Rice Lake

Anchored for the night on Rice Lake by the entrance to the Otonabee River. Relaxed operation today, stopped for an hour or two in Hastings. Tomorrow I go up to Peterborough to meet Sam and Sarah. It was hot and mostly sunny today, and I was mostly inside the last couple of hours seeking shade. Even with the bimini it’s hard not to get cooked.

This is approaching Healey Falls.

And stopped at Hastings

I’m back

Had a 24 hour break from boat life. Picked up my car at Bowmanville, went home to Guelph, built a fence, washed some clothes, had dinner with friends, and drove back to Campbellford. About 500 km.

I like this park. Could sit here all day chatting with locals and other boaters, and it’s quiet at night.

Tomorrow I head north, up to Rice Lake. Planning to be in Peterborough Monday evening to meet Sam and Sarah.

If anyone wants to join me for this segment or part of it drop me a note. Boat is getting pretty presentable, ready for guests! Also going through the world famous Peterborough Lift Lock (Google it) Tuesday morning and cruising through Trent U campus. Hop on for an hour or two!

Campbellford

I stopped today at around 1 at the park in Campbellford. Nice spot, with power and water. After lunch I did some further cleaning and organizing, and have decided to stay put here. Sarah is picking me up later this evening and taking me to fetch my car and trailer in Bowmanville, then it’s back to Guelph for a day or two to do some fencing there, then back to the boat for a couple of weeks to carry on.

This is a picture from the bridge

Went through a bunch of locks including this double just south of here. There’s a suspension bridge just next to the lock.

Anchoring

I anchored last night in a nice pool just below Lock 7 that’s outside the channel. Dropped the anchor in about 7 feet of water. Muddy bottom, no weeds. Cottages on two sides, but not close.

Sounds great, right? I think so.

But there seems to be an almost universal culture of day tripping from dock to dock. I’m not behaving according to the norms.

When I suggested to the lockmaster that I would anchor out he said that nobody had done that in this area.

An hour or two after I dropped anchor – about 8 pm – a guy came up in a runabout. At first I thought he was fishing, but after asking if I was all right he explained that he had a home nearby, had lived in the area all his life. After I told him what I was doing he seemed satisfied and took off.

Anyway, I like anchoring out. It’s private, free, and I can pee over the side! Will continue to do it whenever possible.

Visitors

I want to have people visit me aboard. Come see what all the fuss is about!

Hopefully this blog will help. If you’re reading this and want to join me for a few hours or a few days reach out.

Any questions, concerns or fears, just ask.

For example, I plan to go through Peterborough Sunday or Monday. The lift lock there is world famous, an amazing piece of 19th century engineering. Come join me for the lift.

The Plan

I expect to be aboard pretty much all the time for the next six weeks or so, and this segment of my journey ends in Chicago.

You may want to get out a map. I’m currently just north of Trenton. There are basically three major segments.

Trent Severn Waterway: I’m on it now, heading to Rice Lake, Peterborough, Bobcageon, etc. Google it.

Georgian Bay: after exiting the Trent Severn it’s north through the small boat passage up to Killarney, then exploring the North Channel. I expect to be leaving that area around August month end.

Lake Michigan: from Macinac down the lake to Chicago. Think I’ll go down the western side. I think of this as a delivery trip. Pick the weather and scoot. It’s 300 miles down the lake, and generally speaking I don’t enjoy open water.

I’m Underway!

Meant to write earlier. I’ll try to fill in the deets later, but all is good. Had the motor professionally repaired and fixed the niggling electrical problems and all systems are good. I launched on the weekend at Bowmanville, set out Tuesday evening, and had a marvelous trip down the lake at night to Presqu’ile and anchored just inside the point. Next day I didn’t move. Napped and started to clean up and organize.

Today I went through the Murray Canal to Trenton, stopped to refuel, pick up a few things and eat lunch. Then north on the Trent Severn. I’m now anchored just below lock 7.

That’s the basics.

Sunset in Presqu’ile

Falcon (or eagle?) On the lower TS.

The Dream

I can pinpoint the genesis exactly. It was in late November 1986, and we had just entered the intracoastal waterway (ICW) at Norfolk VA. We were on a 40 foot sailboat and had left Halifax about ten days earlier. It had been a tough slog.

I was utterly enraptured. Parts of the waterway had been constructed in the 18th century. There was always something to see. Lots of other boats of all shapes and sizes were around. There was (for me) exotic vegetation and critters. The commercial traffic was a novelty. And the best part was that there were no waves. By the time we got through NC I was plotting a return in my own boat, taking the time to poke around and stop as desired.

The confirming experience came in the fall of 1992, when Samantha and I took a few days to deliver a friend’s sailboat from Chicago to St Louis, traveling on the Illinois River and (briefly) the mighty Mississippi. I loved that trip. Samantha wasn’t so keen.

Shortly after that we moved to London ON – not by any stretch a boating center – and I got busy with kids, career, life without boats. I’ve had small boats, and really enjoyed racing Laser in the competitive masters class for a few years. Having another ‘big’ boat was nowhere near the top of the list, but I often thought about river cruising over the years, and set it as a goal for when I had the freedom from other commitments to be able to enjoy it. It had become pretty clear in discussions with Samantha that this wasn’t a shared goal, so this was likely to be a solo project with a virtually unlimited scope. My hazy goal was to cover all the navigable waters of the Mississippi basin, and that is a lot of travel – possibly several years.

In early 2015 I started to seriously consider making my dream happen. In my next posting I’ll talk about my boat, and how I came to choose and buy Mazurka.

Last trip of the season

After leaving the boat in Belleville for a month I’m back aboard for the final segment of the season. I decided to haul for the winter at Wiggers in Bowmanville. Seems like a competent small yard, not too expensive and relatively close to Toronto. The boating business has really changed in the 30 years since I was immersed in it. Wiggers was a pretty well known and busy semi-custom boatbuilder in the 80s. Then they survived on major service and restoration work for a long time. These days they use their shop for heated indoor storage.

I write this from the Murray Canal. I came down here from Belleville this evening. Unsettled weather today, blowing pretty hard from the East and rain at times heavy but it looks like a great forecast tomorrow for the 50 mile run down Lake Ontario.

I still really like this boat and the style of boating it provides. Was nice to hang out inside for the blustery and wet trip down the Bay of Quinte.

Edit Feb 2018 – I meant to report fuel in this blog. Filled up at the end of the trip, first fuelling since the Erie Canal. My recollection is that it took about 625 litres.