Oct 10, 2019
Marabob and Adamant 1 spending the night on the lock wall in Campbellford.
We crossed Lake Ontario from Oswego with a minimum of fuss and did a little happy dance when we crossed the border into Canada…that little dotted line on the chart. “Take down the US flag, put up the quarantine flag and lets head for Waupoos Island” shouts the captain (me)!
We pulled up to the gas dock at the marina, only to find it was mostly underwater. Hmmm, where to put fenders. The attendant brought me a small stepladder so I could get off the boat, use the payphone and call Customs and Immigration. Have you ever seen any of the Indiana Jones movies, where he pushes aside a thick curtain of cobwebs to move forward? Well, this should have been my first clue that this call could have been made from my cell phone right on the boat. I’m a slow learner! I fought my way to the phone, cleared a space on top for documents and found the receiver…yuk!
Part way through my call, the marina operator decided he needed to learn how to operate his new forklift. Right beside the phone booth! He got it turned around and promptly got the raised forks caught in the tree that overhangs the phone booth. I am talking to the agent and watching the forks move the branches down on top of the booth. Finally she asked what the racket was and I explained the guy was trying to crush the ancient phone booth with me in it. We ended the call quickly, I got my check in number, then she told me to “move it”. I moved it back through the hole in the cobwebs and away from the mad forklift operator!!
Kirkfield Lift Lock is the start of the down-bound locks.
We arrived in Trenton the next afternoon anxious to start the Trent Severn Waterway, the last link to home. As it turned out, Lock 3 was down for repairs and we had to wait four days to get in. We could not stay at the upbound blue line as the whole cement dock was underwater. We stayed at Trent Port Marina, the most beautiful marina we have ever met.
Eventually we were able to head out and had Marabob, a Pilgrim 40 trawler as our buddy boat. The water was running fast and high in the river and getting into each lock meant aiming for the rapids and having the current push you into the lock approach. It was intimidating and most locks throughout the system were the same.
Spaghetti dinner aboard Adamant 1 with our crew who came along for the second half of the Waterway. Note the yellow sticker on the curtain
Our Trent Severn Waterway is much prettier than the Erie Canal and the scenery along the way was, in a lot of places, spectacular. Most days were calm and sunny. We picked up our friends Kent and Linda in Campbellford. They had never done the Trent Severn, were excited to be getting the chance to do it and we were glad for the extra help with locks and navigating.
Thick weeds made it important not to veer off of the track left by previous boats.
The only challenge to the navigation was the weed growth. It was prudent to follow the narrow path left for us by previous boats, especially boats with BIG propellers who chew up the weeds. We got off the channel a bit in Rice Lake and I am surprised that we aren’t still there trying to get through. The weeds were almost impenetrable. It took 15 minutes to get untangled and back in the main channel. Thankfully Marabob held fast, as buddy boats do, ready to come in and get us.
There are places between Balsam Lake and Kirkfield where the canal is only wide enough for one boat. A mile in, despite calling a security, we met two large cruisers. We passed each other only a foot apart. Yikes! Just before Kirkfield, there is no room for passing. I called a security twice with no response, only to have to back out of the canal when a trimaran came down at us. I finally called the lock and asked if they had let anyone else into the canal since the trimaran and they said they would hold up locking anyone else until we arrived. Nice guys those lockmasters!
Adamant 1 suspended on the rail car.
After that area, the scenery is lovely…small waterfalls, beautiful cottages and loads of flowers everywhere. Lake Simcoe was flat calm so the crossing was an easy one. We spent two days in Orillia at another spectacular marina as friends from back home wanted to take us to lunch and be the first ones to welcome us back. So nice!! We left Orillia and entered the canal at Washago. There is a train bridge just inside and the clearance is usually 15’, but with the river running high we decided to wait until the train went by and the bridge opened for us. It didn’t open! A fellow on the bridge climbed down to the support pillar, told us to go slow and eyeballed us through. Our temporary antenna hit all the beams and the head of our mast at the stern missed by inches. None of us had any fingernails left!
Adamant 1 on the rail car headed overland at Big Chute Marine Railway.
The rest of the trip was beautiful. What a wonderful area we live in. Our trip overland on the marine railway was a smooth one. As a side note, we had been experiencing a vibration in the boat for some time and had not been able to get in the water to check if we had something wrapped around the prop. When we were on the railcar, one of the attendants took a knife and went under the boat. He came up with a 10’ piece of badly twisted rope. Who knows where we picked that up. And there was no more vibration!
This is the rope the attendant at the railway found on our propeller!
We spent Friday evening at the lock in Port Severn. We were only 15 miles from home but we had told everyone we would be in at noon on Saturday. Everyone showed up at noon to welcome us home, except we got there at 10:30 and our son and grandson were the only ones there at that time! It didn’t matter. We had champagne ready and we toasted to a successful trip. We did 8200 nautical miles, saw a lot of country you can only see by being on the water, had some wild adventures and met so many wonderful people, some of whom will be life-long friends. We came back in one piece, with the addition of a couple of new ones. (If you have been following this blog you will know which ones.)
A familiar site….almost home.
In one of the pics posted you will see a bright yellow button pinned to the curtain above the table. It reads “I’ve survived damn near everything.” I am going to frame that thing!!
Next issue, CYOB will present a highlight reel of photos Lynn took along the Trent-Severn. Great shots – you won’t want to miss them!
– Longtime CY staffer Lynn Lortie and her husband Pat left Midland the summer of 2016 to make their way into the Great Loop and head out on a three year sailing odyssey. Follow their progress right here in CYOB.