Peterborough, Ontario (June 26-27)

It was a classic morning on the water.  As we headed north to Peterborough we encountered some narrow passages and more pastoral homesites as opposed to what we see in the states.

    

    

    

When we say “manual locks”, we mean “manual locks”, the attendants march around in a circle on a wheel, cranking the huge lock gates open and closed.  Very few of the larger locks are mechanically operated.

    

    

As we rounded the Peterborough Harbor, the water fountain was our first welcome to the marina.  There were several more Looper boats already docked.  This coming weekend is “Canada Day” and boaters are finding their place to settle in for the celebration.  There will be tons of boat traffic and the locks will be crowded.  We walked next door to “The Gazebo” for a bite to eat.

    

The predicted rains finally arrived and in between sprinkles we walked to the local marine store and bike shop.  The late evening brought us sunshine and rainbows.

    

   

And we are still amazed by the coal black squirrels in Canada!

Campbellford to Hasting (June 25)

We pulled off the Campbellford city wall at 7:00 a.m. to be first in line for the first lock of the day, Lock #13.  If there are several boats ahead of you it could mean an hour or more wait for the lock to “re-cycle” back.  We tied up on the lock wall, had breakfast on our boats, and waited for the 9:00 lock opening – we were on our way!  Winds were low which made for easier locking.  We would lock through 6 locks today.

    

    

    

    

        

Locks #16 and #17 are tandem locks with beautiful falls.

    

We see lots of people fishing on the banks and under the bridges and once again “ice cream” is always a priority in this area!  Notice the large ice cream cone on the port-side bank – it is advertising an ice cream stop along the canal.

    

Our final lock before arriving at our destination was the Hastings Lock #18.  All of the locks are well maintained and adorned with colorful flowers of all varieties.  Some even have small herb and vegetable gardens.  Hastings had canoes filled with blooming flowers.

    

Hastings was a tiny place that only consisted of a grocery store, a post office, 4 restaurants and a lock.  Three of the restaurants were closed so we opted for the only one left, “The Captain’s Table”.  We had their specialty – fish and chips – and probably would have been as well off dining on the boat, although we did see some interesting characters there.  That is a fuzzy “Elmo” motorcycle helmet!

        

I read that you can walk the whole town in 20 minutes and that the lockmaster said we were welcome to help him roll in the sidewalks at six-thirty.  At the end of the day the river was calm and the sunset was beautiful.

    

Campbellford (June 23-24)

Since Campbellford was a neat little town, we decided to stay for two nights and they gave us the third night free on the wall at Old Mill Park.  The dominant feature of the park is the large sculpture of “The Toonie” (the Canadian two dollar coin).  It was designed many years ago by a local artist.

    

    

    

We started our second day at the local Senior Center, adjacent from the city dock wall, where once a month they prepare a wonderful ham and egg breakfast – for $4.00.  That is 4 Canadian dollars – which converts to $3.01 US dollars – not bad for ham, eggs, hash browns, toast, juice and coffee!  Herb and Don and Barb joined us.

    

It was market day in town and we picked up some salad greens, onions, radishes – and the like…..for a healthy meal on the boat.

    

Campbellford is a tourist stop because of its “World’s Finest Chocolate Factory”,  the “Empire Cheese Factory” and “Dooher’s Bakery” – home of the best donuts and butter tarts in the province.  All loopers are told they must get the famous BUTTER TARTS from Dooher’s, and we did just that!  We also picked up some turkey pies and focaccia bread to accompany our salad ingredients picked up at the Farmer’s Market.

        

As in the prior day, we started our morning at the Senior Citizens Center.  Today was the annual crafts fair.  We like to support the local communities. Ron helped Herb hang his American flag and later we all walked to the local theater for popcorn and a movie.

    

We had a docktail with Herb and Don and Barb on our boat before walking to Capers Tap House for dinner.  We met Don and Barb while going through the locks the prior day.  They have a beautiful 50ft. DeFever Yacht named “Cavara”.

        

Walked for ice cream after dinner…..visited at the park’s picnic tables where Herb taught us how to make a time-lapsed video of our ice cream social.  Ice Cream is big and everywhere in Canada.

    

Random Stuff:  Gives a whole new meaning to “Hang Ten”.  This little Christmas flamingo was a gift from our good friend Jane and, like Santa, he has been with us since before Christmas.  He normally rides in the salon window – starboard side – and has made it fine for seven months now.  It was humorous when we found him hanging upside down from his toes in the window after today’s trip.

    

Lock Day to Campbellford (June 22)

Today we began the Trent Severn Waterway when we pulled beneath the Gateway Bridge after leaving Trent Port Marina.  The Trent Severn Waterway is a 240 mile, 45 lock canal-lake system that connects Lake Ontario to Georgian Bay (google it).  Its scenic, meandering route has been called “one of the finest interconnected systems of navigation in the world” and we are told this is one of the most picturesque parts of our journey.  Our first lock, Lock #1, was only a mile and a half from the marina and we were there early with anticipation of what lies ahead.

            

We entered Lock #1 with several other boats and were asked if we would mind “rafting up” to another boat (rather than tying up to the lock wall).  That was fine with us if it was okay with our tie-up boat.  After entering the lock, we had only inches between our boats – too close for comfort but we made it in and out without any dings…..

        

This shows how close we are, with inches between our boats and the lock walls.  After locking through in these cramped conditions, we opted to hold back at the third lock to travel the next 5 in less stressful circumstances.

    

The locks in Canada are mostly manned by college students because they are only open during the summer recreational season.  There is no commercial activity in these locks.  The lock attendants are attentive, alert and pleasant!  The vast majority of these lock gates are opened and closed manually.

        

The first six locks were in a seven and a half mile span.  Needless to say, this was a very demanding and focused seven miles!

    

    

We passed old abandoned railroad bridges and gorgeous scenery……there were chunks of concrete and rocks in abundance….

        

This is a “double lock”…the blue gates look like a mural that has been painted on a wall, but is actually where the rushing waters have left their stains.  In the double locks you pull your boat into the first chamber, it is closed off and water is raised, then gates lead you into the second chamber (lock) where you are raised again.  It was very intimidating pulling in the first of the two chambers – and what looked like a beautiful waterfall was actually water leaking in from the other lock.  Karen was not real comfortable in these locks until the last gate was open and we were free……

    

    

We have seen many white swans in this section of Canada, and of course those Canadian geese are EVERYWHERE!

   

It took us 8 hours to travel only 32 miles and through 12 locks today.  We were glad to see the municipal city wall at Old Mill Park in Campbellford when we finally arrived late in the day.  This was probably the most exhausting day on our trip so far.

    

Herb had arrived before us and we secured our boats to the wall.  This would be our first night docked on a city wall.  Later we walked over the bridge to the little town of Campbellford.  We had dinner at Antonia’s.  It was a tiny upscale, white table cloth local restaurant owned by Chef Ravi and his wife.  It was everything and more!

    

    

As we walked back to our boats we saw flocks of geese in the waters below the bridge with their white tails aglow….

Trenton (June 20-21)

We traveled through The Bay of Quinte today to reach our destination of Trent Port Marina in Trenton, Ontario.  Once again the scenery changes were cool and we saw numerous swans near the shore.

    

    

Trent Port would be our last stop before entering “The Trent Severn Waterway” and was the nicest, cleanest and most modern marina we have experienced yet!  There were bunches of looper boats arriving and departing both days.  We caught up again with Rick and Lynda on “Recess” and met Penny and John on “Andiamo”Rick and Lynda invited us and Herb to their boat the first evening and Penny and John invited us to their boat the second evening.  We like to compare stories and make plans for how, when and where to continue our travels.

    

Later we visited with Herb on his boat and called it a day…..

We met Mary and Rob (Canadians) several months back in Jacksonville when they invited us to their sailboat for docktails.  They were driving through Trenton while we were there and offered to show us around.  We went to “Lock #1” to purchase our lock pass ($200+ for 45 locks) to enter and travel through the Trent Severn Waterway for the next few weeks (kind of like purchasing a pass to travel on toll roads).  We enjoyed lunch at The Port Bistro Pub before they dropped us back off at the marina.

    

Still daylight and it’s after 9:00 p.m……….

    

This is a new (to us) app called “Nebo”.  It is a tracking app that allows us to see where other boats are.  It tracks the miles and time and even shows your boat moving through the waterway or docked at a marina.  Only my family and a few close friends can appreciate that we found another boat on Nebo named “Karen Ann”.  That is what I was called the first years of my life – and still by some of my family today (and Ron when he’s mad).

    

Random Stuff:  Seems like this little fellow, “Max”, moved into our house since we left Nashville eight months ago and we do believe he is providing great companionship for Stephanie, Jackson and Brandi.

Picton (June 19)

We left Kingston early this morning for the nearly 40 mile trip to Picton.

    

Picton is a small unincorporated community with a population of less than 5,000.  It was a short overnight stay on Picton Bay for us.

    

    

With little time to spare, we docked and walked up the hill to explore a bit.  We visited several small shops and stopped at The 555 Brewing Company for a snack.

    

    

Yes, the squirrel is black (a lot of Canadian squirrels are black)!  And yes, that is a gang-plank to that boat – they board from the picnic table!

    

There were only 2 looper boats this day, Kara Mia and Phanthom.  We met Herb for docktails and then walked up the hill again for dinner.  “The hill” was long and steep!  We had sandwiches and fish & chips at County Canteen and then headed back down to the wall where we docked.

    

    

Before heading out early the next morning, we walked the hill again to The Lighthouse Restaurant at Picton Harbour Inn.  Breakfast was hearty with lots of local flavor!

    

    

    

Then we were off to Trenton, another 40 mile trip, this one through the Bay of Quinte…..

    

Random Stuff:  Restroom doors and dance floors………whatever……just sayin’……

    

Kingston, Ontario CANADA (June 17-18)

As we leave Oswego Bay this is the last of the U.S. we will see for a few weeks.

    

Our crossing of Lake Ontario would be more than 50 miles at this point and would require us placing a yellow quarantine (Q-flag) on the boat before entering Canadian waters.  The waters were calm today, so we made good time at 30+ mph.

    

    

We crossed the United States – Canada border on Lake Ontario and were soon at the headwaters of the St. Lawrence River near the Thousand Islands.  Our destination was Kingston, Ontario the first capital of Canada.  It is at the end of the Rideau Canal that starts in Ottawa.  Both the Rideau and Trent Severn Canals were started nearly two hundred years ago as an alternative passage through Canada for hiding shipments and military movement from the United States.

    

As we passed the outer islands we were impressed by the number of windmills producing energy.

We entered Confederation Basin Marina with the yellow Q flag.  Only the captain may depart the vessel before you have cleared customs.  Nothing can be removed or taken aboard until after you have cleared customs.  Upon docking, only Ron could leave the boat to check us into Canada.  Once on land, you call customs and respond to a series of questions (passport #, boat info, cargo, destination) that includes how much alcohol, tobacco, fruit and firearms we had on board.  If they are satisfied with your answers they issue the boat a # that is to accompany it until safely back into the U.S.  If they are not satisfied, they board your boat for inspection.  At that point, you remove the yellow Q flag and hoist a “courtesy” Canadian flag for your duration in Canada.

    

The marina was near the heart of Kingston, which was a vibrant city.  The water was clear and the marina was clean.  It has a reputation of being a good entry point into Canada for loopers.  There were several there.

    

    

These towers were strategic defense emplacements years ago and they still dot the coastline today.

Across Kingston Harbour we could see The Royal Military College of Canada.  It was established in 1876 and is Canada’s only military university –  equivalent to our West Point.  This university serves all branches of Canada’s military (Army, Air Force, Navy…….).  Canadian military officers can, and do, serve in multiple branches of service.

On the other side of the marina is Kingston’s City Hall.

    

Kingston was not only an important water port, but also a major rail hub.

    

The downtown area was active for a Sunday evening.  Even the local toy and game store was holding game tournaments.

    

There was a European flavor to Kingston with alleys that wind into interior patios of the downtown blocks.  That is where we found “Chez Piggy” and shared the Chef’s seafood platter.

    

    

    

Kingston sunsets………long daylight hours….

With the Summer Solstice in the Northern Hemisphere, we go to bed in bright daylight and we wake up in bright daylight…then sun rises before 5:00 a.m. and sets after 9:00 p.m.

    

Since Karen is still a Texan at heart, signs of Texas always catch our eye.  Such was the case here in Canada where we found other loopers from Port Aransas, Texas.  Robert and Carolyn have a fun story of how they named their boat “Sauvy B”.  On a recent trip to New Zealand they were sampling local wines and when they ordered a Sauvignon Blanc the waiters didn’t understand at first but finally said, “Oh, you want a Sauvy B” – a much more fun boat name than “Cabernet” or “Chardonnay”.

    

Oswego (June 15-16)

After the weather delay getting out of Brewerton, we were finally on our way to Oswego and Lake Ontario.  But – there would be eight locks over a 30-mile distance – to make for a long day.

We passed through some quaint villages and started to stop at the Farmer’s Market in Phoenix, but the waterway called.  We had eight boats in our first lock this morning – a record for us!  The rest of the day we had six boats in a row traveling and locking together.

    

    

    

There were interesting waterfalls and dams at each lock……

    

Ultimately we got to our destination – Lake Ontario and Oswego Marina….

    

    

Docktails were well deserved by the six looper boats after the eight locks today!

Girls being silly – very happy to be in slips #4 and #5.  (Ron got the “rear” view!)

   

The next morning several boats left for either Clayton, New York – further down Lake Ontario – or to cross over to Canada.  We took a walking tour of Oswego and Fort Ontario.  The star-shaped Fort Ontario, known as the “Guardian of the Northern Frontier”, was built in 1755 on the ruins of three earlier fortresses that date back to the French and Indian War.

    

    

The rest of the day we did laundry, blogged, built a new bike, and finished off the frito pie!

    

…..tomorrow “O’Canada”…….

Weather Delay (June 14)

It was a damp, dreary, chilly day, but it was the 40 MPH winds that kept us docked in Brewerton for another day.  Our next travel day will require 8 locks and Karen was not keen on locking in high winds!  As “First Mate”, it is Karen’s position to hold the 20 ton boat by a cable that is secured to the lock wall.  A muddy slimy cable at that!  High winds and turbulent water are not in your favor.

We hung out at the boat most of the day and Karen fixed some comfort food for dinner – frito pie!  Not fancy but it was pretty good!

    

Before settling in for “looper’s midnight”, we noticed people in the boat next to us scurrying around and we went outside to find the most beautiful sunset.

    

…..tomorrow on to Oswego……

Brewerton, New York (June 11-13)

The voyage to Brewerton  was an easy one with only 2 locks and beautiful weather for the Lake Oneida crossing.  We have left the Erie Canal and entered the Oswego Canal on our way to Lake Ontario.  Soon we arrived at Ess-Kay Yard and Marina where we enjoyed several days.

            

At Ess-Kay we were joined by several other loopers, some from an adjacent marina.  We re-provisioned at the local Walmart while using the marina’s loaner vehicle (you never know what you will be driving).  Bru and Sandy (on Coconuts) joined us for dinner at Waterfront Tavern where Karen hit the lottery.  However – it wasn’t enough to pay for dinner.

        

Another evening we had dinner at Mariachi’s Restaurant – we had to get our Mexican food fix.  It looked a little sketchy but once inside, it turned out to be a good choice!

    

Friends from “Sea Jamm”  and “Island Girl”  came over in their dinghy from Winter Harbor Marina for docktails……

        

When a storm blew through, everyone rushed to tighten lines but we forgot our dinghy was not tied down and it blew off.  To be safe we tied it to a tree.