Donnelly Great Loop Adventure 2017

SV Serenity


June 2017

Peterborough Lift Lock (6/26/17): What a RIDE!!!

Start: Peterborough Marina, Ontario, Canada, 1025
End: Lock 24, Douire, Trent Severn Waterway, 1704
Total Distance: 6.8 nm
Time: 4:26 (Moving)
Average Speed: 1.5
Number of Locks: 5 (20-24)
Number of dog treats: 0. For second day in a row. Lucky is beside himself.

There are three locks (out of the 40+) on the Trent-Severn waterway that we are actually looking forward to. Two are lift locks and one uses a marine railway. We get to the first o the three today: ThePeterborough Lift Lock. Lock 21. It is a lock that lifts (and drops) boats 60 feet. It is done by the boats driving into big water filled pans (one on top of the lock, one on the bottom) and then those pans either rise or fall (depending on if you are locking up or down), offset by the weight of the opposite pan. If you are in the boat (which we were), you sit in a pond of water that magically rises. And you hope the back gate doesn’t open and drop you 60 feet into the water. Continue reading “Peterborough Lift Lock (6/26/17): What a RIDE!!!”

Speed (6/27/17)

“I’ve giv’n her all she’s got captain, an’ I canna give her no more.”
–Montgomery “Scotty” Scott in many episodes of Star Trek: The Original Series

Continue reading “Speed (6/27/17)”

We get a helping hand. (6/24/17)

Start: Campbellsford Town Wall, Ontario, Canada, 0807
End: Hastings, Ontario, Canada, 1446
Total Distance: 17.7 nm
Time: 5:45
Average Speed: 3.1 kts
Number of Locks: 6 (13-18)
Number of dog treats: 4

We are back on the water and the day is gorgeous. Sunny, high in 70s, only mar is a brisk wind from the west which seems to push against us the entire day. That, combined with the wicked current flowing down the river makes our speed very, very slow.

We are up early to get on last run to the bakery for donuts before we blow town. On the boat, we prep to leave with only one minor hiccup. The port side engine would not lower past 45 degrees. I hit the ‘down’ button, it goes down and then stops. Quick google search and frantic look on engine and I find a tilt lock that had gotten engaged, preventing the engine from dropping. Pull out and we are good to go.

We get to the first lock with one other boat. I manage to whack the lock wall with the mid ship cleat (don’t ask how) which gets our mistake out of the way early. We hope. And really the rest of the day goes just fine. Five locks with no major issues other than fighting the wind that pushes against us in every lock.

One the last lock of the day we fight up a river where the lock is located on the right bank just after the river makes a sharp turn. We go in blind to the lock entrance until we get on top of it and then realize that the door is shut. We need to tie up. And there is a boat in the area you tie up. So I have to bring us in without hitting the dude. I turn to the right, the current catches the stern of the boat, the wind catches the front and in about 10 seconds we are broadside in the lock channel. And since it is the first sunny day in six months, there are about a thousand people fishing and sitting on the bank of the canal watching us bob merrily along in the channel.

For about a year we work on getting the boat turned against the tide and wind and get us going the right direction. Jan tells me that the door is opening and slooooowllly the boat turns to the left and to the door and we are in. Flop sweat all around. I tell the lock master that his lock sucks and he told me he has been hearing that all day. He asks where we are going after his lock and we tell him that our plan is to tie up on the lock wall. Full, he tells us. A new restaurant has opened up and that thing stays full on the weekend.

So that sucks. The fall back is the local marina but we haven’t called for a reservation. The lock opens and we putter out slowly to see if something has opened up on the wall. Nope. But as we get to the end, we notice a guy (Andrew) standing on his sailboat waving his arms. He sees that we are looking for a spot and asks if we want to raft up with them to see if a spot comes free.

Rafting up is where two boats tie together forming a raft. He was on the wall, so the idea was that we would come along side, we would pass our ropes to them, and then would cleat us off to their boat. And our fenders would protect our side. Easy! Never done it. Fortunately this all came about so fast there wasn’t any time to think about what was happening, and who wants to think anyway. So we pulled along side and slowly moved alongside the boat until ropes were passed and voila! We were rafted.

Andrew, his dad and their dog are finishing up the loop in a 30 foot Catalina monohull. They are about 150 miles from home; seriously on the downhill side. When we sat down with them (after we had un-rafted and moved to our own part of the wall) over beer later, they told us that helping people is part of the loop (and boating in general) and how we all make it through. They had help along their loop and they are passing it on. As we will as well. Their help made our day. And our trip to this point.

The remainder of the day was all ice cream, card games and fishing. Enjoying the sun because tomorrow we have a long trek and the weather is going back to the crud we are used to!

***More pictures hopefully tomorrow; we are internet challenged on this lock wall.

Rain, Rain, Let it Rain (6/23/17)

Day three of three in Campbellsford, Ontario. I spell it differently every day and I’m not sure I got it right yet. So much for my second career as a reporter.

Weather forecast today is rain. The forecast for the past month has been rain. The amount of water up here is incredible–this is as high of water as they have seen in a century and more keeps coming. Lots of sandbags for the lucky ones, lots of buildings in the water for the not so lucky. The current is running hard. Against us, unfortunately. We don’t need more rain. All of the other Great Loop boats left either yesterday or today, rain be damned. We are weak. We did the rain/boat thing in Erie. Don’t have to today and the night is paid for on the wall, so we are staying!! I’m liking the no timetable.

First up on my agenda is a car rental. I ordered a spare prop when we were in Trenton and the overnight shipping which should have gotten it in last Saturday finally took and the propeller arrived on Wednesday. It is a forty minute drive (to cover the same distance it took us two days to do in our boat) and we have this rain day so I asked the visitors center if there was a car rental place in town and they gave me a name (Lew) and a phone number. I called, Lew answered and said he had a car and would come pick me up.

Lew owns a car repair shop in Campbellsford. He has lived here his entire life and got his shop from his dad and all three of this children work in the shop. One son runs it, one son does the painting, the daughter does the artwork. His wife runs the office. And his seriously obese dog lays on the carpet. A family affair. Lew collects old cars and I got a tour of what he had in the shop. Work is really just a way to get ‘new’ cars into his shop so he can rebuild them. Travels all over Canada and the United States with his wife in his truck with a trailer to either attend vintage car and/or motorcycle or to go buy and haul back his latest find. As he says, he is the boss; he has his son to run the day to day operation so he can focus on the big picture. The place was humming when we walked through it.

I took off and got the propeller which pretty much means we won’t break one the entire trip. Had I not gotten the spare, we would have certainly broke one in the most desolate and inconvenient spot imaginable.

AJ and Jan were doing schooling while I was gone, upon return we headed off to a local cheese factory where we FINALLY got some good, fresh, squeaky cheese curds. Ate the whole bag. We found out later how the locals tell if it is going to be good curd.

  1.  Must be for sale outside of a refrigerator.  If hit is in a fridge, it is old.
  2. Must be made that day.

After we returned the car, we hit a local bookstore to replenish AJ’s stock of reading material, back to the boat for Indian food and AJ and I went to see Captain Underpants at the local theater.

Tomorrow the plan is to actually move someplace. Though there are a TON of boats that have arrived this afternoon; we may have another traffic jam at the locks.

Oh Poutine, where have you been in my life… (6/22/17)

We are in Campbellsford, Ontario for the second of three days. Arrived yesterday in the clouds, and tomorrow is supposed to rain to beat the band. Again. Today is forecast for sunny, clear skies in the morning (at least) and so we are out exploring the town. At least as far as our feet can take us.

On the agenda:

  1.  Donuts and bread from Dooher’s bakery. Open from 0730-1730, but have to be there early so you don’t miss out on the donuts.
  2. Walk to locks/suspension bridge.
  3. World’s best chocolate factory. With a name like that, gotta see it.
  4. Poutine. More on that later.

Not on the agenda but bonus activities:

  1. Lucky playing with dogs in park.
  2. Serious nappage time by the captain. Like over two hours.

Continue reading “Oh Poutine, where have you been in my life… (6/22/17)”

Land of the free, home of the wave (6/21/17)

Start: Lock 6 West Wall, Frankford, Ontario, Canada, 0826
End: Campbellsford Town Wall, Ontario, Canada, 1551
Total Distance: 20.9 nm
Time: 7:25
Average Speed: 2.8 kts
Number of Locks: 6 (7-12)
Number of dog treats: 5 (four in one lock)

Continue reading “Land of the free, home of the wave (6/21/17)”

Dog treats and Twizzlers. And a special ‘Donkey-head award.*’ (6/20/17)

Today was our first day on the Trent-Severn Waterway and (spoiler alert) it is fantastic!

Continue reading “Dog treats and Twizzlers. And a special ‘Donkey-head award.*’ (6/20/17)”

Trent Port Marina; a little slice of heaven 6/15/17-6/18/17

This will be a digest version of the past couple of days.  I’ve been negligent and will do pushups.  Someday.  But probably not today.  This will be a digest version of the past couple of days.  I’ve been negligent and will do pushups.  Someday.  But probably not today.
We are in the land of the friendliest people in the world.  And staying at the nicest marina we been at in our lives.  We have found a little slice of heaven.
In this edition of our blog:
Friday Activities
What makes a good marina.
Happy Father’s Day. Fix the A/C!

Continue reading “Trent Port Marina; a little slice of heaven 6/15/17-6/18/17”

Teamwork (6/14/17) and Reader Questions

Start: Waupoos Marina, Ontario, Canada, 0700
End: Sandy Cove, Bay of Quinte, Ontario, Canada, 1420
Total Distance: 41.0 miles
Time: 7:30
Average Speed: 5.2 kts

Word of the day today is teamwork.

Continue reading “Teamwork (6/14/17) and Reader Questions”

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