Trenton, Ontario Canada
Trent Port Marina June 24-July 2
We made it into Canada!!!! 🇨🇦
This is pretty exciting. The Marina we are staying at for the next week is lovely. It will be a great stop, respite and a place to get ready for our second set of company. This is the starting gate to the Trent-Severn Waterway. We have 44 locks and 240 miles ahead of us and lots of cool little villages to stop along the way.
Have you ever wanted to participate in a Guinness Book of World of Records? NO?? Me either. We found out that the park across the marina was having the worlds largest human maple leaf the next day. Andy thought it would be great fun to go stand with 5000 other people in the wet grass on a hot humid day. The free red t-shirt was the shoe in. 🥵
We sucked up the heat and felt privileged to be here to help break the record. I think the final number of people was around 3900, which broke the current record of 1200. The only problem with this plan was the stupid Guinness book “rules and regulations” made every single man, woman and child wear a red plastic poncho for 5 minutes. The bell wrang and we had to stand still for 5 full minutes. Sounds like no big deal but 2 minutes in the sweat started pouring down every crack and the babies started crying and I thought for sure the older people would drop like flys. Longest 5 minutes ever. Thankfully everyone survived, to the the best of my knowledge, and the record was broken. After all was said and done, heat and all, we were really glad we did it!! The cold beer afterwards tasted especially good this day!
One of the best things about looping is the docktails. Trenton was the starting gate to the the next section so boats were coming in daily, provisioning, fueling up and getting ready for the next 240 miles of canals and and 44 locks. We all gathered nightly to talk, eat, and share stories. I have to say that this is by far the best thing about the loop. We have met such cool people and we all have the same concerns, questions, hesitations, fears and triumphs. It’s so fun to see off a fellow boat only to pull into a marina and find them again. We are crossing paths with people all the time and have made great friends. It’s awesome.
June 29th We picked up some stow aways!
They are joining us for 10 days on this section of the Trent-Severn. Renee gets sea sick usually but when they expressed interest in doing a section of our trip and we knew this would be perfect. Flat rivers and canals. They arrived in time for Canada day. We had lots of docktails and Dean fished from the dock scoring a big bass.
I have always been the hostess and it seems fitting that most docktails end up at or on our boat!! Here is prime example. They kept coming and pretty soon the dock was full of loopers.
Canada day is equivalent to our 4th of July. Fireworks, BBQ and lots of Canadian flags showing their Canadian spirit. We had a great time.
July 2nd Time to get going up the Trent-Severn
The next morning we woke up and started our trip up the Trent Waterway. The day was warm and beautiful. First stop was to fuel up and pump out. There are not a lot of Marinas along the way for provisions and fuel. We would be fine for the mileage because we would be going pretty slow most of the way.
Lock 1, Lock 2, Lock 3……… Then it got HOT!!!! I was holding the lines on the front of the boat while Dean handled the stern. Andy supervised. Sweat was poured off me and I was roasting. Did we seriously have to pick the hottest week in Canadian history? The sun beat off the shiny white fiberglass and radiated into my bones. When we arrived at our first wall I was thrashed. First stop was Frankford. We did 6 locks and only 7 miles. We wanted to break our new guests in slowly.
Day 2 was just as hot. I sweat just as much. It was lovely countryside and all……but the heat! OMG!! We pulled into Campbellford and tied up to the wall. Several loopers were around. Renee and I braved to heat and walked a bit. We went to the famous bakery for butter tarts and found a small grocery store for a few things. We came back and chilled down inside the air conditioned boat. This leg we did 7 locks and 25 miles. Our spot for the night was along a wall with a park and a giant Looney statue. What a fun name for their currency. The dollar is a Looney and a 2 dollar is a Tooney! Hilarious!
Day 3 we did another set of locks and when we got to the town wall it was full. This is a typical problem on this section of the trip. They are all first come, first serve and it is the busiest time of the year. Canadians only have a few months to enjoy the summer months so the lakes are full of small pleasure boaters out for the weekend. We decided to go up a few more miles to Rice lake and drop anchor. It was a great spot. We jumped into the lake water (which was 81 degrees and hardly cooled us off) and floated around.
I made dinner and blew up the inverter. (The switches were in the wrong position) That meant we had no power. Oh well! But did I mention it as HOT!!!! No fans! No AC. The air was nice on the top deck so we sat and enjoyed the sunset.
THEN……..(WARNING: If you don’t like bugs and spiders skip ahead) The biggest spiders came out and started weaving webs over our head from the Bimini. We saw 1, then another, then another, then we ran inside and shut the doors. BUT it was HOT!!!! OMG! Here we are in a beautiful spot that had been taken over by spiders and bugs. There was a swarm of some little white mothy things and those spiders ate very well that night, their tummy’s bulging with insects. I am however NOT happy that have hitched a ride on my boat. Now, to be completely honest, we have had a constant problem with spiders. They are on the lines. They are making webs all over the boat at night. I bought a little hand broom that I call the “spider whaker” and I go around the boat every morning destroying their nests. When we got to the next Marina I asked Dorthy, a fellow looper what I should do. She handed me a can of some nasty spray and told me to start with the Bimini and lines and spray them every time we tie up. Most people know I’m a natural oil kinda girl, but this called for the big guns. I took that can and sprayed the heck out of the boat. They came crawling out of their daytime hiding spots and one by one I conquered!! So far we haven’t seen any yet since said attack by chemical warfare.
Day 4 we traveled to Peterborough. We planned a few days here to tour around before taking Renee and Dean back to Toronto. We ate good food, we relaxed (spider free zone) and had air conditioning because YES….. it was still HOT!!!
We ate Poutine (NO we didn’t really love it!) and we found a casino. I lost $100 in 10 minutes so it was a short visit!
We toured the coolest Canoe Museum. They had a large display of old canoes and had the history of the areas indigenous people. I enjoyed the display and artwork.
The next lock on this canal is the famous Peterborough Lift Lock. It was built in 1904. There are only 2 like it on the canal and this is the big one. It raises you up 65 ft in 90 seconds. It’s a cement bathtub of sorts that is counterbalanced using just 12 inches of water they fill the high side and it pushes the low side up. It’s an engineering wonder. We were told it was a great tour to see before you actually take your boat thru it. We went over with Renee and Dean and some other loopers for the tour (they only do for loopers). It was surreal to think we would doing this lift in the next days. Totally cool.
The day Renee and Dean flew out, my parents flew in. We rented a car and drove them to Toronto to drop them off and pick up my parents. My mom was so happy to see us and it felt like forever since we had been together. They only had 5 days on the boat. We traveled with them to Bobcaygeon. My dad slept a lot and my mom and I chatted.
The people who have homes in this part of the Canada are called “cottagers”. They only have a few months of the year to enjoy the summer. It gets really cold here and they only summer here. We have passed a bunch of small cottages and some really awesome homes. They have boat garages to store their boats.
It’s also very popular to rent houseboats. We saw lots of them. They are totally uncontrollable boxes on the water and we were told to stay clear of them especially in the locks. A collision could ruin our trip. Thankfully we had no encounters with them.
We said goodbye to my parents here. It was bittersweet but they had a great 5 days with us and we got to catch up. They got to experience a little cruising and it was great to have them.
Some scenery from the route:
We loved this little church built on a rock Island. The only way to get to service is by boat! How cool is that!
The water ways here are very complex. They go from lakes and deep water to very narrow canals that are shallow and have rocks on both sides. You could almost touch the tree branches and it was creepy. Any wrong adjustment could send the boat crashing into the rocks. We had to do security calls warning any boats coming the other way. The smaller day boats did not monitor radios and we did encounter some. Might has right!!
There was another lift lock. This one went down so the perspective was totally different. We followed a boat in and I was thankful not to be on the leading edge. This one isn’t as tall as Peterborough but it was just as impressive. It went fast!! It was over before we knew it!
One of the highlights of the Trent-Severn is the famous railway lift called The Big Chutte. Lots of boats choose this direction just to do this lift. They literally lift your boat out of the water, sling it and drive a rail car up and over a road. We finally arrived here and stopped to check it out before taking the ride. When it was our turn Andy drove the boat up as instructed and my heart was beating out of my chest. As the boat lifted, with us on it, and started moving up out of the water, I had a moment of “what the hell have we done to poor AQUAMAN.” This boat has been through a lot. It was a totally cool experience but also nerve wracking. Honestly, it was something to behold, the engineering, but I am happy it us behind us. We have 1 last lock and then we are done!!! Yay!!!! I took pictures of the boat ahead of us but no one was behind us so I am kinda bummed we don’t have a picture of AQUAMAN slung up on the rail car. Oh well, NOT doing that again.
The bottom picture is the original lift.
This part of the loop has been my favorite. The scenery is incredible with deep forests that come right down to the water. The homes are quaint, some are extraordinary and the fresh water is pretty and inviting. The locks are easy and the Canadians are friendly, super helpful and talkative. At most locks, while the water is filling or releasing, they come over to talk. Everyone wants to know where we were going and how we got our California boat to Canada. I have loved Canada and all its beauty. I have also loved being in fresh water, heat aside, it’s been wonderful. Having company for part of this section has been great. I miss them already, but being on the loop with fellow loopers means lots of time for social interaction. We have been traveling with great people. Everyone is helpful and curious. So much so that one of our large white ball fenders fell off the rail and into the water, unbeknownst to us. The boat Allure who was following us stopped and retrieved it. When we got to the next lock I was getting my line ready when I noticed it was gone. We began to lock thru when Allure showed up with our missing ball. We were so thankful. Fellow loopers are awesome and all look out for each other.
Just to summarize for my notes.
We started the Trent- Severn waterway July 2 and got through the last lock number 44 on July 19th to Bayport Marina in Midland Ontario. This is the start of the Georgian Bay and another section to explore! This was a much longer route then we planned but it was great. I am feeling homesick and we have a lot of miles ahead before getting somewhere we can fly home. I’m writing this only as a reminder to myself that I have learned to breathe through these moments and be in the present. It is hard!! I miss my kids and my parents. I miss my friends. I have a daily talk with myself and most of the time I am ok. It’s just small moments that the heart hurts. Then I look around at Gods beauty and remember how blessed I am to be where I am. I am being honest, this tripp is HARD!!!! And AWESOME! And Beautiful! And Scary!!! And Unknown!! And the WEATHER!!! It is not for sissy’s!! It’s also not like a chill, drinking a margarita everyday kinda trip. There is sooooo much to do. Life living on a boat is not easy. We don’t have a washer (maybe my next boat will, I am dreaming) so every thing has to be hauled to a laundry mat. We have no car, so we ride bikes to the grocery store or walk. We just got a little cart to haul stuff in walking distance. Some marinas have a courtesy car, which is awesome. Repairs happen almost daily. Andy’s always fixing something. The boats always a mess. I have let go of my perfectionism. I bought a little handheld vacuum which helps me tackle the daily bugs and dirt. We are living in tight quarters and we still love each other. I feel so thankful for that. Andy drives the boat like a pro while I serve him whatever he needs, food, drinks, chapstick, coats, hats. I hardly sit still unless its a long haul, then I sleep or read. Andy plots our course every night. It’s a lot of work. There is very little down time. We are always working onto the next section. There is a lot to study and plan.
The END of this LONG chapter. NOW, onto the Georgian Bay!