Monthly Archives: September 2021

Change of plans…heading home

We left the Campbellford town docks just before 10:00 and headed for the Campbellford lock.  We weren’t looking forward to it, as it is a mandatory PORT tie when locking up, which is not our side of choice. Andy drives on the starboard side, as well our dinghy sticks out on the back on the port side.  It was windy, and we were blown towards the starboard wall, but Andy was able to bring us back to the Port side to tie off.  Following Campbellford lock, we next went through Crowe Bay and then on the Healey #15- which was also a Port tie, we went through it with no issues. It was then on to the flight lock of 16 and 17.  When we got out of 17, it was starting to rain and was quite windy, so we decided to tie up at 1:00. So, 5 locks and 5.5 miles.

  In late afternoon, my sister Maxine called to let me know that Mom had been admitted to hospital and likely wouldn’t be coming out.  We decided that we would try to get back to Buckhorn as quickly as we could- but it was 13 locks away.  Luckily it was the weekend, and lock hours are 9 to 4:30.  When we got up Saturday morning, we were quite fogged in at Lock 17, within 30 minutes, it was starting to lift, so we fired up and left shortly after 7:00.  

Prior to reaching Trent River, I could see something fairly big swimming in the water- I didn’t think it was people, it was in fact 2 deer. 

As we approached their location, in the channel, they got disoriented and started swimming back to where they had come from.  Not sure if they made it back to shore, but I hope so.  When we went for dinner with the Sharpes, they told us that their property had a large light house near their dock.  I think this is likely it.

We arrived in Hasting after 9:00, and were through the lock and swing bridge by 9:40, we then had to go across Rice Lake and down the Otonabee river towards Peterborough, we went through Scotts Mill shortly after 2:00, followed by Ashburnham at 2:30 and the lift lock at 2:50, we continued on to Nassau Mills, which we had planned to stay at.  We were told at the lock that we had to continue on to the top of Otonabee Lock 23, as they were going to be dropping the water between 23 and 24 overnight.  It was a windy day, and there was a strong current, due partly to the excessive rain earlier in the week.  We were tied up at Otonabee by 4:30.  

We had gone through 6 locks for the day and 54.5 miles, a long day for us! 

On Sunday we left Otonabee and 8:30, so that we would be at Douro when it opened at 9:00.  We were though by 9:40. When we got to the next lock Sawer Creek, we were told by the locking staff, that after Monday some of the locks would be shutting down from Tuesday to Friday, so that the excess water could be circulated throughout the system.  Thankfully we were on the move, so this wouldn’t affect us.   Here’s a picture of the effect of the current on the markers.

We were through Sawer by 10:00, followed by Lakefield at 10:30, I left my boat tomato which still had about 30 green tomatoes and flowers, with the lockmaster there, as she has a garden at the lock, and shares the produce with boaters.  We made it through Young’s Point at 11:30, and I saw these lovely flowers in a yard near the lock. 

We were through Burleigh Falls at 12:40 and Lovesick by 1:05.  It was still very windy, and there were some dark clouds over Lower Buckhorn Lake. 

Saw this wind surfer there. 

  It was on to Buckhorn – our last lock for the year

and were through by 2:00 and tied up on the wall with power by 2:10. Two very long days of wind and currents.

On Monday morning, we woke up to rain, which started shortly after 4 a.m., once it stopped, we moved the boat from the Lock to Buckhorn Yacht harbour marina, and tied up at the ramp.  Andy spoke to Peter, and set up a meeting for Tuesday morning.  We decided to drive to Bobcaygeon, so that I could do some laundry.    While at the laundromat, I received a text from my sister that my mother had peacefully passed away.   Once we got back to the boat, we started packing and cleaning up.  For dinner we ordered pizza, and then started loading up the car.  By 10:00 a.m. Tuesday, we were ready to pull out.  Andy drove  685 KM going via Orillia, Parry Sound, Sudbury, and we arrived in Sault Ste. Marie by 6:30.  We encountered several areas where there was road construction and only one lane of traffic so we had to wait. I did hear from my sisters and Mom’s service is tentatively set for October 8th, so we don’t have to rush up to Swan River once we get back to Winnipeg. A tough few days!

We woke up early and were on the road before 7:00, skirting around Lake Superior.  Here’s a shot of the lake from Katherine Cove. 

We did see a black bear later beside the road, but I wasn’t quick enough with the camera.  We stopped in Thunder Bay for gas and then continued on to Fort Frances, to spend the night with Andy’s sister Elaine and her husband Dave. 

After breakfast on Thursday, it was back in the car for the last segment of the trip, we arrived home by 2:30.  It was nice to be home.  After unpacking the car, I went out to my garden and started to pull some weeds.  We then went through 2 ½ months of mail.  I visited with the neighbors, and asked about the strange boxes in our front yard. 

The holes were all dug, in order to run fibre optic cable through the neighborhood and into individual houses.  Interesting! 

We travelled up to Swan River for Mom’s graveside service which was held on October 8th, with Covid restrictions we limited it to family only. I think that ,were 28 people in attendance. I was given the honour of giving the Eulogy.

Following the service, my nephew Chris hosted family members for a BBQ and gathering in his machine shop at his farm.  At table was set up with memorabilia about Mom. ( Some pictures from this celebration of Mom’s life will appear in my blog book)

Since it was Thanksgiving weekend, we stayed for a couple more days and celebrated with the family.

Our slow return to the TSW

We left Prescott at 8:40 and passed the Prescott Canadian Coast guard station,

even for Lake Winnipeg, this is the communication centre- quite a distance.

We made our way up the St. Lawrence against the current, at times were going less than 6 mph.  We met a couple of lakers and saw a boat anchored, with people diving. 

We arrived at Hill Island at 12:45, and approached one of the finger docks. 

As we approached, I could see that we were churning up silt, and it looked shallow—I asked a boater on the dock and was told there was about 5 feet of water.  We tied up, and when I checked the depth with a measuring tape, we actually had just over 5 feet of water.   

We had gone a total of 32.5 miles for the day.  We had decided to stay here for the weekend, as it was one of the few islands that allowed us to run our generator, which was a must, until the remainder of our repairs were done.  On the island there was an old stone picnic area,

as well as another structure that was accessible by a short bridge- not sure what its purpose was—maybe only a lookout. 

On Friday, Saturday and Sunday night there was a campfire in the fire pit on shore.  We met most of our dock mates at the fire, Guylaine and Norm as well as Richard from Montreal, Nicole and Paul from Ottawa and Mark from Kingston. 

On Saturday we were invited on an afternoon 5 KM walk to the 1000 islands Skydeck. 

On the way we passed by the coast guard station- however it is only operated seasonally until labour day weekend. 

We saw some wildlife- two garter snakes, deer as well as this cute little porcupine climbing up a tree. 

The previous night a skunk had been spotted near the washrooms, but he must have left the area, as he wasn’t spotted again.

On Saturday night, it was a bit windy, but we were fairly protected at the docks.  On Sunday morning, one of the boats left and was replaced by a sailboat, which had 3 poodles on it. 

Our dock mate Guylaine, showed me her propane coffee maker—I will be asking Santa for one of these gizmos- as after the fridge, making coffee is one of the biggest power draws on the boat.

On Monday morning, we left Hill Island around 10:00 and motored over to the dock at the Ivy Restaurant, where we were meeting Karl with the required parts to improve our electrical charging system.

Between noon and 3, Karl installed a new battery switch, a temperature sensor, and an automatic charging relay with start isolation, as well as a fuse for our solar panel. 

He also removed our two isolators, as they were no longer needed. Karl recommends that we get add another 500W of solar panels to ensure we always have power to meet our requirements.   With the new additions, Karl figures that if we run about 3 hours a day or use the generator our batteries will always be topped up.  So now we broke this rule– when we were finished, we moved the 2 miles to Mulcaster island and tied up.

We noticed in the evening that our house battery voltage was low.  Karl was contacted- he said that we should put the generator on- but because we were at an island where this was not permitted- it wasn’t possible.  We turned everything we could off for the night including Andy’s CPAP machine, which caused him to sleep very little.  In the morning, we fired up the engines and slowly cruised back towards Hill Island, and then around Ivy Lea.  From the monitors we could see that everything was working and the batteries were being replenished.

We contacted Karl, after 10:00, and said we were satisfied and would be heading west.   A storm with strong winds, thunder and possible tornado was being predicted for our area, so we wanted to be tied up at a marina for the night.  We arrived at Commonwealth Basin in Kingston around 1:30, and tied up on the Breakwater wall. 

We had gone about 28.4 miles, and our battery state of charge was over 96%.   After showers at the marina, we went to an Irish pub for supper, and then walked to a grocery store for a few supplies.  We went to bed fairly early, as we were both tired from the night before, and we wanted to get some sleep before the storm front hit.  From about 10:30 until 2:00, winds were blowing from 40 gusting to 60, and we were banging against the dock.  Not much sleep to be had—at one point I could here something sliding across the bow, so went out and rescued two boat hooks that were being blown around.  Shortly before 2, the winds stopped completely, and fifteen minutes later the thunder lightning and rain began.  Another night for me with little sleep.  In the morning, we contacted Prinyer’s Cove marina, to see if they had room for the night.  We had heard very good things from several people about this small marina, and wanted to try it out.  We figured if we left a little later in the morning, it would give the swells on the lake to settle down a bit.  We left Kingston at 10:45, and travelled the 23.1 miles to the marina, arriving at about 1:30. 

It is a small place, and only has space for a couple of transient boats along a concrete dock.  We were the only boat there.  I used the afternoon to catch up on laundry ($2load) and relaxed in the hammock

and by reading my book in one of the lounge chairs. 

Very relaxing.  A very clean facility- the clubhouse has a toaster oven, microwave, Keurig coffee machine, couch, table and chairs, with burgees adorning the walls.  

Very inviting.  We will definitely add this to our list of favourite stops. 

On Thursday morning, we got up early hoping to leave by 8- however we were fogged in. 

The fog began to lift around 9, and we pulled out at 9:45, the fog was dense in spots, but almost gone in others.  I stayed on the bow for the first half hour acting as a look out.   Within about an hour, the sun had come out and patches of blue sky could be seen.   We continued on and saw very little other boat traffic, with the exception of the Glenora ferries.    We arrived at Crates Marine in Belleville at 2:10 having gone 37.7 miles, and filled up with diesel.  Once we were tied up, Andy contacted Brian and Helen, as they were in Belleville shopping.  They brought be the bed topper that I had ordered from Wayfair and shipped to them; Helen also replenished my book supply.  We went out for an early supper to Wimpy’s.  Once back on the boat, Andy and I caught up on some episodes of Coronation Street.

We left Crates Marina around 8:30, and headed towards Trenton, we arrived at Lock 1 shortly before 10:00. 

We locked through with two houseboat rentals, they dropped out after the first lock, so we were alone. Because of the shortened hours, and the fact that the summer students are done for the year, we had the same two locking staff for locks 3 through 6.  Once they opened the gates, the drove the short distance to the next lock to prepare it for us.  We arrived at Frankford at 1:40. Our favourite spot under the willow tree was taken, so we tied up further along the wall.  On Saturday morning we decided to stay an additional day.  We walked into town and stopped at the Hardware store, as well as Foodland for some supplies.  On our return to the boat, we stopped for Kawartha ice cream in the park.   In the early afternoon, a boat pulled up, with our friends Rick and Linda, who we had met at Frankford, several weeks ago, they were accompanied by their son and his girlfriend.  We spent some time at the picnic table under the willow tree filling them in on our excursion to the Thousand Islands. 

On Sunday we left Frankford lock shortly after 8:00, as we wanted to get to Glen Ross for the first lock up.  We were by ourselves for this lock, however for the remainder of the locks, we had another boat accompanying us.  We went through a total of 6 locks and 23.5 miles. I saw a number of swans in the marsh area. 

We arrived in Campbellford at 1:25.

Once we had registered, and had lunch, I started cleaning the floor in the salon.  My goal was to add a coat of Cetol gloss to ½ of the floor area, and to do the second ½ the following day once it was dry.   I had applied coat by 4:00, and then spent most of the next few hours outside.  After supper, we closed up the flybridge and went inside.  Shortly after 7:00, we heard a thud on the boat; initially we thought that something up top had fallen over.  Andy went outside to investigate, there was a 20 something man undoing the zipper to our flybridge.  Andy told him that he was trespassing.  Andy got up on the sundeck and pulled out a knife, which we keep handy, should we have an issue with our locking ropes. The man seeing the knife, left the boat.  Six of his friends had now approached the boat as well.  Somewhat intimidating!   Andy pulled out his phone and called 911.  The 7 men and two women dispersed in 3 vehicles.  Two officers from the OPP, came to the boat for a statement within about 15 minutes.  We told them what we knew—we weren’t hurt, nothing was taken, but we were frightened, they said they would patrol around town looking for the 3 cars we had described.  Neither of us slept well- listening for noises in case they came back. On Monday morning Andy reported the incident to the Campbellford Chamber of Commerce office, asking them if they could send the CCTV footage from the park and parking lot to the police.  Nancy, the administrator said that she would be refunding us for the mooring fees that we had paid, which was an unexpected gesture on her part.  Once she had left, we made a short trip to the grocery store for a few things, and then I started to Cetol the remainder of the floor.  

 We spent part of the afternoon reading on the sundeck, and then went for a short walk around town, we saw several of the polling stations,

as, today is election day in Canada.  On Tuesday morning, It looks like the political landscape changed very little.  We plan to stay at least one more day as there is rain in the forecast and then move to another lock along the TSW. 

We ended up staying in Campbellford until Friday morning, as there was continuous rain day and night on Wednesday and Thursday.  On Wednesday night we went out for dinner with the Sharpes- Steve and Dodi, who are the unofficial harbour hosts for Campbellford. We had met Steve on Monday, when he came to the polling station near our boat, and had seen our gold looper burgee. great loop in 2022.  They picked us up and we went to Capers restaurant.  I brought along my hardcover Blog books to show them some of what we had seen during our loop trip in 2015-16.   Steve shared this picture of our boat, that he had taken on Monday.

They own a Monk 36, which they keep at Victoria Harbour and are planning to do the   loop in 2022-23. We also had this early morning picture sent to us by Nancy from the chamber of commerce.

For most of the rest of Wednesday and Thursday, we both spent time on our computers, deleting files and re-organizing.   

Lake Ontario and the 1000 islands

We left at 9:30 and travelled through the flight lock at Raney Falls by 10:10, we then went through Hagues Reach, 10:45, Meyers 11:17. Percy Reach 11:45. Glen Ross at 1:10 and tied up at Frankford by 2:05.  We had gone through 6 locks in 4 ½ hours and had gone a total of 24 miles.   We tied up under a very large willow tree that provided shade from the hot sun.  A sailboat with Dave and his border collie Kona, showed up a little later and docked beside us. We visited with them, and I threw balls and sticks for Kona.  Two kayakers had tents set up on the opposite side of the lock.

On Tuesday morning, we decided to stay one more day in Frankford,

I trekked the mile into town to do a couple loads of laundry, and also popped into the Foodland to buy butter tarts.   Shortly after I returned a boat called Compromise, docked beside us.  We spent most of the afternoon visiting with Rick and Linda at the picnic table under the willow tree. 

As the day progressed many more boats from both directions tied up at the lock.  By the time the locks closed there were 7 of us.

  After dinner which was left over Chinese food, we walked with Rick and Linda to the campground near the lock for Kawartha ice cream. There was a bit of a breeze today, so the sun did not seem as hot as it was on Monday.  Since we are so close to Trenton, it is fairly common to have C-130 planes flying overhead.  We saw several during the day.

We left alone in the first lock on Wednesday, just after 9:15 and then went through Trent at 9:50, Batawa 10:10, Glen Miller 10:40. Sidney 11:05 and Trenton at 11:25.  We had gone through 6 locks in 2 hours, and just over 7.5 miles.  We tied up after the last lock and called Crates Marina in Bellville to book a slip for the night.  We arrive there around 2:00, filled up with fuel and went to our assigned slip.  We walked around the marina ground, and checked out their store, we bumped into Celine who we had met the previous week at Lock 15.  Their boat was at Crates having some upgrades and repairs done. Later in the afternoon, Andy wandered over to where their boat was sitting and chatted with Celine.  He invited them to share supper with us, as they were relegated to restaurants, as their boat was on land. 

We had an enjoyable evening getting to know them better.  One of the other boaters light the propane fire pit, which was very ornate.

On Thursday morning we left by 7:30 headed for Kingston.  We passed by Deseronto, the Glenora/ Adolphustown ferry

Picton Bay, Bath and then Amherst Island.  I took a couple pictures of the island and ferry for my friend Susan, who vacationed there many times. 

We arrived at Cedar Island, the first Parks Canada island in the Thousand Islands at 1:40.  We made it to the Thousand Islands again! 

We had help docking from the people in the slip next to us- Steve and Mary Parent.  When Andy went to shut down the engines- the Port engine would not stop—more trouble in paradise!.  Andy pulled his fail safe—string attached to the solenoid in order to stop the engine.  We had gone a total of 61 miles in about 6 hours- likely our longest day so far this summer, maybe the engines were not used to working that long.

On Friday morning, I did some cleaning in the boat.  At some point Andy tried to start the Port engine, and nothing happened.  The Starboard engine was similar.

Maybe we are going to have to change our permanent address to 1 Cedar Island, as without engines we will be stuck here. 

Later when the boaters next to us; Steve and Peter (who is an electrical engineer), where up they came over to help diagnose our problems.  They moved our generator battery to the become one of the starting batteries, but still not enough power to start the engine.  They then brought Steve’s generator battery over and booster cable to try to boost- still no luck.  Around noon, it was determined that both starter batteries were so drained down that we likely need two new starter batteries.  Steve called his marina which is only a few miles away, but they didn’t have any.  Steve, Peter and their wives were going into Kingston by dinghy, so they said they would bring back two starter batteries for us.  Andy gave them his credit card and money for a taxi, as they likely had to go to Canadian Tire.  These people were amazing- helping us out in this way.  They returned at about 5:30, and immediately installed the new and put the generator battery back.    Now we can leave the island. We ran the generator for a short time to ensure that the batteries were fully charged.  In the afternoon, Wayne in Prescott, had also suggested Karl- electrical technician in Ivy Lea who may be able to assess our issues.  We will likely stop to see him on our way to Prescott, in order to gain some peace of mind.

On Saturday morning, it was very calm as we left the docks at Cedar and proceeded east farther into the Thousand Islands, we had an appointment with Karl, at the Ivy Lea restaurant dock for sometime around noon. 

As we travelled, I was continually monitoring the voltage on the starter batteries using my Victron battery monitors, very soon I could see that there was a problem with the starboard engine having readings up around 17 Volts.  When we stopped at Ivy lea at 11:40, we could once again smell cooked batteries.  When Karl got on the boats, he checked a few things, and realized our main battery switch was not functioning, so changed the wiring there.  We thought that may resolve the issue, he told us to keep monitoring the batteries and record our findings.  We agreed to meet again the following week for a more thorough inspection.  Very soon after leaving as we headed to one of the islands we realized, that the starboard engine was still not behaving.  We tried a few of the islands, but all the docks were full.  We finally decided to anchor at Central Grenadier.  It was a calm sunny Saturday of the long weekend- there must have been over 60 boats anchored and many rafting together.  Once it became darker, many of the boats left, and there were less than ten boats anchored as well as those tied to the dock.  During the night the winds picked up, and we were rocking pretty good, before 7am, Andy said we should move the boat, as our anchor was dragging.  We did reposition, and just after we had, we noticed a boat leaving the docks, so we moved in and tied up.  

As the day progressed, the dock emptied, and some new boats came.  It was a very windy day, Andy contacted Karl, who said he would try to come out the 10 plus miles on his sea doo to look at our engines.  However, the wind didn’t really cease, so he wasn’t able to make it out on Sunday.   We stayed put, and continued to monitor our batteries, and frequently ran the generator to keep them charged up.  Finally later afternoon Monday, Karl arrived, and re-assessed our issue, it was determined that the external regulator that had been replaced in Penatang on July 19th, had been installed incorrectly, so it was not limiting how much power could be released to house batteries.  No wonder we needed 6 new house batteries in early August, and the 3 starter batteries.  Thank goodness, finally some good news.  I was truly wanting to leave this island!!

On Tuesday morning we left Grenadier Island at 8:30 for the 4-hour run to Prescott.   We passed by Dark Island- where Singer castle is located

and were overtaken by a laker, as well as met a tanker ship. 

It was a calm day, and we arrived in Prescott shortly after noon.  Just before the marina we saw a train with windmill parts

and then passed by the Prescott coast guard station

We tied up near Wayne and Roxanne’s boat, the marina was closed on Tuesday, as the staff had worked Monday.    In the afternoon, Roxanne took be for groceries and to the LCBO.  We had a great time and drank a fair bit of wine.  Andy made kebobs for supper.  This was the first night in awhile, that I had a good sleep- maybe it was the wine.

On Wednesday, Roxanne needed to go to Long Sault to check on their house, as they had been away for several days.    I tagged along, and was able to do some laundry while we were there.  Very lovely home on Moulinette Island formerly called island 17.  On our return to Prescott, we took the scenic route along the long sault parkway and county road 2 and she showed me where she had grown up in Ingleside, we stopped in Morrisburg for a few things, and also stopped at the Iroquois lock,

but unfortunately there was no traffic. I was being cautious with pictures because we were so close to the USA I didn’t want to incur roaming charges on my phone.  

 For dinner we went to a nearby patio for Irish food with Wayne and Roxanne. Over dinner Andy and Wayne discussed


When we were done dinner, Andy’s phone rang, and Harold and Mary Quinn Grigs from Brockville had just arrived at the marina, so that we could get a visit in with them as well.

  A very enjoyable day!   The plan is to reverse course in the morning and make our way back to the Thousand Islands.