Couchiching to Georgian Bay via the Big Chute Railway

August 3-6

We remained at Couchiching on Wednesday, and just relaxed.  Saw a boat name  that I liked.IMG_8541On Thursday morning we locked through by 9:45 and then traveled 14 miles through Sparrow LakeIMG_8562 IMG_8563and then the Severn River to the  Swift Rapids lock.  It was a blistering hot day and we decided to stay on top in order to get a little bit of breeze.    We tied up on the dam side of the lock but moved to the front of the blue line after 5:00, so we would be the first ones through on Friday.   We were joined by Dave and Claudia on Stillwaters II several hours later, as they had come from Orillia.

On Friday, we locked though by 9:17.  This lock is referred to as the giant, with a 47 foot drop.IMG_8576 IMG_8578Even though this place was called Swift Rapids, there was very little water flowing over the dam, likely because of the drought  that has been affecting this part of Ontario.

The admiral had a bit of a mishap when she pushed the boat away from the lock  wall, she put the boat hook handle into the window and it cracked.IMG_8582This was the same window pane that was broken back in April, so it’s going to get replaced again.  We once again followed the Severn River until we arrived at the Big chute.


IMG_8589  We tied up at the dock, so that we could watch other boats go through before we moved to the Blue line.   We also wanted to connect up with Mike and Franziska, as they were driving from Owen Sound so they could watch us do the chute.   The way the big chute railway works is that you pilot your boat onto a specially designed railway car, that has several slings and straps in order to carry a number of boats across land and deposit them in the lower basin.IMG_8618The railway lift can carry up to 110 tons and boats as long as 100 feet,  they tend to load the big boats and have the props hanging out over the car.    David and Claudia on Stillwater II, went through first with another boat and we watched from the blue line.IMG_8597

IMG_8600Then it was our turn, here’s the view from the blue line of where we were going to join up with the carriage,IMG_8601and the view down the hill to the lower basinIMG_8605a smaller boat went onto the carriage first  and we followed behind on the left,  the sling came up and we were rocking above the carriage.Here’s a series of pictures taken by Mike and Franziska from the ground.OB 8

OB 1 OB 3

OB 6

OB 7

OB 5Here’s my view from the boat. The ride across the road and down the rocky ridge only took about 10 minutes and then the carriage and slings were released and we floated off the carriage.  Truly amazing and a highlight of the loop and the TSW.  Claudia had videotaped it but the files are too big for posting on the blog– will be great memories of this day.IMG_8613After tying up ,we went for lunch with  Mike and Franziska,IMG_8615we also had ice cream, it was Chapman’s which we all agreed wasn’t as good as Kawartha Dairies.

Since a thunderstorm was predicted for the afternoon, we opted to stay on the lock docks for the night.  It did rain, for a total of about 15 minutes not the downpour that the area needed.

On Saturday morning, we left the dock shortly after 9 and headed towards lock 45 at Port Severn the last lock on the Trent Severn Waterway.    We passed through Gloucester pool and by some very nice cottages/homes.IMG_8642

IMG_8644We had to go through another narrow channel,IMG_8637where we would have had to meet another large power boat, but Andy stayed back in a wider area and waited for him.  We arrived at the Port Severn lock 45 and went in right away with another boat.  The lock was extremely busy and was much smaller than the other locks so it could only take 2 large boats at a time.  Once we were through at 10:35, we pulled into Georgian Bay and dropped anchor, in order to wait  for Still Waters II.  They had to wait for several lock downs  before it became their turn.   We crossed  Severn BayIMG_8648 IMG_8652 and pulled into  Queen’s Cove marina in Victoria Harbour at 1 pm.

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