Monday, July 17, 2017

TSW - Fenelon Falls to Port of Orillia (Locks 32-41)

Day 84/85 ... July 13/14, 2017 ... 15.2 miles & 2 Locks in 4 hours
Bobcaygeon, ON to Lock Wall 34, Fenelon Falls, ON
another dreary morning

lots of Canadian flags everywhere; lots of Canadian pride
especially this, their  150th year celebration
It's cold this am ... 58 degrees, raining and it is the middle of July. I have on flannel lined jeans, a t-shirt with flannel long shirt over it.

sometimes you feel like you are driving in someone's back yard

there is a back up at this lock ... so ...
narrow, rock cliff area with lots of current while trying to hold the boat until a lock wall space opens up for us
A short run today to another popular lock close into town. It rained overnight and then again this am, mostly stopping by the time we could fit into the first lock, which was right by the marina where we stayed the last two nights. A call over to the lock let us know how long to wait before heading over. As close as we were, we still couldn't see the lock. He had several boats going up, need to lock down a big house boat and then several small cruisers up before taking us. Once we saw the big houseboat come out, we could go over the the "blue line" to wait our turn. The cruisers went into the lock as the house boat came out ... allowing us to take their spot on the blue line. The blue line is painted on a lock wall and those at the blue line signal to the lock guys you are ready to go.
We crossed Sturgeon Lake and entered into a narrow passage lined with homes and boathouses, then to the lock. We skipped lock 33 as it is a side trip and not on the direct path of our planned route. They were backed up, so we waited in the Canal area for maybe 25-30 mins. As the boats on the lock wall, blue line and not blue line, were called by overhead speaker into the lock, we were able to take their place on the lock wall. Firestorm was able to squeeze into the lock before us. They were the last out of their group in the lock and we would be the first out of the lock group behind them. They found a spot for themselves and us ... and with power!! Double score!!
Garden area overlooking the falls

the story of the bell at the park
neat momument
Another cute town ... some pics before it started raining again.
Tomorrow Cally and I will go wandering and see what there is to see here.
This town out does themselves with attractive landscaping along the town and lock walls
town is right beside the lock; just the other side of the street
our view out to the bridge we will go thru when we leave
important to go thru the LEFT span!!

cottages and house boats on the opposite shore
sunset overlooking Rosedale River

Day 86 ... Saturday, July 15, 2017 ... 25.8 miles & 5 Locks in 5.5 hours
Fenelon Falls to Top of Lock Wall 40
We planned on a run across Balsm Lake with only 4 locks to move us closer to Orillia. 

lots of narrow passages today

some right beside someones backyard

Hole in the Wall bridge ... do we fit??

easily ... it is 28' high at the center
At lock 35, the first one today, we were at the highest point a boat can go on her own bottom at 841' above sea level. After #35, we will go down in the locks until we get to the Georgian Bay... including the OTHER Lift Lock #36, only now we will go down ... so peering over the edge of the pan is so cool.
Kirkfield Lift Lock; only we are going down
inside the pan before they lift the '"tailgate" to hold the water in

the view out overlooking the canal we are being lowered to
Corkscrew on the wall

The lock wall at 39 didn't have room for both boats, so we moved on (a whole 1/2 mile) to the top of lock wall 40 for the night. 
What you do not see are the ROCKS on each side of the canal
the water is so clear, you can see how close they are

entering a narrow passage ... too rocky and too narrow for 2 boats of our size to pass

the sign tells you to call out on the VHF to see if anyone is in the passage and to alert others we are entering
PLEASE stay out until we exit


see the rock edges???
This is a very rural setting, no town; not even a public road for access. We joined lunch makings with Firestorm for burgers, hot dogs, etc by the boats in our little private park. this was so nice, we all grilled out together for dinner, too.
just chilling at our private park dock

we are actually facing the wrong way so we can run our generator
this is facing the last lock we went thru today

Day 87 ... Sunday, July 16, 2017 ... 20.4 miles, 2 Locks in 3:10 hours
Lock Wall 40 to Port of Orillia
We planned on a leisurely start, but with afternoon thunder storms predicted, both Captains and crew readied ourselves for locking through first when they open at 9am. This meant turning Lab Partners around in the tight lock wall/canal area to face the lock gates.
more narrow passages

then Lake Simcoe!!

the sky finally brightened for a while

We locked down 2 locks and then crossed Lake Simcoe, the largest Lake on the TSW. Thanks to Firestorm we have new running shots of Lab Partners. Guess we should have pulled the fenders on board. Oh, well. In normal cruising we never run with fenders down, but with all the locks and so many so close together everyone leaves all the fenders down (both sides). Not pretty, but effective!

Firestorm heading into Orillia

Just as we were leaving Lake Simcoe, it down poured on us going thru a narrow passage then cleared as we approached the marina. 
Once settled in and the shore power connected for AC, the sky let loose again and it really rained hard for a while.
Port of Orillia looks like they are trying to be Port Trent Marina (the really nice one) ... but they are really lacking in execution and in helpful personal. First off they having FOLDING CLEATS. WTF?? As we pulled into our slip all the cleats were down. NO marina staff out to help us (FIRST time no one helped). Luckily, Marshall from Let's Go saw us and came over to raise our cleats so I didn't have to jump off the boat with a line and secure us. Firestorm came in right before us and had no one to raise their cleats. Luckily, there isn't current in here (nice break water walls at the entry) and no wind when we arrived.
Enormous park

long water front park

Lab Partners secure before the down pour

boat ramp, pavillions, beach, play ground, walking paths, biking paths and more

pavilion for use by the public

even though it rained substantially twice yesterday ... the plants are being watered again

The park setting, which is mostly for locals, is MUCH larger than most we've seen along the way and quite impressive. The marina boaters facility, though very new, pales in comparison; it is nice, but a poorly executed version of Trent Port Marina, IMHO.
However, town is near by and ice cream VERY CLOSE!!

TSW - Lakefield to Bobcaygeon (Locks 20 - 31)

Day 81 ... July 10, 2017 ... 9.26 miles and 7 locks in 5 hours
Peterborough Lock 20 to Lock 26, Lakefield, ON. 
Lab Partners back left being raised up
the other pan is going down
Today was the day for the famed Peterborough Lift Lock. Built in 1904 and still the tallest or highest hydraulic lift lock in the world at 75'. First, we locked thru lock 20 which was right in front of us, having tied to their wall for the night before. Firestorm, C Scape, Shell Belle and us locked thru 20, then headed to the big lift lock. It seems a little intimating, but real is easier in that no water moves the boat. The entire "pan" of water with the four boats is lifted like we were on an elevator. It was very quick! Unfortunately, due to my error, the video of going up didn't record. We only have entering the lock and getting set before it started to rise.
me, walking to the bow to get ready to secure us to the pan

Lab Partners to the right pulling into the pan; Jim & Mandy on Shell Belle waiting to enter
here we all are sandwiched in

Lab Partners leaving the top of the Peterbrough Lift Lock

After the lift lock, we had about 7 miles and 5 locks. Very tiring for all. Lots of current, from the record high water around here, making things that much more intense. Again Rip did a great job easing the boat where she needed to be, reacting to the changes in flow from the dam water currents and settling us by the wall so I could grab the cable with our lines and get the boat secure to the walls. With my limited height and limited arm reach, Rip has to get us really close for me to be of any help. 
follow the leader ...

narrow, but not as tight as they will be in a couple days

On one of the earlier locks today, I secured the bow line to a cable but didn't grab the stern cable in time, the wind got us and the stern drifted into the middle of the lock. Rip had to correct my error to re-position the boat, get the stern to move over towards the wall for me to try again. He did a great job, all while the 4th boat was waiting to come in beside us and tie to the opposite wall. Things were tight all day with four boats filling the lock each time. After this mishap, Rip decided to change up how we did things. Now, I grab the stern line and secure it, then head to the bow while Rip controls the bow, with bow thruster, so I am able to reach that cable and secure our line back to the boat. Once all this is down, Rip can head down from the fly bridge, turn the engine off from the salon station and then monitors/controls one of the lines. Rip usually takes the bow and I usually take the stern. I think things went smoother with this change. 
Firestorm in front, C Scape top right & Shell Belle to our side
Shell Belle and Firestorm are too wide to fit beside each other, but we are 2' narrower so it works
Mike on Firestorm

lock attendant opening a lock wall for escape ... many are manual like this

each lock grounds are well maintained and generally well landscaped
there seems to be alot of pride in the upkeep, as well as the gardens and display of flowers or veggies growing

None of the regular locks were very high today, 10-16', but lord did they seem to fill slow. By the time we got to our destination, it was 2:30 (we started at 9) and were wiped out. A beer in the park setting with Firestorm under the shade of the trees was in order. More boats came in by us and others came through and moved on to another wall or more likely the nearby marina. All, in all, 10 boats are docked here tonight, 5 of which are Looper boats, including Moon Shadow, Cork Screw, Firestorm and Lab Partners. Talking and helping boats tie up ... we forgot to eat lunch, so it was an early dinner. I am sure it will be an early night as well.
Forgot to eat lunch

Cally waiting for exit to go Potty

Day 82 ... July 11, 2017 ... 38.6 miles, 4 locks in 7.25 hours
Lakefield, ON to Gordon's Yacht Marina, Bobcaygeon, ON
We tried to start early, 8am, but the fog said otherwise. Firestorm and us waited for it to clear and we're off by 9:15. The scenery was different and stunning today. More rock islands to navigate ... we told much more like what the Georgian Bay will be like.

very, very pretty today

shorelines are all rock now

Burleigh Falls

tight route between rock islands
The plan was for a run to Lock 31 Buckhorn. When we arrived at Lock 30/Lovesick, they called ahead to Lock 31 ... they had space for both boats. So we left there, our back up plan; by the time we got to Lock 31 the boat, a friend/Looper took the last space. Now, where to go? 
thought is church and setting was spectacular
you can only go by boat ... it is on an island

some huge homes along the way

some sweet cottages along the way

lots on rock islands

more amazing homes

There was a marina there we knew was full. We called hoping someone had cancelled, no luck. Not finding any areas on the small lake after Bobcaygeon where we could anchor and get Cally to shore, we called the marina and asked if we anchored out, could we bring the dog to shore once tonight and once in the am. Gal on the phone hemmed and hawed, finally said, "the marina really doesn't like dogs. They spend a lot of money on making things nice and don't want dogs to mess it up, so I have to say no to bringing dogs ashore here.
a secure spot for two nights - right in town!!
 Finally decided we had to push on to the next town and lock, a couple hours further ahead. Knowing the next lock is popular and busy we were worried about finding space on the wall so late in the day. We called a marina there to see if they could accommodate us tonight. We had a slip reserved for the next two nights. Marina owner/manager promised she could squeeze us both in!! Winner, winner!! Amazingly Cally didn't make a peep about the long wait to go potty. She did however speak up once we were tied to the dock. 
So, after lots of days running, lots of locks and lots of town walls we are back at a marina; time for laundry, grocery run and chores.
view to the next lock ... we can see the lock wall form the marina

look what motored by us

 Day 83 ... July 12, 2017 ... 00 miles traveled
Gordon Yacht Marina, Bobcaygeon, ON
Stayed put for the day ... hair cut for me, groceries for the next 12 days, laundry, clean the boat decks, fill up the water tank and pump out the holding tank ... lots of chores. 
Dinner out with Mike & Laurie/Firestorm at The Bob Caygeon Inn
the wings and onion rings were excellent

Dinner out with Firestorm!