couple that got off right before boating them.  Our guide Bungy cleaned the fish and we brought it home to enjoy some of it tomorrow evening. Had to freeze some as it was quite a bit.

So ends our experience on Georgian Bay as we start the North Channel tomorrow. Another great week ends on our great adventure. Stay tuned!

 

 

Penetanguishene to Parry Sound

Posted on September 10, 2018

Mon / Tue, Sep 3 -4. Penetanguishene. Had a generator issue during the night so decided to head back over to one of the bigger towns across the bay to have it serviced. Got some referrals from our 5 boats friends and off we went. Pulled into Beacon Bay Marina for a night’s stay. Dinghied across the bay to the town dock of Penetanguishene (even tougher to say then spell) and had a bite at an okay place. In morning, we headed up the bay to Minty’s Marine where they would be checking out our generator. A couple of hours of work (impeller, belt and sensor) and we were on our way. Since it was later in the day, we opted to go back to our anchorage at McCabe’s Rock on Beausoleil so we could dinghy to the general store for a few provisions then head out early. Following the Labor Day weekend, the store was closed for 3 days so no luck in provisions. On a positive, there were hardly any boats near our anchorage. Enjoyed another visit from Mr. Beaver and hearing the wail of the Loons. If you have never heard the wail of the Loons, we encourage you to Google it. To hear the one mate calling “where are you?” and the other responding “I’m over here” is simply magnificent.

 

Wed, Sep 5. Beckwith Island. We discussed our many options for our next stop, and decided on Beckwith or Hope Island. Beckwith turned out to be the best option due to the protection from the winds. Beckwith Island is described as the Caribbean of Canada. Long sandy beach and crystal clear water. Late in the afternoon, we dinghied over to the beach and spent a couple of hours wading in the water. Pretty chilly but eventually you get used to it. The wind shifted during the night from NW to NNE and our anchorage was no longer protected. Bumpy and noisy most the night so sleeping was not ideal.

 

Thur, Sep 6. Starvation Bay. Decided to head out early to cross the 14 miles across the bay. Bumpy but not terrible and once we got close to shore, we had protection from land. Originally intended to anchor in a cove called Wani Bay but surprisingly it was full of boats. We didn’t expect this since the locals told us that now that it was after Labor Day we wouldn’t see many boats. So after consulting the charts, we found another (and better) anchorage all to ourselves and no cottages nearby. Enjoyed a relaxing day and night on the hook watching the Loons, an otter, and Osprey. Took a long dinghy ride up to see Henry’s Fish Restaurant, the San Souci Marina for some provisions and Twelve Mile Bay meandering between the granite islands. It’s been pretty chilly here at night with temps in the low 60’s so no need for air conditioning.

 

Fri / Sat, Sep 7 – 8. Henry’s Fish Restaurant – San Souci. Weighed anchor in morning and headed to Frying Pan Island (San Souci) to dock at the iconic Henry’s Fish Camp. The only way to get to Henry’s is either by boat or by seaplane (called float planes here). A favorite of not only locals and Loopers but also all sorts of visitors that book the Fly & Dine seaplane tour out of Parry Sound. The restaurant has new owners as of this past May, Ted & Rachel, and the locals state that the food is even better; they are known for their fish & chips (Pickerel). We arrived thinking we would have lunch but found that they wouldn’t be open until 4:00 pm. (after Labor Day they are only open on weekends). The restaurant has quite a few docks with power and although we were the first ones there, we had at least 6 boats staying the night for the two nights we were here. The docks filled up Saturday and Sunday with boats and seaplanes coming in for lunch and dinner. Our new friends, Indy and Nancy, informed us that they would be heading our way and staying Saturday night so we opted to stay another night. They brought along their good friends, Paul & Kathy, and we enjoyed a great afternoon and evening (bundled up in sweat shirts!). I don’t think the new owners were expecting so many guests after Labor Day and as a result ran out of quite a few menu items including their world famous Pickerel. We were fortunate to have had it Friday evening but we all had to settle for the Perch or Whitefish on Saturday evening which was still very good. Temp tonight high 40’s. Burrrr.

On a humorous note, behind one of the buildings we noted what appeared to be a dog or wolf skin drying out on a sawhorse (photo). It was creepy so we asked about it and were told that it is a coyote put there specifically to discourage the geese from landing in the yard. We also watched a snake swim by and actually try to board our boat at the swim platform and saw our first mink run by. The wildlife here is interesting.

 

Sun, Sep 9. Parry Sound. Since the weather was to turn windy and rainy, we opted to head to the Big Sound Marina in Parry Sound as opposed to anchoring out. We also were in need of provisions and this is a good stop. The marina is next to the seaplane docks so we have enjoyed watching them take off and land and have signed up to do the 30,000 island seaplane tour on Tuesday morning when the weather improves. Enjoyed a late lunch at Boston’s Pizza (not just pizza is their slogan) and walked over to the seaplane docks and chatted with the owner of Georgian Bay Air. They have a great little gift shop and we purchased an Inukshuk statute. We have been fascinated by these rock statutes on many of the islands we pass and even included a photo of one in our last post. Our friend, Sue Molnar, who is from this area was the one that informed us what these rock formations were called and their meaning. They are human made stone landmarks which were originally used for navigation markers, travel routes, fishing places, camps, etc. in the Arctic, Alaska, and Greenland. But they are very popular here in Canada as we see them everywhere so bought a memento for ourselves. The red headed boy in photo caught a 2′ Pike right off the lake wall.

 


Well, that wraps up another great week on our great adventure. Stayed tuned for details about our seaplane tour!

 

Lake Simcoe to Beausoleil Island

Posted on September 3, 2018

Sun, Aug 26th. Thorah Island Anchorage, Lake Simcoe. Departed early across Lake Cameron and only intended to transit 4 or 5 locks but we pushed on through 7 locks, 2 swing bridges and 31 miles and a really narrow canal called the Trent Canal. So narrow that if another boat our size was coming in the opposite direction, it would be problematic.

Along the way, we transited the Kirkfield Lift Lock which is a smaller version of the Peterborough Lift Lock but unlike Peterborough there is no town and no real place to stay. As it was windy and late in the day, we were going to stay at the bridge basin wall before entering Lake Simcoe but decided to head out to Thorah Island 3.5 miles out from the Trent Severn. Found a spot on the lee side of the island and dropped anchor. Enjoyed a quiet evening after a long hot day and jumped in the water for a swim. Woke up to find 2.5 billion bugs (as Dave Barry would say “I’m not making this up”) everywhere on the boat – the cockpit, transom, hardtop, headliner, seats, floors, etc. Took a long time to wash off the little buggers.

 


Mon, Aug 27th. Orillia. The winds shifted overnight and weather wasn’t looking promising so we weighed anchor early to cross the 12 miles at the north end of Lake Simcoe to rejoin the TS. Lake Simcoe is the 4th largest lake in Ontario and as such you need to watch your weather forecast. Luckily most of the crossing was with a following sea and it wasn’t too bad. Pulled into Bridgeport Marina in Orillia before lunch. Rain and thunderstorms were forecast for today so decided to do some housekeeping i.e. boat fueled, pumped out, boat washed, clothes washed, soup made. The marina was in a beautiful little spot on the TS with views of the marsh, swans, geese, and boats going by. No locks today. Yeah!

However, we were woken in the middle of the night by an emergency broadcast on our cells alerting us to a tornado warning in the immediate area. Lots of rain, wind, lightening, and incredible sounding thunder. Luckily, the storm passed without incident and we went back to sleep. Did I mention the thunder? A tornado was reported to have touched down close to where we were anchored the previous night. So lucky to have been tied up at Orillia.

 

Tues, Aug 28th. Big Chute. Off again early to make it to “The Big Chute” which would have us transiting 3 locks and 35 miles. What is the Big Chute you ask? Well, it is a one of a kind lock; the only lock of its kind in North America. Not a lock per se but a railway system. The original railway was built in 1914 as a “temporary” lock and the newer larger Chute built in 1978. Hard to describe the Big Chute so photos will help tell the story but instead of a lock where water raises or lowers you to the lake level, the railway carriage carries you over land to an elevation of 60’. The rail carriage is brought down to the water, you drive the boat unto a sling, the carriage is raised and your boat is completed “hauled” out of the water and carried up, over and down the hill and back into the water. 10 minutes. So before driving up to the blue line, we docked at the overnight piers and walked up to see what the Big Chute was all about. Fascinating. We weren’t sure if we would have to take our boat and dinghy separately but after discussing our situation with the lockmaster, he assured us that we could bring both boats in at the same time. Decided to “go for it” so retrieved the boats, headed to the blue line and got called in first. Locked through with two smaller boats and this definitely was the most unique experience in locking thus far. I was a bit uneasy watching from the helm as we were headed downhill so went to the back of the boat with Bob. After we were “splashed” we went right over to the floating dock to spend the night and continued to watch the action at the Big Chute.

During our Big Chute transit, one of the boats that transited with us took photos of our boat and later in the afternoon came by on a jet ski to get our contact information so he could send us the photos. Instant friends! Turns out he (Indy) had recently retired from the Toronto Police Force so of course Bob and Indy hit it right off. Not only that but every March he comes down to Pompano Beach for a week. We all chatted away for at least 2 hours and finally bid him good night. As forecasted, we had another night of thunderstorms and rain and were thankful to be tied to a dock versus being anchored out.

 


Wed, Aug 29th. Port Severn. Another overcast day with storms in the forecast so decided to travel to the lock wall at Port Severn, which is only 8 miles, as opposed to starting our new adventure on Georgian Bay. Port Severn is Lock 45 and the last lock on the Trent Severn Waterway if headed north or west. To date, we have transited 122 locks on our adventure!

Our new friend Indy, had emailed us the photos of our boat in the Big Chute and also offered to drive us to the grocery store once we got to Lock 45. We had a great day with Indy; lunch at the golf club, grocery, liquor store, beer store, parts store and then later he came back for docktails on our boat. While Indy lives outside of Toronto (about an hour’s drive) he keeps his boat at a marina in Port Severn and pretty much stays on it all summer. We hope to hook up with he and his family in March when they are in Pompano Beach.

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Thurs, Aug 30. Midland. Decided to cross over to Midland to check out the facilities at Bay Port Marina for heated storage. In the last couple of days, we started to discuss our Plan B option which is to leave the boat up north in inside and heated storage for the winter and return next spring to continue our great adventure. The reasoning behind this decision is that we are now in the prettiest part of the whole loop and don’t want to rush through here to make Chicago by the end of September. The Great Lakes can turn very nasty as fall and winter rolls in so Loopers are advised to be off the Lakes by then. A lot of the boaters up this way start putting their boats away after this Labor Day weekend. So with this in mind, we started checking into options for leaving our boat. Bay Port Marina is one of the largest we have seen on the trip and very nice. In the afternoon, we took the dinghy across the bay to town, walked around and went to two restaurants, Boathouse & Lilly’s, for drinks and appetizers.

After more discussion, we decided on leaving the boat at Drummond Island, MI which would give us a whole month to enjoy Georgian Bay and the North Channel and not have to return to Midland. Georgian Bay is called the 30,000 islands region and has so many islands and anchorages to explore and the North Channel is described as “breath taking”.

Fri, Aug 31. Beausoleil Island. Departed the marina early to begin our exploration of Georgian Bay and crossed the bay to Beausoleil Island to an anchorage in Chimney Bay however ended up at the McCabe’s Rock anchorage. Since it is also Labor Day here in Canada, a three day weekend and the last big boating weekend for the season, we were cautioned that it would be crowded at just about all the anchorages. Sure enough many of the bays were crowded with boats and many rafting off as many as 8 – 10 boats and for the whole weekend! We found a great little spot and went to explore via the dinghy. Beausoleil Island is owned by Parks Canada and as such there are quite a few bays that have floating docks to tie up to. There was a group of friends (5 boats) that were tied up at the docks and enjoying themselves on the picnic table on top of the rock. Photo attached. As we passed by and chatted with them, they invited us back to the bon fire later in the evening. Bob jokingly told them that we would check out the other camps and see if we got a better offer and off we went.

Turns out our friend Indy and his wife Nancy came by in their jet boat for a visit and offered to take us on a tour of the area and back bays. We all hopped in the jet boat and off we went for a thrilling 3 hour ride. Indy, whom I have nicknamed Mario Andretti, has been boating in this area for 30 years and took us to all the local favorite anchorages. We hit 45 – 50 mph at times and boat handled like a sports car whipping around curves, channel markers and boulders! It was a bit chilly today and more so at 50 mph. We had an absolute blast and learned much about the area from both of them. They dropped us off around 6pm and headed back to try to make Lock 45 before it closed at 6:30 (which they did make). We enjoyed a nice evening with a Cosmo and grilled lamb chops.

 

Sat, Sep 1. Since the anchorages were crowded and we had a nice spot, we decided to stay put an extra night or two. We were encouraged to walk the trails on the island and so we took the dinghy over mid-morning to the docks where the 5 boats were docked. They joked that since we didn’t come for the Bon Fire, we weren’t invited for breakfast as they were all sitting down to a big camp fire breakfast. We sat and chatted with them on the picnic table and they invited us to join them to walk the trails. The escort sounded good to us as we didn’t want to get lost and so off we went after their breakfast. Bob and I had never really been on a hike like this before and it was challenging at times. Up and down big granite boulders, paths with many rocks and avoiding the poison ivy. Thankfully they pointed out the poison ivy but we stayed away from anything green to be sure. Bob and I opted to do the 1.5 hour hike as opposed to the 2.5 hour hike around Fairy Lake. Richard was kind enough to lead us back so we wouldn’t get lost. The only exercising or walking we have been doing on our adventure is the walking to marina offices, restaurants and towns and we could really feel it in our legs. In the last week, it has been down to low 50’s – 60’s at night so the water has cooled off as well. Even so, we jumped in the water once back at the boat to cool off. I was in and out quick but there were lots of people swimming around us. Grilled steaks and we enjoyed the beauty and activity around us including a nightly appearance by a beaver and listening to the beautiful call of the loons.

 

Sun, Sep 2. Bob’s Birthday! Still anchored at McCabe’s Rock, I invited Bob to a birthday lunch at the Top of the Cove restaurant at South Bay Cove Marina. Sat outside over looking the marina and enjoyed a delicious lunch. My pickerel (walleye in the US) was fantastic and Bob’s very good as well. We then dinghied over to the general store on Picnic Island and had birthday ice cream. In the afternoon, we hopped in the dinghy again and went touring through Little Dog River and back through Big Dog River. Later, the 5 friends at the Park docks invited us to “rocktails” where we sat at the picnic table perched high on the granite rock overlocking the bay. Had a great time and also a visit from the Park Warden and OPP (Ontario Provincial Police) as they were checking to see if everyone had their mooring passes or had paid the overnight dockage. The 5 boats were a bit concerned since in Canada you aren’t allowed to drink alcohol or have an open container on government owned land. They would have to consume their alcohol on their boats to be legal. But the warden and the police seemed more interested in checking everyone’s mooring passes and we were all fine. The other funny thing we learned that it is common for Canadians to change out the horse power stickers on their outboard engines to a lower number so that their kids can drive the dinghies. A 12 year old cannot drive anything over a 9.9 hp engine and a 16 year old cannot drive anything over a 30 hp engine. So there are also of 9.9 & 30 hp engines out there that are really 15 & 40 hp. By the way, one of the wardens spent a lot of time in Fort Lauderdale and Bimini so we talked about places we all knew.

 


Well, that wraps up another great week on our great adventure so, stay tuned!

Healy Falls to Fenelon Falls

Posted on August 25, 2018

Wed, Aug 15. Departed Healy Falls headed to the marina in the town of Hastings. Only 1 lock and 15 miles but we aren’t in a hurry. We are on Island Time. Not much to Hastings but we did dinghy over to the BBQ place across the river, walked about the town, crossed over the dam where a local let me fish. I have been dying to fish but we didn’t bring any of our fishing gear along since you would need a separate license to fish in every state and country. And certainly not worth getting caught. Had a couple of good bites but didn’t land one in the few minutes that I took over his rod and reel. Passed a deer coming down for a drink and some kids jumping from the bridge.

 


Thur, Aug 16. Destination Peterborough Marina where the boat would be for 6 days while I flew home to surprise my mom and celebrate her 91st birthday. Wanted to leave Bob in a decent size city where he would have plenty to do while I was gone. Peterborough is the home of the biggest lift lock in the world (another World Heritage Site). From Hastings, it would be 38 miles and 1 lock to transit but it was slow going as there were many idle speed zones. Did not arrive into our slip until about 3pm and Enterprise was picking us up at 4pm for our car rental. Since we had the car and I would not get to see much of Peterborough, we drove over to see the famous Lift Lock and it did not disappoint. We wanted to see it prior to transiting it the following Wednesday and walked up the steep stairs and chatted with the lockmaster about the lock. Included are photos of the lock and also some interesting information about its construction and operation.

 


Fri – Tue, Aug 17-21. As I had an early flight out of Toronto, and we had been warned about the terrible traffic in Toronto, we left at 5am. Renting a car to take me to the airport was the best option to get to the airport and Bob was a real trooper to deposit and retrieve me as it was 2 hours one way. As Bob had the car for 24 hours each time, he made use of the car and ran errands and did some exploring. My mom was surprised when I walked in to my brother’s house Friday evening for dinner and we had a family birthday get together on Sunday at my house. Enjoyed being at the house, seeing family and friends and completing my at home “to do” list. Arrived back to the boat late didn’t land one in the few minutes that I took over his rod and reel Tuesday night.

 


Wed, Aug 22. Departed Peterborough Marina and headed to Lock 20 then on to Lock 21 – the famous Peterborough Lift Lock. We shared both locks with a Cruise Boat that takes passengers through the Locks so they can experience locking a normal lock and the lift lock. As we were right behind the Cruise Boat, we got to listen to the tour guide talking to all the passengers. The Lift Lock is very different from all the other locks we have been through. With most locks, you drive in, wrap a line around a cable (not tied off) and the water either raises you or lowers you in the lock. It can be turbulent at times so you have to hold on and sometimes use muscle to maintain position. The Lift Lock is like a large bathtub where you tie off and the whole tub or chamber moves up and down so no turbulence. The chamber lifted us up 65’. I kept thinking “Boy we would be in real trouble if that back gate were to give way and we dropped 65’ in the boat”. If you are scared of heights, its best not to look over the side. But we are still here so it was a successful lift and we had a chance to say hello to the lockmaster we had spoken to earlier in the week.

 

Our destination today would be the free wall at Lakefield (Lock 26). Only 10 miles but 7 Locks. While it was cooler today, it is still tiring doing so many locks in one day. Three of the locks were the most turbulent we had been in. Not sure if it was the recent rain but the lock was combative and the dams were putting out a lot of current. Lakefield was a quiet stop where we enjoyed chatting with other boaters and grilling out. In the morning, we walked into the small town and had some breakfast at the Nutty Bean. Great little breakfast before departing. The flowers up here in Canada are gorgeous. So colorful and so many different kinds.

 

Thur, Aug 23. Our original destination today was to be the town of Bobcaygeon which would be 5 locks and 37 miles. However, as it was taking longer than expected we decided to stop at the free wall in Buckhorn. NOT! The wall was packed and not an open space anywhere. We had heard that once we got into the Lakes Region, there would be a lot more local boat traffic and this was true. While we had enjoyed being the only boat in the locks until Peterborough, it was now not the case. As Bobcaygeon was another 18 miles away , it was windy and we were tired, we opted to find an anchorage and pulled out the charts and located one in the Gannon Narrows just before a bridge. The bridge embankment acted like a breakwater for current and wind so we enjoyed a wonderful evening at anchor. We got a chance to hear the wails of our favorite Loons.
Fri / Sat, Aug 24 – 25. Our destination today would be flexible based on whether we could find a space on a free wall or have to anchor out again. We were delighted to find space at Fenelon Falls so only transited 1 lock and 22 miles. Got tied up and headed for a late lunch at Murphy’s which was excellent. We shared the lamb meatballs and I had chicken curry. I had been craving Indian food (eclectic menu) so I indulged myself. Later we toured Lake Cameron via the dinghy and just relaxed on the boat. Fenelon Falls is a quaint town with many good restaurants, grocery, liquor store, etc.

As the weather was calling for afternoon thunderstorms, we opted to stay another night here which gives me time to catch up on the blog and other computer related work. Met the local AGLCA Harbor Host for Fenelon Falls & Bobcaygeon who owns a T shirt shop in Fenelon Falls. They also run the printing business where they print all their T shirts and service many local customers. Not sure about tomorrow’s adventure but this past week has been another great adventure. Stay tuned!

 

Port Trent to Ranney Falls

Posted on August 15, 2018

Wed – Fri, Aug 8-10. Arrived at the Trenton Port Marina just as the skies opened up and in the pouring rain. The dockhands were there to assist and we all were in our rain gear. The Trent Port Marina replaced an older marina and opened in 2016. Nicest marina we have been to since starting the Loop and probably in the top 3 ever. New floating docks, wide fairways, good signage that made finding the pier and slip easy, beautiful grounds with flowers, benches and art work, fabulous showers, great laundry room which was free including detergent, conveniently located with 5-10 minute walk to grocery, pharmacy, banks, liquor store, restaurants and not expensive. Ended up staying 3 nights here. Dick & Sandi on Amazing Grace came in Friday afternoon and we enjoyed another fun evening with them. A game of Mah Jongg for Sandi and I, chess for Bob & Dick followed by dinner out. We bid them farewell as we would be heading out in the morning and they would be staying a few more days.

Sat, Aug 11. Departed Trenton in the morning to start the Trent Severn Waterway. Destination the free wall at Frankford, Ontario which had us transiting 6 Locks but only about 8 miles. Since most of the locals or Canadians have already taken holiday, we were the only ones in all 6 Locks heading north. It was great having the whole lock to ourselves and chatting extensively with the lock personnel. We thanked them for giving us the concierge service of our own private locks. We did pass a few boats heading south but overall great day locking albeit hot.

We had been in communication with the Harbor Hosts of Trenton, Eric & Karen Martin, and found out they were on their way back from a week’s vacation to Peterborough and on the Trent Severn (TS) coming our way. They keep their 41’ Sea Ray in Trenton and said they would be in Frankford (our destination) and to let them know when we were close as they wanted to take photos of our boat locking through. They took great photos and a couple of videos and gave us a flash card with all the photos. The lock wall was very picturesque with large weeping willows and picnic tables. We enjoyed docktails with them on the picnic tables and they shared information with us about our upcoming portion of the TS. As Harbor Hosts, they also provide an information booklet about the town, services, and the TS to all Loopers checking into Trent Port Marina that was really helpful.

 

 

 

Sun, Aug 12. Departed Frankfort with plans to anchor out at the “Blue Hole”. Short day with only 1 Lock and 14 miles. Again we were the only ones in the Lock. Shortly after leaving, we got the thrill of watching a sea plane take off right behind us and came right next to us. How cool is having a sea plane in your back yard? Found our anchorage and enjoyed a relaxing afternoon. We get many, many compliments on our Tiara 38 Open up here. We really haven’t seen any similar styled boats on the trip and especially up here. Mostly cruising style boats like Sea Rays, pontoon boats, small outboard boats or larger motor yacht style boats. So everyone is constantly coming by to ask about our boat and today was no exception. A man and his son came by on their small speed boat and peppered us with questions so we invited them on for a tour. He owns about 7 boats himself and a couple of houses / cottages in the area but had never seen a Tiara. When he found out we were staying put for the night, he said he would be back with “the wife”. Sure enough, about 8:30pm, Rick, his wife Chandy and another couple came by and we entertained them until about 10:30 pm which is well past our bedtime and Looper midnight (9pm).

 

Mon, Aug 13. Prior to departing the Blue Hole, we took an early morning coffee cruise on our dinghy while the mist was still covering the water. Rick had told us about the eagle’s nest a couple hundred yards away and sure enough the nest and the eagle were there. No baby eagles spotted in the nest but there was another bird of prey close by and it may be a juvenile. Weighed anchor and headed to the town wall at Campbellford and transited 5 Locks (all by ourselves again). The docks are operated by the Chamber of Commerce and while it wasn’t free, it was very reasonable and included electric. Walking distance to grocery, liquor store, Doohers Bakery, restaurants all in a park like setting. Of course, we hit all of them. The park has a large sculpture of the Looney which is Canada’s $2 coin. Apparently the artist that created it was from Campbellford so it is proudly displayed here.

We were the first to arrive on the wall but it soon filled up with boats and we met the boaters in front and behind us. Ended up at dinner at Apollo’s with John & Oolie, a couple of friends that were delivering a 43’ Sea Ray to the Toronto area. Fun evening.

Tues, Aug 14. We had heard about the suspension bridge over Ranney Falls Gorge so took our coffees and went to explore by dinghy. Docked our dinghy by Lock 12, and walked over to the suspension bridge. Beautiful views of the falls and down river and a queasy walk over the bridge especially when looking down at the edge of the cliff and realizing how high up you were. Glad we made the effort. Again we were the only boat in the 5 locks we passed through. Docked at the free wall beyond Lock 17 and we were the only ones there all night. Took our dinghy and crossed over to the other side by the dam and walked down to Healy Falls. The lock master controls the dam and water in the falls so there wasn’t a lot of water in the falls but it was fun walking over them.

 

 

Another great week on our great adventure. Life is good!

Morton Bay to Port Trent

Posted on August 10, 2018

Wed, Aug 1. After another coffee cruise on the dinghy and revisiting with mamma and baby loon, our boats weighed anchor and prepared to depart Morton Bay. We were actually luckier this time and the weeds and mud on the anchor weren’t as bad. However, Amazing Grace had a huge ball of weed (had to be over 3’ in diameter) on theirs and Bob helped clear it off with our dinghy and we were on our way. Transited 4 locks together and stopped at the free wall at Lower Brewer’s Bay. Beautiful quiet spot with a giant weeping willow, small park, picnic tables and electric power. Not much at this stop other than a great little art studio with metal art, jewelry and walking path featuring all the owner’s metal sculptures. Sandi and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I would love to have some of the metal herons for my house but no room on the boat to take on anything else. Gorgeous stuff. Both boats did some grilling then gathered at the picnic table to enjoy the peaceful surroundings.

 


Thur/ Sun, Aug 2-5. Kingston. We transited our last locks on the Rideau Canal with the flight of 4 at Kingston Mills. Bob and I were not able to get into the Confederation Basin Marina where Dick & Sandi had reservations so opted for Kingston Marina. While not as lively or as nice as Confederation, Kingston Marina was also convenient to town with a 15 minute walk to Princess Street (where all the restaurants are located) and its quiet.

On Friday, the four of us rented a car and travelled to Watertown, NY as we all had errands to run. Watertown is about 65 miles from Kingston and you cross over the St. Lawrence Seaway with views of the 1000 Islands. There is a border check coming and going so we were prepared with our passports and the information on how much wine and spirits we could bring back duty free. Canada taxes alcohol and cigarettes heavily so we were only allowed to bring in either 2 bottles of wine or one bottle of liquor per person and we abided by the rules. Long day on the road as we left at 9am and returned to the boat at 6pm so Bob and I opted to dine aboard and call it a day.

Kingston is such a great city. On weekends in the summer, Confederation Park hosts free concerts and festivals and a Farmer’s Market in the square. Saturday morning, Bob and I walked up to the Farmer’s Market (with our new cart with wheels!) and loaded up with fresh fruits, veggies and other homemade goodies including real maple syrup. Then on way back we hit the grocery store for a badly needed re-provisioning. Later in afternoon, we took the trolley tour of Kingston which was interesting & informative. Afterwards, Bob and I walked around the shops for a bit then met up again with Dick & Sandi for dinner at Wooden Heads for salad and gourmet pizzas. There are so many great restaurants within a 10 minute walk that it makes choosing very difficult.

On Sunday morning, there was to be a triathlon starting and ending at Confederation Park with a 1 mile swim, 25 mile bike and 6.2 mile run. We got to see some of the leaders finishing their biking portion as we headed to ride the Trolley over to Fort Henry. Fort Henry was originally built (out of wood) to defend against the Americans in the War of 1812 and to defend the St. Lawrence Waterway & Rideau Canal. Later (1832) the fort was reconstructed in limestone. The property sits atop of a hill with beautiful views of the harbor, the Royal Military College (their West Point) and the City of Kingston. It is now operated by Parks Canada. The tours are given by college students that work there in the summers and dress in uniforms and dress of the 1800’s. We watched them fire off the cannons, had lunch at the Battery Bistro then hopped back on trolley and headed back into town.

 

Tue, Aug 7. Had originally planned to depart Kingston on Monday but the winds had kicked up and the forecast was calling for 3’ waves or more in Lake Ontario so we opted to stay another day. Spent a quiet day doing the necessary maintenance on the boat and catching up with “stuff”. Even though the weather was still iffy, Bob and I opted to head out and chance it. Lake O was a little bumpy (not bad) until we tucked behind Amherst Island and got protection from the southwest winds. From there is was smooth sailing and were headed to an anchorage between Port Trenton and Kingston. Found our little cove in Adolphustown and set the anchor. Our friends on Amazing Grace had planned to join us but ended up with a generator issue and had to continue on to a marina to have it serviced. We spent a quiet afternoon and evening enjoying nature, a swim, and being out of the marina. While we didn’t see any loons, there were a few swans in the cove.

 

Wed, Aug 8. Destination today would be Trenton Port Marina which is the gateway (from south) to the Trent Severn Waterway and our next adventure. Like the Rideau Canal, the Trent Severn is a waterway that connects lakes, rivers, damns and man made canals and locks. The Trent Severn is 240 miles long with 45 locks. Unlike the Rideau Canal that was deemed necessary by the government to transport goods and supplies to Ottawa, the Trent took 90 years to build. It’s construction was halted several times but finally completed in 1920. At Trenton, you are 243’ above sea level and will summit at Lake Balsam at 840’ above sea level then start down again. We are looking forward to our next adventure transiting the Trent Severn and hope to provide more great photos. Until next time!