Saturday, July 29, 2006

Walküre gets a big sister!

Here's a shot of "Le Cabotin," a slightly modified AS-39 recently launched along the banks of the St. Lawrence. The AS-39 is the next boat up in the AS series. There's an AS-19, the AS-29 (Walküre) and now the AS-39. The 39 has a ton of interior space including an office with room for two desks! There's even a hallway between rooms. HUGE! Congratulations to her builder/owners Jean and Gabby!

Port Severn

Well, folks, I've done it. I've made it to the end of the Trent-Severn Waterway. I arrived in Port Severn this morning right in between two thunderstorms. One storm I cought a piece of as I crossed Little Lake, the other kindly waited until I was safely at the dock.

L&L today N 44 degrees 48 minutes, W 079 degrees 44 minutes.

The real excitement this morning was riding the Bug Chute Marine Railway. Instead of putting in a lock to float boats up and down a 57 foot high change in water lever, they built this giant cable car that picks boats up and shuttles them across dry land. (See pictures this post.)

Yesterday, I ran lock 43 which is a standard lock, but it drops 47 feet. That makes it the highest standard lock I've run so far. In case anyone is keeping count: 23 locks on the Erie, 7 on the Oswego and 43 so far on the Trent, 73 locks total including the marine railway and the two "lift lifts" at Peterborough and Kirkfield. (Yeah, I know it seems like I miscounted. There's no "Lock 39" on the T-S system, so the marine railway, officially lock 44, is really #43.) There's one more lock on the Trent system, it's located right at the exit from the harbor where you enter Georgian Bay. It's just a stone's throw from where I am know, but I won't run that lock until my crew arrives next week.

On July 25, I crossed Lake Simcoe, reputed to be one of the more dangerous bodies of water around, prone to sudden thunderstorms that can produce 8 foot waves. I crossed early in the morning and found it to be a bit choppy, but otherwise the crossing was without incident. It really pays to pick the weather and time of day.

On July 26 I stayed at the Port of Orillia. I really nice stop. The marina was well managed and it was very convenient to shopping and lots of restaurants. A warning for fans of Chinese food - nobody in Canada knows how to make General Tso's Chicken - yuck!

For the next few days, I'm going to rest here in Port Severn and do some clean up, fix up stuff around the boat. I have to re-stow a lot of gear to make room for crew arriving in a few days.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006


I forgot to explain that the thing that looks like a bridge hanging in mid-air is the Kirlfield Lift Lock. It's similar to the Peterborough lock but not as high. Keep in mind that box you see suspended 50 feet in the air is filled with water - some 330,000 pounds of it.

Walküre sets a record!

On July 23, 2006 Walküre and I navigated across Balsam Lake. At over 870 feet above sea level this lake is the highest water any where in the world that a boat can reach under it's own power. (There are higher lakes, but you have to truck the boat overland to get there. Balsam Lake is the highest you can get to by water.)

Today, I crossed Lake Simcoe without incident. Simcoe has a reputation of being dangerous, with sudden storms kicking up 8 foot waves, etc. By picking my weather and time of day, I found it just a bit choppy. It is spooky looking in certain directions across the lake and all you see is water.

Tonight I'm staying in Orillia. I expect to be in Port Severn by Saturday. Port Severn is the end of the Trent-Severn Waterway and the entry into Georgian Bay, where we become a sailboat again. Wahoo!

On July 22, I stayed at a neat little place called Fenelon Falls. A "mini-Niagra" (very mini) was located just a 100 yards or so from the dock. I was lulled to sleep by the sound of a waterfall. Neat, huh?

Most other nights, I've been staying at a lock. It's cheaper than a marina, but they don't have any services. I had to go nearly 5 days with no electricity other than what the solar panels provide. The batteries were low by the time I got to the marina at Gamebridge last night, but at least it gives me a good idea how long I can go between marina stops. At that's with partly or mostly cloudy skies the whole time.

So far I've travelled almost 517 nautical miles, nearly 10% of the total for the loop. I'm still behind schedule and it will be tricky to make Chicago by Labor Day, but it looks like I will soon have crew. I don't want to say too much yet as things could still get jinked, but I hope that by this time next week a certain lady from Cape Cod will be meeting up with the boat in Port Severn. Wish me luck.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Bobcaygeon & more pics

Tonight I'm staying in Bobcaygeon (pronounced "Bob- cajun"). This is a neat little town with the canal and a lock right smack in the middle of town. For the first time since reaching Canada, I've finally been able to shop in a real grocery store (IGA) and to celebrate I'm having steak for dinner, cooked to perfection on my little Magma grill. And a cold Corona to wash it down Yum! Does life get any better?
For those following Lat & Lon, it's N 44 32.291' W 078 32.640' I've travelled a total of 464 nautical miles since I left Kingston, NY. The scenery is starting to get really pretty. Here are a few examples.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Buckhorn, Youngs Point & the highest lock

WOW! What a trip. Yesterday I ran the Peterborough Lift lock, the highest of its type in the world. This lock not only lifts the boat - it lifts the WATER! 330,000 lbs of water gets lifted 65 feet into the air. See the first pics on this post (from the bottom.)

The next pic (from the bottom is a shot of Walküre crossing Rice Lake. Photo courtesy of Chuck & Barb Ganem aboard the trawler "Gold Watch."

Next up from the bottom is an entry in the "So you think MY boat is odd?" category. Photo courtesy Chuck Ganem.

Next up is your skipper, entertaining the crew of Gold Watch and Bryant from Peterborough it's margarita time! Photo courtesy of Bryant Owen.

Next up is the view from the top of the Peterborough lift lock - amazing!

Last night I stayed at Youngs Point, home of the Lockside Trading Company. Anyone familiar with the Canal Town Emporium in Wurtsboro, NY will feel right at home at the Lockside T.C.

Tonight, I'm in Buckhorn, the halfway point on the Trent-Severn Waterway. From here on the locks are farther apart, and soon I start to lock "downhill" on my way to Georgian Bay and Lake Huron.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006


Yesterday, I ran 34 nautical miles and one more lock to reach Peterborough. I've now done over 400 nautical miles total since I left Kingston, NY. I had to cross Rice Lake (named for the wild rice that grows around it). Rice Lake was one of those spots the guide books warn can be treacherous, but I didn't find it so. Just the darn continuous headwind that made motoring a slow slog through the chop.
The weather was forecast to be lousy today, so I planned on resting here for the day. We got the wild weather last night about 11:00 PM. The wind howled, the boat bounced and rocked at the dock, the lightning flashed, the thunder boomed and the power went out. I was glad to be at the dock. This morning dawned cloudy but now it's starting to clear. I'm thinking of finishing up my chores and heading up to the "lift lock."
The Peterborough Lift Lock is the highest of it's type in the world. It lifts the boat 65 feet. It works completely differently than all the other locks. There are two chambers instead of one, and they are linked by hydraulic pistons. As one chamber falls, it lifts the other, like a balance scale. I'll post pictures at my next opportunity.
Another day or so of travel and I'll be half way to Port Severn, the end of the Waterway. After that, it's Georgian Bay and the North Channel in Lake Huron.
So far, the nicest part of the trip has been the people I've met. The last couple of nights, Chuck and Barb from Maine have stayed at the same spot as I did, and we got to be fast friends. Last night I met Bryant, who lives in Peterborough. He's another amateur boat builder and has been following my expoits on this blog. He stopped by the waterfront last night and shared some local knowledge with me, Chuck and Barb over margaritas on board Walküre.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Sorry Collins Bay

I had thought that Collins Bay was going to take the prize for the nicest head and shower facilities at a marina. But they have been knocked out of first place by the Hastings Village Marina. The head and shower facilities are something a person would be proud to have at home. Why can't all marinas have facilities like this?

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Just a quick note.

I'm in Hastings, ON for tonight. I made 18 nautical miles and 6 locks today. That's a total of 18 locks on the T/S and a grand total of 48 so far for the trip. I've logged a total of 386.99 nautical miles. At this pace, I'll be in the Georgian Bay by August first. There's still hope of Chicago by Labor Day.
No pics today, sorry.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

As Promised

Here are some pictures:
From the bottom:
The Toonie Monument. There actually is another coin monument in Canada. In Sudbury there is a giant nickel. Sudbury is the site of the largest nickel mine in the world.

A lock on the T/S. Notice the water turbulence at the bottom of the doors. This is the water being discharged from the chamber to allow the doors to open for me.

Waiting on the Blue Line. The locks in Canada operate on the Blue Line System. If you want to transit the lock, you tie up on the blue line and wait. Notice the umbrella over the cockpit. It's HOT and I need that shade!

The approach to Campbellford. Notice the nice houses right along the canal. This is a very pretty place.

In the middle of nowhere, no town, no house around, here's this flower box shaped like a donkey cart - go figure.

That's all for now. More when I can.

Update July 15

Just a quick note to everyone to let you know that I'm now in Campbellford, Ontario, 12 locks into the Trent-Severn Waterway. I'm using a computer and connection borrowed from a bookstore owner who graciously let me use it. I don't want to wear out my welcome.
Have you ever seen a town where the biggest monument was to a COIN? Yep. The Canadian $2.00 coin (called a "toonie") was designed by a guy who lives here so they built a monument to the coin. When I get someplace I can use my own computer I'll post a picture.
For now know that all is well, and I'm travellin' on.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Catching up

July 9. 2006
Motored from Collins Bay to Picton. Wind was on my nose the whole way so I couldn't use the sails. Picton is a nice, busy little town. Great location except the walk up the hill to get from the harbor into the main part of town. The second picture is the harbor at Picton.
July 11, 2006
Weather was cloudy when I set out, but I caught a tailwind and sailed with the wind at my back for half the day. Once I made the turn at Desoronto, the wind was again on my nose so I had to motor. I made it to Belleville, which is another cute town along the shore of Qunite (KWIN-tee) Bay.
July 13, 2006
At last I am at the entrance to the Trent Severn Waterway - Trenton Ontario. (Third picture is the boat with the T/S Waterway sign in the background.
Trenton is a fairly big city and it just so happens that today they are having a sidewalk festival.
I've now traveled a total of 340 nautical miles. I'm 13 days behind schedule, but I should be able to make that up in the next 6 weeks.
I'm finally starting to see a little of the towns I visit, the strep no longer holding me back. I've gotten to dine in some of the restaurants and see some of the sights - like Fort Ontario when I was in Oswego, etc.
For those plotting my trip on nautical charts, my position is now:
N 44 06.115
W 076 34.470

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Oh, Canada!

Well, it's been an eventful few days.
Wednesday, at about 1:00 PM they opened the locks on the Oswego Canal. After 6 days of being stuck in Phoenix, I was ready to go. I cast off and was the first boat into Lock 1.
At lock 5, I ran into some trouble. The lock has terrible cross currents right in front of the entrance. As I had to wait for the lock to cycle some southbound boats through, I thought I'd wait on the approach wall. Big mistake. As I came alongside the wall, the current pushed the boat rather violently into the wall, right into a one-inch thick steel angle iron that was protruding out from the wall at a right angle. Slam! It tore a three inch by one inch hole in my bow. I was sick.

I carried on and made it to Oswego, where I tied up for two days to make repairs. The marinas were all full due to a fishing tournament so I had to use the city dock. Yuck! There's no protection from the constant wave action. The harbor water looks and smells like sewage. The hull is now filthy, far worse than what the locks did. And to top it all off it is impossible to sleep there because of the "waterfront events" they seem to have scheduled every night. Wednesday it was a comedy act - outdoors - all night. And Thursday it was a heavy metal concert! The noise was unbelievable. The hull and my head are still throbbing.

But - it's better now. Friday morning at 6:30 AM I set out to cross Lake Ontario. At first the winds were very light and I had trouble making 3 knots. I was worried I wouldn't have enough daylight to make it all the way across. I had plotted a course that took me close to "Main Duck Island," which I could use as shelter for the night if I didn't get all the way over. I needn't have worried. By 9:30 or so the winds had picked up and I was able to make 5 to 6 knots and pulled into Collins Bay Marina, near Kingston, Ontario about 6:30 PM. A long, exhausting day, but well worth it. I crossed 51 nautical miles of open water and sailed into the marina just as if I knew where it was. GPS really is a wonderful thing.

The crossing itself, other than being tiring single handed, was great. I made the entire trip on one tack. The winds were out of the west or southwest the whole day, and my course was basically north. So port tack it was the whole day.

Since the time the boat was launched, I've been troubled by a leak that only shows itself when the boat is sailing. It never leaks when sitting at the dock or motoring, only under sail. I could never find it. Well, with the autopilot set, and no other boats in sight, I crawled around below to search out the pesky leak. I finally found it. It's in the bulkhead right behind the mast. Apparently, the pressure of the mast against the bulkhead opened up a seam. I've paid for an extra day here at Collins Bay so I can make repairs and hopefully be rid of that pesky leak.

Other than the little leak problem, which the bilge pump handled, the sail was spectacular. I'm really starting to gain a lot of confidence in the boat, and my sailing skill. The boat seems to like open water sailing.

I will have to do a better job of securing gear below, however. A couple of gusts heeled the boat over past her normal 16 degrees and stuff spilled all over the cabin floor. But nothing broke, and everything is easily put back where it belongs, so all is well.

The marina here in Collins Bay is very nice. I recommend it to anyone traveling this way. The people are nice, the facilities first rate and the rest rooms and showers exceptionally clean.

Sunday, weather permitting, I'll starting heading for Trenton and the start of the Trent-Severn Waterway. It feels stange to be putting away my Hudson River and Erie Canal charts. I might never never need them again.

This adventure really is a major undertaking. But now that I've successfully crossed one of the Great Lakes, I have more confidence that I'll actually be able to do it.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Ain't boaters wonderful people?

Since I'm stuck in Phoenix at least one more day, some of the other boaters who are stuck here, but live nearby, let me borrow their car for a trip to the mall. I went and saw the new Superman movie. If you're a Superman fan, you will not be disappointed. All the right stuff is there, (along with a really big surprise,) the new actor playing Superman/Clark Kent is fine, almost a ringer for Christopher Reeve. (The movie is dedicated to Chris and Dana Reeve.)
I've posted some pics of the damage to lock 10 on my Yahoo group site, but here's one just in case you don't have time to check Yahoo.