Monthly Archives: August 2020

Vacation plans suspended.. 2020 was not a good year for boating

The rain and storming continued for most of the day Sunday, at one point Andy went out and added another rope .  We were happy to be tied up in Campbellford, and spent the day reading and playing cards.   A tornado was reported near Kingston, which isn’t that far away.  On Monday morning we walked over to No Frills when it opened at 8 am, to reprovision.  We  then pulled out of Campbellford and headed for the locks.  We were through the Ranney falls flight by 9:35, Hagues Reach by 10:05, Meyers at 10:40, Percy’s reach at 11:00, and Glen Ross by 12:45.  We arrived at Frankford by 1:30, tied up and connected to power.
On Tuesday, rain was predicted for most of the day so we made the decision to remain in Frankfort for the day, rather than locking through in the rain.  We were only 6 locks and 7.3 miles from Lake Ontario.

But everything was about to change– Andy spoke to his Dr. in Winnipeg, and it was suggested that we come home, so that he could  undergo some additional tests and see  a specialist, for some on-going issues that he had  been experiencing.  So we decided to suspend our vacation in the Thousand Islands and  return to our car in Buckhorn.  Luckily the rain had not materialized as yet, so we started the engines at 11:30, and reversed course, going through the same locks we had done the  previous day.  Here’s a shot from  our first lock- Glen Ross.

I saw a pair of Swans out in the marsh land.

Here’s a view of the suspension bridge and Campbellford water tower in the background.

We had made it back to Campbellford by 4:25, but decided to continue.  We made it through Crowe Bay, as well as the 3 locks at Healy Falls.  We were fortunate that the lock people knew we were on the move and had the locks ready for us.  The staff at Healey falls, stayed on a few minutes extra so that we could make it to the top of Lock 17.  We were tied up by 6:00.   We had gone 29.2 miles and 11 locks, on a day when we didn’t start until 11:30.


On Wednesday we woke up at 5:30, with the boat hitting against the dock, it was very windy.  Since we were at the top of Lock  17, we had a 15 mile trek to Hastings, which was our next lock. 

I saw this gull contently  sitting on the bollard, just before we untied.

We were mainly on the Trent River, as somewhat sheltered from the wind.  We arrived at Hastings before 9:00, and were through by 9:15, but had a small delay leaving, as the lock staff could not open the swing bridge, because a fire alarm had gone off in town, and the bridge was the only means to get the fire fighters and trucks to the fire.  Once  the swing bridge opened, we had the 37 mile crossing of Rice Lake and the Otonobee  River before the next lock.   The wind had decreased from  earlier in the morning, and the crossing went well.

Before we arrived at the Scotts Mills, I saw these Parks Canada employees adjusting the markers in the water.

We were at Scotts Mills lock at 1:40, and went through immediately, followed by Ashburnham, where we locked through with 3 other boats.  We  then proceeded to the lift lock and arrived  at 3:00,  We had to wait for the lock down of  boats from the top, including the tour boat, which we had seen the previous Wednesday.  Only one basin, continues to be used at this lock as the cylinder on the starboard tub, has been broken since the summer of 2019, and not yet repaired.   The 3 boats finally were able to enter the tub and tie off , but we were kept waiting as another boat was coming.  When this boat entered, it was caught by the wind, and came within inches of smashing into our port side.  I braced for impact where I was on the starboard swim platform, and thankfully I didn’t hear a crunch.  We were out of the lock by 4:00, and upon exiting were told that there likely wasn’t enough time to make Lakefield, so we would need to tie up at Nassau Mills.  We proceeded the 6.7 miles to this lock and were through and tied up by 5:00.  We had hoped to go farther, but the next 3 locks had dam construction underway, and mooring for the night was not allowed.  We had never stayed at Nassau Mills, so I took some pictures of the signage,

this Asiatic lily

and this squirrel, pulling food out of the garbage can.


In the morning, it was cool and there was a little fog near the surface of the water.


We proceeded the short distance to Lock 23- Otonabee.  Since we were the first in line, we proceeded into the front of the lock starboard side, with a houseboat behind us and a 30 foot cruiser on the port side. It was a very rough lock up,  both Andy and I struggled to keep the boat against the wall.  The water surging in continually was  pull us off the wall.  Somehow during  this ordeal, I scrapped  the skin off my right elbow on the slimy lock wall  as  the boat moved forwards, so I had blood running down my arm and rope.  Not a pretty sight!  As we left the lock, we asked the lockmaster if the boat order could somehow changed for the remaining set of locks.  In Lock 24 Duoro, the cruiser and house boat, both went on the port side, making locking easier for us, as we could now tie up farther back in the lock.  This same alignment continued in Lock 25 Sawer Creek and in Lock 26 Lakefield.   At this point the cruiser tied up, so just the houseboat and us continued on.  It was not yet noon, so we speculated  that we might be able to make Buckhorn before the end of the day.  Andy kept the speed to 10 mph, when we were not in a speed zone, and we were through, Youngs Point, Burleigh Falls, Lovesick  by 3:00.  Andy called the lock at Buckhorn to find out if there was any room on the lock wall for mooring, and was told that it was currently pretty full, but that there may be some movement with day tripper boats.  We arrived and went through  lock  by 3:45, Peter from BYH had texted Andy and said that he likely had a slip for us, which we assumed was on the gas dock.  But when we arrived, both the spaces there were already occupied.  While at the gas dock, we decided to have both waste tanks pumped out, just in case  we needed to have the boat pulled out of the water.   Peter came down and said that we were likely too tall for the slip that was available, so we should move the boat to the boat ramp space.  We were tied up there by 5:00.  A long day    another 8 locks, and we had gone almost 30 miles.  We decided to drive to Bobcaygeon, so that I could do laundry, so  items to could be just left on the boat, rather than taken to Winnipeg and returned.  We were back at  Buckhorn by 6:45, had supper, and then started sorting through stuff and packing.
In the morning, Andy brought the car near the dock, and started  filling the trunk and back seat.  We filled up the plug in  cooler with the items  from the deep freezer, and the smaller cooler with fruit and veggies for the trip, some of the perishable items, along with my tomato and pepper plants were given to Luke, one of the marina staff, as they wouldn’t survive the 22 hour ride back to Winnipeg. By 8:30, the car was almost packed, and the fridge had  been cleaned and defrosted.  Since there was no slip space, the decision was made to pull the boat and the large red trailer arrived  at 8:45.  At this point I was sad, not knowing if we would be back to continue boating this summer.  We will  make another trip back in the fall, even if it was to just  pack up the remaining stuff.    I had brought a few little sewing projects back with me- the chair cover, which needs a second strap , as well as  the dimensions so that I make some fender covers, and the old lifejackets that I want to use to make a collar for the dinghy. Hopefully I will have these items ready for our return trip.
We started our drive back to Winnipeg at 9:00, we  were stopped for almost 30 minutes at one point on the highway in the Muskoka’s as there was road work going on.  We continued on filling up with gas in Parry Sound and  Sault Ste. Marie, we made it to Wawa by 7:45 and stopped for the night.  In the morning, we were back on the road at 5:30, it was still dark for the first hour.  We stopped in Nipigon and Dryden for gas.  There were several stops because of road  and bridge construction,  and  there was lots of traffic.  We arrived home  Saturday night just before 5:00.  Another long day!  While we were away, Graham (Andy’s son) and Mike (Andy’s nephew) had re-done the floor in our kitchen  and front entrance.  The floor looks amazing!

On Sunday, I did some weeding in the garden, even though it has been very hot, and the grass hasn’t grown much, the garden has been consistently watered, so the weeds are thriving.
I continued with the weeding on Monday, working on the front flower beds, more of the garden as well as the back flower bed.  I’ve filled 4 compost bags, and pulled at least a hundred dill plants.  I dehydrated some of the dill and sent some fresh dill home with Graham.  Today I enjoyed fresh garden beans, courtesy of Erin, as well as home grown tomatoes and cucumbers.  You can’t beat fresh.  A good portion of my row of beets seem to be missing, likely eaten by the bunnies, so a planted a  few more seeds.


Andy put my pantry cupboard back together, so that I could put everything back,  it was emptied and taken apart in order to put the new flooring in.
Andy called his doctor this morning, to find out when he will be seeing the specialist– no appointment has been set as yet.  So maybe we didn’t have to rush back as quickly as we did. But then I wouldn’t have had the fresh produce from the garden nor been able to use my own computer instead of sharing.  Our house phone is going to remain suspended, as we are still hoping to return to Ontario in September.  Will blog again once I know more.

Vacation starting, as we move thru the Trent towards Lake Ontario

On Monday morning, Andy took the pump up to Peter to try and fix or order parts, we also requested that he order 2 complete Jabasco toilet repair kits, which we will need for our loop trip next year.   We then went to the hardware store for some vinyl tubing so that Andy could replace the line on our shower sump pump.  We also went to Foodland and did some reprovisioning.  In the evening we drove over to Lakefield to meet Wendy and Jim Coyle, they are the harbour hosts on Clear Lake- we had first met them in Delaware City in May of 2016, and had subsequently stayed at their dock for a few days in July of 2016.  We had loaned them some of our charts for the rivers, as they had not done that portion of the loop until last fall.  We had a lovely dinner on the patio of the Canoe & Paddle- I had a coconut chicken curry which was very tasty, and cracked canoe beer.

On Tuesday, we learned that our pump and toilet parts were on back order, with no timeline as to when they would be shipped.  We decided that we had already spent almost a month of our vacation with our electrical issues and didn’t want to wait for these parts, so we made the decision to start vacation, with only the one working head.  We spent part of the day washing the outside of the boat, removing more of the dirt and black streaks.   On Wednesday morning, we filled up with water, diesel and pumped out.

We moved on to the Buckhorn lock and were through by 9:53, we proceeded  to Lovesick, followed by Burleigh falls, Young’s Point and arrived at Lakefield- Lock 26 at 1:15.

We had gone through 4 locks and traveled a total of 22 miles.  We tied up on the long grey line above the lock, where there was only one other house boat.    We walked into town to the Foodland for a couple of items.  Around 5:00 we moved our boat to the blue line, as a group of 7 cruisers were coming in, and they wanted to be located together.

We later learned that these boaters were from Mitchell Bay, near Lake St. Clair—they had trucked their boats to Beaverton, on Lake Simcoe and were travelling as far as the Peterborough lift lock.    In the evening, some of the group came by, with questions about the Loop, as they had seen our gold looper flag.   We answered their questions, and many of them came aboard for a tour of our living space.    Andy also gave them a demo of the Moor Fast aka Happy Hooker boat hook.

In the morning, our boat, a boat going to Rice Lake, and three of the Mitchell Bay boats went into the lock.  We were told that the five of us would continue in this grouping until we reached Peterborough.

We were through Lock 26 by 9:35, followed by Sawer Creek at 10:00, Douro, at 10:27 and Otonabee at 10:55.  These three locks had dam construction going on, so had no places to tie up.   There were lots of wildflowers along the canal, especially these black-eyed Susans.

Our next lock was Nassau Mills and we were through it by 11:15.  All five of these locks were ready and waiting for us, so our transition had gone rather quickly.  We arrived at the lift lock at 11:55, but needed to wait for the  lift  coming up.

Here’s our view from the lock:

here’s a picture of the captain tied off,

We were through this lock by 12:45,



And then were on to Lock 20 at Ashburnham.  We had to tie up and wait again as a tour boat and some other vessels were scheduled to lock through shortly after 1:00 so the lock was set up and waiting for their arrival.

We were finally through by 1:55.  At this point our group of 5 had to break up, as this was the end of the line for 3 of the Mitchell Bay boats, and the Rice Lake boat was going to stop at the marina for fuel.   We continued on to Scotts Mills lock and were through by 2:15.   It had taken us 5 ¼ hours to go through 8 locks and travel 10 miles- a good workout!

We had originally thought that we would stay at Scotts mill  for the night, but this lock also had major construction happening on the dam portion of the lock, so we decided to continue on.  It was 37 miles to the next lock in Hastings;   we followed the Otonabee River, and then had to cross Rice Lake.  Our lock mates, that had gone to fill up on fuel, passed us before we reached the end of the river system.  Around 4:30, we called ahead to the Hastings  lock to let them know that we had planned to tie up on the grey wall, but wouldn’t be there before they closed for the day.  They agreed to leave a washroom key for us between a set of doors, so we would have access to the lock washroom.    It has been a sunny day, but black clouds were starting to build in the direction that we were headed. About 3 Km from Hastings, while we were in a relatively narrow marked channel, the wind started gusting.  Andy was having issues keeping the boat within the markers.  We arrived at Hastings at 6:00, with the winds still blowing quite hard.

A fellow boater assisted us with tying up.  About 15 minutes later the weather system had passed and we were able to bbq for supper.  I watched a fellow at a house near where we were parked, move his plants around into the sun, but as soon as it was dark, he moved them very near his house.

I also watched these black birds eat the berries on this tree, by morning very few of the berries were left.

On Friday, we moved over to  the blue line to lock through by 9:00,

the bridge was opened, and they let us into the lock, but we had to wait for another boat, so didn’t get through until 9:35.    We then had about a 14 mile run along the Trent River to get to the next lock, saw some more wildflowers  along the route.

At Healy there are 3 locks, the first two are in a flight, meaning you get out of the first one and go directly into the second, with a total drop of over 50 feet. Lock 15 is about 500 meters farther along the channel.  We were out of these three locks by 11:50.  We proceeded on to Crowe Bay locks, and were out by 12:25, following this we reached Lock 13- Campbellford and were through shortly after 1:00.

We had traveled about 20 miles and gone through 6 locks, another good day of locking, our only issue was in the Crowe Bay lock, where the wind was pushing us towards the port side of the lock, but Andy was able to back up and we were able to tie off on the second try.  We continued on to Old Mill Park, where we had booked a space on the wall for the weekend.

On other occasions when we had tied up here, both lock walls had been full—when we tied up there was only one other boat.  We tied up near the Trent Hills office, so that we would have strong internet, and be close to the washrooms, water and electricity.

After lunch we walked to the Stedman’s store and picked up a few things, we also walked over to the bakery, however they had just closed as it was after 3:00.  I mailed a card to my mother at the post office and we returned to the boat.  I had a nap, as  at one of the locks I had overstretched and  my lower back was acting up , this along  with all the sun from the morning   had tired me out.  We had a late supper and went to bed after 10:00, but I wasn’t able to sleep because of back pain.

Where did July go?  It’s hard to believe that it is now August 1st.  Andy made scones this morning, and I enjoyed them with peanut butter and the strawberry jam, that Helen had given me a few weeks ago. Around 11:00, Brian and Helen arrived from Bancroft for a visit; they had brought some small tomatoes and corn.  We walked over to the patio of the 52 North pub and grill, the patio overlooks the Trent Severn waterway.  I enjoyed a reuben sandwich and salad.  We visited a little at one of the picnic tables in the park.  Since it was a hot day the park was bustling with lots of groups playing games- something resembling cricket, flying drones, getting their pictures taken with the huge Toonie   or in front of our boat and having picnics.  It seemed that as one group vacated a picnic table or area, another group arrived.  It was busy in the park until 9:00.    Once again I had trouble sleeping in the bed, and spent the night in the salon, with my head and knees propped up with pillows.  I finally moved into the bedroom at about 4:30 and slept there until about 7:30.  I woke up to rain, and it has continued for most of the day.  There have been very few people in the park today, I saw one group come and start setting up their picnic, but it began pouring, so they packed up and left.

We plan to continue down the Trent starting tomorrow morning, and hope to make it to the Thousands islands and Brockville by next weekend.