Start: Campbellsford Town Wall, Ontario, Canada, 0807
End: Hastings, Ontario, Canada, 1446
Total Distance: 17.7 nm
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.