Sunday, July 20, 2008

Kingston to Peterborough

Before we left Kingston, on Monday afternoon, "Sandpiper" had to be pulled out of the water and have their props removed and replaced with spares--what an ordeal! Their boat had hit something hidden under the water, and repairs were necessary. We felt so sorry for them--such a time consuming and unpleasant thing to happen--so we had them over for drinks and dinner. We so enjoy Robert and Ann and it was great having them all to ourselves!

We left Tuesday morning headed for Trenton. With "Bella Luna" in the lead, "Prime Time", "Sandpiper", and "Phantom of the Opera" following closely behind, we had an easy, but long, and uneventful transit in the Bay of Quinte of Lake Ontario. It took 7 & 1/2 hours to go 56 miles. But we arrived safely in the little town of Trenton--"The Gateway of the Trent Severn" in time to fuel up, pump out, and go into town to explore. Louis quickly found a great marine store and bought another book about the Trent Severn--a necessary one we thought we had, but didn't. We also found a Kentucky Fried Chicken store, and bought a box for the next few days' travels. We returned for a cocktail party aboard "Sandpiper", and went to dinner at the newest restaurant in town--which just happened to be right across the street from the marina--how convenient!! After an interesting event aboard the small sailboat docked just three feet across the finger pier from us--a "spat" between two relatives involving one being literally thrown off the sailboat along with all his "stuff"--we all thankfully settled down for the evening. The "event" reminded me and all of us of a gopher trying to create a new hole!

Wednesday morning, we went under the archway designating the Trent Severn Waterway and all four boats headed for Campbellford--beginning the canal route (240 miles) and a series of 42 locks. We expect this part to take seven days to complete because for most of our route the speed limit will only allow us to go 6 MPH--it's shallow, winding, and rocky.

After a series of locks (I'm not counting anymore!), we arrived safely in the cute little town of Campbellford--tying up against the town wall in early afternoon. There was an outdoor concert in the small white gazebo just across the canal from us that evening, and with six "Looper" boats all tied up in a row, I'm sure it was a pretty picture from the other side of the canal! "Mojo" and "Victory" had joined our merry group! Buddy has been very happy and fortunate these past few days in that grass and bushes have been so close by!

Thursday morning, Pat and Gary joined us for breakfast at this wonderful little place we had heard about the day before (can't remember the name!) and we all had Canadian bacon like we've never had before--simply delicious! Can't match for breakfast what Brenda at White Swan makes--but it'll do up here! After a hearty meal, we headed next door to Dooher's--a fantastic bakery to say the least! We also checked out the World Famous Chocolate Outlet--and color Louis happy--he was in heaven! It was now 9:30 am and time to leave for our next night's destination--Hastings.

"Mojo" had left early in the morning--so they were already gone when calamity struck "Bella Luna". We were the first to untie and leave the dock, and had just gone under the town's bridge when Louis missed a green marker on our port side and promptly put our boat securely up on a rock. The townsfolk call it "Florida Rock" because so many boaters hit it and the one man in town who helps fix their boats makes enough $$$$ to go to Florida yearly! We were sick to say the least, but fortunately we were going so slowly that we hoped major damage wasn't done. We were, however, out of the channel, so our other boats couldn't come and pull us off the rock. But a series of events soon unfolded--we immediately emptied our water tank, "Pete", his son and granddaughter from just across the canal swam over, three dinghies were launched to tie off our stern, the lock masters at both ends where we were raised the level in the river by one foot, and we were able to pull/push "Bella Luna" off the rock. We were towed just a short distance back to the wall where we had spent the night before, and there the real fun began. Boy, does it ever reinforce our belief that it's better to travel with others than travel alone. What would we ever have done without the help and support of our other Looper friends! And as luck would have it, we had two certified divers with air tanks in our group who went below to tell us that the only damage to the boat was bent props. TYJ! We had two spare propellers aboard, and with a huge group effort, we were able to change out our two badly gnarled props without hauling the boat! It took about two hours to complete, and we will be eternally grateful to Bruce and Billy for their yeoman's efforts on our behalf. Also, our thanks go out to the four other boats who turned around and stayed behind to offer moral support. Ann of "Sandpiper" said to us, "You either HAVE run aground, you are WAITING to run aground, or you've NEVER left the dock!" How true--but we'd rather have hit a soft sandbar than hard rocks! Hopefully, our rock hunting now will be forever behind us.

Our mishap cost us about four hours total, yet we were all able to reach Hastings by 6:30pm. After such an emotionally and physically exhausting day, we were delighted to be welcomed into the small town of Hastings by a "eight-some" band of bag-pipers--complete with kilts and headgear! They played a good hour and a half as we all tied up, got settled in, took showers, and fixed good drinks! Louis took us ALL out to dinner--where we were finally able to laugh and joke about the day's events--the guys still wanting Louis to lead, but he decided he wants to be an Indian now, not a Chief! Needless to say, we both slept hard and soundly Thursday night--Buddy totally unaware of anything unusual that had happened earlier in the day! Lucky dog.

Friday, we head out for Peterborough--where we planned to rest out the weekend. Since we have started the Trent Severn, so far, we have been going up in locks. We will rise up a total of 840 feet above sea level before we begin our descent to 576 feet above sea level at Balsam Lake to take us to Port Severn--the end of this canal. At Peterborough is the huge "pan" lift--a 96 year old engineering marvel. We look forward to this on Monday.

OK, so now it's Sunday, and we've been in Peterborough since Friday--and have had a great, relaxing week-end. Our marina is right at the town's beautiful park and amphitheater where festivities started building Friday, for Saturday--all day long. All kinds of vendors brought their wares--food, jewelry, Red Cross, marine supplies, ASPCA, etc.--white and blue tents lined the perimeter of this huge park and people started streaming in--in the early afternoon to set up their chairs for the concert (a local and fantastic band) and fireworks that would be held in the evening. We all guessed there were close to 5,000 people who turned out on this beautiful day--what a treat for us to be right here among them--but guarded by a gate at the end of our dock! The marina had wisely put most of us Loopers on the same dock and so we commandeered the end of it, had "pot luck" dinner for about 20, had a surprise birthday celebration complete with cake and candles for Pat--Happy Birthday Pat!, listened to the great music all around us, saw Elvis sing (Pat got a birthday kiss and lei--turns out he's alive after all!), and just had a great afternoon and evening--complete with fireworks and our third, now, full bella luna!

Thanks to Robert Levine, Louis was able to find a capable, friendly "prop man" here in Peterborough to assess our two badly damaged ones. He came to the boat late Friday afternoon, picked up the opened sardine can looking ones we had, and will have them fixed by Monday. (Amazing--we both thought they were unfixable.) And after finding out from our friend, Ed Bailey, what new ones would cost us, needless to say, we were THRILLED to learn that they both were reparable. Also, since we've been here we've conveniently gone to two movies--color Diane happy--and have seen "Mama Mia" which I thought was simply wonderful (can't wait for it to come out on video for me to buy), and we saw the new "Batman" movie which Louis thought was, "Great"! We're now caught up on our popcorn. And we've been to a great sushi restaurant--so, time well spent in Peterborough!!

And two more happy thoughts--when we checked into this marina, we were surprised and delighted to find out that our dear friends aboard "Sunshine" had left for us two prepaid ice cream cones!! Thanks Muriel, Shelly, and Bud--you know us well! And secondly, we were happy to hear from Sam at Morehead City that the tropical storm which blew through this weekend didn't do any damage. Thanks for the call Sam--sorry we missed talking with you!


Jay Stockard said...

I told you Louis needed new glasses! Just kidding, and so sorry to hear that you rearranged your props! (Glad they could be repaired!) As you go through the upward locks, just keep humming Jackie Wilson's "Higher and Higher!" Give Buddy a hug for me! Love ya


Second Wind said...

I've just finished catching up on your blog, and every single adventure sounds like a blast. Isn't Canada a wonderfully beautiful and friendly place!

Maaaahhhnnnn, I hate to hear that your props got messed up, but it does sound as if things turned out pretty darn well! How great that you have caught up with Sandpiper and Double SS. I knew ya'll would hit it off. Give them a hug for us, stay off the rocks, and keep having fun!

Bob Bartlett said...

Diane & Louis: Nancy Dallas gave us you blog address and we have enjoyed reading of your adventures. The excitement comes through clearly and I am amazed at the distance you have traveled. Being from "upstate" New York, I have found your descriptions of some of the areas you have visited very interesting. Must admit I never knew there were so many locks. Will look forward to future postings. Hope you don't find towns without ice cream!
Bob and Judy Bartlett

Anonymous said...

Was thrilled to meet you and Buddy in Bobcaygeon. By now you must be out in Georgian Bay. Happy hunting and we'll be reading.

Bev & David
Caygeon Queen

Marvin said...

Diane & Louis,
I have enjoyed reading your blog. I have truly enjoyed each one. Thanks for sharing your experience. I have found myself looking forward to each adventure.