Pretty nice here. I really need to get in the water some time.
I haven’t gone far since my last post. Spent a couple of days in Midland, had a brief visit by Miles, and spent a couple of days off the boat with family. Went to look at a boat that I’m maybe going to buy. But that’s another post.
After leaving Port Severn I spent a couple of days noodling around Beausoleil Island and the south end of the Bay.
Tonight I’m anchored here off Hope Island. Weather is unsettled and winds from the N. Next stop is Tobermory, and Thursday looks like a nice day to cruise straight up.
Sorry no more pics for a while. I’m on very slow internet.
I pulled in to the top of the lock yesterday about 5:00, started the generator, turned on the A/C, and went inside. Very hot and humid. Today I stayed put. Cold front is just passing through as I write this, and it looks like a nice stretch of weather for the remainder of the week.
I love the area between here and Kirkfield. I have vivid recollections of coming up through here four years ago. It was my introduction to waterway cruising. Pretty spectacular still, 10,000 miles later.
I haven’t taken many pictures because I have a large collection already of this area and because I’m distancing myself from my phone a bit while underway. It’s often charging when I’m underway and isn’t always close at hand.
The Big Chute is fun and interesting. Most of the day’s pics are there.
Tomorrow I’m heading into Georgian Bay. Will noodle around the south end for a few days visiting yards. I’d like to get some work done on Mazurka and am sort of boat shopping, and generally like skulking around storage yards. Plus I have a trip down to London area on the weekend and don’t want to get too far away.
I suppose I should offer some overall notes and impressions on the Trent Severn. I really enjoyed this trip. There’s a lot a variety. It’s quiet this year. A lot of homes/cottages were empty, and local boat traffic seemed low. The lockmasters say overall traffic is down about 30%, but for many locks Canadian traffic has increased. US boats have hisorically been something like 50% of the through traffic and are not here this year.
The lockmasters have been generally helpful and friendly, as always. There has always been lots of space at the locks, and my season pass has been well used. I anchored out only once, and that was after a rude CN rail bridge operator denied me passage at 6:15 and there was nowhere close by to tie up.
In other boating news, I hope to have a new rudder for Tin Lizzie within the next couple of weeks. She might yet see water in 2020!
This picture was taken last night at the top of the Kirkfield Lift Lock. I’m now on my way down to Georgian Bay.
I had left Mazurka at lock 4 just above Trenton for a few days. Sarah drove me back Monday night with a load of groceries. We had to walk the last km or so as the gate was locked. The lock tenders loaned me a wheelbarrow in the morning to fetch the liquids that we left by the gate.
Tuesday was overcast and calm. Nice traveling weather. I stayed the night at the top of lock 12 just before Campbellford.
Wednesday I stayed at the bottom of Lock 19 just below Peterborough. Thursday night I was at the bottom of Lock 28 at Burleigh Falls. Last night was at the top of Kirkfield Lift Lock.
Now at the bottom lock. Tomorrow I’ll travel north for a bit, then will take a break from boating for a few days. I’ve been aboard and mostly underway since June 1.
Yesterday and today have been very relaxed. Reprovisioned and ate out in Trenton today. Yesterday I stopped in Belleville to refuel. Fellow 34 owner Rob flagged me down and I enjoyed a visit with him, with cold beer and barbecued steak.
Fuel fill-up stats: 32 days, 751 nautical miles traveled (~1400 km), 139 hours main, 68 hours generator. That’s a lot of gennie time for me but I ran the AC a lot and was only plugged in a few days. It’s been hot. Total fuel used: 737 l (195 US gal). Just in case you were curious…
I’ve seen a few wild birds that were very comfortable around boats and people, like this one hanging out at the Belleville marina.
I met up with Gavin and Emerson in Smith’s Falls on Thursday as planned, and we had a relaxed cruise down to Kingston, where I dropped them off today. Great trip. Weather was very hot but moderated today after some rain.
Most of these pics are Emerson’s. He also took a couple of videos of the locks, like this one.
Since I’ve never traveled the Ottawa River I thought I’d take a cruise down from Ottawa as far as I could, which is the Carrillon Lock near Hawksbury ON. Normally the lock provides passage through to meet up with the St Lawrence River near Montreal, but it is closed this season.
Not much to report. I locked down yesterday and headed down the river. Got to the lock at dusk. My plan had been to spend the night there. I thought I had read that there was an open visitors centre. But the floating docks weren’t out and there were a bunch of folks fishing who had jumped the fence, so I turned around. Had a beautiful moonlit cruise back up the river until about 0100 when I stopped and anchored.
It was relentlessly clear and sunny yesterday, and despite lots of sunscreen and trying to stay in the shade I was pretty scorched by the end of the day. This morning when I got up I couldn’t face another day outside under the sun and so cruised back up to Ottawa staying inside with the AC on. Made the last lock up and am now back on the canal.
Tomorrow I head back down the canal towards Kingston. Meeting Gavin and Emerson in Smith’s Falls, and they’re going to go down to Kingston with me.
I pulled it to downtown mid-afternoon, and to my delight there was a prime spot open with power. It was hot and sticky so I spent most of the remainder of the day inside with the AC blasting.
Highlights for me on the trip down were excursions up the Tay Canal to Perth and the Kemptville Creek to Kemptville. Both involved waterfront patio dining. Spent one night in the remote marsh on the Tay, I basically ran into the mud between two beaver lodges.
The locks here are all parks. They’re all lovely, and most are operated as they were 100 years ago. I was quite taken with the swing bridges, some of which were swung by the locktenders completely manually. I took this video of the bridge being closed behind me.
I’m going to hang here for a couple of days. The weather has been perfect for a month, but it’s forecast to be hot this week, and I’m quite happy to escape the sun and heat for a while.
After that? I’m going to head down the Ottawa River, but it’s going to be a return trip. I learned a few days ago that the Carrillon Lock is closed for the season. Should have checked earlier. So there is no passage through to Montreal.
That’s OK. I’m really enjoying the travel. But I’ve pretty much abandoned the idea of going east from Montreal anyway. That’s a trip I’d like to take, but not this year, and probably not in Mazurka.
So now my plan is to do a return trip down the Ottawa to the closed lock, then back through the Rideau to Kingston, then back to the Trent Severn. All good.
After I stopped Susan off a week ago Sarah and Samantha visited for the weekend. I then spent a couple of days hanging in the islands around Gananoque. It was hot. Spent one day inside with the AC on.
Wednesday the lower locks on the Rideau opened, so on Thursday I headed for Kingston. I had been debating going down the St Lawrence, but the Rideau was my first choice.
The trip to Kingston wasn’t entirely uneventful. It was windy, but I wasn’t really bothered until a few miles from Kingston where things open up. It was getting a bit bouncy, so I stopped and dropped the dinghy into the water. My davits are for flat water only.
Just after passing Milton Island I looked back and saw the dinghy drifting behind me. The ring on the front had failed. My fault for attaching the line to it.
After chasing it down and getting a line onto the hull eye, I went to get underway and found that the throttle didn’t work at either station. Idle speed only, which was barely enough to keep me pointed into the waves. And after twice stopping and rolling around while futzing with the dinghy I had enough of the waves.
At this point I was very close to the island, which is a Parks Canada site with a nice sheltered dock, so I idled into the lee and got docked. A quick check of the cables showed that the nuts holding the linkage had come loose, so was able to fix that, but I had another problem. I had left a length of line in the dinghy, super strong dyneema that I used for the lifting harness. That had streamed out the drain hole of the dinghy, and was now wrapped on my prop… Guess it got sucked in when I was in reverse when docking.
At that point I gave up for the day. It was cool and windy. Cooked dinner and watched a big beaver climb out on the bank about 30m away. Later that evening I had a raccoon come aboard and get into a bag of garbage in the cockpit. I’m not used to that. I noticed the screen on the forward hatch torn the next day, and I think that was racoon work as well.
Friday morning I woke to a pair of maintenance workers who were there to close the dock as the island is apparently closed. So as they put up fencing I put on my mask and dove down to unwrap the line. The workers offered me a knife a couple of times, but I wanted to clear it.
Regular readers will know that I have a general aversion to being in the water. It wasn’t easy to go in. But once I was in and under the boat it wasn’t hard. I really should try to swim regularly.
Friday I stopped in Kingston and stocked up on groceries, then spent the night at the bottom of the first lock.
Saturday I stopped at Newboro and had a nice meal about a ten minute walk away.
Today I headed to Perth, had dinner out there, and am now here in the swamp on the Tay River for the night.
I’m now at the highest point in the system. The lakes below Newboro are beautiful and not overly developed. Lots of wilderness.
My sister Susan joined me in Kingston a week ago, and hopped off in Brockville five days later. We had beautiful calm weather the entire time, and both enjoyed exploring and bird watching. It was her first time aboard Mazurka.
Here’s her account and a small selection of her photos.
I am writing this in downtown Toronto on Saturday afternoon, having spent most of last week cruising the Thousand Islands area with my big brother, Jeff, on Mazurka. It was a great experience for a myriad of reasons. The weather and scenery were spectacular. Due to the late start to the tourist season, there were very few boats; the places we stopped were quiet and mostly uninhabited. Despite seeing a swimming snake (eek) on day 2, I jumped in the water to paddle around every day after that, as Jeff found (princess) me places where the water was crystal clear to the bottom. Jeff even got in the water once!
I loved the relaxed pace and freedom to noodle around, as the only agenda was to explore what caught our fancy. This included staying overnight in quiet inlets to watch and listen to wildlife, seeing amazing sunrises, checking out marinas, circumnavigating Boldt castle, and finding the best waterfront restaurants along the way.
Now don’t get me wrong, that was all great, but best of all was hanging out with Jeff in his element. It takes a lot of knowledge and experience to safely maneuver through the St. Lawrence, and Jeff made it look easy. Like many siblings we occasionally bicker, but we are close. I have friends who have difficult familial relationships so I know what we have is not that common. This week reminded me again how much I cherish and appreciate our relationship. It probably helped that I stopped working halfway through when my office internet got cut off when we got close to the US. Lol. #boatlife