Back on the Trent- headed for Lock 31

We left Queens Cove shortly after 9:00, Andy had made pancakes for breakfast.  Teresa said goodbye and left by car.  It was relatively calm going across Hog’s Bay towards Port Severn, Andy was happily explaining the duties and how the headsets work for our new deck hand, and somehow missed a turning point marker- we went by several markers  before he realized, so we turned around and backtracked.

  We got to Port Severn around 10:30 and waited for an opening—because this is the smallest lock on the TSW- they seemed to be taking only one big boat through at a time.  While we waited the skies opening and we got drenched.  Iain caught a Bass in the channel, but it didn’t make it into the boat.  When it was our turn to lock through it was still pouring—Iain and I looked like drowned rats.  Andy suggested that we tie up once through the lock and wait for the rain to stop.  I said no – that we should continue, as I couldn’t see out of my glasses because they were wet and steamed up- so I likely couldn’t find the cleat to tie up to.  I think in all our years boating that this was the first lock we had done in the pouring rain.  I guess the new first mate needed to be christened, and what better way than getting the toughest lock, because of the current and it’s size out of the way first in the pouring rain.  Iain started singing songs with sunny days in them and the weather seemed to improve.

We got to the Big Chute marine railway lock, just before noon, and the weather had cleared up considerably.

We locked through quickly with 2 run-abouts and 2 PWC- we were put on the back with our props hanging out.   Iain seemed to be impressed by how this lock operated- and he and I were relieved of rope duties- we only had to pull up the fenders, so they didn’t get caught in the slings.

We were through this lock at 12:20.  Then it was on to Swift Rapids, which is the biggest lock with a rise of about 43 feet.  Andy was telling Iain to grab hold of the bollard to tie up to- however Iain didn’t know what the bollard was or how it worked. Andy finally went to the back and showed him what to do.   Once through we tied up on the grey line by 1:45, as we had decided this was likely far enough for Iain’s first day.

We also weren’t sure if there would be space at Couchiching- so better to have a spot than not.  Andy had a conversation with the lockmaster about fishing, and was told it was frowned up while staff was around.  In the afternoon, we had seen a boat near the locks fishing and the lockmaster came over the loud speakers telling them that no fishing was allowed within 30 meters of the lock. We met Rick and Larry – Loopers from Sioux Falls SD and invited them for docktails at 5:30.  We had a good visit with them and Andy shared some of his knowledge of what they should expect in Georgian Bay.  At 7:00, a group of people showed up with fishing rods, coming in off the road near our boat—Andy told them that he had been told that fishing wasn’t allowed at the locks, so after some discussion amongst themselves- they decided to leave. Later in the evening, Andy did drop in a fishing line to see if his luck had changed and caught this little one—that fit into the palm of his hand.

We left Swift Rapids at 8:50 the next morning and continued down the Trent,   saw this cottage with a CN caboose as one of the outbuildings.

Passing through the Couchiching lock, there was only one other boat going eastward, but there was more than a dozen waiting to lock through to the west.

Once through we had the railway bridge to wait for- and we ended up waiting less than 10 minutes—the quickest we’ve ever gone through this one.  Iain claims he called the president of CN to ensure that it would be ready for us.

We continued on across Lake Couchiching, and Andy let Iain drive for awhile,

but after his time at the wheel he felt he needed to rest.

We continued on and reached the Port of Orillia by 1:00.  They tied us up on the farthest dock from the main office—so we got a little bit of walking in that day.

Andy and Iain went to the Metro store to pick up a few things, and I did some laundry.  That evening we went to the Golden Wok for dinner, and then walked up to Wilks bakery to find out what time they were open on Monday morning— 9:00 too late for us as we wanted an early start in order to cross Lake Simcoe- so no Chelsea buns for us. Near the marina office they had this replica of a fish weir

, as well as sailboats  ornaments with different painted masts.

We left Port of Orillia at 7:45 and were across the very cooperative- flat lake and at the breakwall by 9:50.

Iain and I then had our hands full as we went through the 5 locks of Gamebridge, Thorah, Portage, Talbot and Bolsover.  There was still some work being done on shoring up the canal system and a new dam.

I also saw a canola field and some hay bales along the shore.

We were out of the last lock by 12:35.  We didn’t wait very long for any of the locks, as Iain claimed he had call  his connections to ensure they would be open for us. Iain had scoobie snacks (typically pretzels, pepperoni, fresh peas or chips) and 0% alcohol beer while he manned his station at the back of the boat.

We arrived at the bottom of Kirkfield at 1:45 and tied up.   We played a few games of Shanghai in the afternoon-  Iain seems to have the game figured out and has bushwacked Andy and I a number of times.   We saw this canoe  go through the lift lock.

Our friends Glen and Julie from Balsam Lake came for dinner.

While we were having appetizers on the back deck, I noticed this bird in a tree- we’re thinking it might be some type of crane.

We had a great visit with them, telling about our travels since we had seen them the previous month.

We went through the lift lock at Kirkfield at 9:30 in the morning and then proceeded through Rosedale and Fenlon Falls. One of Iain’s favourite sayings – was telling the captain- steady as she goes, and reporting that all was well on the starboard side of the boat.   It was a little breezy on Balsam, Cameron and Sturgeon Lakes, and the wave built as the day progressed.  We arrived in Bobcaygeon at 2:45 and locked through and tied up.  We are in houseboat rental territory, so were surrounded by them.

Around 5, Iain and I went in search of Kawartha ice cream- Bigley’s have opened an ice cream shop with a logo that says Happiness is ice cream and new shoes.  I had ice cream, and Iain had a milkshake. We checked out a couple other stores before going back to the boat. In the evening we played more cards—I believe we finally let the captain win a game.  We discussed the training that Iain had undertaken over the last 5 days and I believe the captain sees potential and that Iain should  become a first mate.

We left Bobcaygeon at 7:15 and headed across  a very flat Pigeon Lake

and Buckhorn lake.   We saw some bridge construction going on at this road.

Andy had called Buckhorn Yacht harbour and they had no room on the gas dock- so we proceeded on to the Buckhorn lock—Andy called ahead and was told there was one spot near the lock, which had power- so we speeded up in order to get it before someone locked through.  We were tied up to the lock wall by 9:30.  Once again we ran into Tom and Julie Van Hall from Sum Escape—we had last seen them in Little Current on our way down to Lake Superior about a month ago.  After an early lunch- Andy and Iain left

– Andy was driving Iain as far as Orangeville where Teresa was meeting them.   I did some cleaning in the boat, and then started packing up stuff that could be stored until next year.  When I took the recycling out- I noticed this boat coming  into the lock

— another looper couple from Winnipeg,-  what are the odds of that happening?   We had met Jay & Barbara a  few years ago- when they came to look at our Carver that was for sale in Winnipeg Beach.  They will complete their Loop once they get back to Tennessee.

Our vacation is almost over- we will be leaving for Winnipeg on Monday after speaking  with the electronics technician and boat mechanics.

It was a hot day and very muggy, a rain shower at 1:00 was a bit of a reprieve from the heat. At about 2:00- Roxanne and Wayne arrived, friends that we had met last summer in Brockville.  They are staying at a B&B  near Buckhorn and will be spending a couple of days with us touring around the Kawarthas and looking at looper boats.

We visited until Andy got back at about 5:00, and later had supper.  The sky got black again around 9:00 and we had another longer shower, which cooled things down slightly.  Roxanne and Wayne  left around 10:00, after much red wine was consumed.

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