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Waterlogged in Winnipeg– update and our 2022 plans

We survived a long cold winter with plenty of snow giving our snowblower a good workout.   Here’s a picture of our front yard in March

and our backyard on April 14th,

we had one more dump of snow a few days later during the Easter weekend.    To melt the huge piles of snow we had about 5 or 6 really nice days, but the weather has gone downhill from there.  We’ve been in a cycle where we may have one nice day a week, followed by 4 or 5 days of rain. A great deal of the farm land in Manitoba is under water, or too wet to take any heavy equipment on it.     Early in March I planted some tomatoes (about 50 of 7 different varieties) and peppers for my garden, but the half I didn’t give away are still residing in my living room.

  I attempted to till my garden on one of the “nice” days a week ago, however I got the tiller stuck, and needed my neighbor to help me get it out.  I tried tilling in another spot and got it stuck again, as well as myself—I was knee deep in mud and couldn’t move my feet, I had to take my shoes off and then use a shovel to find my shoes in the mud.  Not a pretty sight! 

Here’s what my garden and the newly formed lake in the back of my yard looks like…

There is a bright side, the fish in our pond appear to love the rain.

I will have a meal or two of asparagus in the next few days, as it doesn’t seem to be affected by all the rain. This spring has been very different from the drought we had a year ago, the grass is very green and long, as it is too wet to cut with the lawn mower.

Andy has had a number of doctors appointments in the past couple months, and a hip replacement followed by both knees are in the near future– likely later this fall.   We made the decision to sell our house and move into a single level living space.  We have put down a deposit on an apartment in a 50+ building that is under construction located on the corner of Bishop Grandin and River Road called The Pearl.

 Occupancy is expected sometime in late April 2023. We are moving from a 1700 sq ft house with a basement to an 1100 sq ft apartment, so I have started to seriously purge some of our possessions over the past couple of months.  It was give-away weekend in Winnipeg recently and a lot of stuff was left on the curb. 

On May 20th, we both got our second Covid booster shots, Andy had an appt scheduled for that day as the eligibility was for 70 plus and the shot had to be 6 months after your last shot.  It was announced the morning of the 20th, that eligibility was being changed to 50 plus and the shot could be given 4 months after the last shot.  I called the same pharmacy that Andy was going to and whined a little and was able to get a shot as well.  This made me extremely happy, I had checked into booking an appointment in Ontario, and it seemed pretty flawless, but now will not be necessary.

So, with our vaccines taken care of we plan to leave for Ontario early next week, as we would rather be ON the water than IN the water here in Manitoba.  We have neighbors checking our house and watering the garden- should it get planted and need water.  Andy was in touch with Buckhorn Marina and the boat will be launched on May 27th. The marina has a few jobs to complete including upgrade to the propane system for the stove, rebuild the hydraulic steering seal and the mounting of the 2 solar panels that I got for my birthday. We have also booked someone to take another look at our electronics installation from 2019, as some of the equipment still doesn’t work as expected.

  As for where we are going this summer- who knows…  We tentatively would like to take our time going down the Trent and then explore the Rideau canal to Ottawa.  We can either come back the same way, as we did in 2016 or go down the Ottawa River to Montreal and then come back via the St. Lawrence.  We are in no hurry and don’t plan to come back to Winnipeg until late September or early October. Alternatively Georgian Bay and the North Channel could be another boating option.  With the borders fully open this year, I would expect that we will see a lot more American boaters on the Loop.

Our travels can be followed using our in-reach tracks on Map share using this link:

and password is still: T&A2019.   I will attempt to blog on a weekly basis or whenever something exciting happens. My blog site name has changed slightly as I finally ran out of free space on the WordPress site, which I’ve used since 2015.  My site is now

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.

A hot week on the TSW, so we are moving very slowly

On August 20th, we moved back to the Buckhorn lock and paid to be connected to power for the weekend.  It was very hot.  We visited with the boaters who were tied up near us. 

On Sunday morning we left on the second lockdown, and went through Lovesick, Burleigh Falls and Youngs Point.  We tied up in Lakefield at 1:15 under some trees, but it was still very hot.  In the evening we played cards- euchre, skipbo and 5 crowns with our boating neighbours Brad and Debora, who live near Owen Sound.  We fired up the generator to cool the boat down, so we could play inside, as there were many bugs outside. On Monday morning we trekked into town at 7 am to the 24-hour Foodland to pick up a few things.  We left at 9 am locking through Lakefield, followed by Sawer Creek, Douro, Otonabee, Nassau Mills.

Just before the Peterborough Lift lock, we met two American looper boats- Moonshine and First light; they were the first loopers that we had seen in over a week.  With the boarder being closed, I think a lot of loopers have taken the Erie canal rather than coming through Canada.   We followed the Peterborough tour boat into the lift lock.  The ride down was only about 2 minutes.  We continued to follow the tour boat through the swing bridge and Lock 20 Ashburnham.  Once through we tied up for the night at 12:15   We had travelled about 9 miles, and gone through 7 locks.  Far enough on another day of excessive sun and humidity.   We had never stayed at this lock, and it had a nice little park with shade trees which we welcomed. On Tuesday morning we met some Canadian Platinum Loopers who were on their way to Midland, after spending time on the Rideau Canal.  We visited with them and then  left Lock 20 about 9:15 and  went the mile to lock 19, Scotts Mills.  We were through before 10 am, then it was about 40 miles down the Otonabee river and crossing of Rice Lake before we reached Hastings. 

We were tied up by 1:40. In the afternoon we went in search of ice cream, but both stores having ice cream were closed We decided to walk down to the grocery store where we picked up 1.5 L of Kawartha Pralines and cream- It survived the walk back to the boat without completely melting. 

On Wednesday morning at 7 am, I headed over to the Hastings laundromat, to do a few loads, with it being so hot, we are going though a lot of clothes.  On Thursday, Andy was at LCBO when it opened at 10:00 to pick up some cold beer.  We untied and moved to the blue line, so that we could lock through.  There were a couple boats being locked up, so it was around 11:00 before we were through.  We had decided that we were only going as far as Lock 15- lower Healey falls,

as we had heard that the “basin” there was a good place to go swimming.   After going through the flight locks 16 & 17, we arrived at our destination by 2:00.  After tying up on the grey wall we went to the lock station to check-in — we were given creamsicles, because my husband asked where the closest ice cream store was.   We then   donned bathing suits and went into the water. 

My thermometer on the boat was reading 45 as the outside temperature.  Way too hot!  We stayed in the water for about an hour, then went to sit under some shade trees and read our books. 

At 4:00, I found out how Ontario Hydro secures their site for the night, they use a ½ ton truck to pull the bridge into the open position so no one can cross the lock. At 5:30, two other boats joined us at this lock.  The couples were from Montreal, instead of dock tales, we visited while we were all waist deep in water- cooling off in the basin.   Our new boating friends are planning to do the great loop in the next year or two- so they had lots of questions. 

On Friday morning, when we got up it was only 19 C—which was great!  At 7:00 a.m., I watched the first Hydro employee move the bridge back into place, so the workers could cross to the dam. 

In order for boats to get into the lock, the dam staff, have to come back and move the bridge, so that boats can pass through.  We really enjoyed the stop at this lock- we had always passed it by, but will now stop here more frequently, this also had the cleanest bathroom, of all park facilities that I have used this summer. We were through the Healey lock by 9:15 and then it was off to Crowes Bay at 9:50 and Campbellford at 10:20. We were tied up at Old Mill Park in Campbellford by 10:40 having gone 5.2 miles.  There was a bit of a breeze, and it was pleasant, as the day progressed, the temperature rose to about 28.    We took a walk and checked out a couple of stores, we had planned to go to the bakery but there were about 10 people in line outside, so we passed.  We stopped by a food truck, and I got a chicken roti- with extra hot sauce nothing on the menu interested Andy.  On our way back to the boat we ran into our Montreal friends-they had docked on the other wall, and were only stopping for something to eat—they hoped to make it to Frankfort tonight, they left shortly after we had seen them, and waved as they passed us by.

I finished reading my book and then went for a shower, around 5 we walked over to the nearby grocery store for a few items.

On Saturday morning, Andy walked to the Canadian Tire and then to Duoors bakery for some fresh donuts.  I did some interior boat cleaning, and called one of my sisters to check-in.

 Around noon, Brian and Helen arrived, as we had a lunch date with them. 

We went to 52 North, and sat on the patio under a pear tree.  The tree was loaded with pears, and the wasps were swarming around.  Following lunch, we stopped at No frills for more bottled water, and then drove over to world’s finest chocolate outlet to buy some chocolate covered almonds. When we returned to the boat we sat outside and visited some more at a picnic table in the park while eating chocolate almonds.

On Sunday morning before 10 am, another looper boat came and docked in Old Mill Park.  The boat was Serenity II, owned by David and Susan Neilan from Kenora Ontario.  

We had met them back in 2019, when they came to our house in Winnipeg, to ask questions about the great loop.  They are returning to Victoria Harbour where they are keeping their boat for the winter, next year they will be starting the loop from there.   We had a thunderstorm blow through early afternoon with only a little rain, the temperature was still close to 30.      We stayed hunkered down inside with the air conditioning going, but lost power a couple of times, and had to wait for it to come back on.   Around 5:00 we met with Susan, David and Sam for docktails at the picnic table.

We had a great discussion about electrical issues and the best places to stay between here and the Thousand Islands, as David and Susan had visited the islands earlier in the summer.  Andy and I ordered dinner from Ming Star, so we didn’t have to cook.  We will be eating Chinese food for a couple of meals. Another thunderstorm passed through around 10 PM, coupled with more rain.

On Monday morning we walked over to no-frills for some fruit, and then started to make preparations for leaving Campbellford in order to get closer to Lake Ontario, and the Thousand Islands.

Gone back to the TSW

On Thursday, Brian sent a text that he wouldn’t be coming until afternoon.  We let the marina mechanic know that the boat was available to have the pump installed, but because they had seen Brian’s truck at his shop, they assumed he was on our boat.  At 11:30, Andy went up to see the mechanics, and learned this, so at about 1:30 we had 3 additional people doing work on the boat. 

The pump got installed, but when the generator was started up it still had a leak.  The pump was removed, and a portion of the old gasket was still adhering to the housing, and causing the leak.  Once this was removed and the coolant refilled the generator was again working.  Brian checked the battery bank connections and then worked on trying to get the RPM and voltage inputs to the new display screens, but had little success.  He returned Friday morning at 8:30 and tried again.  He was able to get some inputs, but they seem to be lots of fluctuation between the two engines.    He did finally put in our MMSI number, and finish the AIS setup.  He then proceeded to push the rat’s nest of wires back in the upper helm, and said he was done.  Andy was not pleased, but we were tired of this marina, and had already decided to leave.  So, by 10:45 we were pulling out of Harbour West, hopefully never to return.  We arrived at the Port Severn lock by noon, and waited for 3 locks before we were able to go through.  We were out by 2:00 and then off to the Chute, which we were through by 3:00.  We then proceeded to Swift Rapids, went through and were tied up to the lock wall by 4:45.  It was a hot day, at the lock there was a bit of a breeze, so it was bearable. 

I saw this sign at the lock- I don’t remember the warning about snakes in the past.

The weather is to cool down over the weekend- looking forward to it.  We left Swift Rapids shortly after 8:00, and were through Couchiching lock by 10:30.  We arrived at the CN Swing bridge at 10:35.  The bridge tender came out and told us that he was waiting for a train—it showed up at 11:05, a long train moving very slow.  The bridge was opened at 11:25, and we went through. Almost an hour wait!  We got out onto Lake Couchiching, and it was quite windy.   We arrived at the Port of Orillia shortly after 1:00.  We were meeting Andy’s cousin, Iain and his wife Teresa there. Iain had been on the boat in 2019 for about a week helping us get through locks.  They texted just after we arrived, so we went to meet them and sign in. 

We learned that on weekends visitors could not park in the marina parking lot or near the beach – as all spaces were reserved for “residents” of Orillia.  You could buy a $50 parking permit, or park elsewhere.  A lady, who was parked told us that too many non -residents were taking up the spots not allowing residents to use the facilities that their taxes were paying for. Definitely not the best way to encourage visitors to the city!  While I did laundry, Andy Teresa and Iain did some re-provisioning. We had a great visit on the sundeck, and had a wonderful supper. 

We played one game of 5 crowns with them after supper and then they had to leave for the 3-hour trip back to St. Mary’s.

On Sunday morning we left Port of Orillia at 8:00, and were off Lake Simcoe by 10:00. 

We then had the 5-lock marathon to do.  For all of the 5 locks we were with 3 pontoon boats and 2 express cruisers.   A tight fit, we were at the back on the starboard side.  Every lock was a very slow rise, we were in the first lock at 10:15 and out of the last one by 1:30.  In 3 ¼ hours we went 3.7 miles- WOW!

We then had a run across the infamous weedy Canal Lake, and a short distance in the narrow Trent canal before reaching Kirkfield lock.  In the Trent canal, we saw depths of less than 4 feet, and at one point we felt a bump.    We went through Kirkfield and were tied up by 2:45.  Andy tried fishing in the evening.

On Monday we left Kirkfield at 7:50, crossed Balsam Lake, and were through the Rosedale lock by 9:40, then it was on the Fenlon Falls and Bobcaygeon.  Going through Sturgeon Lake we came upon a number of small sail boats not sure if it was a Regatta or sailing lessons. 

We arrived at the Buckhorn Lock at 2:45 and tied up.  We read out books and enjoyed the sunshine.  In the evening we visited with some American loopers from Hudson Wisconsin.  They had crossed into Canada on August 9th.  They have been living on their boat for most of the last 5 years. 

On Tuesday morning, we left the lock at 8:00 to move the boat to Buckhorn Yacht harbour, for whatever reason the Port engine would not start, so we limped the ¾ of a mile using on the starboard engine. We were met by one of the staff and another boater who helped us to tie up. In the afternoon, we drove up to Peterborough to do some grocery shopping as well as pick up synthetic oil for the engines.  On returning we were happy to see that our solar panel had been added to the radar arch and the hydraulic steering issue had been diagnosed, and temporarily fixed.  On Wednesday, the solar panel was tied into our electrical system the accumulator tank was installed, and the Port engine starter battery was replaced. We didn’t want to be in the way, so jumped into the car and drove the 90 KM to Bancroft.  We went out to lunch with Brian and Helen, and had a good visit.  After leaving their place we drove over to visit Brian and Muriel and visited them for over an hour.  I was given pocket books from both Helen and Muriel, so I have lots to read over the next month. We went back to Buckhorn Yacht Harbour, with a wine stop at the LBCO.

On Thursday, Andy secured the accumulator tank with a strap and some tie wraps, so that it wouldn’t move in the forward bilge while we are moving.

We went to Foodland to pick up a couple of items t hat we missed getting the other day.   For lunch, we went to Main Street Landing in Buckhorn, where we met Glenn Cavers, had a good visit with him. When we got back to the marina, we moved the boat and filled up with water and diesel.  We then took a road trip to Bobcaygeon, for the purpose of doing  a load of laundry, when in fact I really wanted was to go to Kawartha Dairies for ice cream, and to the bank to take out some cash.  We had put the AC on in the boat, so when we got back it was very pleasant, even though it was hot and humid outside. Our plan is to continue down the TSW and out to the Thousand Islands, with a potential trip to Long Sault to see our friends Wayne and Roxanne. That’s provided our charging system behaves.

Still Moving, but more issues in Paradise

We left at 9:15 and headed North west out of Britt.  We went through Cunningham’s channel as well as Roger’s gut; 2 very narrow passages.  We headed north along the west side of Dokis island, as far up as Eastern outlet.  We travelled up the Pickerel River about ½ mile and anchored a couple of times, but our anchor was dragging on shear rock, so we moved to another spot near Bowens Bay, but again it wouldn’t catch.  We ended up anchoring in a small bay with rocks all around us. 

Andy took the dinghy out and tied a rope from our stern to a rock on shore. 

  Our version of Mediterranean tying, as there were no trees.

This kept us from swinging into the rocks on our starboard side.  The wind blew gently most of the afternoon.  In the late afternoon, Andy caught his first fish for 2021, which was a Bass.  We had a pleasant night with no crashing on the rocks.

As the winds were to increase, as well as rain in the forecast, we wanted to leave the anchorage early, and left just after 7:00.    We travelled 6.5 miles, going through Dore’s Run, there were a couple places where there was some choppy water.  We arrived at our new anchorage in the Outer Fox islands at 8:20, which was very sheltered. 

We could see the waves crashing on the rocks to the south. 

  We did swing around a fair bit, and had several fishing run-abouts passed by, and the rain did fall.  It was a cool day, we both changed into sweats, and I added another blanket to our bed.

In the morning, Andy couldn’t get the VHF radio to work, so he fired up the generator at about 6:30 to ensure everything was fully charged.  At 7:45 the generator stopped because of high temperature.  Andy determined that the seawater circulating pump was defective. By the time we had cleaned up the mess it was after 10:00.  With charging issues and no generator, our travels towards Killarney could no longer happen.  We called Britt, to see if we could come back there for repairs.  They had space, so we travelled back the 19.6 miles to Britt, and arrived at 2:45.  We had forgotten that Monday was a civic holiday so no one could assess our problem until Tuesday. So we went for ice cream– you can never have enough Kawartha!

On Monday it was windy, I spent some time washing and waxing a portion of the bow.  I may have found a simple shade solution for our sundeck, we have been thinking about adding a hard top or canvas for the past couple of years. This boat had a piece of canvas that they rolled out and propped up as required. It may be just the thing that we need for those very hot days.

Here’s another option that I saw:

The marina filled up with at least 4 other boats that had mechanical issues.  We also saw one small runabout towed in that had hit rocks and was taking on water.  Our issues weren’t as bad as his, but sometime during the night our shore power cord was disconnected from the pedestal, maybe someone tripped over it or the wind- who knows.  In the morning our battery bank was almost completely discharged. Andy plugged us back in around 7:00, and charging started.  At 8:10, the mechanic from Wright’s came onto our boat, with Andy’s help, he was able to remove the generator water pump.  The service manager made some calls and was able to find a replacement.

It will be shipped to Hindson’s marina in Penatang for us to pick up next week while we are at Harbour West.  We spent the remainder of the day cleaning and sorting inside the boat. Andy finally cooked up the bass for lunch, it was very delicious, wish he had caught a dozen more.  In the afternoon we installed a new 12V light fixture in the aft cabin, replacing a fixture with old bulbs that are no longer made.  This will be a great improvement. 

We walked over to Ice cream on the rocks to get burgers for supper, I also had a sampling of Kawartha’s death by chocolate.

On our return we went to visit the crew on Mayhem, another boat with engine issues sitting here in Britt.  They are in the process of moving the boat from Gore Bay to Toronto.  The owner is a retired military person, and in talking he and Andy found some people that they both knew in the construction business.  They are waiting at least one more day for parts before they can get going.  We showed them some of the anchorages, between here and Port Severn.

We left Wednesday morning at 6:45, following another boat Freshwater Pearl, that was having engine issues, and only had one that was working.  We ran about 5 miles offshore out in the Bay, by-passing the Norgate rocks and the Hangdog reef. 

There was a bit of wind but not too bad.  We veered off into Pointe au Baril, as the Freshwater Pearl continued out in the Bay.  We arrived at Hopewell Bay, at 10:30, having gone about 31 miles.   There were only 4 other boats in the bay, by nightfall this had increased to a dozen,

we were very sheltered and swung around as the wind changed.  Since we have very little confidence in our charging system, we decided that we should likely get power for the night.  We left the anchorage at 10:00, and travelled 49 miles back to Henry’s.   I saw this moose, made of wood in someone’s yard along the way– pretty realistic.

We arrived at 2:00, the place was hopping with the late lunch crowd, and there was over an hour wait.   We put our names for dinner, and got a table around 6:30.  Instead of each of us getting the individual pickerel dinner, which was fries and 3 pieces of fish, we opted for a 4-piece dinner, which we shared along with a salad.  We also asked for pan-fried fish rather than deep-fried—it was amazing.

Once we were back on the boat, Ted the owner of Henry’s dropped by with a complimentary bottle of wine, for frequent visitors, as we had been there 10 days previous.

On Friday we left Henry’s at 8:45. We had a great visit with dock mates; Robert and Ivie from Midnight Sun, they are gold loopers , who have also circumvented Lake Superior twice. We got some good advice from them.  We travelled around 40 miles down the channels and around Beausoleil island, to reach Victoria Harbour by 1:45.  As it turned out –August 6th was the day we completed the loop 5 years ago, right here at Victoria Harbour.  Where has the time gone?

Andy called Hindson’s marina in Penatang, to find out if our water pump had arrived, he was told the pump was coming from BC and the gasket from Edmonton, and neither had arrived yet.  We will check back with them once we are at Harbour West.  We don’t want to be leaving Georgian Bay without a working generator.

 I walked into town to the Laundromat and did a couple of loads of clothes, while Andy walked to the Foodland for a few supplies.  I was back by 4:00 and we sat and visited with Jamie, Jill and Jake on the docks- we had met them on several of our previous stops at Queen’s Cove.  At about 5:45 the skies opened and we got drenched.

We met Jaimie, an engineer that Andy had worked with over 10 years ago and her partner Jay at Queen’s Quay for supper and drinks. 

We had a good visit, they shared the details of their kayak trip around Philip Edward Island and other adventures. 

We had last seen Jaimie here at Queen’s Cove back in 2016. Once they left at about 8:30, we played some cards and then I went to bed.  We had left many of the windows open, as it was very humid.  At 11:30, we were awoken to pouring rain, and had to get up to close windows.

On Saturday, we did some reading, and then went to the Village Mercantile hardware store for lunch.  On our way back to the boat we stopped at Foodland and picked up a few more groceries.  I’ve included a picture of my tomato plant, as I believe that I may get to taste the first ripe ones later this week.

We spent the afternoon doing some cleaning and visiting with other dockmates. We ordered 2 medium Pizzas for supper.

On Sunday we left Queen’s Cove at 11:40 and headed for Penatang.  We arrived shortly after 1:00, and plugged in.  We had gone a total of 11 miles.  We didn’t have to cook, as there was still plenty of Pizza for lunch and supper.   We spent part of the afternoon waxing the upper helm.  I finished up by scrubbing the upper helm floor. 

On Monday, Brian came by the boat shortly after 9:15, and we went over our list of issues.  He decided to try and figure out our charging issues first, and worked on this item until late afternoon.  He then started on some of the Garmin upgrades.  He pulled our lower helm apart, there were wires everywhere.

Progress was slow.  It was a hot humid day.  I went to check on the swallows that were here on our last visit, but it appears that the nest is empty- so the birds must have grown up and flown away.

We had a light rain through the night, which didn’t really help with the humidity.   We had additional downpours three times throughout the afternoon. Brian returned on Tuesday at 10:00, he did a load test on our battery bank, and found that many of the batteries in the Port bank, were not holding a charge.  Another contributing factor to our on-going charging issues.  Andy went up to the on-site mechanics to find out if they had batteries in stock—of course they didn’t.  They called around and found 2, but they wouldn’t be delivered until next Monday.  Batteries should be a staple just like bread.  Andy touched base with another boater that we had met earlier this summer, who boats out of this marina.  He called around and found us 6 in a couple of different locations.  Andy went up to see the on-site mechanics, they too had found us a set of six, and would send someone to the boat in the afternoon, to remove the defective ones, so that the core credit could be applied to the sale.

 Brian continued with the setup of the engine inputs.

  He did not finish, but will not be able to return until Thursday.  We also got the news that our generator pump had arrived at Hindson’s, but not the gasket.   Andy will check with them again tomorrow.  With all these unexpected repairs, I know where our pension checks will be going this month!  It is what it is.   Someone else thinks the same as us, because I saw it as a boat name.

  It was another unsettled night with lots of dark clouds around us.

On Wednesday morning, we changed slips, as the people whose slip we have been in are expected back today.  The new slip has some great bonuses- it is closest to the office—so much better WIFI and proximity to the showers. The technician came with the batteries shortly after 10:00, and all were installed by 11:00. 

The water pump and hopefully the gasket will be picked up later this afternoon and installed.   We have our fingers crossed that Brian will return tomorrow, finish the upgrades and allow us to get to Port Severn.

  We’ve been on the water for just over a month, but have been relying on marina’s as our charging issues have reduced our confidence in anchoring out for more than a day or two.  Once we get back to the TSW, we tend to tie up to lock walls, so our days with shore power will be minimal.

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.