August 8, 2007, Midland , Ontario
Well, we're making better progress this year than last. We have spent the past couple of weeks cruising the Trent-Severn Waterway and we are now in Georgian Bay . Unfortunately, a slight incident onboard the boat has kept us in Midland for the past few days. Olga managed to slip down the steps in a wet bathing suit and, along with a bunch of bruises, dislocated one of her toes. Needless to say, we made a beeline from our beautiful anchorage at Beausoleil Island National Park to visit the emergency room in Midland and then a few days later, went to Barrie to see an orthopaedic specialist. This potentially sad story ended with a wonderful medical miracle: the specialist "VELCROED" her toes together. Isn't technology wonderful? She'll be fine in the long run, but if you see a lady limping around with velcroed toes, that's Olga.
Our last update from Trenton on Lake Ontario showed you the new bimini we had made for the boat. It has been the perfect canopy for those hot muggy days in central Ontario. In addition, we had our cushions recovered and added padding for my unfortunately fading bum. Now I won't bruise my butt when I sit down for a good read.
The Trent-Severn Waterway (TSW) was a treat even though we went through 44 locks. Three of them are amazing feats of engineering starting with the Peterborough Lift Lock which takes you in a "water basin" and raises you and your boat some 67 feet in the air while its twin brother (the counterbalance) takes people down the same distance. By the time we reached Kirkfield for the second lift lock (a slightly smaller one) we found out it had just celebrated its 100 th anniversary. Given it's age, we paid real close attention to all the metal bolted together and the rust (very little) on our side of the lift.
The 3 rd special lock isn't really a lock at all, but a marine railway, where they lift your boat out of the water and carry it in slings on a railway for 500 yards over land before dropping it into a basin further downstream. A little scary, but very cool! Many thanks also to Brooke and Dee (aboard m/v East Passage) for providing us with the photo record of this experience.
The TSW meanders some 240 miles, going through lakes, rivers and canals. The villages along the way are wonderful. Anyone looking for an excuse to visit central Ontario should really look at stopping in Campbellford, Bobcaygeon, and Fenelon Falls, among others. We managed to stock up on chocolate at a factory in Campbellford, bakery goods in Fenelon Falls and met many other cruisers having a great time.
We also had great anchorages along the way, with lots of loons to keep us company and only a few bugs. The waterway is fairly quiet compared to the Florida ICW and since we did most of our travelling during the week, we met very few yahoos, most of whom must have been in Toronto earning the mortgage on their big powerboat. As we exited the Trent-Severn we did manage to witness one boat going up on a rock and three others calling for help after hitting big rocks. This is Georgian Bay and you'd better know what you are doing and what the "rules of the road" are. With our experiences in Nova Scotia and other places, we're quite comfortable with these kinds of navigational challenges.
In Midland, between hospital visits, we managed to connect with long time friends Anne and Richard (two land-lubbers from Toronto) and had a wonderful visit with an exquisite supper at the Explorer Café. A real treat!
We should also report that during the past month, we passed a significant milestone. The boat has now travelled over 10,000 nautical miles since we launched it in 2002. Over 7,000 of these were logged since Mystic Bond left Halifax in June 2006. The second noteworthy event was that we finally managed to get our autopilot working properly with the help of Terry Thomas from CMC Electronics in Toronto. The problem was the speed of the data feed from our electronic compass to the course computer. With an appropriate compass (another Raymarine product, to be sure) we are now able to let the boat steer itself.but of course, not in Georgian Bay among the zillions of rocks.
Tomorrow we will leave Midland to explore the rest of Georgian Bay and the North Channel where we will meet our friends Lynn and Bob on board Sarah Lynn III, their newly launched 42 footer from Big Pond Boat Works where our boat was built.
Life aboard is still very good. We've had great weather except for a few hot muggy days. Now that we're in Georgian Bay, the waters are great for a quick dip and cooling off.
Hope all our family and friends are having a great summer. We hear a lot about the lousy weather in Nova Scotia this year but, on the other side, it is still paradise along the Atlantic shore.
Olga and Andre on board m/v Mystic Bond