Monthly Archives: July 2021

Moving in the thirty thousand islands

We heard back from Brian, and will return to Penatang on August 9th.  So, we left around 10 am and cruised over to Victoria Harbour for fuel and a pump out, we left there shortly after 12:15.  As it was Friday the waterways were fairly busy, with lots of boats moving in all directions.  We had decided to cruise by Beausoleil island and head up the Musquash channel to Longuissa Bay.  We arrived there by about 2:30. There were several other boats in the bay, we picked our spot and dropped the hook. 

It was very calm and peaceful, I read a little and went for a swim.  We had originally thought we would go to another anchorage on Saturday, but because rain was in the forecast, we decided to stay put.  We did some cleaning on the fly bridge and also in the aft bathroom.  In the afternoon, it appeared that we were dragging the anchor slightly, so we repositioned it.  Late afternoon the winds picked up and were 30 gusting to 50, we were swinging constantly on the anchor, there was a tornado warning out for Huron county, but that wasn’t close to our position.  Because of the rain and wind, our MIFI wouldn’t work, and getting additional weather on the phone was also spotty.  We learned the wind would die down by midnight, so we decided to stay up to monitor our position.   At the same time, we were once again getting strange Low voltage messages on the boat electronics screens, making us think we were running out of power again.   We went to bed after 12:30, and slept lightly listening to the howling winds.  In the morning, around 9, we fired up the generator for an hour to charge up our batteries.  We left the anchorage shortly after 10 and headed back to the musquash channel and then the monument channel. We went through Indian Harbour,

surveying it as a possible place to stop on our return trip. We decided to go as far as Henry’s Fish Restaurant for supper and the night with shore power.  We arrived there shortly after 2:00, checked in and went for ice cream.

On Monday we left at 8:45 and travelled east to Massasauga Park.  We checked out a couple of potential anchorages and then toured Port Rawson Bay. This bay is a designated overnight space. 

We travelled around the bay and found over 10 other boats already anchored in various places.   Some were tied to shore, which was something I wasn’t going to do, as this park is home to the Massasauga rattlers.  We ended up on the west side of Port Rawson Bay, anchoring at 11:20. 

We spent the afternoon reading, cleaning and swimming.

When I retired, some of my co-workers from our IT department had given me a Momentum  dive watch with a purple wristband, this watch is  good to 660 feet, I didn’t wear it swimming, but it has accompanied me on this trip. I still love the watch!

  There were a couple of spots where people were camping, one was near us, and they spent a few hours in the evening hauling kids on a tube behind their boat—so lots of waves.   There were fish- but none liked what Andy had for offer on his hook.

On Tuesday morning we awoke to rain, and it continued on and off until 11:00 by noon it was sunny. 

We decided to leave at 1:00, and travelled back to the main channel.  We travelled about 3 hours towards Parry Sound, and ended up anchoring in Hale Bay.  We were near a couple of cottages, but no one seemed to be around.    No fish here either.

On Wednesday morning, it was fairly calm, so we left at 7:40 and headed north west.  We passed by this light with a nest on top.

We went by Snug Harbour and by Regatta Bay, a popular anchorage, where there were more than a dozen boats. We continued on and checked out a couple anchorages in Hopewell Bay off the Shawanaga Inlet passage.  We went by Pointe au Baril lighthouse and then went out into the bay to go through the Hangdog reef.  We stopped and anchored in a bay off Alexander Passage and had lunch, but the anchor wasn’t holding because of the wind.  We called Wright’s Marina in Britt, to see if they had transient space, since they did, we continued on. It was 16 miles to the marina, we arrived at 2:00.  Our charging issues continue, as rather than our state of charge increasing over the 5 hours of travelling, it actually went down slightly—it doesn’t make sense to either of us.  After checking in, the first item on my list was to do laundry, they only have 2 machines, I was able to fit what I needed washed into 3 loads, so was busy for the next couple of hours.

On Thursday morning, we woke up to rain again. I wish I could  send it back to Manitoba where rain is badly needed.  By 10:00 the sun had come out, as well as a light breeze. I worked on customizing the displays on Andy’s 4 Garmin engine screens, so that they all show the same information.  We then walked a mile to the grocery store and picked up a few items as well as Guinness.    On our way I saw a flower with multiple Monarch butterflies, but by the time I got my phone all but one were gone. 

I also noticed this patch of water lilies. 

On our return to the marina we stopped at Ice Cream on the Rocks shop and had our first Kawartha ice cream for the season.  We had ice cream on 2 other occasions, but it was Central Smith not Kawartha– there is a big difference! We returned to the boat and sat out on the deck until the winds picked up and drove us inside.  Around 7 PM, we had some thunder and a downpour.  Andy checked out the weather for the next few days and reviewed the charts for potential anchorages.    We met with Brook, who we had met on previous occasions here, and she suggested some of her favourite anchorages too. We hope to leave in the morning depending on the weather. Hope everyone has a great long weekend! Stay safe.

Boating requires patience-a week of issues and waiting

We left Orillia and after crossing Lake Couchiching, waited only a few minutes for the train bridge to open.  We then went through Couchiching lock and continued along the TSW.  There were lots of boats on the water going both ways, as it was a Saturday.  We continued and went through Swift Rapids around 2:00, we arrived at the top of the Big Chute shortly after 3:00.  We tied up, and then walked over to the marina Ice cream shop, the ice cream was cold but it wasn’t Kawartha. One of our dock mates was from Harbour West, and we told them that we would be there later in the week. They had a cat that posed for me as well.

   In the evening I saw a pontoon boat show up with a trailer on it as well as a couch.  The trailer with couch were pulled away with a car, and the pontoon boat left later.

  We played a couple games of cards and then went to sleep.

On Sunday we were in no hurry, so waited until the 3rd lockdown.  The second lockdown had about 15 kayakers.

  We got to Port Severn at 11:30, and there were about a dozen boats ahead of us.  It was about 4 lock downs before it became our turn, this is the smallest lock on the TSW, so limited capacity.  On our lockdown the boat that we were suppose to fit in beside ended up being wider, than they had told the lockmaster- so we had to stay at the back of the lock, rather than moving up to the front. They did fit in one more runabout type boat but instead of them tying to a cable- they were across the lock perpendicular to our boat.  One of the women on the boat had her boat hook up against our dinghy so they didn’t make contact with it. Oh, I guess there is a first time for everything.

Once we were out, we headed for Beausoleil Island, however we started getting strange messages on our chart plotter—Low input voltage to Radar, Panoptix disconnected, and then the engine monitors dimmed and we lost our VHF radio.

Andy called the marina in Penetanguishene, to see if they had a slip and if we could come immediately.  Bryn from the marina did some checking and called back to say there was an open slip for the remainder of the week.  We then headed there immediately, and arrived at 4:15. We were assigned to slip 102, at about 8:30 p.m. the slip holders returned to from their weekend away, so we moved over to slip 103.  In the morning Andy checked again with the marina staff and we were re assigned to 111.  That slip is vacant all week.

At about 9:30 our electronics technician and his dad showed up to assess some of our problems.  They realized that our batteries had not been connected correctly, so revised them.  They also realized that our starboard external regulator wasn’t functioning, so they replaced it with the spare one that we had.  A fuse was also required for our starboard battery monitor.  While in the engine room, coolant was found to be leaking.   Andy talked to Brian, a boater we had met at the big chute and he gave us some advice.  Andy wasn’t sure it something needed to be welded, but it ended up that all Andy had to do was tighten up the clamp on the hose and add another one.  In the afternoon the Garmin software was updated and the AIS was partially installed under the upper helm.  AIS stands for Automatic Identification System- it will allow us to see other boats on our electronics screen, and other boats will be able to see us.  The electronics technicians have other jobs to do, so will not be returning to our boat until later in the week- likely Thursday.

On Tuesday morning, Andy decided to check the house batteries to see if any of them needed water. He ended up adding almost 13 Liters of distilled water, we had assumed that BYH had serviced the batteries before putting us in the water, but this had obviously not happened.  This was likely another contributing factor to our electrical woes.  Following the batteries, we decided to change the oil in the two engines.  Andy had purchased an oil extraction pump in 2020, but didn’t have a chance to use it as our 2020 boating season was very short.  It took about 3 hours to do the two engines, which was a lot quicker than the handpump we had used in the past.  At about 1:30, a thunderstorm passed through the area, and we had several hours of rain.

On Wednesday we attempted to rent a car, but Midland had none available.  Andy was able to borrow a car from one of the marina employees, and we went in to Penetang to get some supplies.  I did some reading and cleaning.

We also worked on another project:  In our aft shower there was some cracks in the existing vinyl and what looked like a couple of screw tips coming through. I had cleaned the shower stall several times over the years, but there was always   some white flaking, which I now believe might just be soap scrum. We had cut some vinyl pieces to recover the shower stall, so began fitting and affixing them using a spray glue. 

On Thursday, the electronics tech was scheduled to return to the boat, he let us know that he was sick and wouldn’t be coming. Later in the day, he said texted to say that he wasn’t well enough to work Friday either.  He proposed that we use Team viewer and contact Norland for help to set up our electronics.  This is way beyond our computer and knowledge capabilities, so we said that we couldn’t do it.

Thursday, we continued with the shower project, as well as added the dinghy collar that I had sewn over the winter using canvas stuffed with the buoyancy material that I had taken from old lifejackets.  

  We’ll test it out sometime later in the summer. I’ve also included a picture of my fender covers that I had made, they all seem to fit except the ones that I had made for our white fenders.  I must have measured incorrectly; they will have to go back to Winnipeg to be altered.

  We started pulling out our paper charts to figure out where we wanted to go next. We did not plan sitting in a marina for days on end.  We hope to leave here Friday, and come back in a few weeks after spending some time at anchor.  We would like to test out our charging system to see if it is working properly.  We may venture as far as Killarney, with a stop in Britt for laundry.  Sorry Mike, going to Owen sound is likely not in the cards, without our navigational systems working properly.  Our proposal for the electronics tech, is to return here in about 2 weeks to finally complete the navigational deficiencies, before heading back down the TSW.

Friday morning, I watched these swallows in their nest attached to a rafter of the shower house here at Harbour west.  I think there is at least 4 birds in the very small nest, but it seems that only 3 can put their heads at the edge to be fed.

We hope to leave Harbour West before noon, but will depend on the electronics tech’s answer to our proposal.

Moving on the Trent Severn Waterway

We left at 5:30 on July 10th and were in Wawa by 7:00, only stopping in Dryden and Nipigon for gas.  On Sunday morning we left Wawa at 6:45, and stopped in Sault St Marie at 9:00 for gas and at 3:15 in North Bay for gas.  Our route took us through Huntsville and then through a portion of Algonquin Park.  Algonquin Park must be full of moose, as we kept seeing this sign

—Maybe they got a deal on it only having the paint 24 KM  once and replicating it.   We arrived at Brian and Helen’s shortly after 6:00.  After supper, I got on the computer and applied for my Official Covid Immunization record of double vaccination- got the code and took a picture on my phone- – the official card will be mailed to us in Winnipeg sometime in the next month.

Early on Monday we made the trek to Buckhorn in order to unpack the car and then wait for the boat to be launched. 

The boat looked amazing, we had   couple of gouges filled and buffed out as well as some detailing done so the hull looked great. 

I had never been at the marina for launch day, as the boat was going down the ramp, watching from shore I noticed that the ropes weren’t out, nor were the fenders down- Oops!

Once we were in the water around 11:00, we had the water lines flushed out and all engines fired up.  There was an issue with the generator battery and it was taken off the boat to be charged up.  Andy also wanted a wash pump installed that used lake water, as well as an additional accumulator tank installed.  The priority was the wash pump installation, as well as the rear toilet that had been an issue in 2020. Once these two jobs were completed, we also realized and issue with the anchor light.  There seemed to be some broken wires, this job would be tackled on Tuesday morning.  We headed back to Bancroft, and after supper, did some reprovisioning.  It was a long day.

On Tuesday morning, when we got to the boat, we unpacked the car, and then move the boat to the gas dock so that we could top up our fuel.  Since I could not bring the tomato that I had started to the boat, because of lack of space on our 22 hour trek.  It could only have come if it had sat on my lap and that wasn’t going to happen.  However Helen had a cherry tomato plant in a pot that she offered me.  Here it is bungied to our boat.

We also needed to exchange a propane tank.  Around 10:30 the technician came and between him and Andy were able to re wire the anchor light, he also returned the generator battery and checked that it was working.  Once this was completed, we untied and moved to Buckhorn Lock #31 and tied up.  Late afternoon, I walked to the Foodland store for a couple of items.  Quite the adventure—they were paving the main highway coming in and I had to walk across the new HOT asphalt.  I did my grocery shopping and leaving the store it was pouring out.  I loved it – it’s been a long time since I had experienced a downpour, as we are having a drought in Winnipeg.  Being a former girl guide, I was prepared with an umbrella, but was soaked to the skin by the time I got to the boat.  We spent the rest of the day unpacking and putting stuff away.

On Wednesday morning we left Buckhorn just before 8:00 and headed for the locks of Bobcaygeon, Fenlon Falls and then on to Rosedale. 

We decided to spent the night there.  Our friends Julie and Glenn from Balsam Lake stopped by for a short visit and a drink.  We met some new people who had some questions about the great loop.  We had drinks with them as well, and they brought us a pizza that they had cooked in an outdoor propane pizza oven.  It was very tasty.  There are banners up as the TSW is celebrating it’s 101 years of operation, last year didn’t really allow for any kind of celebration so it was bumped to this year.

On Thursday we left Rosedale around 8 30, we had been told that there were issues with the Kirk field lift lock, and that locking would be about every hour and a half.   We arrived there at 10:15 and went into the lock

but were not locked up until the other two boats that we had met at Rosedale arrived.  We were through the lock by 11:30.   We then went on to Bolsover, Talbot, and Portage.  We knew that a storm was brewing and that Lake Simcoe was going to be ugly- so we wanted to be tied up securely, we ended up doing one more lock and were through Thorah by 14:20.  We wanted to be on the bottom of the dam for some protection from the winds.

We were just tied up when the first drops of rain fell, shortly after that at about 10-minute intervals we had severe weather alerts coming over our phones telling us to seek shelter, as high winds, thunder, and rain along with funnel clouds were anticipated.  So, we put some extra ropes on the boat, we had winds and it poured for a couple hours.  At some point there was a tornado in Barrie which was about 18 miles from our location.  The worst of the storm was to the north of us.  We spent the evening playing Five crowns, a parting gift from our neighbours Dave and April in Winnipeg.

On Friday morning we left Thorah at 8:50 and travelled one mile to the next lock- Game bridge.  We went through it and then were out in Lake Simcoe for the 20-mile crossing to Orillia.  We were having some electrical charging issues, — Have I ever said these words before in this blog?  Of course, I have for almost 7 years- this issue never seems to get resolved.  We were in touch with the electrical technician in Penetang, and he gave us some things to try.  Once we were off Simcoe and on to Lake Couchiching, we decided to go to the port of Orillia marina and arrived before noon. We wanted to have shore power for the night to ensure all our batteries were charged up.  But our troubles did not end in Orillia as we anticipated, we were assigned a bad power pedestal, which only worked intermittently, but we didn’t clue into this for a couple of hours.  We didn’t know what was happening our AC current needle was fluctuating, the inverter was putting out 50 Amps and our battery charge was continuing to go down.  This shouldn’t have been happening- typically with shore power the battery charge goes up. Finally, we asked the marina to check the pedestal, and was told that indeed it was not working.  Great—we are not going mad!  We still have some charging issues, but after switching to another pedestal the battery power went up to 100% in a couple of hours.   Around noon I saw a rainbow type ring around the sun- maybe this phenomenon was the cause of our issues. Definitely weird, there was a second rainbow ring, but I didn’t capture it in this picture.

 I took a walk to Metro and picked up some groceries—I also stopped at Wilkie’s bakery for some Chelsea buns. The street was decorated with Peace sign, just like this one.

   We had a short visit with our friends from the Rosedale lock, as they are at this marina farther down the dock from us.

We will leave Orillia in the next hour or two and head closer to Georgian Bay, so that we are in Penatanguishene for Tuesday.

Starting Late: Winnipeg update and our 2021 plans

It’s been a long ten months of staying fairly close to home, with very few visitors. We did have 2 people over for Thanksgiving dinner, but all other holidays and celebrations there was just the two of us.   We did participate in some Zoom calls to at least see some other faces.  In November I officially retired from the Canadian Grain Commission after 31 years.  My retirement party was hosted on WebEx- there were about 50 people logged on and several people spoke about my career.  It was not the way I had envisioned my last day of work to be.  But I am grateful to now be retired.

I have been occupying my time by making masks,

doing puzzles or learning French on-line and reading for book club, as there is only so much bad TV that a person can watch.  We also did some house improvements, including painting most of the main floor, laundry room and the two upper floor bathrooms, and spare room. We selected mainly grey tones, except for my bathroom, which had to be a shade of purple.

We had a fairly mild winter, and it actually rained on December 10th, the little bit of snow we had came later.  In early March I started planting seeds for my garden, this included about 30 tomato plants, peppers and some herbs. 

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Our snow was gone relatively quickly, and we had some warm weather starting in April, I had 7 yards of soil delivered to supplement my garden and for reseeding the lawns, and that kept me busy for a few days. No we have not been invaded by Moles!

In early May Andy started to revise the waterfall for the fish pond, here’s what it looks like now, we moved the lighthouse, and it looks great there too- hiding our pond filter.

I planted my garden in May and all seemed to be growing well, however the cutworms really liked my carrots, beets, cucumbers and some of the peppers- so many of them were lost.  I also had to deal with a couple of bunnies who came to the garden to eat. Fortunately, they didn’t like the asparagus, so I was rewarded with several asparagus’ meals in early May.    The weather has not been cooperating, we have had almost 6 weeks of hot dry weather with very little rain, causing a lot of brown grass and cracks in the garden. 

In early June our neighbour put up a chain link fence between our properties, as well as across the back of both his and our yard. 

I’m hoping this may keep the deer out of the yard and garden, but because it is only 5 feet high—I’ve been told that it can be easily jumped. It definitely won’t be a bunny barrier as I think the bunnies live under our shed, and I’ve already seen them leave the yard through the chain link gate.

We both have had our two Covid shots, I got my second shot on June 27th in Swan River, as by the time I was eligible they were booking into mid July here in Winnipeg.  We left for Swan River early that morning as it is about 500 Km away, and drove back late afternoon.  Restrictions at the time did not allow us to stay overnight with family.  We did however visit with my 2 sisters and mother at my sister’s place, while we had lunch. 

It was a good visit but short- I hadn’t seen them since the previous August, my mother is now 91 and has deteriorated since that visit.

Since travel is not recommended until 14 days after the second shot- we have been waiting and gather things for our trip.  With the MB-ON border open again we are embarking on our 22 hour road trip East tomorrow– July 10th and hope to have the boat in the water by July 13th.    Similar to last year, we have a date with the electronics technician in Penetanguishene to complete our electronics upgrades that was started in 2019.  So, this will be our first destination.  We hope to spend a few weeks on Georgian Bay and possibly the North Channel before heading back to the Trent Severn waterway.   Our plans are very fluid, we learned last year that they can changed at a moment’s notice or by a doctor’s phone call.  Our travels can be followed using our in-reach tracks on Map share using this link: and password: T&A2019.    I will attempt to blog an update on a weekly basis or whenever something exciting happens.