Welcome to the blog of Fred and Julaine as we chronicle our adventures traveling the "Great Loop" on Boreas, our Carver 405.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Day 391 – at South Bay Cove Marina, Honey Harbor, Ontario - July 31, 2012

Today it rained – not all day, but when it was time to check out at 11:00am, it was raining quite hard and we decided we didn’t want to leave or travel in the rain.  So, we stayed another day.  The rain finally let up in the afternoon and Fred got inspired to clean all the windows on the boat – including all the plastic windows around the helm station and the doors to the back porch.  The windows look amazing now!

The weather forecast looks good for the next two or three days so we plan to add a bit of fuel and pump out the holding tanks here at the marina before we depart for an anchorage tomorrow morning.
            Miles: 0           Bridges: 0        Locks: 0

Monday, July 30, 2012

Day 390 – Victoria Harbour, Ontario to South Bay Cove Marina, Honey Harbor, Ontario - July 30, 2012

We departed this morning after getting a few chores done and headed to South Bay Cove Marina.  We have heard excellent things about this marina from other Loopers and wanted to check it out for ourselves.  We followed a group of sailboats (we think they were racing) as we started out, but they headed further out into Georgian Bay while we turned toward Honey Harbor.

South Bay Cove Marina is everything we heard about it.  It is in a beautiful setting and the facilities are terrific.  We spent the afternoon on the back deck reading (Julaine) and planning our next few days (Fred).  Weather will dictate if we stay here another night or head out to a nearby anchorage.

            Miles: 12.5      Bridges: 0        Locks: 0

following the sailboats north into the main part of Georgian Bay

many of the boats were flying spinnakers

I couldn't help but take more pictures of the sailboats

some of the beautiful granite we saw on the way to South Bay Cove Marina

Days 388 and 389 – at Queen’s Cove Marina, Victoria Harbour, Ontario - July 28-29, 2012

John and Rita picked us up at noon and after a quick lunch we spent the afternoon visiting Discovery Harbour in Penetanguishene.  Discovery Harbour tells the story of the original Naval and Military base built here during and after the War of 1812.  Most of the buildings are reconstructions, but there is one original building, the Officers’ Quarters, that has been restored to the time period of 1836.  There are also reproductions of two schooners moored at Discovery Harbor, the H.M.S. Bee a transport schooner and the H.M.S. Tecumseth an armed schooner.

The original plan for the next day was more sightseeing, but the Olympics beckoned and so we hung out at John and Rita’s cottage, watched the Olympics and in general did lots of relaxing.  It is easy to relax at the cottage as it is a beautiful cottage in a spectacular setting.  We had pizza at the cottage for dinner and made an early night of it back at Boreas where we got ready for the next day’s departure.

            Miles: 0           Bridges: 0        Locks: 0
the H.M.S. Bee

the H.M.S. Tecumseth

Day 387 – Big Chute, Ontario to Queen’s Cove Marina, Victoria Harbour, Ontario - July 27, 2012

Part of the reason we spent the night at Big Chute Marina was so that we would have a chance to watch some boats go through the marine railway before we went through on Boreas.  So, we walked over to the lock at 8:30am to check things out – unfortunately nothing was going on – there were no boats waiting to make the trip between the Upper Severn River and Gloucester Pool.  We walked around a bit and took pictures and still nothing.  Finally a jet ski approached the lower end of the railway and it was clear they would be coming up.  The carriage headed down the track and we watched the entire process.  It was fascinating, but not quite what we had hoped for – we wanted to see a boat our size.  We were in luck and right after the jet ski finished their ride, a forty foot Tiara headed to the carriage for their ride.  We took more pictures then headed back to Boreas so we could get started on our last section of the Trent-Severn Waterway.
Our ride on the marine railway went just great.  With boats our size, we often go one at a time and ride in the very back of the carriage with the props, shafts and struts hanging off the back of the carriage.  It is really something you have to experience to really understand.  The lock staff here are amazing and they do a great job getting you in and settled and answering any questions you have (yes, the captain had a few questions – the engineer in him needed to know more about how everything worked).

Once we were off the marina railway we completed the rest of the waterway and passed through Lock #45 at Port Severn.  Then it was just a short trip through the Waubaushene Channel to Queen’s Cove Marina.  John and Rita suggested this marina as it is just ten minutes from their cottage and they met us on the dock just after we got tied up.  Then it was off to run some errands – first to the grocery store and then to West Marine.  After we dropped our purchases off on the boat, John and Rita took us to their cottage for dinner (and a chance to do laundry without quarters) and relaxation.  It was another awesome day spent with good friends.
            Miles: 14.6      Bridges: 2        Locks: 1          Marine Railway: 1

the carriage that carries the boat over the rails - you can see there are inside
wheels and outside wheels on the carriage - this allows for two sets of rails
that help the carriage stay flat

the rails - if you look carefully you can see the rails at two different heights

the jet ski approaches the carriage

the jet ski is on the carriage and it is beginning to move up the rails

completely out of the water and moving up the hill

over the top of the hill and on the way back into the Upper Severn River

the jet ski leaves the carriage - it is now ready for the next boats

these were the next boats into the carriage

those same two boats headed down to Gloucester Pool

Boreas headed into the carriage

safely in the carriage and heading up over the road before heading down

on the carriage and heading down toward Gloucester Pool

our ride on the rails is done and we are just about to drive out of the carriage

looking out the back of Boreas at the carriage inthe water and the rails
we just traveled down

Georgian Bay is notorious for all the rocks we must navigate around

a fabulous sunset from the porch of John and Rita's cottage

Day 386 – Portage, Ontario to Big Chute Marina, Big Chute, Ontario - July 26, 2012

The rain from last night was still going strong this morning.  It was a light shower when we first got up, but by 8:30 when the locks opened for the day it was an all out downpour.  Boreas is not all that fun to drive in the rain because we don’t have a glass window with windshield wipers to look out of.  We have our plastic windows and when they need the drops wiped off, whoever isn’t driving (that’s usually Julaine) unzips the window, sticks their arm out and uses a squeegee to remove the water.  Not only that, but who wants to stand out in the rain to manage the boat through the locks – both of us have to be out from under the protection of the canvas while we lock through.

So we waited for the rain to let up.  Although it is supposed to be on and off rain all day today, it is also a good day to cross the corner of Lake Simco because the wind is forecasted to be relatively light.  Lake Simco is the largest lake on the waterway at twenty miles long and fifteen miles wide.  This makes it a challenge to cross in high winds because the prevailing winds build decent sized waves that hit the boat on the beam – that is of course the least comfortable way to travel in waves.

The rain had slowed to a drizzle by 10:00am, so we shoved off and headed for the first lock of the day, less than a half mile down the canal.  Two locks later we were in Lake Simco and headed north.  The rain picked up again as we were crossing the lake, but fortunately the wind stayed down and our twelve mile crossing of the corner of the lake was uneventful (other than lots of manual “windshield” wiping).

The skies stayed overcast for the remainder of the day with the occasional light shower.  In the early afternoon we made a call to the marina in Big Chute to see if they would have room for us for the night and since they were able to accommodate us on the end of their dock we decided to push on.  Our friends John and Rita from Brandy IV (who we haven’t seen since northern Florida) have a summer home near Midland, Ontario and we let them know would be at Big Chute Marina for the night.  They said they would stop by and see us as it was only a thirty minute drive from their home.

Not long after our arrival at the marina, John and Rita came walking down the dock.  How great to see them after all this time!  We hopped in their car and went to dinner where we had a belated “Gold Looper” celebration for them.  We will be spending a few days in this areas so we should have lots of time to catch-up and reminisce about our travels together.

            Miles: 45.8      Bridges: 11      Locks: 4

just after we departed Lock #40 one of the many freight trains that
cross this track came through

a misty, overcast morning

a blue heron

the granite islands are simply spectacular, even on an overcast day

there are a few sections of the waterway just before Big Chute
where the waterway was cut through the granite


boats behind us exiting the Swift Rapids lock which has the highest lift of any
of the conventional locks on the waterway at 47 feet

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Day 385 – Bobcaygeon, Ontario to wall at the bottom of Lock #39, Portage, Ontario - July 25, 2012

We spent almost eight hours on the water today, covering just over thirty-five miles and traveling through seven locks.  It has been a long time since we have spent that many hours traveling on one day.  We caught up with David and Jacque on Outport at the marina last night and then got to the blue line together for the first lock today.  It is nice to go in and out of locks with a competent captain and crew operating the boat in front of you.  The other great thing about following Outport is that their boat drafts more than Boreas and today’s travels takes us through some very shallow (and very narrow) waters.

One of today’s locks, the Kirkfield Lock, is the second of two lift locks on the Trent-Severn Waterway (the other being the Peterborough Lift Lock).  The big difference for us between the two lift locks is that we were going up on the Peterborough Lock and going down on the Kirkfield Lock.  It is very strange to drive your boat into a chamber suspended forty-nine feet in the air.  We were behind Outport in the chamber, but it was still a pretty amazing view.

We knew we would be staying at a lock wall tonight; we just weren’t sure exactly which lock it would be.  Our guidebooks suggested that Lock #39 and Lock #40 were both very good for spending the night.  Both of these locks have no road access, just a dirt two-track that the lock staff uses to get to work, so it is very peaceful and quiet at night.  The lockmaster at Lock #38 gave a call to both locks to find out the availability of wall space and along with Outport we elected to stop at Lock #39.  Once we were both secure on the wall, we enjoyed cocktails and snacks with David and Jacque on their boat.  We headed back to Boreas just before the rain started – the weather forecasters predict that it will rain all night.

            Miles: 35.5      Bridges: 11      Locks: 7

hanging out behind Outport while waiting for a lock to empty so we can enter

Grand Island on Balsam Lake - Balsam Lake is the highest point of elevation
we reach on the Loop at 840.4 feet above sea level.  It is also the highest point
in the world that a boat can reach from the sea under its own power.

this pictures shows some of the narrow water we traveled through today

in this narrow section, the rocks are just off the side of the boat

more of the narrow waterway - this is Outport in front of us - for reference
they are 42 feet long and 15 feet wide (just one foot wider than Boreas)

and more of the rock cliffs right next to Boreas

approaching the Kirkfield Lift Lock

in the chamber of the Kirkfield Lift Lock, looking down on the lower chamber

the lower chamber on the Kirkfield Lift Lock has now passed us as our
chamber is lowered

Outport going through the "hole in the wall" bridge which was built in 1905

Lock #37 - in the chamber and ready to be lowered

this is a totally manual lock - the gates open using the gear lever on the
left side of the picture and the water is let out of valves in the gate itself
using a hand crank (to the left of the green sign)

the water is out, the gates are opening and we are getting ready
to move out

Portage Lock #39 - we spend the night on the wall at the bottom
of this lock

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Day 384 – Lakefield, Ontario to Gordon Yacht Harbor Marina, Bobcaygeon, Ontario - July 24, 2012

We were off the dock just after 8:00am today.  Compared to yesterday, we have fewer locks planned, but more miles.  Although the weather forecast was for mostly sunny skies and winds less than 12 mph, there seem to be more clouds that “mostly sunny” and as the day progressed the wind was clearly higher than 10-12 mph (in fact, right before we arrived in Bobcaygeon, we would say it was blowing closer to 20 mph).

The wind and extra clouds didn’t really affect our travel.  The locks we went through today were quite protected, so it wasn’t too difficult getting in and out of them.  The place we noticed the wind the most was as we were going through Pigeon Lake toward Bobcaygeon.  The distance across the lake was over five miles, so where we entered the waves had a five mile fetch and were around one-footers.  Fortunately we were going directly into them so it was not uncomfortable.

The toughest part of today was that we had to pass through an area where one (or maybe two) boats have come in contact with a rock and done some significant damage.  As we have heard these reports from the Looper forum, from the blogs of some of the Looper’s we follow and from Active Captain, we have tried to verify and understand the problem spot.  Unfortunately that has not been easy to do – we have not been able to determine if more than one boat had a problem (we may have been seeing multiple reports about the same boat) and we have not been able to determine the exact location that should be avoided.  So, the only thing we could do was travel very slowly through the section in question.  Fortunately we had no issues.  Running aground, hitting rocks, damaging the boat, damaging the props – all these things make me very nervous about many of the places we will be traveling through over the next few weeks.
            Miles: 33.7      Bridges: 4        Locks: 4

much of  today's travel took us around and between marvelous
granite islands, many with small homes on them

the water flowing around Burleigh Lock

there is a green day mark on the island on the left and a red day mark
on the island on the right and we get to go between them

we love seeing loons

Lock #30, Lovesick Lock - there are many stories about who was "lovesick",
but the best line is from the Ports Cruising Guide - "Take your pick, man or
woman, but someone ended up with a broken heart."

the granite rocks are absolutely beautiful

an osprey nest in Buckhorn Lake