Daily Archives: July 13, 2020

Vacation, not going quite as planned…


We  left Winnipeg at 5:30 a.m. on  June 27th and drove for as far as Wawa the first day,  we stopped for Coffee and  gas in Dryden and  Nipigon- where  I was able to have a visit with my friends Teresa and Maureen  in the Tim Horton’s  parking lot.  The second day we started out early again and drove through to Buckhorn arriving just before 4:00. We spent the night unpacking the car.

Our new electronics tech called early on Monday to say he was going to be delayed and wouldn’t arrive until Tuesday, so we spent most of Monday putting stuff away, and discovering what had been left on the boat from the previous summer.  We also drove up to Kingston to visit with Marg and Mike and to pick up our new CQR anchor- we had a nice visit on their front porch, and let with a Bok Choy cabbage from Marg’s garden.    That evening we switched out our Fortress Anchor for the shiny new CQR. On Tuesday, once the techs arrived, we vacated the boat (a 35 foot boat was not large enough for 4 of us to socially distance.)   We drove up to Bancroft to visit Brian and Helen, and stayed the night.   While in Bancroft we were also able to visit with Brian and Muriel, who dropped by. It was great to get together with friends.  We had our first taste of Kawartha ice-cream, as we had stopped at the Kawartha store to pick up a 1.5 Liter of Salty Carmel Truffle for dessert.  We did some provisioning in Bancroft as they have more of a selection of stores than in Buckhorn.  We returned to the boat on the morning of July 1st, to get the deficiencies list from the electronics techs, before they returned home.  We learned that the Garmin electronics had not been installed correctly and several pieces were missing and needed to be ordered.

On the morning of July 2nd, it was time to tackle some of the dirt on the outside of the boat; I started with the upper deck and worked my way around the gunwales. In the early afternoon, we filled up with water and some gas, as we were headed to Balsam Lake for the weekend. We travelled 28 Km as far as Bobcaygeon and docked on the lock wall.  We went up to the lock to observe how locking worked, as we had read that it would be touch less locking, meaning that the Parks Canada locking attendants would not be able to touch our ropes.  Andy talked to the lockmaster there and got some additional pointers as well as a recommendation for take-out food.  We opted for Fish and chips from just the halibut.   On our way back to the boat, we ran into a couple with their daughter.  They stopped us and asked if we were from On Business.  As the conversation progressed, I learned that Martin follows my blog, and likely knew more about my last post than Andy.  Martin and Kim are from Warkworth, but have recently bought property in Bobcaygeon.  I was absolutely thrilled that someone besides family and friends in Winnipeg actually reads my ramblings, and that he was able to pick us out walking along the lock wall.  After we were done eating we visited a little with the people on the houseboat docked beside us.  We received a phone call from my sister Maxine, informing us that my 90 year old mother had fallen and had broken her leg, because of her underlying health issues she was not a candidate for having surgery to have a pin inserted, so will be confined to a brace and not allowed to put any weight on it for the next 3 months.  This was really upsetting news- I haven’t seen Mom since last fall, and even now, visiting is very limited in the long term care home where she resides. Our next issue of the evening was that our inverter would now provide power to Andy’s CPAP machine, which was odd, because he had tested it earlier in the week- hence a sleepless night for both of us.  In the morning we decided to call Buckhorn Yacht Harbour to see if we could return, so we travelled the 28Km back to Buckhorn.  We then packed up the car and drove to Glen and Julie’s on Balsam Lake.  Friday was our 10th Wedding Anniversary; we had many adventures in the past decade and hope to have many in the future as well. Saturday afternoon was hot- so Julie and I went into the water and just puttered around to stay cool.


Julie bbq’d for supper and we had steak, Portobello mushrooms, asparagus and baby potatoes, with Kawartha for dessert.  My friend Anja had given me a 3L flask of wine as a retirement gift, and this was the perfect occasion to open it- the wine was fantastic!  20200703_143006After dinner we played the domino game that we call chicken leg- a great ending to a day that started out crappy. 20200703_211749

On Sunday morning, Julie showed me the finer points of kayaking and the two of us paddled along the shore of Balsam Lake.  This was my first time, so I was a little apprehensive, but we were in relatively shallow water, so if I was to tip it I’m sure I could have swam or stood up.  We paddled for about an hour, with no mishaps.

20200704_092608On our return to the dock in front of their house,  Julie showed me how to get out, and I did with only getting my feet wet.

20200704_100730_resizedJulie then proceeded to pick up my kayak to take it out of the water, and swung it around clipping me in the head, which caused me to lose my balance and I tumbled into the water, just missing the dock that housed their sailboat.  So I did go for my second swim in Balsam Lake.  We stayed for brunch and visited some more.

20200704_115120_resizedJulie has taken up some very interesting crafts in retirement and the framed pictures are truly amazing, and Glen continues to improve his Harmonigraph outputs.20200704_092235_resized

  Mid afternoon we drove back to Buckhorn to our very hot boat.   I tried to log on to my computer, but it wouldn’t boot up, not sure what is wrong.  On Sunday morning, we took the boat out into Buckhorn Lake, as we wanted to practice with our new anchor and apparatus for a bridle. Just after noon, we moved the boat to the Buckhorn lock,

IMG_2306and got a spot with power, there is a 2 day limit at the lock, so we need to move on Tuesday. On Sunday afternoon, Brian and Helen stopped by as they were going to the nearby strawberry farm.  Helen brought us a pint of fresh strawberries and they were amazingly fresh and sweet, we enjoyed them after the Chinese food that we had ordered from Cody Inn, a nice treat.  I gave my computer to Brian to take back to Bancroft, to see if it could be repaired, I have a new computer waiting for me in Winnipeg, that I had bought myself  earlier in the year-  I hadn’t brought it along, as who needs 2 computers.

On Monday morning we walked over to the Hardware store so that I could buy a get well card to send to my Mom.IMG_2308

The weather here has been consistently over 30 every day with very little air movement.  Thank goodness for power and air conditioning.   We met another member of AGLCA at the locks on Monday, Wayne, the iceman, and Lori from Ingersoll. We had a good visit with them and learned that it wasn’t as difficult as we had previously been told to go from Manitoulin Island to Tobermoray. I called one of my sister’s for an update on Mom, and was given a number at the nurse’s station where I could call to talk to her.   At about 1:30 on Tuesday we left the lock, as our 48 hours was up.  We went out to anchor near the point, to again try the new anchor and bridle system.  All went well, and Andy pulled out the fishing rod to try his luck.  About 15 minutes later, some very dark clouds appeared on the horizon followed by some thunder and lightning. Very soon after that it started to pour and the winds picked up creating whitecaps on the lake that earlier was flat like glass.  We both got soaked.  Andy went to the front of the boat to see if the anchor was holding, as it was raining so hard, we couldn’t tell where we were, and weren’t sure if the anchor was dragging.  On his way back to the lower helm, high gusts of  wind blew his prescription glasses, along with the chain that was there to hold them right off his head  several feet up in the air and then into the water.  Andy said to pull up the anchor, and it came up with about 20 lbs of weeds.   We turned toward Buckhorn Yacht harbour and were directed to tie up in a vacant slip.  By now the storm had passed. On Wednesday morning, we got a text from the Electronics tech that he wasn’t able to come to do the additional repairs, so we continue to wait.  I’ve been tempted to rename our boat- “Electrically cursed”, we have now been here for almost two weeks and have moved a total of about 60 Km- not the way I had envisioned our first 2 weeks of vacation.  With the absence of the electronics techs, that gave the BYH techs the opportunity to do some additional checking of our batteries, as well as changing some belts on the engines.  We drove the 85 Km up to Bancroft to visit with Brian and Helen again.  We wanted to pick up a few items at the drug store and hardware store.  Had a lovely lunch and visit, as well as washing a couple of loads of clothes.  We wanted to be back in Buckhorn by 3:00, just in case we needed to move the boat out of the borrowed slip and back to the loading dock.

We ordered Pizza for supper, as it is too hot to cook. On Thursday morning we heard back from the electronics technician and he won’t be able to come to our boat until Tuesday July 14th.  We talked to Peter at Buckhorn, and decided to go back to the lock wall for the next two days while it is going to be in the high 30’s so that we would have power. We moored next to this picnic table, one of the lock attendants had made it from some of the old lock wall boards that had recently been replaced.  A very solid table!


We spent most of the day indoors, working on a few little projects and cleaning up.    That evening 4 boatloads of kids came to the lock after it closed and used it as their swimming pool—I heard one of them say that the water was 84F.

IMG_2315At one point Andy had the bright idea that we should try to plug his mask directly into the inverter using an extension cord, and it seemed to work.  We then decided that rather than waiting around for the electronics tech to come to us, that we would go to him in Penetanguishene. Later Friday afternoon, Brian brought me what was left of my laptop—the Hard drive, which was now encased in a laptop hard disk drive enclosure.|He told me that my motherboard was completely fried.  I attached my old Hard drive through a USB cable to Andy’s laptop and after a 20 minute uploading exercise, was able to see my files and picture.  What a relief that everything was still accessible.  Once we’re home in the fall I will transfer the important files and pictures to the new laptop.

 We decided that we would leave on Saturday morning on our journey to Georgian Bay– we were up at 5:30 and left Buckhorn lock by 6:30 headed for Bobcaygeon.  We were there for the first lock up at 9:00, and were through by 9:25.  It was very overcast with some dark clouds.  This was our first lock of the year, with the new “no touch” rules from the Park’s Canada attendants.  Andy drove into the locks from the lower helm, and grabbed a cable near the mid-ship, whereas I stood on the back swim platform and secured the stern.   Once we had locked through I would go up to the upper helm and turn on the keys so that Andy could switch to driving from above.  It seemed to work well.  Our next lock was Fenlon Falls, and again no issues—because the weather wasn’t the greatest, we seemed to be the only ones moving on the water. Since the US-Canada border is closed, there are no Americans or Loopers on the canals yet.  Part way across Cameron Lake enroute to Rosedale Lock, the skies opened and it was raining so hard- you couldn’t see very far ahead.IMG_2317

  Once we got to the lock, we were going to pull to the side and tie up, but the lock attendants had the lock open and were dressed in rain gear, so we felt obliged to go through.  We continued on and were through Kirkfield at 2:00 with more rain, entering Bolsover I had fully extended my boat hook to grab the cable when the wind started to pick up, and I   somehow got the handle stuck in the stairs down to the swim platform, making a huge bend in the handle.  Oops- at least I didn’t lose it overboard, like other years.  We were out of this lock by 3:05, Talbot at 3:45 and were at the top of Portage by 4:00.  Six locks and 59 miles were enough for our first day.    We had a peaceful night as the only residents of Portage lock #39. IMG_2319

Andy was able to make a shorter but useful boathook out of the mangled piece of aluminum that I gave him.

On Sunday, we proceeded through locks 39, 40 and 41,IMG_2320

and reached Lake Simcoe at 10:25, we then had the 15 miles to navigate before reaching the Atherby Narrows and Orillia.  We continued on and crossed Lake Couchiching, and arrived at the CN railway bridge by 1:20.  We honked the horn, and the bridge attendant was out almost immediately, and we were through the bridge within 5 minutes.  This was by far the quickest we have ever been through this bridge.  Must not have been any trains in the area, as we have waited more than an hour on other occasions to get through.    We stopped and tied up for a lunch break at Couchiching lock, and proceeded through the lock by 2:45.  We arrived at Swift Rapids at 4:45, and decided to stay on top for the night. We had gone through 4 locks and travelled 44 miles.   We were visited on numerous occasions by a flock (about 25) Canada geese that came out of the water to eat the grass.  I chased them, Andy chased them as well as a person that was fishing—they are such messy creatures, leaving droppings everywhere. 


On Monday morning, we were sitting on the Blue line and ready to go at 9:00, when the Parks Canada crew arrived, they come in by boat, as this is a very isolated lock station.  In this lock which is a 47 foot drop, I tied onto the bollard, and Andy tied onto a cable.  All went smoothly and we were out by 9:25.   We arrived at the Big Chute Railway at 10:20, and had to wait for a work barge to go down the chute first, before it was our turn.

IMG_2323While in the lock one of the lock attendants mentioned that it looked like our starboard prop had a ding on it.  We were out of the Chute by 10:55, headed for Port Severn.  There were some dark clouds, and the wind was picking up.  At Port Severn we tied up on the grey wall, so Andy could check with the lockmaster whether a port of starboard tie was preferred.  He said it was up to us.  Andy was unsure because of the direction of the wind, it we would be able to hang on to our preferred starboard tie.  We decided to try it as  our dinghy impedes us doing a Port tie-  it’s not impossible , but I would need to be standing under the dinghy when I’m trying to grab a cable.    Our starboard attempt was successful, as the wind had died down slightly and we were out of Port Severn lock by 12:20 and into Georgian Bay.  Once in the Bay we had 2 to 3 foot waves


out in the open water, these decreased to less than 2 foot waves once we were south of Beausoleil Island.  We entered Penetang Bay and were tied up at Harbour West Marina by 2:10.    In total we had gone 28 miles today, with 12 miles of it on Georgian Bay.  The plan is for the electronic technician to work inside the boat for the next day of two, and if the weather is nice we will do some cleaning on the outside of the boat, so that we are not in the way.

We’ve been to Penetanguishene in the past, as we bought our first boat, a 37 foot  Carver  from  here in 2009, and had it shipped to Winnipeg.  My garden on the boat is doing well, the tomato has lots of  flowers and a few very small tomatoes, likewise for the hot pepper.  Hope my garden in Winnipeg is doing well too.IMG_2324

I will blog again, once  I know the status of what we are doing and where we are going, our Garmin In-Reach at this link, will indicate where we are, or have been ( provided we remember to turn it on while we are moving.) password T&A2019