The Trent Severn Waterway
The Trent–Severn Waterway is a 386 kilometres (240 mi)-long canal route connecting Lake Ontario atTrenton to Georgian Bay at Port Severn. Its major natural waterways include the Trent River, Otonabee River, the Kawartha lakes, Lake Simcoe, Lake Couchiching and the Severn River. Its scenic, meandering route has been called "one of the finest interconnected systems of navigation in the world".
We had to tie up on the wall before the Lock and wait for the next Lock-through. Yes, this is what our 25 foot Ranger Tug looks like next to the other cruising boats doing the Great Loop. We are used to it by now but we always attract attention when people see our AGLCA burgee (America's Great Loop Cruising Association flag) and want to know how we manage to live on the boat for a year. And if we still like each other after 10 months on the trip.
Yes, we do. And we have for 41 years.
Nellie May to the rescue!
We were boating down the Trent Canal and saw this boat just bobbing in the water. Our experience on this trip told us they were probably fishing or sun tanning or just floating around. But ...the guy moved to the front of the boat and he was holding a rope in his hand.
He did not yell or wave his hands to ask for help. Noooooo.
But I have seen that look before so I asked if he needed some help. His girlfriend just rolled her eyes. I don't think this was their first rodeo.
Turns out the boat had quit less than 1/4 mile from their cottage. So I hooked them up and Tim went into tugboat mode. The young mans' neighbors were laughing as we pulled them back to their dock. Guess it has happened before...
We are always glad to do a "good turn".
The Peterborough Lift Lock
Opened July 9, 1904, this lift lock is the highest of its type in the world, transferring boats between two water levels in a single 19.8 m (65 ft.) lift. Designed in place of conventional locks, which would have lengthened the time considerably to transverse a gradual drop, this lift lock was a unique solution made feasible. It operates on a balance principle. Each boat chamber is supported by a ram, 2.28 m (7.5 ft.) In diameter. These move up and down inside water-filled cylinders connected by a pipe. A valve, located in its center, controls the flow of water between the two cylinders.In operation, the upper boat chamber is filled with an extra 30 cm (1 ft.) of water which weighs 130.6 t (144 tons). When the valve is opened, this added weight causes the upper chamber to descend and the lower to rise.
(Information from this Link)
We took a boat tour of the Lift Lock with 100 other people so we could enjoy the experience before we took Nellie May through the Lift Lock the next day. There are loads of videos showing how this works so if you are interested in seeing what we experienced try this link with a time lapse video.
A small detour...
This map of Lake Simcoe shows where we entered the lake from the east and headed for Orillia. We had a mechanic scheduled to do a little maintenance on the engine. We thought he was meeting us at Orillia. I called him to confirm the time and tell him we were almost there.
He said,"You are headed for Orillia?" We said, "Yes, almost there." He said, "Turn left!"
Turns our there was a miscommunication in the service department and they wanted us at their marina.
We saw alot of Lake Simcoe. Thank goodness the weather stayed calm for the trip down and the trip back the next day.
The Big Chute
The Big Chute Railway Lock is absolutely awesome! I had been looking forward to this experience since we started the Loop last September and it didn't disappoint. Since we don't have a photo of our boat on the Chute I am showing you our Looping friend's boat---Island Girl. See how she is hanging off the back? That is because her propellers hang below the keel.
Nellie May doesn't have that issue so they put us as far forward on the sled as possible. Did I say it was awesome?
I encourage you to click on this link and watch a short video produced by Parks Canada showing how the Big Chute works.
Click here to watch the video. And then imagine little Nellie May as the only boat on her trip on the Chute.
A change of plans
This map shows our path down Monument Channel on Georgian Bay. Looks a little strange, right?
The plan was to travel the Monument Channel and then rejoin the small boat channel on Georgian Bay.
The map shows our progress as we dealt with mysterious engine issues that resulted in the boat quitting. 5 times. She restarted each time but after the 5th try we puttered into a cove shallow enough so we could drop the anchor and phone for help.
The path you see had us is DEEP water edged with shallow rocks. Not the sort of situation any boater wants to encounter.
We got an escort back to a marina with a certified Volvo engine dealer who worked with our great Ranger Tug dealer to try to diagnose the problem. Parts were ordered, we stayed at a marina down Honey Harbor while the parts arrived. We rejoiced when they came and the mechanic installed them the next day.
Back on the trip in record time!
A very, very hard decision
Tim has always said that sometimes the right decision is not the easy decision.
The next leg of our Loop would take us out into big water with a narrow channel with rocks right under the surface of the water a few feet away from the channel. And no cell phone coverage.
Until we put more hours on the engine we wouldn't be certain the proposed "fix" was the correct "fix". The smart/safe move is to put the boat on the trailer and take her back to our home waters where we can put hours on the engine in shallow South Dakota lakes.
We rented a car, drove back to South Dakota, picked up the truck and trailer and headed back to Canada. We plan to continue this stage of the trip on the highways of Michigan. We will play tourist while we see how we like "boaterhoming" (using our boat on the trailer as a camper).
Stay tuned, the August newsletter should be very interesting.
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!