We did it! We finished the Trent/Severn Waterway this past Sunday at 11:30 am! It was a great feeling to have the locks down, but it also was a great accomplishment to have gone through the whole Waterway. We saw amazingly beautiful rivers, canals, lakes, cottages, sea planes, and other boats. Toward the middle of the Waterway we seemed to see more houseboats and pontoon boats in some of the more popular tourist destinations.
Interestingly, we did not see many sailboats. We probably saw only four or five that were traveling with their masts down like ours, but that’s it. One of them ended up in the slip directly behind us in the Peterborough Marina and was also from Muskegon, MI! What a small world! It was Bob and Phyllis who keep their S2 sailboat at Harbour Towne Marina right next to the Muskegon Yacht Club. They left a year ago and went as far south as the Keys in Florida and are now on their way back to Muskegon.
We left Peterborough Marina on Friday, Aug. 3 at 8:45 am to make the 9 am lock opening that was right around the corner from the marina. There was a sudden moment of panic as the shifter for our boat would not go into gear. Yikes! It was stuck in neutral and I could not get it into forward or reverse. Thankfully Sharon still had a hold of the line to the dock. We have had this issue before, and I actually have a replacement shifter along with us to switch out at some point, so I immediately opened up our instrument panel and worked the shifter plate free so it could move again. Whew! But it was a good reminder that we have to be careful with this. Needless to say, for the rest of the locks, where it’s especially important to be able to shift into forward or reverse quickly, I kept screwdrivers and tools handy!
We were able to yet make the 9 am lock and we were on our way again. After pulling out of this lock we also hit bottom as there must have been some sand shoaling from where the dam water current met where we exited the lock, but we kept moving through. We also had this happen two other times later in the day as we exited the locks and met the current from the dams. Thankfully it was just soft sand so it only felt like a bump in the road. Still funny to feel that on a boat, though.
After traveling almost 47 nautical miles anchoring overnight in a lovely little lake we started Saturday by doing a flight of locks. This was a set of two locks that were connected, so we entered the first and it brought us down 20+ feet right into the second lock which brought us down another 20 feet or so. So by 9:45 am we had two locks done already!
After going through 10 locks we intended to anchor just before the Glen Ross locks, but after three attempts our anchor just did not grab. There was so much grass in the canals at that point we think it just couldn’t get through that in order to dig in. As it was another extremely hot day and was almost 4:00 pm we decided to tie up to the mooring wall at the Glen Ross lock. We would have to pay, but at least we would be secure. Unfortunately the lock was under construction, although still operable, and so were not supposed to have people stay on the mooring wall. Huh!? Not good! Especially after a long day! The next one was 7.5 miles away which would take us another hour to get to, and had no anchoring in between. The lock staff finally relented to let us through the lock and then would just pretend to not see us on the mooring wall beyond the lock if we promised to be gone by the time they opened in the morning. Done deal, and we had a great (free) night on their mooring wall. Thankfully we were in the shade while tied up as the temperature was 85 degrees and the humidity was extremely high!
On Sunday, August 5, we finished the last 6 locks (we were getting to be pros at them!) and exited the Trent/Severn Waterway into the Bay of Quinte and headed north-east. We found a great bay to anchor in at about 1:30 pm in the Belleville, Ontario, area and enjoyed an afternoon of relaxing and swimming. In the Bay of Quinte it was a very welcoming sight to see many larger sailboats all under sail and enjoying the strong breeze. It made us look forward to when we could get our mast back up in a couple of weeks.
Monday we filled up with diesel, even though we didn’t need that much, and headed north-east up the Bay of Quinte and then turned south to the Picton, Ontario, area to a great anchorage. From the end of the Trent/Severn Waterway one can head west through the Murray Canal right into Lake Ontario, but the route we took meanders through what they call Prince Edward County, a more indirect route north-east, to where we would then head pretty much straight south across the top of Lake Ontario to Oswego, New York.
The weather forecast seemed to change a bit on Tuesday, so we decided in the afternoon to head out of Picton and eventually east and then south to the south side of Prince Edward Bay to be set for our crossing Lake Ontario on Wednesday morning when the winds were supposed to be lighter and the waves 2 foot or less. Our boat certainly can handle larger waves, but with the mast strapped onto the deck we really don’t want the boat slamming in waves!
We had a very restful and peaceful night at anchor in Prince Edward Bay and reflected that after that night it may be a long time until we would be in as quiet a spot. We would be doing the Oswego Canal, Erie Canal, Hudson River and then the east coast, and it would probably all be busier and quite different than being in such a tranquil, meditative spot. A whole new chapter ahead!
We made it across Lake Ontario with no problem on Wednsday, Aug. 8. The wind did pick up a bit and the waves were in the 2 – 3 foot range (I thought they were 12 footers, but Sharon said I exaggerate a little!), but the mast did great on the deck. Of course I had almost every spare line tying it down to something to keep it still, but it was good it did not move a bit!
We had cleared into the US on Monday already using a new app called CBP ROAM. It was very easy to use and within 15 minutes or so of us entering our information and passport numbers, etc., they cleared us in. So when we entered Oswego Channel we didn’t have to stop and proceeded to the first lock, which was Lock #8 as we are doing it backwards like on the Trent/Severn, and we tied up to the mooring wall for the night. Just as we were about to tie up it started to rain and we noticed an overpass just behind where we were tied up that was big enough to allow us to pull the boat under to keep the rain off of us. We are geniuses! First time ever for either of us to sleep under an overpass!