July 1, 2013
When The Water Calls ... We Follow


June 20, 2013
New Adventures


May 31, 2013
Storing Our Shiny Red Tug


May 13, 2013
Viva La Difference


May 6, 2013
Swinging Free & Easy


April 15, 2013
In The Middle


March 29, 2013
On The Hook


March 18, 2013
Tinker Time


February 28, 2013
Jumping Into the Mix


February 15, 2013
Time Travel


February 6, 2013
Charlevoix - A Small Town With A World-Class Reputation


January 15, 2013
The Perfect Ending


January 1, 2013
Magical Weather & Mysterious Ports


December 15, 2012
Collins Inlet, Killarney, & Little Current


December 1, 2012
New Neighbors


November 16, 2012
What Makes a Perfect Anchorage?


November 1, 2012
Are We There Yet?


October 15, 2012
CHANGE OF LATITUDE


October 1, 2012
Womens Roundtable


September 15, 2012
Freedom to Discover a Southern Gem


September 1, 2012
Promises


August 15, 2012
Nice to Have Options


August 1, 2012
Go West!


July 15, 2012
The Perfect Boating Vacation Destination


July 1, 2012
Propane


June 15, 2012
Flagler’s Folly


June 1, 2012
Everglades Detour


May 15, 2012
Making New Friends


May 1, 2012
Something Old and Something New


April 15, 2012
Florida’s Wide Open West Coast


April 1, 2012
Life On the Water in a Trailerable Trawler


March 15, 2012
Becoming Second Nature


March 1, 2012
Last Dance


February 15, 2012
Call it Romance or Mystique


February 1, 2012
Natural Wonders Abound


January 15, 2012
Hardly a Care in the World


January 1, 2012
Wide-Eyed Anticipation


December 15, 2011
Winding Our Way to Lake Powell


December 1, 2011
On to New Cruising Grounds


November 15, 2011
Sharing the Love


November 1, 2011
On the Water Again


October 14, 2011
First Impressions


October 3, 2011
Possession is Nine-Tenths of the Fun


September 15, 2011
Getting the Show on the Road


September 1, 2011
Lets Dance!


August 15, 2011
Getting Our Ducks in a Row


August 1, 2011
Summer Without a Boat


July 15, 2011
The Water and The Boater Home


July 1, 2011
One Step Closer


June 15, 2011
Time Keeps on slippin’ Into the Future


June 1, 2011
Made in the USA


May 15, 2011
Making the Right Truck Choice


May 1, 2011
Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder


April 15, 2011
What Goes Around Comes Around


April 1, 2011
Wishing Star Interlude


March 15, 2011
Helping Hands


March 1, 2011
THE PERFECT BOAT!


February 15, 2011
Weighing the Options


February 1, 2011
Making a List, Checking it Twice!


January 14, 2011
The Science of Towing


December 30, 2010
The Upside of Downsizing


December 15, 2010
The New Plan!


December 1, 2010
Homeward Bound-The Final Leg


November 15, 2010
Somethings In The Water


November 1, 2010
Our Turn to Relax & Smile


October 15, 2010
Gem in the Rough


October 1, 2010
Whats Your Favorite Place on the Loop?


September 15, 2010
Reflecting Pool


September 1, 2010
Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder


August 15, 2010
Canadian Wonderland


August 1, 2010
"Low Bridge, Everybody Down"


July 15, 2010
One Day At A Time


July 1, 2010
Decisions, Decisions, Decisions!


June 15, 2010
Lets All Do the Rendezvous


June 1, 2010
On the Hard


May 15, 2010
Falling in Love With Key West


May 1, 2010
Helping Women Get On Board


April 15, 2010
Key West - A Repeat Performance


April 1, 2010
Unexpected Pleasures


March 15, 2010
Mom Cruise


March 1, 2010
Okeechobee Bound


February 15, 2010
Chance Encounters


February 1, 2010
Three Nights in Paradise


January 15, 2010
New Frontiers


January 1, 2010
First Time Experiences


December 15, 2009
A Friend In Every Port


December 1, 2009
Dealing With A Temperamental Lady


November 18, 2009
You Say Goodbye, I Say Hello


November 13, 2009
A Cult Following


October 15, 2009
Somewhere in Time


October 1, 2009
Unlocking Our Minds Eye


September 18, 2009
Its In My Nature


August 15, 2009
The RBS Antidote


August 1, 2009
Crab Crazy


July 15, 2009
Sights And Sounds Of The Bay


July 15, 2009
Sights And Sounds Of The Bay


June 15, 2009
Our Last Leg North


June 1, 2009
Northern Migration


May 15, 2009
Priceless


May 1, 2009
Hello Goodbye


April 15, 2009
Let The Sun Shine In!


April 1, 2009
Dont Worry, Be Happy


March 15, 2009
Bahama Bound


March 1, 2009
What Do You Do All Day?


February 15, 2009
Slow Motion


February 1, 2009
On The Hook With A Million-Dollar View


January 15, 2009
High Anxiety


January 1, 2009
A String Of One-Night Stands


December 15, 2008
Pushing Into New Tennessee River, Upstream To Adventure


December 1, 2008
All Together Now


November 15, 2008
Kismet in the Aftermath of Hurricane Ike


October 31, 2008
Our Love Affair With The River


October 16, 2008
Big City Lights


October 1, 2008
The Adventure Begins


September 15, 2008
Prepping For The Loop


September 1, 2008
The Space Ship


August 15, 2008
Jumping Aboard In Seattle


August 1, 2008
If We Knew Then What We Know Now!


July 10, 2008
The Second Time Around


July 1, 2008
Our Turn For The Great American Loop

   

Canadian Wonderland
By Kismet, Sunday, August 15, 2010

While cruising across Lake Ontario I recall looking behind me and marveling at how crystal clear the white spray was from our wake. As it cascaded away from our boat and disappeared out of sight I began to reflect on the prior six months we spent in tidal currents and salt water. We did enjoy salt water cruising immensely and we met many interesting folks, we also had the opportunity to visit many great towns and we’ll do it again. However, being fresh water boaters all our lives, returning to the crystal clear water while crossing Lake Ontario there was a warm spot in our minds and hearts as we crossed the big lake and neared the entrance to the Trent-Severn Waterway (TSW) in Trenton, Ontario.

Canadians are very warm and welcoming people and when on the water the friendliness starts in Trenton, Ontario at the beginning of the TSW.

After crossing Lake Ontario and spending the night in the small picturesque town of Picton, we continued our journey to Trenton. The shoreline of today’s 38-mile run through the beautiful waters of the Bay of Quinte was dotted with small cottages and large farms – this was our first taste of the pleasures that lie ahead of us as we neared the TSW. Originally built to transport goods and raw materials from Georgian Bay to Lake Ontario, today this waterway system serves a dual purpose of providing not only hydroelectric power but also a water wonderland for tourists, boaters, kayakers, canoeist, tubers and fisherman alike.

Although the construction of the lock system was started in the early 1800s it was not officially opened from Trenton to Port Severn until the last two-mile stretch was completed with the final lock 90 years later, in 1920. In all, there are 44 unique locking experiences; most of them are still operated manually. The TSW is 240 miles long and it provides a great opportunity to see the rural, waterside, cottage life of Ontario – you can only really fully appreciate the uniqueness of this canal and lock system by boat.

In all Lisa and I spent two weeks in the TSW, which, in hindsight, was not nearly, enough time. We could have easily spent a month or more soaking up the protected waters, small towns, secluded anchorages and summer festivals that lie along the banks of the Trent-Severn Waterway. Our journey started in earnest when we departed Trent for a 9-hour cruise through 12 locks on our way to Campbellford, Ontario.

I mentioned earlier that most of the locks are operated manually and haven’t been converted to modern technology with the exception of only a few. Once you are secured inside of the lock two lock tenders come out and manually turn a large turnstile, which in turn moves the gears that close or open the lock doors. Once the doors are closed and the water lowered or raised the two lock tenders open the opposite end of the lock by again turning the exiting doors turnstile and once open, out you go.

In route to Campbellford, in one such lock, after we had secured our boats, Lisa and another boater, Mary (from another boat we were traveling with) were invited by the lockmaster to step off our boats and become the muscle to move the turnstile and open the doors. Round and round they went, kind of like the ponies at a carnival ride. I recall Lisa and Mary stated that although it was a fun, memorable experience it was a lot of work and they were glad they didn’t have to do this at each lock.

Mary and Lisa are getting a little exercise as they open the lock walls. I wonder how many breaks the lock tenders get by us boaters volunteering to do their work?

Once you get into the more open lakes area there are many anchoring possibilities but most of our nights, while traveling on the TSW, are spent tied against town or lock walls. In Campbellford, we tied up to a wall adjacent to a city park centrally located to town. Next to the park is a giant size replica of the Canadian two-dollar coin, which was designed by a local artist. They call this one the Toonie vs. the one-dollar coin that’s called the Loonie. Campbellford is a charming town, with many old, picturesque, Victorian homes. After having breakfast in town at an authentic Irish restaurant we made our way to a local bakery, farmers market and finally to the Chocolate Factory. It was a relaxing way to spend the morning. Wouldn’t it be great if all days were like this? However, reality set in, and we were compelled to move on.

They’re proud of their “Toonie,” and the local artist who designed it, as presented by this more than life-size piece of art.

Peterborough, Ontario is the largest city we’ve been to since we stayed in New York City and we decided to stay for a few days at the City Marina to enjoy the town and get caught up on chores. Besides seven loads of laundry, which accumulated over the last few weeks of anchoring and tying to lock walls, we visited the Peterborough Lift Lock and the Canadian Canoe Museum.

There are two lift locks on the TSW this one, in Peterborough, plus another at Kirkfield. They are about as thrilling a ride as one can have while going through a lock. I recently read a description, written by some Canadian boating friends of ours, that I think best describes how it works. Bob and Charlotte are on a boat called Foreign Exchange and this is how they explain a lift lock:

“Just beyond Peterborough is the Peterborough Lift Lock – an ingenious piece of engineering. In simple terms you drive into a large bathtub, when the gates are closed, water is added to the upper tub making it heavier. As the upper tub drops it forces the lighter bottom tub up where you drive off. When you are at the top the treetops are below you and the guarding to stop you from falling is minimal. Didn’t seem to bother the Admiral though.”

The tub on the left is the one we entered when we left Peterborough, as it is raised the tub on right lowers to let in bound boats exit. Here’s a shot of the inside of a tub with no boats being lifted. You simply drive in, tie to the side wall and begin your 65-foot lift.

Amazingly, this lock has been in operation since its completion in 1904 and is only one of eight of its type in the world, this being the largest one. Because we had time we hiked over to the lock to learn more about its operation and to take a tour. We’ve learned that if you’ve never done something before it’s good to gather as much information as you can before attempting it yourself. So, we watched other boats come into the lift lock tub and be lifted 65 feet into the air and exit at the topside. We climbed the stairs to the topside so we could see the amazing view of the countryside and watch the boats being lifted from the canal side, floating in this big tub of water, and finally set out high on top of lift on the other side. It’s worked for over 100 years and we were excited to think we would be taking part in this, not so modern, marvel in just a couple of days.

The next day, while Lisa was taking care of what seemed like two months of laundry, I wandered off and literally stumbled into the Canadian Canoe Museum (www.canoemuseum.ca). This isn’t just any old museum; it’s the only museum of its kind in North America and has over 580 canoes and kayaks on display. I spent a couple of hours (just enough time for Lisa to finish the laundry – well planned on my part I’d say) admiring the ingenuity and craftsmanship of this fabulous collection. While traveling the Great Loop we’ve had an opportunity to visit many unique and interesting museums but the Canadian Canoe Museum, for me, is right up there as one of the best.

The Canadian Canoe Museum was a great find. I say find because I was just going for a walk and had no idea I’d end up at this wonderful place.

After our restful stay in Peterborough we left for what I call a “short-long” day. It was short in that we only ended up traveling ten miles but it was long in that we had eight locks to lock through, each taking a minimum of ½ hour. The first, of course, was the 65-foot lift at Peterborough. We were fortunate that we did not have to wait long at every lock because we were traveling mid-week and did not have to deal with the busy weekend traffic.

When we left Peterborough we only had a rough idea of where we’d end up for the night, but we knew that our preference was to anchor out. As we were tied up in one of the locks we struck up a conversation with another boater, and local, who directed us to one of his favorite anchorages at Juniper Island. As we made our way, on our “short-long” day, the Canadian landscape gradually turned into the most beautiful we’d seen in Canada up to this point. Small cottages built on the rocky shores blended into the environment in a way that made us feel like we were traveling in another, more familiar to us, Canadian gem, the one called the North Channel, which is part of our old cruising grounds.

Juniper Island is one of those places that once you’ve been, you’ll always want to return.

We left the main channel of the TSW to transit around to the backside of Juniper Island and found a secluded spot to call home for the night. We had a spectacular evening with plenty of sunlight left to enjoy our first swim in the fresh, clean water since we were last in the Great Lakes some nine months ago. We had dinner on the cockpit deck and spent a quiet evening listening to the loons sing, watching fish jump around our boat and just enjoying this Canadian wonderland – and to think we’re only half way into the Trent-Severn Waterway.