Sunday, June 24, 2012

Slowing Down

Fraser Park Marina in Trenton to Canal Wall Above Lock 6, Frankford, Ontario

Days on Cruise:  93

Distance Traveled Today:  7.5 miles

Travel Time: 1 hr, 19 mins (or 3 hrs including locking)

Locks today:  6

Total Trip Odometer:  2,144 statute miles


We were tempted to spend another day in Trenton “just because”, but cast off our lines at 8:30 and headed north instead. Entering the Trent-Severn Waterway, things felt different. We have only 240 miles to cover before entering Georgian Bay and can take 2 or more weeks if we want to, so expect a number of layover days and short travel days. The summer equinox has passed, so at these northern latitudes it’s daylight before 5am and not dark until almost 10pm if there’s not much cloud cover.


The first 6 (of 45) locks on the Trent Severn Waterway come at you rapidly, in only 5 miles. Each one is just like the previous one, with cables (our favorite and easiest type) of securement.  We switched things up and put Cathryn on the decks and Bob at the helm for this segment, as Bob’s longer arms and legs and greater strength are not so important with cable ties.


By lock #3 we’d each figured out the details of our “new” roles to make it easy, and got it down to a smooth operation. It’s amazing what a difference little details can make.  The locks on the Trent Severn are much smaller than those on the Erie and Oswego, and manually operated. Each lock has two operators, and each operator walks in circles, pushing a hand lever, which opens one of the gates.


By 11:30 a.m. having been lifted 119 feet through 6 locks, we were ready to call it a day. Just above lock #6 is a canal wall adjacent to a pretty park that has free hydro (what the Canadians call their electric supply, as the power source is hydroelectric plants). The free tie-ups are common, but the added feature of free hydro is not. “Free” needs a little clarification.  To transit the Trent-Severn Waterway, we paid $195 for our Canadian Parks Locking Permit, and $411 for a Seasonal Mooring Permit, which allows us to moor on canal and lock walls at no additional charge for the duration of the season.  The cross-over point for savings with the season permit over paying by the night is 11 nights.   Given that marinas in the vicinity are typically $60 – $80 per night for our boat in this area, and anchorages are few to none, the break-even point seemed worthwhile in this case, and more convenient as well. 


After getting settled on the wall, we walked into town to find a hardware store, and hoped to find wi-fi at a library or somewhere else, to no avail.  While out on our walk, it began to sprinkle, then increased to rain, growing heavier as the day went on.  We felt right at home, as it’s still rainy in Seattle this time of year, however the outside temperature here was near 70 degrees, so not quite the same as home where it’s cooler.


It appears there are more Canadian Geese in this country than there are Canadian citizens (people). They are EVERYWHERE!

About 5:00 Bruce and Anne, from a boat on the  opposite side of the canal, showed up to introduce themselves, and we invited them to join us on board. They live in Belleville where we were 2 nights ago, and are trying to decide whether to do The Great Loop. They own a house here, another in Fort Myers, Florida, and a 35-foot Chris Craft motor boat on which they spend much of the summer.  They provided us with lots of local knowledge about the Trent-Severn Waterway, and we talked with them quite a bit about the Loop, so it was a nice visit, and we hope to see them further up the Waterway.  They’ve been here 3 nights already and plan to stay 2 or 3 more, while we expect to move on tomorrow or the next day.


There are no big cities on the Trent-Severn. Frankford, where we are now, has fewer than 1,000 residents, and Campbellford, the largest town, has a few more than 2,000.

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