Saturday, June 11, 2011

Trent Severn Waterway

Oswego, New York was the final destination in the Erie Canal. Our journey through the canal was very enjoyable and one we'll remember forever!
We waited for a mail delivery on Monday morning to get our Canada charts and guides and left soon after.  Pictured here on the wall just before our last lock #31 of the entire Erie and Oswego Canal system.  The lockmaster said many locals will dock at these walls all summer long. 
 We enjoyed our adventures through the canal systems very much. 
 We went to Fort Ontario, the park, pizza place, laundry and groceries before our venture into Canada waters. This photo is of the inside of the fort.
Our long trip across Lake Ontario was almost 80 miles into Canada but was a successful day. We left Oswego with no wind and calm seas and within an hour the fog rolled in and we were at minimal visibility the first half of the trip. With the radar on we never saw even a ripple in the water and made it clear into the Murray Canal near Brighton, Canada. Most 'Loopers' take the route directly to Kingston and the thousand island region, but we spent quite a bit of time there on our RV trip just two years ago. 
The channel markers are all very small in contrast to the states.  
 Docked here at the swing bridge which closed at 4:00 pm. We cleared customs without a problem and after a good night sleep (tons of mosquitos, no breeze and sweltering hot) we were on our way.  
 We were excited to enter the Trent-Severn Waterway and start our journey through 240 miles and 45 locks.
 Most of the locks have manually controlled gates by the lockmaster.
 An interesting overview of the path we're taking.
We started having some engine problems after the heat of the day wore on and we had to turn the engines off at each lock.  With Craig spending hours in the bilge and biking to the local auto store, he seemed to have fixed the problem. 
 The kids love the lock walls as they're all so scenic with many areas to play in the grass and run.  This is the turning mechanism type 'key' used to open the large gate doors.
After figuring out the engines Craig went for a swim to see if he could find the bow thruster problem.  It seems we have stripped the bearings and will not be able to fix it until the boat is pulled out of the water.  It went out two weeks before we started all 76 locks.....great timing. We seem to manage fine and have installed a new mid thruster which is me giving a little push midship at each lock! 
 Morgan has eagerly been at every lock assisting with lines.  In this canal you need to have two lines held at all times.  The kids are collecting cards and stickers at every lock which they put into their own map and activity book.  They get excited when they see the next lock and the cards represent local endangered wildlife.
 Ryann and Jaxon made a great team tending the lines.
 We came out of the lock (see far back area), to a boat docked alongside and story had it they just went out of the channel and grounded.  As we continued on the trawler you see here was grounded in the same spot.  They asked us to tow them out and we opted to try and 'wake' them first.  We kick up a pretty big wake and they were off within seconds. 
 Less than 5 minutes after we left the trawler we ran into a horrible storm.  I usually check the weather often, but now without having wi-fi at my disposable I guess ignorance is bliss.  Until you hit a big storm with over 40 knot damaging winds while underway.  It hit harder than anyone had anticipated and came again two hours later to cause even more damage to the area.  We made our way another mile and tied up to the lower lock wall.  On the upper half they had a 60 foot tree come down and lost power.  110,000 people lost hydro (power) for a few days, a house was struck by lightning and burnt to the ground and now the waterway is lined with trees that uprooted from the force of the wind. 
 Canada does not have a one and two dollar bill, however they have a Loonie and a Toonie.  This is the Toonie and worth $2. 
 Campbellford was a nice stop along the way that offers a town with all amenities needed.
 Doohers Bakery was delicious and well known in the area.  Craig made it into the photo with our stash of goodies!
 5 pin bowling was a huge favorite! Played much like the traditional states 10 pin bowling, but the kids and I loved the small balls used.  We all caught on quickly but have never seen this played in the states.
 Bag milk? We were forewarned that we'd have to buy it this way by our friends from Messenger.  Our brother-in-law, Kurt's family owns a very large dairy farm in Ionia, MI and wondering if he's ever heard of this packaging??
New Canadian candy bars like Mr. Big, Sweet Marie and the Wunderbar was fun to try too!
 Another great lock wall stop along the way as we made another bonfire with smores and played a ton of baseball.  Jaxon has a frisbee hat on and used it to play ball until dark that night and made it out there first thing in the morning before we started our day.
 Some of the locks were 'doubles' and as you exit one chamber you'd drive straight into another. This one was very large. The entrance into these canals have been surprisingly small and extremely narrow. Couple that with tapered walls, currents and throw in some wind and still by far the best lock system we've been to.  The lockmasters are all very nice and helpful. 
Peterborough was a great stop for us as we filled our tanks with 860 liters of gasoline!  The conversion always leads to a slight hesitation, but you catch on quickly.  All this time and I never knew we had our own American gallon and most others use the Imperial gallon which varies in volume. 

The marina had full services with the most helpful friendly staff. Located in the heart of town and next to Del Crary Park which is holding a fundraiser event this weekend to raise money for Breast Cancer research.  It is worth a stop as they had a great price for fuel and dockage.   
Couldn't pass up another round of 5-pin bowling across the street from the marina.  It was fun to play on a cool, rainy, Friday night!
Again, I do not anticipate an internet connection for awhile, but will update when possible.  We're not even half way through the locks, but it is a very enjoyable part of our trip.