Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Fenelon Falls and Lock 40: Or Captain, Captain, We’re Going Down!

Days on cruise: 103

Miles traveled:  26 today, 15 yesterday

Locks:  5 today, 3 yesterday

Total trip odometer: 2,316 statute miles


On Tuesday we moved a giant 15. 1 miles from Bobcaygeon to Fenelon Falls at lock 34, arriving  about 11am.  The primary reason for the move was that Fenelon Falls is one of only two lock walls on the entire Trent-Severn Waterway with electricity and water. And it was time to do laundry, which uses a lot of water, and we needed to recharge batteries and everything else on board. It’s been almost two weeks since we stayed in a marina.


After a day of chores, and a tour of town to buy a few things, we moved on to lock 40, which stages us for our trip across Lake Simcoe tomorrow, then one final day’s push to Port Severn, ending our 240-mile voyage through the Trent- Severn Waterway. We remain amused that this part of the journey has been so circuitous that we’ve never been more than a 90-minute drive from Toronto!


After leaving Fenelon Falls, our first lock was the Kirkfield hydraulic lift lock, the second “dual pan” lock we’ve experienced (and one of only 4 currently in use world-wide), like the one at Peterborough.  The difference is that this time we were going DOWN!  We had reached the summit of the Trent-Severn and would be going downhill the rest of the way to Lake Huron and Georgian Bay. So when driving our boat into the pan this time, we had to drive to the front of the pan without a huge wall in front of us, as was the case while going up at Peterborough.


While the Kirkfield Hydraulic Lift Lock only drops 49’ compared to 65’ at Peterborough, the difference in looking down at Kirkfield makes it seem like your boat is about to go off the edge of the world!


In an amazingly short period of time it’s all over and you’re on your way again. These pans drop boats fast!


Much of today’s travel was at 10 kilometers per hour due to the many natural lakes in this stretch that are small, shallow and connected by man-made channels.


Passing another boat felt a little tricky in these narrow channels lined with granite rocks that seemed to want to reach out and grab the boat.


For the first time we had to wait 1/2 an hour at the “blue line”.  This is the painted place on each lock wall designated for boats to tie up while waiting their turn to lock through.  Always before, we either held our station outside the lock in nearby water, or looped a line around a bollard for a few minutes while the lock cycled. In this case, we walked up to the lock office and found a sign saying  “Locking delay due to Lock staff away at dam.”


Finally the staff returned, and we locked through. At 3pm we arrived at the top of lock 40 at Thorah and tied up the boat for the night.  The weather was hot and humid, and we sat at a picnic table in the shade and called daughter Adrienne in Denver on Skype.  Nice to get caught up.  Now we just need a son Ryan fix and we’ll be ok, having talked to all our other first-line family members within the past week.

1 comment:

Merwin said...

Very good blog. I feel like I am going with you, I had wondered about the Canadian part. Keep it up.