Great Adventures - Part 6
June 15, 2018 (Friday): Good nights rest and leave Brewerton, NY at 7:04 am, 401.7, and as approached lock 23 at 7:30 am, 402.1, two bald eagles passed low in front of us as we waited for lock to open. Landed in tree but, unfortunately we did not have clear view of them. Took a couple of photos but nothing great as you will see. Happy to report starboard engine, with new impeller, is doing well and holding steady at 180 degrees. As we progress to Oswego Canal at Three Rivers I notice starboard fuel tank isn't going down. Unless we have inadvertently discovered a new source of energy something was amiss. Now get ready for a plug for Island View Marina, Chester, MD. George, Will and Lisa are the three super heroes at IVM. George and Will are the master mechanics, alias Professor George and Chief Assistant Will, prepared Blue Yonder III for this Great Adventure. Well actually they are master artists of the trade. They don't just "fix" things but rather make your vessel better than original. And along with the fine craftsmanship you receive a master class in the etiology of the problem, repair options and how to avoid the problem on the future. So when I discovered the fuel tank issue I called George. I sent him photos of the fuel supply manifold. Within 5 minutes George called back with suggestions for trouble shooting the problem. Following his instructions and crawling around the engine room (which is an oxymoron, the is no room in engine room) I find two valves in the return fuel system that appeared to be closed. After some WD 40 and lots of my new secret language I opened the valves and lo and behold now the starboard tank works like new. So the Professor and his crew come through again. A BIG THANKS TO GEORGE, WILL AND LISA.
Arrive at Three Rivers, Osswego Canal at 8:40 am, 403.0, make a turn North and proceded up the canal. Pass through Lockes 1-8 by 12:55 pm, 406.3. Fuel up at Oswego Marina, bought two large round, red fenders which we noticed other boats used with success passing through locks,got into our slip for the night, wash off BY3 and rest. Took on 74.355 gal. of diesel after 24.4 hrs. so burned about 3 gal. per hr. at 2000 rpm. Not bad for an ol' girl. Ate a fine dinner of ribeye steak frits at Alex's on the Water Front and off the dream land. Big day tomorrow, cross Lake Ontario, south to north.
June 16, 2018 (Saturday): Rise and shine early and after a quick breakfast leave Oswego at 6:25 am, 407.0, for Canada. Lake Ontario is calm with slight, 6-7 mph NW winds. At 2500 rpm making 9.5-10.5 mph easily. Pass into Canadian waters about 8:48 am, 409.2. Slight overcast and cooler with calm seas at 10:00 am, 410.5. Water is beautiful dark blue. Large tanker passed across our bow, not too close, large wake followed. Some personal fishing boats but no other traffic. Arrive at Scotch Bonnet light, our way point at Canadian shore at 12:20 pm, 412.9. Our route took us from Oswego, NY across Lake Ontario to Presqu'ile Island to Murray Canal to Trent-Severn Canal. Total miles to Murray Canal approximately 60 statute miles. DISCLAIMER: NOT TO BE USED FOR NAVIGATION!!! Put in at Trent Port Marina at mouth of Trent River and Bay of Quinte. After getting settled and registered with Canadian customs we went grocery shopping. At the time we had not had lunch so asked where there were places to eat. The nice store people pointed toward a tower in town and said go that way. So we walked to town and found several homey places and chose Skyline Restaurant & Tavern. We went back in time to a diner with jukeboxes at the booths. Our waitress, Shirley, born and raised in Trenton had worked at the Skyline off and on for 11 years. She was a happy soul and very friendly. There were three other people in the Skyline a single woman and an older (our age) couple. After we ordered Shirley brought an older gentleman out from the kitchen and introduced him as Jimmy, the owner. He was difficult to understand so Shirley translated for us. His is 94 years old and gets up at 3:00 am to shower and shave everyday before his good friend, 85 years, picks him up and brings him to the restaurant. Jimmy prepares for the day and opens at 5:30 am. He has been doing this for 65 years. The other help, Shirley and cook arrive about 7:30 am for the rest of the day. Jimmy does not go home but rather stays until closing time when he gets a ride home. While we are eating we find out Shirley and Jimmy know everyone in the restaurant and introduce us to the couple, Helda & Gerald. Seems Skyline is a popular place and has many regular customers who all know each other very well. Like one big family. We find out Jimmy's real name is Socrates and his last name is unpronounceable. Skyline the oldest one owner restaurant and tavern in Trenton., So we talk to Helda & Gerald for a few minutes while we finish our dinner. Another commercial: Trent Port Marina is the nicest marina a boater may ever experience. Like staying at a Hilton without the cost. Slip fee, the only fee, is $1.50/foot and includes power, water, laundry (free by the way) and showers (also free). Staff is friendly, helpful and most efficient. Cleanest marina I've ever seen. Almost hated to leave, but Jodie and Olive are patiently waiting so we moved along.
June 17, 2018 (Sunday, Father's Day): Locks on Trent-Severn operate 10 am - 4 pm this time of year so we are guaranteed a nice leisurely trip. Breakfast, shower and laundry this am. Wash off boat and get ready for Trent-Severn leg of journey. Leave West Quinte 10:30 am, 416.0, and head to Lock 1 where we purchase Season One Way permit for T-S. These locks are smaller than the Erie locks and most are hand operated, not hydraulic, like Erie. Two people are required at each lock to turn the hand cranks to open/close gates. There are also two lift locks which actually lift the lock to lift the boats, rather than pump in water to lift the boats. These are required because of the height of the lift required. On the Erie this was accomplished by Flight Locks which are two locks in succession where the boat goes from one lock immediately into the next lock for further lift. Today there are two other boats which we have traveled with since the speed is restricted in the T-S so boats tend to "clump" up at locks and stay together for the day. Except for Lock 1 boats do not communicate with locks via radio. Each lock alerts the next lock to expect boats with in a certain time and the next lock master prepares the lock for arriving boats. Occasionally we have to wait to wait for boats to clear the locks before we can enter. This has happened a couple times today. We passed through Locks 11-12, flight locks, at 5:40 pm, 420.5, at Campbellford. Here we docked at the municipal dock with power, showers and food services a short walk in town.
June 18, 2018 (Monday): After quiet night in Campbellford leave at 9:50 am, 421.0, to nice calm day, so we thought. T-S is a controlled minimum depth of 9 feet with little current controlled by the many dams one at each lock. Easy going until about 2:00 pm when we were accosted by a rain storm. No thunder or lightning but heavy rain. Went below to get out of rain but from lower helm could not see through windows very well. Windshield wipers were useless. Rather than stop we donned our rain gear and back up top we went. Figured we were wet anyway so why not. Could see much better, although rain hitting in our face, we pushed on undaunted. Never the worst for wear, rain lasted for about an hour and then clear skies through Locks 13 - 18 to Hastings, Ontario.
Docked at free city dock/wall. Went to nice resturant next to dock/lock where we were invited to join two couples, one from Toranto and one from New Jersey, who were cruising along with us. Jamie, the bar tender, made great Bloody Marys and Ceasars (Bloody Mary with clamato). we had ribs that were delightful. After good boat stories and conversation, ice cream, Kawartha (local creamery) across the street topped off the day. Off to the boat and "never never land".
June 19, 2018 (Tuesday): Leave Hastings at 7:40 am, 424.6, for Rice Lake. This lake is long and we were going end to end. Started off calm but shortly wind picked up and some white caps formed. Too keep up our 9-10 mph average we moved up to 2500 rpm against the wind and chop. Our next stop is Petersborough where we top off fuel, get some more ice cream and pump out. My AGLCA, America's Great Loop Cruisers Association membership paid off with free pump out. Took on 84.6 gal. of diesel after 22.3 hours so 3.8 gal./hour. Not bad since we were at 2500 rpm for several hours. Through Lock 20 at 1:45 pm, 429.7, to Lock 21. Lock 21 is our first Lift Lock. Previous locks raised or lowered us by raising or lowering the water level in the lock. The lift lock raised or lowered us by raising or lowering the entire lock, boats on all. The water level remained constant much like and elevator filled with water. This was actually much faster than the standard lock. The lift lock raised/lowered at least 5 stories; much more spectacular then others (photos to follow). Finished off the day passing Locks 22 & 23 and stopping below Lock 24 at the wall over night. For $36 mooring fee we obtained key from the Lock Master to the private bathroom and shower and were first in line next morning. Lovely place to spend the night, picnic tables and sound of water over the dam, and of course the hot shower.
June 20, 2018 (Wednesday): Left Lock 24 at 10:20 am, 430.9, and made our way through Locks 25-31. Not a very eventful day. Beautiful water and country, few boats but not much else. Anchored out on North Side of Jacob's Island. Wonderful place to spend a night. Soft wind and smooth water. Loon family nearby calling in the evening. A large version of "On Golden Pond" without Jane Fonda or Katharine Hepburn. Oh well. Sleep to call of the Loons.
June 21, 2018 (Thursday): Pulled anchor at 7:40 am, 435.8, and headed to Lock 32. Not a very eventful day. Plenty of beautiful country and water is so clear can see bottom of 10 feet and grass grows abundantly on the bottom. In places the grass and water vegetation are so thick there is barely enough room for boat to get through without catching the grass. As we left Lock 36 we couldn't avoid some of the grass and seemed we picked up some on our running gear. We slowly made our way to the next swing bridge in Bolsover and anchored just past the bridge in about 7 feet of water at 3:45 pm, 441.9. You may note we tend to stop in the 4-5 pm time frame. This because the Locks and swing bridges operate on a 9:00 am to 4:00 pm schedule and you have to be at the Lock or bridge 30 minutes before closing to get through. Today we also stopped early to check our running gear. In true "Seahunt" or "National Geographic" fashion I jumped into swim suite and with mask and knife eased into the clean, clear water. Water temperature was 75 degrees but startling at first, soon comfortable. I found grass around both shafts and props. Some I could simply pull off but, most I had to cut and pull. Since I can't hold my breath as long as I used to it took several dives on each prop to clear the grass. Mission was accomplished without incident so now time for dinner and drink. After dinner while reading and relaxing a couple came by in a small boat and invited us to dinner. Sorry to say we had already eaten but thanks anyway. Bed time.
June 22, 2018 (Friday): Got up early and checked raw water strainers because of grass etc. Found all strainers, engines and generator, to have some grass etc. in them. Cleaned and rinsed each and replaced. Also checked oil and trans fluid, all OK. Pulled anchor at 9:10 am, 441.9, and headed through locks 37-41. lot of grass at all locks and many places in the canal. Managed to avoid grass today and down Lake Simcoe, the largest lake on the Trent-Severn. Some wind and white caps but made good time and made Lock 42 by 3:23 pm, 447.8, just in time. Just past the lock to our port (right) was Deep Bay. Narrow inlet but passable so we entered and anchored for the night. Calm winds and smooth water. A Loon or two.
June 23, 2018 (Saturday): Weather was iffy but we decided since we were close to the end at Port Severn we would push on. Pulled anchor at 8:15 am, 448.7, and made our way to Lock 43. No problems so on our way to Lock 44 "Big Chute". At "Big Chute" 10:35 am, 450.2. Now "Big Chute" is not really a lock but rather a large railroad type carriage large enough to carry 110 tons and vessels up to 100 feet long. You drive your boat into the carriage, with assistance from the dock masters, where the boat is lifted on straps just like the travel lifts at a marina. They give you time to close seacocks so you don't have to prime any pumps when you reenter the water. The carriage, boat and you are now a railroad car on a roller coaster, and it is steep (see photos) and high. This all worked very smoothly without incident. Back in the water, seacocks open and we are off to Port Severn where we fueled up, pumped out and docked in a slip at Starport Marina for the night at12:15 pm, 451.8. Stopped this early because the next leg of this Adventure is to diagonally across Georgian Bay about 80 miles to Tobermory. We want to have a full day of good weather to cross such a large body of water. Overcast and rain off and on rest of day today. Tomorrow rain also forecast so we may stay and extra day. Decided tomorrow. Showers, food and laundry here at Starport Marina and the nicest young people working you clould ever meet. So here we are 'till Sunday or Monday.