Sunday, July 27, 2008

Peterborough to The Georgian Bay (finally!)

Monday, July 21st, we left Peterborough at 8am with 2 ice cream cones delivered to the bow of our boat (courtesy of "Sunshine")--thanks guys! I must admit that having ice cream before morning coffee isn't all that bad--these Canadians & Louis really do love it, anytime of the day! We left hoping to get an early spot on the blue line in preparation for locking through that day--we did--leaving with "Phantom of the Aqua", "Prime Time", "Mojo", and "Victory". There were 8 boats all trying to get to the first locking--the locks couldn't take but 3 of us at one time, so we got all spread out. It was a rainy morning, but by the time we got to lock #27, the sun was shining--happiness and relief. We had a full day of traveling, but by mid afternoon we settled in for the rest of the day and night on the wall at Young's Point. Louis got out our grill, we all got together for a pot luck dinner at the picnic table right beside the boats, and we enjoyed the wonderful little store/shop right beside us on the wall. All of us girls bought something we just couldn't live without!

Tuesday, July 22nd, was a beautiful morning. We wanted to travel @ 35 miles that day, and hoped to get to Bobcaygen for the evening. During the day, we crossed Clear Lake, seeing some of the more exquisite homes to date--huge, sprawling lake front homes--all sitting on enormous rocks. At one point, we passed through a narrow cut of water, "Hell's Gate", and really had to be careful of the rocks--we've had enough of that already to last us through this trip. But it really was a calm ride and a pretty sight. We arrived in Bobcaygen in time to check out their famous shoe store--finding none that we couldn't live without. We tried to get another pair of Crocks for Louis--he's worn the soles almost totally off his everyday pair--they're mighty slippery for him now--but the shop didn't have his size--so we'll keep looking. Speaking of Crocks, I don't know what any of us would do without them--that's all we wear now--and both Louis and I now have cute "Crock tans"! Our boats were tied up on the wall in Bobcaygen with this full Osprey nest up high right off the bow of our boat--it was fun watching the adult birds with their chicks--they make a lot of noise until dark. We wound up having dinner with Bonnie and Bruce at Waterside Restaurant Tuesday night.

Wednesday, July 23rd, we left Bobcaygen locking through to Fennolin Falls. We all tied up after locking through, to go in and explore that cute town. The Captains decided the Admirals needed a mid-day break from all the locking we had been doing of late, so we walked through the cute town and all of us had a delicious hot hamburger/lunch at The Lake House--what a treat for us all after the usual cold sandwich/leftovers we usually have at lunchtime. We left there and headed for the second and last "pan lift" which was at Kirkfield. Louis drove the boat into this huge "infinity esque" pool--stopping only inches from the end--very scary. We looked out over the bow of the boat and looked down about 65 feet to the bottom of the canal we would be going to--what a sight!! It was like being at the top of a roller coaster--you couldn't see what was under you--and our descent took only 2 minutes--what a ride! We would now be going down in all our locks to get to The Georgian Bay. We spent the night at a small marina--Sunset Cove (not very good) and had dinner on the boat.

Thursday, July 24th, was a beautiful morning--clear, cool and crisp. We crossed Lake Simcoe with no problems--we had heard it could be very rough--we were lucky. This was our first big body of water in quite a while--and Louis ran "Bella Luna" hard for about 20 minutes with no problems. Our spare props are working great! Not many boats carry spares--boy are we glad we did! We locked down all day arriving in Orillia in early afternoon just in time to get to the A & P right across the street and stock up. We had drinks on "Paradigm"--thanks Emily and Jeff! We all had dinner on our boats. We were sad to hear about Barbara Hall being in the hospital--we wish for her a speedy recovery.

Friday, July 25th, we had another beautiful morning to travel. We're still with "Sandpiper" and "Phantom"--all trying to get through these last set of locks and get out into The Georgian Bay. We got to Severn Falls Marina by 1:30pm, and decided to quit for the day--our next lock tomorrow would be a biggie. This small little marina had a restaurant, LCBO (their ABC), a grocery, and an ice cream parlor--and lots and lots of small boat traffic. Our three boats took up the entire side of the only long dock of the marina--and boats were being launched and put back on trailers well after dark. Seems there are a lot of "cottagers" in this part of the Trent, and the only way they have to get to their homes is by water. Anyway, it was a not-so-good stop for us being as busy a spot as it turned out to be--and our boat was right at the launch ramp--ugh. But we did have a good dinner in their restaurant--me having pickerel (fish) for the first time--delicious!

Saturday, July 26th, was a cloudy, misting, and very cool morning--there had been a storm overnight. But for the first time we actually smelled two separate wood fires burning--a perfect morning for this--but hard for us to imagine--it's late July! We were on the blue line waiting to lock through "The Big Chute" when it opened at 8:30am. This has to be the most interesting one we'll ever go through. Louis--very slowly--drove "Bella Luna" up onto a submerged railway platform, where then a sling was put around the back part of the boat--the bow was resting on the platform and the propellers were hanging off the back. He turned off the engines, the platform rose out of the water, the railway car rolled us up on tracks, lifted us up over the road, and took us down a very steep hill, to a different body of water on the other side. The platform then sunk back down into the water, our boat was floating again, the straps were lowered, Louis turned the engines back on, and we exited the lock. The whole event took about 15 minutes to complete and what fun it was--Buddy riding high in his spot on the bow of the boat. Our friends took pictures of us (and we took theirs) and we can't wait to see them. The Big Chute is really something special. We had one more lock--the smallest and narrowest of any on the Trent--and we would be through with locking and in the Georgian Bay by mid morning. After having gone through the canals of the Chambly, the Rideau, and now the Trent-Severn, we are ready to put our locking gear away for a while--we've done now well over a hundred of them! We're old hats at this. Locking is not hard, it just takes our full concentration--so as not to mess up--either our boat or someone else's. Finally, we have reached the beautiful, wide, clear waters of the Georgian Bay. The sun is shining and it's a beautiful day. It's just past noon, but all is not well.

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