Hello virtual crew members and fellow adventurers!
Eric here catching you up to date on the travels of Still Waters II.
Click on the Travel Map above or this link to see the day-by-day travel log.
The crew made stops at Campbellford, Healey Falls, Peterborough, Burleigh Falls, and Buckhorn this past week.
Sunday, July 17, 2016, The crew left Lock 9, Meyers, late morning and headed out to Lock 10, Hagues Reach. Upon arrival at Lock 10 the Lockmaster came down and informed the crew that his lock mate had called in sick and that it takes two folks to operate the locks. He would be sharing workers from Lock 9 until someone could be called in to work. The crew tied up on the blue line to wait. The plan was for lock 9 to lock a boat up, then have someone drive up to Lock 10 and lock both boats up.
Two boats actually arrived about the same time as the second lock worker. The gates were opened and the crew locked thru with the two other boats. The lockmaster directed the third boat to raft up next to the second boat. This was the first time the crew had been in a lock with boats rafted together. The skipper asked the lockmaster why they did not just tie up on the port wall rather than rafting. The Lockmaster replied that the turbulence in the lock was from port to starboard while filling and people have trouble staying on the port wall. Rather than have them come off of the wall and bounce off another boat, he prefers to just raft together.
Lock 10, Hagues Reach lifted the boat 24’. Upon clearing the lock the crew headed up to Locks 11 & 12, the first set of flight locks on the Trent Severn.
Locks 11 & 12, Ranney Falls. This set of flight locks raised the boat 48’. When you are down in the first lock it seems a long way up to the top. After exiting the first lock, the boat immediately entered the second lock to complete the flight. After exiting the second lock it was just a little over a mile to the town of Campbellford where the crew plans to spend a few days.
Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, un4gettable shore excursions.
There is a Rotary Trail that circles back to the Ranney Falls from Campbellford. Upon arrival back at the Falls, the crew crossed over the gorge on a 300-foot suspension bridge 35 feet above the water. There was a nice view of the falls from the bridge.
World’s Finest Chocolate factory outlet was also a nice hike. The visitor center hands out free samples of the candy and directions to the factory. Needless to say, the crew took the hike. The Admiral bought Malted Milk Balls while the skipper opted for the chocolate covered caramels.
There is also a bakery within easy walking distance. The skipper made the hike every morning to sample the merchandise. So far the chocolate covered donuts, donut holes, and banana nut muffins are outstanding.
The bakery also has a thing called a butter tart. The crew has been hearing about butter tarts ever since this adventure began. Seems everyone passing thru this area just raves about butter tarts. Well of course the skipper had to try one (maybe 4). A butter tart is like eating pecan pie without the pecans on top. The skipper says it is hard to go wrong with Karo syrup.
Another interesting phenomena in the Old Mills Park right next to the marina wall is all the people with their smartphones playing some game called Pokemon Go.
There must be at least 5-10 people in the park at any given time trying to catch some virtual critter. The other phenomena in the park is the folks sitting on a park bench 5 yards from the boat eating ice cream. The ice cream store is on the corner and the skipper is on his way to see why so many folks are eating this particular ice cream.
Wednesday, the crew shoved off from the Campbellford wall and continued west on the Trent Severn Waterway. The trip was mostly along the Trent River today. Very picturesque with the green trees coming down to the banks of the river.
The crew also passed thru 6 locks today on their way to Hastings. Two of the locks were a set of flight locks that raised the boat 54-feet. The water is starting to get clearer as the ground is transitioning from mud to rock. The channel is also starting to get narrower.
At lock 15, Healey Falls, the skipper had a good chat with a lock hand. The guy is a Health Physicist and is trying to get hired on at the local nuclear power plant. The skipper answered lots of questions after the guy learned that the skipper had retired from working nukes in the US.
At lock 18, Hastings, there was a rock announcing that Hastings is the ‘hub of the Trent.’
For our crew this marks the end of the Trent River portion of the waterway that ran mostly thru remote farm land and small towns.
Thursday, the float plan for today was to cruise to lock 20, Ashburnham and moor along a park wall. The day would take the crew most of the length of Rice Lake and then into Otonabee River to Pererborough. As often happens on this adventure, flexibility is the name of the game. A fellow looper caught and passed the crew just as they were entering Otonabee River. By the time the crew arrived at the planned lock to moor for the evening, you guessed it, the boat that passed the crew had taken the last available spot on the wall.
Ok. Plan B. The Parks Canada folks reported a spot open above the Peterborough Lock just another mile or so. The crew pressed on and cleared lock 20 and then arrived at the famed Peterborough Lift Lock, the highest Lift Lock in the world.
As the skipper arrived, a bull horn announcement was made that the lock gate was opening. Then a green light came on and the skipper motored into the large tub of water.
Another bull horn announcement told the crew to move to the center of the tub and tie off on the black handrail. After the vessel was secured the lock tender closed the gate. After another minute, another announcement that the lock was about to move.
Then the crew got an elevator ride up 65 feet into the air. At the top, the bull horn announced that the gate was open and please depart.
After exiting the tub, the crew spun around and tied up along the lock wall. The crew was the only boat here for the night. After a quick bite to eat the crew went to the Visitor Center to learn about the Peterborough Lift Lock.
Fun Facts on Peterborough Lift Lock:
How it works……
While in the Visitor Center, the crew also learned that there was a geo-caching series around the Peterborough Lock. The crew obtained a cache passport from the Visitor Center staff and went on the hunt to find the geo-caches. The hunt took the crew from the top of lock 21, back to the Visitor Center, to a Community Garden, and then down to lock 20. The hunt was successful and all caches were found.
In the morning, the skipper returned to the Visitor Center and exchanged the completed passport for special edition geo-coins.
Friday, the crew once again had a float plan that was changed near the end of the day. The original plan was to have a short day (14 miles) and stop after 6 locks at Young’s Point. However, the lockmasters and weather had other plans. The crew got off to a good start but found four canoes full of kids at the first lock.
The canoes locked thru with Still Waters II. Because the canoes were in the lock, the lock tender raised the level slowly. The 14’ lift took almost 30 minutes.
After leaving the lock the crew headed to the next lock that was only a mile away. When the crew arrived the gate was still shut so the crew tied up at the blue line. The skipper went up to talk with the lock tender and was informed that a boat was coming from the other direction and they would be waiting for that boat to arrive and locking him down first. The lock tender said that they would be conserving energy today because of the heat. Seems 90 degrees is a bit much for these Canadians. The skipper said something about the cold front that was blowing thru and that he was enjoying the cool weather.
By the time the boat got locked down, two other boats arrived with Still Waters II to lock up. Any time there are multiple boats it adds time to load and unload the lock as well as more time to fill the lock with water. It took over an hour after arriving at the lock to get lifted up and move on. And so the rhythm of the day was set, it took about an hour for each lock the rest of the day.
Under the notion that no good deed goes unpunished, the skipper allowed one of the boats to pass him since the boat would travel the last 5-6 miles faster. The thought was that the boat would make the lock before the skipper and could move on through. However, about the time the crew arrived at the lock they noticed the boat was towing a small boat. Once they arrived at the lock, they learned that the little boat had run out of gas. The big boat had stopped and towed the little boat to the lock. After Still Waters II entered the lock the two boats entered. Once again the lock tender raised the water level very slowly. So much for letting them go by to make the lock. On the other hand, our crew did not have to do the rescue.
Upon exiting the lock, the crew learned that there was no room to stay for the night so they would have to push on for the next lock. This would cause the crew to cross Clear Lake and Stoney Lake in the high winds that had been building all day. Such is life. This added an hour and a half to what had already turned into a long day.
The cruise across Clear Lake and Stoney Lake was fabulous. The water is just about crystal clear, and the scenery was breath taking.
After finally making the Burleigh Falls lock and securing the boat, the crew walked to the falls and took some time to soak in the cool water.
Saturday, well this was supposed to be another short easy day, but as the week has unfolded, nothing has been short or easy. Today would be no different for the crew. After making the two locks (Lovesick and Buckhorn) on the float plan today, the crew settled in at the top of the Buckhorn Lock. The first surprise was to learn that they are having problems with their electrical system (or hydro as the Canadians like to call it) and we would not be able to get power. Seems that they are adding onto the system and the modification is causing problems. Oh well, the crew has 200 Watts of solar power now and this will be no problem.
The crew walked up to a pizza place in town that was recommended by the lock master. The skipper had returned to the boat while the Admiral was out window shopping. The skipper was down below decks when he heard screaming and then the boat rocked. He ran topside to see a rather large houseboat up against the side of Still Waters II. The crew of the houseboat was fending off the two boats as the wind was pushing the houseboat into Still Waters II.
The skipper jumped out on the swim platform to assist getting the houseboat off Still Waters II. It looked like all the efforts would be successful until a crew member yelled “ALL CLEAR.”
The house boat captain gave full throttle to his engine which caused the back of the boat to swing into Still Waters II. The port aft corner rub rail on Still Waters II punctured thru a wood panel and ripped a 1- foot long hole in the side panel. The house boat corner rail then caught the stern of Still Waters II and gave her a nice rock.
When all was said and done, the damage assessment to Still Waters II is as follows:
The good news is that nobody got hurt in the 10 seconds of panic. The owner of the house boat rental company dropped by and has arranged for a haul out and repairs of Still Waters II.
Other than the houseboat drama, Buckhorn has been a good stop. The dam here was originally built for a mill to grind grain. The granite rocks made for good grinding wheels.
Tune in next week to learn what the impact of repairs will have on the forward progress of the crew. The skipper believes this could easily be a 5-day delay in Buckhorn.
The water goes on forever and the adventure never ends.
Eric the Red