16 August 2012

Big Chute to Peterborough

It's been a while since we have had wifi.  I have been able to post our location on the Google Maps widget every night (using my cell phone as a modem for my laptop), but my last post was a more than a few days ago.

The weather at Big Chute was cold and dreary and that continued into the next day, so we travelled.  It was a great day to just sit at the wheel and sight see.  This is cottage country, so it was slow moving.  Sparrow Lake and Couchiching are the only real places to pick up and get moving.  In addition to all the cottages, we get introduced to the many low clearance swing bridges on the Trent-Severn.

3 short blasts of the horn is a request for the bridge to be opened.

The scenery is really quite beautiful.  It's been a while since I have navigated a channel as narrow as McDonald's Cut.

McDonald's Cut
We had hoped to anchor out on Lake Couchiching, but most all the anchorages were open to the north.  The wind was from the north-east and building.  Later that night the wind would build to over 20 knots, and a bit of lightning and lots of rain.  I guess we made the right choice to take a slip.  Besides, Port of Orillia is a fine marina, there are a lot worse places to seek refuge.  Adding to pleasure, we met some new friends.  They had a young girls only a year or two older than Macara.  They were back and forth, chatting and playing.  Macara even slept over on their boat.

It is never a good sign to see a windsurfer fly by your chosen anchorage.

More rain.  So, we travelled, this time all the way to Bobcaygeon.

Along the way, we saw more cottages.  No really, we did.  It seems to be a never ending competition to have the biggest, nicest cottage on the lake.

A touch of class.

The scenery changes once you leave Lake Simcoe.  No longer do you see wind swept pines and high rocky cliffs.  This is more like farm country.  Man-made canals and man-made lakes.  Canal lake used to be Grassy Creek, it is buoyed from one end to the other.  The Ports book says that maintenance staff regularly sweep the channel for dead heads.  Well, they need to get back there cause we hit something.  It is a sickening feeling.  I have been able to snorkel under the boat and I didn't see any damage, but sickening just the same.

Arched bridge across Canal Lake.  Built in 1905.
Since we left Georgian Bay all the locks have been lifting higher.  Kirkfield is the height of land on the Trent-Severn, this would be our last lift, a unique one at that.  From here on to Lake Ontario, all locks will be a decent.  And the buoys are reversed, so pay attention.  This was our first hydraulic lift lock.  Until now, we enter a chamber, they closed the door behind us, filled it will water and we drove out the front.  Kirkfield was different.  They lifted us up 49 feet in a giant bath tub.  Quickly too, it was a bit of a rush.  It sure built up the anxiety for Peterborough, a 65 foot drop!

Kirkfield Hydraulic Lift Lock 36
When we left Orillia we were told that Fenelon Falls was an easy destination.  A nice looking spot with full electrical service at the lock, a first.  But, it was busy with lots of boats and it was still raining.  So, you guessed it, we pressed on.  By the time we reached Bobcaygeon, the rain began to quit.  It looks like we have our destination for the night.

We decided to tie up at the lock wall (it's half the price of a marina slip) as the lock is right central to Bobcaygeon's downtown.  As we approached the lock I noticed an Osprey nest built right above the lock entrance.  Soon after we got tied up there was as many as 4 Osprey on the platform.  Then I saw them catch 2 fish only about fifty yards off the back of my boat.  I can't stand this, "Where is my camera"!

With the weather finally nice and the girls a little weary after a long travel day, we decided to stay put.  Beaches, ice cream and shopping were the order of the day.

Finally, we are blessed with consecutive days of nice weather.  We drop down one lock and travel six whole miles.  Our first anchorage of the trip!  Pigeon Lake, east of Big Island.  This is a popular spot!  Houseboats, cottage boats and fisherman, but we knew this going in.  Standard operating procedure with the houseboats seems to be drop a stern anchor about a boat length from shore and then proceed to crash into the island.  Once there, tie up to a tree.  Hey, it works and it's a rental.

We have been carrying around a dozen worms in the cockpit freezer since the North Channel.  Macara finally wants to go fishing.  Great choice!!!  Right off the back we caught Largemouth Bass, Rock Bass, Blue Gill, Sunfish and plenty of them.  Final count 26 fish.  That'll keep a little girl happy.
Macara's 1lb 8oz Largemouth on worm and bobber.
All of a sudden, that was 3 days in the Bobcaygeon area.  Time to move on.  Next stop Lakefield.  A relatively quiet night on another lock wall.  Macara continues to be a fishing machine!  Landing another 30 fish!!!  Same dozen worms.  A few perch that would have been worth a frying pan if I had known that they would keep coming.

Next stop Peterborough!

Remember Kirkfield.  The rush that we felt going up 49'.  Now it is time for Peterborough, a 65' drop.  This time it will be different, we are going down, looking out over the front of our bath tub.  Too much build up I guess, it just didn't have the same rush.  Don't get me wrong, she is an engineering marvel.  Just not the same feeling of acceleration.

Peterborough Lift Lock 21
Sorry for the long post.  We will have to work harder to find wifi more often. 

Gotta run.  There is more fun to be had!!!


  1. Love all your photos, Ian, but the ones of the Osprey are totally amazing. We got to see your Mom & Dad, Kerri, as they popped in to see Rob & I while up to get your car. We had a nice little visit, with your father & I not "barbing" each other too badly...lol. A T-Storm has been trying it's hardest to wangle its way in, but seems to be staying at bay so far. Stay good.. sounds like lots of fun so far with beaches & shopping thrown in the mix.

  2. PS The Masterson Reunion was lots of good food with I believe 54 of us? Macara was missed by her same aged cousins...

  3. Glad you are enjoying the blog!! We met some friends of your's on the water. They said that they were following our blog. How cool! Macara missed not being there this year. Hope everyone had a good time!

    1. I am happy you were able to run into Anita's parents & girls. Ross & Vi actually got to meet up with Anita at the Wiarton Farmer's Market I believe...