Jul 15 – Aug 13 Days 230-238 (on the water) Where’s Waldo?

Holy smokes, how long has it been?! If you’re going to break something mechanical, there’s no point going for half measures. Turns out in addition to the propellers, we damaged the outdrive and blew the motor. So, we basically had to get brand new everything to continue the journey…. you go Bayliner! The good news is that N finally allowed himself to file an insurance claim for something (that’s why it’s called accident insurance) and the better news was that it was 100% covered! That’s right, one brand new drivetrain coming up.

We left the boat for repairs at a little marina off the Trent Severn Waterway in Orillia, Canada, and headed home. B was perfectly delighted to get her grandma time in early and for longer than planned (we’d always intended to go home in late July for two weeks so with this damage we got an extra week)

 

8-11 baby
B was happy with her daily grandma routine with young Malcolm!

 

while N got to get his annual moto trip around WA in and play a lot of golf.

 

8-11 moto
OK, it’s been a boating blog, but the title includes “by land” so here’s some land action. North Cascades Hwy!

 

 

8-11 moto2
WA weather was great for biking! Early morning one hand shot at 70mph!

 

 

 

8-11 marina
Here’s what a motorcycle “marina” looks like! NO, that trike is not N’s!

 

 

8-11 moto 3
OK, ok, it’s about boating, but c’mon, tough to beat WA state in the July sunshine. N rode right through here!

 

8-11 golf
…plenty of time left for golf!

 

The weather back home was absolutely amazing with sunshine and blue skies every day unlike Canada where the summer has been unseasonably rainy and cool. Oh well!

We were delighted monitoring the marina from afar as they hit every milestone, communicated regularly, and got the work done on-time and at budget. We returned to Canada August 6th to find our RioMarLago peacefully floating at the dock with a beautifully clean bilge filled with a brand new shiny motor. There was some concern about the motor’s performance with our custom 22” props as the boat felt slow to get onto plane and the marina guys simply could not believe she could be that underpowered. Uhmmm…. you go Bayliner price point strategy! Mechanics convinced N to swap to smaller prop to save engine…. more on that later.

 

8-11
Coming out of the water yet again!

 

 

8-11 prop
Long prop discussion! Yes, the swim step look grossly stained with tannins, but N has subsequently cleaned it up.

 

After a careful briefing in which N was told our new motor requires special care during its 20-hour break-in period including no time above 70% throttle and no more than 10 minutes at one constant rpm, we were off. It was good to be underway once more, but OMG…. this engine break-in stuff is tedious.

 

8-1 pic
Reduce the hairline and remove the beard and you have the Captain of RioMarLargo. 

 

At least we had the Big Chute and last of the locks to look forward to before finally entering Georgian Bay. We made it from Orillia to the Big Chute in one day, but decided to stay up river and watch how this “lock” operated before simply jumping in. We’re glad we did!

 

8-11 chute 3
End of the bay, end of the line…. nope, you take this railway contraption up and over!

 

 

8-11 chute 2
…it truly is unbelievable. Multiple boats on a “rail car”.

 

 

8-11 chute 5
Scene from the helm as we descend.

 

 

8-11 chute
Then you’re plopped in the water and you boat away! 

 

Now we’re in Georgian Bay which is at the top of Lake Huron. This is major “cottage” (Canadian for beach house) country with all sorts of homes scattered across what are seemingly thousands of little rocky islands and inlets.

 

8-11 island
Check it out! Channel marker smack in middle of island. Which way to go? Notice house on tiny island.

 

The boating is great, BUT you gotta watch the markers because there’s no sand to hit here, only rocks!

 

8-11 props
The local grocery store figures it pays out to stock props! Should tell you something. 

 

We ended up getting invited to a Canadian cruising rendezvous (Canadians are amazingly friendly!) so we took some time out to join their trip (see pic in header).

 

8-11 riv
Narrow little cut on way to Georgian Bay.

 

 

8-11 water
If you’ve gotta go at 25% throttle you ight as well have some nice scenery! Notice N’s standard optical fashion…. 2x’ers over sunglasses!

 

It was just as well since it afforded N an opportunity to get fully frustrated with the smaller pitch props and conclude we need to go big or go home (or break…again!). The smaller pitch props don’t get the boat going as fast as the 22’s at the same rpms so we burn more gas and go slower…. who does that? Anyway, we’re going to switch back to our 22’ props and fortunately we’re close to a place affiliated with the place we had the initial work done so we’ll swap out. We’ve lost count of how many haul outs we’ve had… you go Bayliner!

 

8-11 water 2
Whatever the speed there are some awesome little channels and bays to negotiate. 

 

8-11 water 3
So one guy did jump in and swim this waterfall… we didn’t!

 

 

 

8-11 lake
We’ve also found amazing anchorages. In this case it was a short walk from the boat to this island lake. Wait, it was a lake on an island in a lake! Whoa! 

 

Speaking of traveling in Canada, we’re learning all sorts of things. For example, when we see a sign that says NO WAKE ZONE, we assume it means slow down and leave no wake, but apparently here in Canada it’s different. Seems there was a universal typo where ALL the signs were meant to read NO, WAKE ZONE! See the comma? So, you’re supposed to leave a HUGE wake whenever you see the sign like as you pass marinas, cottages, etc.…. who would have known!? Also, if someone asked you if you needed “hydro”, whaddya think? Water maybe? Nope, it’s power! Of course, electricians are electricians, but they work on hydro!

 

8-11 boqt
She’s ALIVE! Here we are powering ahead across Georgian Bay! 

 

OK, time to get this post posted and pass the baton. RioMarLago out!

 

Jul 6 – 10, Days 221 – 225 Canadian Pole Dancin’

Well, we’ve had another technology driven blog hiatus despite which we’ve continued along the Trent-Severn Canal enjoying random adventures along the way.

 

7-8 carp
There are some GIANT carp in the river with plenty of people fishing for them. Our friend and gourmand recommends the following recipe for enjoying carp… scale the fish, season it, stuff it with herbs and roast on a cedar plank. When cooked, throw out the fish and eat the board!

 

We’re into the thick of the Canadian boating season and traffic is building. Not only are we seeing more “looper” boats, but many little towns along the canal plan weekend events to attract people.

7-8 canal
Lots more traffic going both directions!

That’s cool, but it makes it more challenging to find space each evening. So far, we’ve done OK.

7-9 ret
Tied up on far wall after the lock and walked into this little town.

 

7-9 lake
… and here’s another cute spot we found for another overnight. We were able to sit in the sun and enjoy the jazz fest going on at the nearby park.

 

Speaking of events, we stayed in Peterborough on Friday and had a chance to enjoy the annual “Rib Fest” together with seeing two tribute bands; “We Ain’t Petty” (Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers) and “Hot Rocks” (The Rolling Stones).

7-8 bbq
Each rib place displayed their trophies out front. We couldn’t handle more than one order.
7-8 b
Lots of fun in Peterborough

They were awesome! The good thing about tribute bands versus the real thing is the former ONLY play huge hits rather than forcing you to sit through their latest creative effort. OK, so we’re not big music aficionados…. we just want the hits!

7-8 roll
These guys even dressed up to look like the Stones. If you’re a Rolling Stones tribute band, what’s the first song you play? We both guessed “Jumpin’ Jack Flash” and were right!

OK, after a night of rock ‘n roll we were off up the canal.

 

7-8 truck
We preferred the floating pink Cadillac limo in Florida!

 

With all the June rains the currents are strong in the canal making for always interesting marina entrances and exits. Leaving Peterborough, we came close to a big 48’ Sab recraft. NO WAY were we going to hit it, but the guy was out watching, paranoid that we would. No problemo! In fairness, another guy did bash another boat exiting.

7-8 curr
Not sure you can appreciate it from the pic, but the current is ripping after all the rain.

Two locks up we came across the largest hydraulic lock in the world. Amazing. It’s like one giant railway bridge suspended on a hydraulic pole. One comes down while the other goes up at near elevator speed.

7-8 lock
Check out the elevated chamber on left on top of pole. We’re entering the counterpart ahead.

 

7-8 lift
Once we’re in, a gate comes up to “seal” the box.
7-8 lift 3
… and then we go up! Look over N’s shoulder to see 65′ elevation gain. Very weird feeling.

We’re getting into a bit nicer scenery now as we go further north and west. This is lake cottage country with tons of little cottage all over including on individual sized islands. Amazing boating even if there are still a lot of 10kpmh speed restrictions!

7-8 island
Tons of little islands all over with houses.
7-8 rice
Great to get some open water where we could spool up the throttle a little bit.

 

7-9 trip
Still gotta slow for narrow channels. Believe it our not that’s a speed limit sign in the channel!

 

 

7-9 chur
This is a church on an island. If you look closely to the right you’ll see a string of aluminum boats belonging to parishoners.  

 

7-8 sling
One marina had a great solution for misbehaving crew! Z seems to be saying “Really?” while B looks more concerned. Note the clouds….it’s not ALL sunshine here!

 

 

Faithful readers will remember we’re using our spare props while we wait for repairs on the other. We’ve been spoiled by the other props and “WE” are getting frustrated by the seemingly poorer performance of the others. At least we have nice scenery and places to stop overnight (even if they don’t have internet)!

 

7-9 canal 3
Even N acknowledges you can’t blast down this at 25! Believe it our not there’s two traffic on this!

 

 

7-8 sleep
You’ve heard of sleepwalking…. here’s an example of sleep-snapping!

 

Turns out the old props can’t be repaired so N bit the bullet and decided to cough up the 30% plus premium to buy replacements versus waiting until we get to the US. That price included a MAJOR discount since the prop guy had been unable to sell the set for the last three years!

 

7-9 fix
Pulling in for yet another haul out for a prop swap!

 

The prop story is actually pretty complicated involving multiple prop shops, friends picking up and dropping off props, etc… but I’m working on the blog from a Tim Horton’s restaurant so trying to save time.

Even with our new props we’re not confident we’re back to normal performance, but there is a lot of current were constantly battling. Besides, now we have a new issue….. something’s weird with the steering. We’ve called ahead and hope to get someone to look at it. Hopefully it’s something really easy like bleeding a hydraulic line, but you never know; that’s boating! OK, maybe that’s Bayliner boating, but even so. In the meantime, we continue to shuffle along the canal. We’re down to our last 10 locks or so and then we have a few months of open water. We’re looking forward to that!

 

7-8 map
Green marks our trail since Ottawa. We’re probably a one hour drive from the open waters of Georgian Bay, but still a few days by boat!

 

Jun 27 – Jul 2, Days 211 -216 Bang Ding Ow

Grab a coffee, crack a beer because we’ve been “off-air” for a while so this will be a longish post. Let’s not begin with an internet access rant (notice a Canadian theme here?), but c’mon. OK, so this Rideau Canal does get into some remote areas, but between poor wi-fi and Verizon’s “unlimited” data plan providing about 5 milliseconds of 4G speed north of the border before stepping down to carrier pigeon speed we really are hamstrung on the tech side. Anyway……  

 

7-1 canal 6
OK, a bit of a re-run. Here’s a picture of an aerial picture of the first 8 locks on the Rideau passing right into downtown Ottawa. Just wanted to provide more perspective.

 

We’ve leapt into this Rideau Canal journey without really providing any historical context, but the latter is pretty cool. At 200km, the Rideau Canal is the longest canal in North America and includes 47(!) locks from top to bottom…or bottom to top depending on direction! Built from 1829 to 1836, the Rideau was originally conceived as a military defense against the risk of the “imperialist Americans” blocking the St Lawrence river thereby cutting off British trade routes to the interior of Canada and the Great Lakes. It was never used for military purposes and is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site operated by Canadian National Parks for use by recreational boaters.

 

7-1 canal 8
Typical scene of approach to one of the multiple locks. Each spot generally allows overnight docking at the top or bottom of the lock. Lots of walks and always a peaceful night.

 

It’s an unbelievably cool waterway passing through small towns, parks, and moorages. Of course, the price is having to travel at 10kmph most of the time (N still jumps on the throttle whenever the opportunity presents itself), but at least our fuel burn is up to 4 miles/gallon which bodes well for our 200 miles+ trip without services a few months ahead.

 

7-1 canal
Even N is unwilling to power up here….not to mention that white marker clearly says 10kpmh!

 

We’ve also not really talked about this whole 150th Canadian birthday thing. OK, so I don’t think we’re alone as Americans not really understanding a whole lot about Canadian history, but there’s lot of interesting things. The Canadian flag we all recognize was only adopted in 1964! Wow, we were alive by then! Also, although Canadians celebrate Canada Day on July 1st, they’ve NEVER actually declared their independence from England…what!? Not sure they can claim an “official” birth year, it just sort of happened and the Queen still has a perfunctory role (she delegates the job to the Canadian-based British High Commissioner) in approving any law passed by Canadian Parliament. She’s never vetoed a bill, but even so. I could go on, but this is a boating blog!   

Anyway, this 150th “birthday” is a pretty big deal and we’re passing masses of boats and paddlers headed in the opposite direction headed to Ottawa to celebrate.

 

7-1 canoe 2
This group was paddling from Kinston to Ottawa! Another group of retired school teachers paddling the same direction serenaded B with the Beach Boys’ “Barbara Ann” from their lock-side overnight camp. No idea of the backstory, as N was talking to the lockmaster when the singing started.

 

As for us, we’re shuffling up the Rideau on our way to Kingston at about 30 miles/day (the locks take time) because N is only willing to spend so much time steering our inboard/outboard at 10kmph!

 

7-1 lock2
There’s a chance to stretch your legs at each lock. Most are totally manually operated. At this spot not only did the lock staff need to crank the gates, but then had to manually swing the road bridge open.

 

So where have we been these last few days?

 

7-1 sling
Never a good sign… boat in a sling on a brutally rainy day.

 

They say there are two kinds of sailors, those who have run aground and those who have yet to do so! Super poor internet access has kept us off line for a bit, but a bigger factor has been N’s poor attitude following his “grenading” a prop a few days ago.

 

7-1 prop
Aaaahh! Our beautiful stainless prop! If you’re going to “grenade” a prop, you might as well do it properly. No, the blades are not supposed to be pointing forwards! Oh, and there’s not really supposed to be chunks out of the skeg either, but that’s more a pride thing.

 

This is N’s 3rd time doing that over the course of his nearly 50 years of boating so he is the kind of “sailor” who just doesn’t seem to learn! His self-flagellating has taken up his blogging time. The issue of wrecking the prop has been compounded by not being able to replicate our boat’s pre-prop strike performance. N has checked the prop shaft, put in fuel cleaner, and swapped out everything from fuel filters to spark plugs.

 

7-1 fix
#$@%^&……N does not really have an ideal mercruiser mechanic’s physique, but he got himself pretzeled in to do some wrenching.

 

Now we speculate our replacement props were somehow pitched incorrectly when we sent them out in Florida. Of course, all of this is taking place over the biggest holiday weekend in Canada so N gets to stew while Canadians celebrate (and don’t answer the phone or work on boats). Seems appropriate we came down the river Styx (seriously, that’s the name of the river) into Kingston. We’ll order new props ASAP and slam then on sometime this week hopefully.

 

7-1 trio
…and it wasn’t just the boat getting dinged! B cut her hand washing dishes (not good when you’re in charge of handling the lines over 30 upcoming locks), then N half fell into the canal while scraping his elbow on a lock wall (he was exiting the boat with a drink in one hand and crackers in the other!!!!) and finally B slipped on the bilge floor and slammed her thigh and shin into the engine. 

 

 

7-1 lock
B gets her lock on…you can’t see the gloved hand, but it’s there!

 

Despite our travails, it wasn’t all bad.

 

7-1 canal 4
We spent some peaceful evenings at quiet spots.

 

 

7-1 canal 7
Found fun pubs in small towns serving great beers!

 

 

7-1 barb
Had to take the pic…. N complains he always has to go out for fish and chips….what’s up with that!?

 

 

7-1 canal 2
From the pics you might think we’ve had a lot of sun, but it’s actually rained 26 of the 30 days of June! This scene is more typical of a cruising day (notice rain splashes in water)! Still, there is some fantastic scenery.

 

 

7-1 canal 3
Yep, this is navigable in our boat. Check out the channel markers all the way down.

 

In the meantime, we’re out of the Rideau Canal with 70+ miles of clear sailing to Trenton at the start of the Trent Severn Canal and another massive number of locks. Phew….that post is done! Hope to return to more regularity. Keep fingers crossed for those props!

 

6-6 map_LI (3)
This post is coming to you from the Kingston Starbucks! Trent Severn here we come.

 

 

Jun 22/23, Days 206/7 Lockin’, Dockin’ & Rockin’

 

6-23 mont
Sunset on the St Lawrence. The current is ripping through here at 6 knots morning, noon and night!

We left Montreal early to fill up the “gaz” as they say here and still make a 10AM lock opening with a gaggle of other boats transiting at the same time. Hitting that timing was important as the locks on the St Lawrence are commercially focused and the lockmasters have no problem with pleasure boaters waiting 5 to 6 hours to pass when there’s commercial traffic.

6-23 lock6
We all waited at the “staging” dock for the lockmaster to give us the green light.

Our relatively large group and light commercial demand meant we “sped” (the term is used loosely here as there is a SIX knot speed limit over the 9 miles between locks) through the two big locks.

6-23 lock7
Green light on and we headed in. N likes the Sabre there in front of us.
6-23 lock4
Here we are rafted with our friends Margot and Jerry from Tennessee!

Between waiting, locking and transiting the whole ordeal took about 4 hours. What the heck, it was sunny and we were boatin’! There are worse things in life!

After the second lock we took a right out of the commercial zone and back into the recreational boating arena as we headed out of the St Lawrence and into the Ottawa River via yet ANOTHER lock.

6-23 lock1
There’s B lost but not forgotten amongst the fiberglass!

We decided to stop on the free wall for the night just before the St Anne lock. Very cool little town with a great boardwalk and tons of little restaurants along the lock channel.

6-23 lock 10
Very peaceful evening “on the wall” at St Anne.

Today, we roared off at 11AM in hot pursuit of a group that had left at 9AM. We had our first experience rafting with French Canadians in the lock. Communication was fine as B used her Sprench and N spoke slowly and loudly! The Canadians were amazed we’d coaxed our boat 6,000 miles around the loop so far (that’s right we have officially cleared the 6,000-mile mark!).

 

6-6 map_LI (2)
Here’s where we were the last two nights on our way to Ottawa.

 

Nothing like 25mph+ when trying to catch trawlers! We caught ‘em and passed ‘em and shared the next lift at the Carillon Lock and Dam.

 

6-23 wave
OK, so the crew was not as excited about playing catch-up, but they hung in there over some rough patches in “Lac du Deux Montagnes”.

 

 

6-23 lock9
Last off the dock…. first to the lock! You go Bayliner.

 

At 65′, the Carillon Lock has the biggest lift in Canada (it does in one chamber the work of 8 earlier locks…yay!) and is the only lock in North America where the lock doors go up and down versus swinging open and shut. The thing is a cavern!

 

6-23 lock8
The lock is WAY deeper than anything thing we’ve seen recently, but notice all we had to do was tie-up to a floating dock and then float up with it.

 

From the lock we headed up to Le Chateau Montebello, which happens to be in the town of Montebello; the site of Canada’s biggest annual rock festival (which we learned was underway as we came up the river). Not the kind you throw, but the kind you attend in a black t-shirt, piercings, and boots. This little town of 1,200 has 80,000 to 100,000 people in it! There were tents all over the place and lots of LOUD music.

 

6-23 rock
Dude! We were stoked! Unbelievable people watching as we walked around town sticking out like sore thumbs with our light colored boating attire.

 

Seems like everyone’s got a black t-shirt on and they’re listening to bands like Wu Tang Clan sing songs the extent of which are lyrics like “M…’fer, uh huh, uh huh” while prancing around on stage! Those are the ONLY lyrics! Sorry, what IS that? Oh wait, our age is showing.

 

6-23 hotel
Fortunately we stayed at the marina associated with this hotel. B observed it was thataway to the lounge and a peaceful after dinner glass of port.

 

 

6-23 hotel 2
A nice redoubt after a day on the water and afternoon rockin’.

 

 

6-23 beaver
Evidence of Canada’s initial raison d’etre…. there’s beaver amongst them thar’ trees!

 

OK, won’t bore you here with the travails of internet and Verizon’s definition of “unlimited” data in Canada, but suffice it to say we gotta’ post when we have Wi-Fi, or it isn’t getting done.

 

Jun 17/18, Days 201/202 You Lockin’ Me Crazy

Bonjour mes amis! Comment allez vous? Yes, greetings from French-speaking Canada. After more than 5,800 mile We have now entered the reputational “money shot” part of our Loop – the part everyone says is the BEST! After two nights at Gaines Marina enduring occasional rain squalls and up to 40 mph winds (a 40’ sailboat was blown ashore overnight), we steamed out under fair skies and headed three miles north to the Canadian Border en route to the Chambly Canal.

 

6-18 border
So this is the border with Canada. It’s a very small wall….basically a floating stick! You’ve go to be pretty incompetent to not get around it. Canadian customs only concern was whether we were carrying guns, mace, pepper spray, knives or other forms of offensive or defensive weaponry (our Swiss Army knife was allowed).  

 

Once through the border we headed up the Chambly Canal, the entirety of which is a national historic site. The canal covers only 19km (OK we’re switching to euro measures…… aaagghh can’t do it, I meant approximately 12 miles!) with an 80’ drop, but includes nine locks, multiple swing and drawbridges and requires about four hours to transit (in part because the max speed limit is 10kph).

 

6-17 lock 2
B getting our permits from the lockmasters at the first of nine locks we transited on the day.

 

 

6-18 canal 3
Are you kidding me!!? N on phone to Bank of America fraud squad explaining the bank’s inability to process a Visa charge is holding up Canadian shipping (we were in the lock at the time pending the payment getting processed). We now have a “hot line” to the bank on these issues so no more phone trees of obnoxious questions.

 

At one point we went through three locks structured like stairs for a total drop of 30’. We literally exited one lock directly into the next and then into the next. Tons of people watching, so we worked hard to look like we knew what we were doing! You might think the whole process would be maddening, but it was fun. What a completely different boating experience. This waterway handles up to 150,000 boats per season, but fortunately we’re here pretty early so we “zipped” right through.

 

6-18 canal 7
Coming out of one lock directly into another and there was another after this one!

 

The canal was built in the early 19th century to increase trade by linking Montreal and New York.

 

6-17 canal
Believe me, there was no overnight delivery from NY to Montreal using this route! Cool though. Cars to port, runners and cyclists to starboard!

 

The locks themselves opened in 1843 and remain basically as they were originally built. The lock chambers are small (could only handle our 30’ boat and our friends 44’ at the same time), have small lifts and drops and are manually operated by literally cranking on a hand crank to open and shut the doors.   

 

6-17 lock
In the lock with our friends. They let us pass after this lock so we didn’t have to eat diesel fumes for the next 4 hours.

 

 

6-18 canal 6
How about this for a summer job? Crankin’ lock handles in 90 degrees all summer long!

 

 

 

6-18 canal 2
The lockmasters and bridge guys call ahead so each spot is ready for you when you arrive. This bridge was going up for us as we cane around the bend. In this case, the same guy then jumped in his car and drove ahead to open the next bridge (we saw him go by us on the road!).

 

Of course, the most interesting part of the experience is dealing with the language (“ecluse” is French for lock) when approaching the lock…. I mean ecluse. N simply speaks English slowly whereas B likes to chatter along with the lock operators in her Franco-Spanish. Unfortunately for N, he’s the only one willing to go on the radio!

 

6-17 map
Whoa, we have seriously run aground! Nope, we’re on the Chambly Canal route rocking along at 7.8kmph!

 

 

6-18 canal 4
These were the first series of locks where N had to get involved with the lines (except cutting them that one time) rather than barking orders from the bridge. The latter role was left to Z.

 

The good news for us is Canada is celebrating 150 years of lock and canal operation this summer so all our lockage is free and a permit allowing us unlimited mooring at state parks was only $200. By comparison, that cost could have easily been $40/night! 

 

6-18 meat_LI
By the time we reached Chambly we were so hungry we could “eat a horse”…. no wait… I thought it was a figure of speech! Bienvenue au Canada!!!

So we are really on the international leg of our journey now. The St Laurence Seaway and Montreal will be next up. A toute a l’heure!!!    

 

June 10-13, Days 194-197 Headin’ North in Freshies with Frenchies

We were starting a leisurely breakfast on board when N spotted some friends of ours across the lake steaming northward…. OK, they were going about 10mph, but that’s steaming in a trawler! We’d gotten ahead of them a few days before and planned to meet up in Burlington, VT about 30 miles up the lake, but since we go closer to 30mph there was no rush; drink coffee, do some laundry, chit chat on the dock and then power up about 11:30 and still nearly beat them there!

 

6-13 pt henry
OK, this was actually the evening before, but N spotted our friends on that far shore the following morning

 

Lake Champlain is a mammoth lake separating NY and VT. The north end of the lake has NY’s Adirondack mountains on one side and Vermont’s Green mountains (home of the Green Mountain Boys of revolutionary war fame). As a North westerner you gotta call these things HILLS rather than mountains, but it’s nice to see some elevation and they are very pretty on both sides of the lake. Of course, we’re totally in all fresh water now, but while its super clear, it’s also super cold so no swimming for us.

 

6-13 lake
A view to NY from Burlington

 

It turned out last weekend was the Burlington Jazz Festival so there was a lot of live music around and the docks were packed; so crowded we had to take a mooring ball on Saturday night rather than tie to the dock.

 

6-13 street
All sorts of little bars, restaurants and shop on this walking street. Burlington is home to the University of Vermont so plenty of breweries around too!

 

Interestingly, much of the crowd on the water was Canadian and French-speaking Canadians at that. Sacrebleau! We’ll need to brush up on our high school French to get through these locks coming up…. We have to translate boat names now too.  

 

6-13 dock
Sunday at 9AM the marina wasn’t sure they’d have room for us at the dock that day. This was the scene by noon! Yeah, there was space!

 

 

6-13 golf
N got a chance to play some golf. He characterized his game as having flashes of brilliance within a round of abject mediocrity.

 

 

Again, we found ourselves in a largish town, reasonable marina, and NO internet. What is up with that!? We’ve consumed all our 4G data on our phones and jet pack hence the blog delay. It is painful to do this stuff at slow data speeds! C’est la vie…. Whoa, the conversion is on!

 

6-13 ding
When you’re on a mooring ball you need to dinghy to shore. Not sure why our friends left a banana on our seat… maybe they were glad to see us… or at least the dinghy!

 

We left Burlington on Monday to explore some islands on the lake and get ourselves staged for a border run this weekend (we need to consume some of our alcohol to meet the limits into Canada).

 

6-13 inlet
There were several of these artificial peninsulas running parallel to the lake. Turns out they used to be railway bed now converted to private use.

 

First stop was for an overnight at a state park on Burton Island. The park had slips for 100 boats! The ranger told us they fill up on summer holiday weekends including many French Canadians enjoying “le weekend” as one says a bit further north. As it turns out there were only four other boats when we were there.

 

6-13 sign
Of course Z is delighted to be off leash and running wild…….

 

 

6-13 walk
….. N maybe not so much!

 

 

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We did have a nice walk around the circumference of the island.

 

 

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Z enjoyed running this strip!

 

 

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Sunset at the dock

 

 

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… had a cocktail, opened the wine and things got hazy!

 

Next day we were off to explore multiple little islands and possible anchorage spots. Of course, ANY stop must be a “Z-certified access” pee stop (although B has had some recent success with Z peeing on the mat on the swim step) so not every spot is good after closer inspection.

 

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We stopped at the Hero Island general store for a sandwich. It’s called Hero Island because the land had once all been given out in 60 acre parcels to individual Green Mountain Boys as compensation for their fighting during Revolutionary War.  

 

 

6-13 bed
Faithful readers might wonder what happened to our red bedspread. Well, Z peed on it!!!!! N refused to sleep on it again even if it got washed, so we found a new cover at the General Store….. and we take no more chances on bladder control. 

 

We had every intention of anchoring tonight and found several nice spots along the way, but rolled the dice one too many times as the last place we checked out just was not going to work for Z so to the nearby marina we went.   

 

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OK, so the North Hero Marina is perfectly great and we’re here for the night.

 

June 5/6, Days 190/191 Albanian Rain Game

UPDATED ROUTE MAP ON HOME PAGE!

So, some Albanian (isn’t that what you call someone from Albany?) comes up to me on the dock and says “gee, doesn’t it rain a lot in Seattle?” I said, “Whaddaya talkin’ about!? The rain here has been relentless!” The only bright spot is B discovered a heretofore unrealized electrical engineering skill; her careful placement of sponges in combination with our newly re-waterproofed bimini top has kept all our power on throughout the deluge. We used to trip out the breakers on one side of the boat after about 30 minutes of rain while at the dock, but no more (touch wood). That’s the good news. We still have mysterious leaks we have yet to figure out, but at least they don’t impact general operations, other than the occasional drop on N’s side of the bed! Still can’t figure out how that can possibly happen!

After a day of errands (and watching streaming video on blisteringly fast internet… yes there was some redemption) in rainy Albany we were up early and headed north on the Hudson under once more leaden skies.

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Going crazy on the dock! This looks wet, but we were dry under our freshly waterproofed top. I guess we could have driven from inside too.

The Weather Channel app’s radar seems to be remarkably accurate around here so we knew it was going to rain before we got to our next destination, but gee, you gotta’ keep moving.

6-6 channel
This would look so much nicer in sunshine, but we are now getting into NY banjo country!

There are a few big course decisions you make when doing this Loop. Stuff like taking the Mississippi versus the Tom Bigbee Waterway (we did the latter), or crossing Florida at Lake Okeechobee versus rounding Key West (we did the latter) and now we have another; taking the Erie Canal to Lake Erie and points west, or heading north through Lake Champlain to Montreal (we’re doing the latter). The Big Y was ahead of us today (it’s the header photo for this post). Most bigger boats take the Erie because of the 17’ air draft limit on the Champlain route, but we laugh at 17’ and only begin to slow when we see 14’ clearance.

6-6 dinghy
Did I say most “big” boats do the Erie? We finally ran into “Dinghy Dave”. He’s doing the entire loop in THIS boat! He started in Grand Haven, Michigan so he’s nearly done. It’s a super nice inflatable, but it’s still basically a dinghy!

All this rain impacted the canal system as well and parts of the Erie are closed for a few days so several large boats were tied to the wall at the entrance to the first lock on the Erie. As for us, we were onto the unaffected Champlain route and back to rockin’ and lockin’ up the canal…. and there are a lot of locks; we had to clear four over about 5 miles to get to our next stop in Schuylerville, NY.

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B gettin’ her lock on. We bought some gloves at Home Depot after reading these canal locks are kind of “gooey” and get your lines all gross.

 

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Here’s the approach to one of the locks…..

 

6-6 lock
…oh wait, did I say it was raining?!!! Put the camera outside the window!

 

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Rain or shine, you cannot keep B down! And she was doing all the outside work. Notice how the boat is secured to the lock wall by running a line around a fixed cable. Something new! B has a life jacket on here versus shot above after realizing how slippery decks were with all this rain (nearly fell in at one point).

The good news is the lockmasters radio ahead so each lock is prepared for your arrival and there’s not a lot of waiting around. Also, this year the NY and Canadian canal systems are celebrating 200 years of canal operation so all our locking is going to be FREE on these upcoming legs. BTW, while these canals were originally for commercial traffic (the kind that traveled by barge pulled by a horse on the shore), these locks are nothing like the locks on the bigger rivers today. Traffic is primarily pleasure boats and/or much smaller barges.

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Red arrow marks where we are and the green line shows where we’re going over the two months or so.

 

6-6 dock
After a wet and cold ride it was nice to tie up. Oh yeah, and we’d been running on fumes so it was good to find some gas too! Gotta’ be more careful with fuel monitoring as there are fewer and fewer marinas along the way.

 

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Despite sustaining a nasty bruise/cut nearly falling off the boat, B still whipped up some tasty warm food when we hit the dock.

 

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Z was also delighted to be inside!

 

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Not the canal we’re actually traveling on, but the old canal with the horse track next to it.

 

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…but lo’ there is HOPE on the horizon… well at least two days worth!

 

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It’s a UFO! No wait, it’s the SUN…. we’re off today in sunshine!