Monday, July 23, 2012

Late July, 2012

July 16, 2012

We have a few problems on board.  First, both heads are out of commission.  The forward head has a leaking tank and the aft head has a broken vacuum pump.  I had rebuilt the vacuum pump on the forward head back in Charleston so I planned to switch it out with the now broken aft pump.  Joy suggested that I call around and see if someone had one in stock.  I don’t think this is very likely given the difficulty I had getting the kit back in April but gave it a try.  First call they got one.   (Don't ya just hate it when Joy is right AGAIN and we might end up with both heads working eventually?) Only catch is it’s $833.00 plus tax which is about 13% up here.  Gotta have it.  Ouch!

Then I requested volunteers to help put it in.  Not many takers. (Queen Kathleen did offer to assist on the leaking tank.)  A shi__y job but someone’s got to do it.  So guess what I got to do today.  Oh well it worked.  We’re back in the commode business.  Next problem, the batteries are still giving us problems.

These are all at the newly re-done docks at Orillia

July 17, 2012

Today is a free day in Orillia.  Buy 2 and get one free deal.  So we stayed around.  I looked at the electrical problems, but can't see why things are not working.  The battery chargers do not seem to be putting out too much so I think I will have them checked at Midland when we get over there.  Sort of a do nothing day.  We need to clean the boat, but neither of us really feels like it so we put it off again.  Took a short swim in the cool waters of Lake Couchiching (OMG - the water is so cold you don't want to get even you toe in it - I got from the swim platform onto a small float and still got my butt wet and thought I would die it was so cold - Jim just dived in and it was to late to change his mind at that point) from the marina dock.  Had Italian dinner with Queen Kathleen.

Orillia has a theme each year and the town chose to decorate chairs in front of the shops this year.

Each shop can decorate as they chose and then visitors and locals vote to select their favorite

Some of them were very creative
July 18, 2012

Commode is acting up again.  Not a good start to the day.  We are on the move again, today is to the Big Chute.  Queen Kathleen goes on ahead and Joy and I stop off at Ojibway Marina (about half way up Lake Couchiching) for a pump out.  I hope this cures the problem.  Very shallow entry way and congested little marina.  Good service.  They can handle boats our size, but they have limited space available.  Pump out did not clear up the problem.  I will work on it when we get to the Chute. 

The rest of the ride up the lake was very comfortable.  Just before the Couchiching lock is a low steel railway bridge that was closed.  It is operated by a diesel generator as there is no power otherwise available there.  We had to wait for a few minutes for the bridge operator to walk over to the bridge, climb the stairs to the engine room, start the generator, and then open the bridge.  We could hear the bridge squeek and groan when he started to open it.  I did not think it would but it did.  Old and in need of maintenance and repair.

The ride up to Swift Rapids Lock was very beautiful.  Houses line many portions of the lake and the route through winds around many islands.  It gets a little congested occasionally as there are some restaurants and small towns along the way.  It is summer up here and everyone who can is on the water as much as they can.  Swift Rapids Lock is one of the higher lifts (in our case drop) in the system at about 47'.  It is the only one they have told us that once they start, they can not stop. An ominous statement however things go off with out a hitch.

On to the Big Chute.  About another 8 miles of very beautiful country.  Arriving at the lock we tie up to the dock next to Queen Kathleen and walk over to watch the railway operate.  An amazing piece of engineering.  You literally drive your boat over a rail car and they pick the boat up in slings and haul you over the mountain (a very nice hill actually - boy they had me worried when they kept saying a mountain) in slings and put you back in the water on the other side.  WOW!!!

After watching for a while we go back to the boat.  I took a short swim (about 30 seconds).  The water is cold.  I fix the commode again and all is right with the world.  There are no facilities here other than a small marina next to the lock.  We have dinner in their restaurant and walk back to the boat.

I walk over to the railway again to see how they are doing with the maintenance they had planned.  They shut the lock down at 4:00 today to replace 2 cables.  It's about 9:00 and they are just about done.  I talk to one of the guys working on the system and he invites me into the engine room and shows me around.  There are actually 4 separate cables on 4 separate drums that go back and forth as the trolley goes from one side to the other.  Each drum is individually controlled by a computer and has it's own gearing system, brakes and cable.  Very neat and very efficient.  Real slick and I am impressed (it is a shame he forgot to take the camera - duh).

rocks are everywhere just waiting to ruin someones day if you don't watch out for them
rocks are just barely above the surface and can look like a water ripple if you aren't watching closely
rocks just below the surface

they sure do work on keeping up with the over all appearance

first fish we have seen caught in a while

this is a 1979 Main Ship like our 1981 we sold but this was a fresh water boat in great shape
not all rocks come with a sign
do you think this might be the time out chair?
One can hope that the plane goes around or over this piece of the rock

This was the view on the starboard side of the narrows as we past
this was the port view and it was indeed narrow

this is a shot of some boats as they start up and over the "hill"
these are 2 boats being loaded to go over and down the hill

this was the 34 Main Ship we followed as it was sent down the hill and it fit nicely in the sling and in the Chute

And away they go
This however was a 50' boat that they brought up the hill and it had a definite case of hang over - wow the skill they have in putting these boats in and balancing them - it looks like it could fall over backwards if you stepped on the back deck but they said that we could walk around to take pictures so I assume it is safe?

July 19, 2012

The wall at the lock blue line is almost full.  Queen Kathleen moves over and fills it  up so Joy and I wait our turn.  The lock begins operation right on time at 8:30 and they call for the 2 smallest boats to go on first.  They put them side by side at the front of the trolley in their slings and then call for the first big boat on the wall.  As they are not ready, Queen Kathleen is called up and they get to get the first ride on the new cables.  We took some pictures of them loading up and then started the engines and went to get in line.

Joy and I get to take the second trip as the other boat is still not ready.  We follow another small boat in and move over the trolley.  As we get in place they actually grab the bottom of the boat with the slings and stop us in place.  Then they position us where they want us and set us back down on the floor  of the trolley.  Our back end is hanging over the end about 12 to 15 feet but over we go.  It took about a minute and we are in the water on the other side.  I ask if we can go back and do it again.  The operators laugh, but say they have actually done that before.  I guess these guys have seen just about everything at one time or another.

Next problem is the Little Chute.  There is a sign that says very narrow and they are not kidding.  Also rocks straight up on both sides about 30' apart (or less) at some spots and our boat is 15'.  Does not leave very much room on either side.  On top of that, the turn in is about 120 degrees and you can't see what is ahead (or below) until after you make the turn.  To top it off, there is a current on our stern and the boat is not real easy to control.  Made the Securite call and thank goodness someone heard it and waited for us to get through.  I am surprised as most boats up here do not have radios.

On to Port Severn which is a small lock, only about 85' long.  We took up a lot of space in there and they could only get us and 2 small boats inside.  Down we go and we wait for the bridge to open and out we go.

We are through with the locking business for a while (thank goodness) till we get to the U. S. rivers.  What we are not through with is very skinny, shallow channels with BIG rocks on either side.  I actually had to use the engines to turn the boat in some of the channel as the turns are so tight and the bouys are so close together (plus he now has me hanging over the front looking into the water for rocks it is so shallow).

Arrived at Bay Port Marina and find Brown Eyed Girl and Kismet are here.  Both had hit rocks and were having big repairs made.  Kismet had mostly bottom damage and one prop repaired - Beth did say they went airborne in the process.  Brown Eyed Girl had a lot more.  Both props, one shaft replaced, a strut replaced, etc.  A pretty good sized bill on BEG and a smaller one for K.  Thank goodness for insurance.

Took the dingy down and rode into town and did some shopping.  Snacks, beer, wine, rum for Joy's Pina Colata's.  Got a load, but we will have to come back for more later (have to get stuff for the Cats and real food next trip).

Docktails at 5 with BEG and Kismet.  They are repaired (after 7 expensive days) and leaving tomorrow for Honey Harbor.  We are staying for a few days to relax - this retirement is a lot of work.

Queen Kathleen lining up for the Big Chute

Kathy and Mike waving goodbye

Now it is our turn but there is no one to take our picture so this is live from our boat

There were not boats waiting to so up so they sent the Chute back up empty

The narrows we traveled where it was so shallow that only one boat at a time could go in one direction at a time

Should say "and Big Rocks"

The last lock on the Severn - YES!
talk about narrow - boy I am riding up on the front of the boat again looking for rocks to make sure we can make it through the area

Welcome to Midland

July 20, 2012

We get up and watch Brown Eyed Girl and Kismet leave for Honey Harbor.  I have an electrician coming to the boat to look at the battery chargers this morning.  Then about 9:30 the phone rings and its Ivy on Karma.  She wants to know how long it takes to get here from the Big Chute.  They are coming in today and Joy is very happy.

Got the electrical fixed we think.  Then took the dingy over to town and loaded up with bottled water, Dr. Pepper, and paper products.  Also, found a folding ladder we have been looking for so Joy can get on and off the boat easier (I have been sitting down and sliding off - it looks so graceful and cleans the boat at the same time - can't say much for the back of my shorts though).  Got back to the boat and looked across the bay and here comes Karma.  We get them docked and helped settled in.

Karma has been having a few minor issues also.  Bob needs to get a new Tach cable and I give him a ride to the office in the dingy.  (It is quite a walk and his knee is bothering him)  Don't know if they can get one before next week.  Today is Friday.  They will try.

Later, Joy and Ivy and I take the dingy to town for dinner at an outside restaurant near the town dock.  (Bob stayed at the boat with his knee wrapped up.)  Just an ok meal, but it is nice to see some folks we have been missing for a while.  Nice evening with good music.  Watched a ball game on TV later.

Kismet - now repaired and heading out to Honey Harbor
Brown Eyed Girl is also repaired and on her way
Finally - Karma has caught up with us - about time
Jim out taking a little spin in the dingy
Jim doing a little cleaning on the boat since we are here for a few days
Midnight continues to get braver and braver and is now exploring the boat in the early mornings

Even Trouble appears to be feeling better and is coming out a little more when Jim is sleeping or is gone
July 21, 2012

The marina loans us a car and we head to Wally World and West Marine with Bob and Ivy. Load up on groceries and things for the boat.  I needed new fuel filters and our pull cart is damaged so I got another one of them also.  It was a little bit of a ride so I am glad they had a spare car.  We needed to stock up.  Otherwise a slow day at the marina.

July 22, 2012

It's our 40th Aniversary.  We were planning to go to dinner but it is a dingy ride across the bay to town and Joy does not want to do that in her good dress.  We decide to put off dinner until we can get to another town and we can walk to dinner.  I work on the boat most of the day cleaning.  The spiders are everywhere and I am really getting tired of them.  Bob and Ivy join us for dinner on the boat.  The weather is hot and windy and does not look like it is going to change in the next day or two.

July 23, 2012

Bob and Ivy are expecting mail from the states, but it does not look like it will arrive today.  We make an early dingy ride to town and get some cat litter (and take pictures of all the murals that Joy keeps fussing about).  We were running a little low and that is a very important item on this boat.

About 11:00 One September arrives.  They have a couple traveling with them for a few days.  Good to see them again.  I hope the wind dies down so we can leave tomorrow.

One September and guests dropped by to say hi before dinging over to Midland to sight see. 
Murals at Midlands

July 25, 2012

It’s finally time to move on.  The weather report is not very good calling for high winds tonight in the 35mph gusts range.  I don’t feel comfortable anchoring out in that kind of wind so we are going to South Bay Cove Marina which is just past Honey Harbor and only about 15 miles up the road.  We are  going to mess around at the Canadian Nat'l Park a little before we get there.

Went to the fuel dock and got pumped out before we left.  I pulled one of my smarter routines and when we left the dock, I had no port transmission.  All I could think about were the $ signs racking up as we replaced a gear box up here (yelled at Joy telling her to get the boat lines back out - really bad move as she does still have a long memory).  Got retied to the dock and then realized that I had not started the engine.  They work better when they are running (big duh).

Left and headed for Beauseleil Island and Chimney Bay.  We eased our way into the bay (again after making Joy stand at the front of the boat looking for rocks and dropping weighted lines down to see how deep the rocks were before we proceeded) and dropped the hook and put the dingys in the water.  We ran around for about an hour and a half.  Got back to the boats about 12:30 and had a sandwich.  Pulled the hook about 1:00 and it is full of weeds.  What a mess.  Real long weeds and mud.  Looks like the boat has a black green mustache.  Joy took the wheel and drove while I cleaned the anchor and the chain.  Took about 10 minutes to get it mostly off.  By this time the props and rudders are loaded with more weeds.  Had to do some serious reversals and working the rudders to get them cleaned.  Followed Karma out of the bay towards South Bay.

Got back on the main channel and all of a sudden there are boats everywhere.  Big boats, small boats, jet skis and pontoons running everywhere.  And no one looking out for anyone else.  Pandemonium rules on the water up here (no one understands boating rules here and courtesy is out the window).

Got to South Bay Cove and this is a real nicely run marina.  Very efficient staff and very attentive.  A real nice place that pampers their guests.  Had dinner in their restaurant (Joy and Ivy even wore dresses and make-up - wow) overlooking the marina and it was very nice.  It has started to rain so we don’t know what tomorrow will bring.  The winds however have not materialized as predicted.

Ivy is picking blossoms from the water lilys

July 26, 2012

We decide to stay another day at South Bay Cove.  This is a really well run facility, the weather is pretty dreary (although we could probably travel ok if we wanted to) and we really don’t have a plan for the next step.  We’ll spend the day working on tomorrow.

July 27, 2012

We leave the dock at 8:20 and follow One September out.  Karma is bringing up the rear.  What a beautiful day.  The goal is Henry’s, a fish and chips place on Frying Pan Island about 40 miles away.  What a great trip.  The winds stayed down and the sun was shining and we really had a great time.  With a couple of exceptions.

We finally found out what they really mean by you  have to pay attention to the markers.  There were several places on the trip where the markers were about 20’ apart and they really did not truly mark where the rocks were.  The rocks were inside the markers.  Since our boat is 15’ wide, it got a little tense on occasion.  A couple of times we had traffic coming against us and it made for some pretty close work between the reds and greens.  We were able to make it unscathed.

Henry’s looks like a fish camp.  There is not much on Frying Pan Island.  Not many people live here.  There is a liquor store/hardware store/post office/gas station, and some cabins and Henry’s.  Henry’s has been here a long time and has been serving fish and chips for a long time and they really know how to do it.  It is without a doubt, hands down, the best fish and chips by far I have had on the trip.  And they eat a lot of fish and chips up in Canada.  Had some for both lunch and dinner and really enjoyed it.

Henry’s even has float planes which flies people in and out for lunch and dinner.  I understand that Henry died a few years ago, but Paul the new Owner is keeping up the traditions and good work and really has a great thing going.  I was very happy to see an establishment that has passed down and has been able to keep up the standards.  The place is an icon and deservedly so.

Every day we see more and more spectacular views

It is hard to believe that we actually are traveling through is rocky area 

Daily we wind our way through - hoping not to bump rocks

Bringing diners to Henry's for lunch

Boy - these planes were in and out all day - it was amazing

I have decided that Golden Retrievers must be the dog of choice up here

Although this one was quite pretty

July 28, 2012

What a day of ups and downs.  We decided to spend some time on the hook and enjoy Mother Nature’s beauty.  We left Henry’s about 11:00 and headed north up towards Three Finger Bay.  We actually passed by the bay and went about another mile up and anchored in an unnamed bay.  Good grief this place is beautiful if you can get there.  The trip was only about 5.5 miles, but there are rocks everywhere.  We are the only boats in the bay and we drop the hooks in about 18’ of water.  We have traveled less than an hour and we are really in the sticks.  Our cell phones are not working much less any internet.  There are not even any internet connections available at all.  Absolutely beautiful.

After lunch we went ashore and walked a portage trail to a place called Spider Lake.  The trail was through the woods and about ¾ of a mile.  I am not sure, but I think I found out what size Moose tracks are.  If I am right, they are BIG!  The footprints are about 3 times the size of a cow.  The only way into Spider Lake that we could find was a portage trail.  There were some people on the lake in canoes.  I know not many people have ever seen this lake and although it is not completely off the map it is pretty remote.

Back at our anchorage, we went for a short dingy ride and looked around.  Came back to the boats an took a snooze.  Got a call from One September to come over for drinks at 5:00.  Great idea.  I am loading a cooler in the dingy and I hear Joy yell from inside the boat.  She has fallen and twisted her ankle and knee pretty badly it seems.  We elevated the ankle, tended to her also damaged knee and arm and call One September and request Michael come over and take a look.  He is a dentist I know, but he is the closest thing to a doctor around and he is a great help.  Joy seems to be able to move the foot so we put ice on it and an ace bandage and hope for the best.  We are going to Parry Sound in the morning and we’ll see what the doctors say there.  All I got to do is keep her down until then (fat chance for that).  So much for docktails.

July 29, 2012

Joy's foot is much better than I thought it would be this morning.  She has been moving around during the night some and I know it hurts, but it ain't broke; thank goodness.  

The morning is just about the most beautiful I have ever seen in my life.  The sky is clear blue and the sun is shining and the winds are not blowing very much at all.  The anchorage is dead still.  VERY BEAUTIFUL!!!!!  A sail boat came in last night and anchored a short way off.  Otherwise, the three of us had the whole place to ourselves.

Bob came over from Karma and helped me put the dingy up on the roof.  I did not want to tow it and have another loose end to worry about today.  Joy is up on the bridge and settled down a little. (She is never really settled) - (ooh that was a Jim comment and boy will it cost him!)  

We haul up the anchors at 8:00 and head towards Parry Sound.  What  a great trip we had.  Even with all the Sunday boaters (of which there were many) and the narrow passage ways and the sharp turns which you could not see around it was wonderful.  I did not appreciate the pontoon boat and the little aluminum boat coming  in the Narrows right past me while I was in the middle of it.  I wish I had a picture of it, but I was busy at the time and my photographer was out of commission.  That just seems to be the way they boat around here.  Real close, as fast as they can, and no consideration for a wake zone.

Parry Sound is a nice little town.  We walked around a little.  Joy stayed at the boat.   :(:(:(  (Joy is not happy.)  The marina is a little bouncy.  We'll live.  Docktails aboard One September.  Watched a ball game.  Went to bed.

July 31, 2012

We're still in Parry Sound.  Leaving tomorrow.  The weather is marginal so we are staying another day.  Tomorrow looks good.  Not much happening here.  Lots of boats are in the marina because of the weather.  Getting some good information about the trip from the locals who have been very helpful.  One boater gave me his old set of charts.  Could not believe it.  Had some great information on them.