You meet the nicest people on the Loop
We landed in Shady Harbor Marina the first few days of June. As soon as we pulled up to the gas dock we were greeted by other Loopers who were at the Marina. Greetings turned into a potluck dinner that night. We may run into our new friends again on the Loop or not, so we have learned to enjoy the moment while it's happening.
Entering the Erie Canal
We had been anticipating entering the Erie Canal since we left New York City. The Erie Canal is 100 years old and has 34 locks. This is Lock #2 in Waterford, considered by some to be the first lock on the Canal. You can tell by the water line on the side of the lock that we are going to be going UP. This lock got pretty turbulent as the water filled it from the center underneath. I was glad there were only 2 boats in the lock as we hung onto the ropes hanging from the walls and fought to keep our boats next to the wall.
The old Erie Canal
Lock #2 was rebuilt in the early 1900’s. The channel of the original Erie Canal can be seen in many places, with one of the best examples adjacent to Lock #2. There were three locks in this section and the original stonework is still in remarkably good condition.
"Tim in a box"
Holding the boat to the wall in a lock is a team effort. I am in the back hanging onto a rope attached to the top of the lock wall while Tim stands on the cabin seat and pops out the hatch to grab a second rope. This photo was taken by a friend on the lock wall. Our locking process was called "Tim in a Box" because he popped through the hatch and surprised our friend.
After lock 23 on the Erie Canal we discovered a delightful marina called Pirates Cove. It was hot and they had a pool. We liked it there and that's a good thing because we ended up staying for 10 days while we waited for a mechanic who finally came and told us we needed 4 new batteries. They ordered them, installed them and we enjoyed the quiet while they worked.
Since we had some time waiting on the mechanic we rented a car and headed to Niagara Falls, only 3 hours away. I had never been there so I was pretty excited to experience the Maid of the Mist and all the other tourist adventures. We stayed at a hotel on the Canadian side of the Falls for one night. Big beds! TV! A shower! We were asleep by 9 pm but heard that the laser light show at the Falls was spectacular.
Boldt Castle in the 1,000 Islands
Another milestone in our Loop is exploring an area called 1,000 Islands by Clayton, New York. While we were there we took a tour boat through the islands to Boldt Castle. This rich fella from the City wanted to build s summer house for his wife, and being VERY rich, built a castle. Trouble is, she died during construction. He stopped the construction and never went to the place again. It fell into disrepair and was eventually taken over by the state parks. It is being restored/completed and is an amazing place…a real example of the over-the-top wealth of the Gilded Age.
Welcome to Canada
We entered Canada at Kingston, Ontario. The process is fairly simple. We entered the marina and tied up first. Then Tim took a walk to a special phone booth located at the marina gate where he called a Canadian Customs agent. They asked questions, he gave answers and they gave us our Canadian pass number to post on our boat. We put our American money in a ziplock and went to an ATM to get Canadian money. Canada uses $1 coins called Loonies (because they have a Loon on them), $2 coins called Toonies (because they equal 2 Loonies) and they don't have pennies. Interesting. The US could learn some things from Canada about currency. Not having pennies and dollar bills is real nice.
The Trent Severn Waterway
We finished the Erie Canal and started on the Trent Severn Waterway on June 29. The Trent Severn has a total of 44 locks. These locks are smaller and service smaller boats, not commercial barges. The next newsletter will have more information on the how it goes with the Canadian locks.
10 months on the water
We are experts at locks now! That doesn't mean every lock goes according to plan but you won't see photos of those because we are both too busy handling lines to grab a camera.
I love this shower...
By now you know that I judge the quality of a marina by the showers. At Trenton Marina they have the best showers I have seen so far on the Loop. And they have 8 of these gems, each one a different color. And they have a pile of clean fluffy bath mats!
I took photos and measurements. I think our master bath at home needs an upgrade...
Tim and I started our Great Loop Adventure on 9-11-2017 in Ottowa, Illinois. We put the boat on a trailer and drove 9 hours from our home in South Dakota to Heritage Harbor Marina in Ottowa to put her in the water. Tim's brother, Dan, drove the truck and trailer back to our house. Thanks Dan!