Aug 22; Day 239 Sittin’ in Killarney (proof reading)

Really this post is just to get the yesterday’s post’s completion to trigger! So to see it you may have to scroll down past the home page on the actual  site.    It does have some typos and other issues…primarily  though, it seems to have left off at least one key paragraph:  the one about WHY we were towing the boat!  Here it is because I simply cannot get back into that post to correct and inseert it to the part immediately before the picture of Nick in his green coat in the dinghy::

“Even  the weather cooperated, the Bayliner Beast did not.  About 3 miles shy of our destination, a screaming jolt emitting from the engine area stopped us dead in our tracks…or rather made our wake crash up onto the stern swimstep.  What the —-????   Seriously??  How can this be?  No shallows, no rocks on the chart, new engine gingerly broken in, no crabpots (remember this is a lake afterall). UGH! Ok, well time for ANOTHER first: let’s tow ‘er in.”

In the meantime, here’s a view of Killarney waterfront –a town of 400. It only got its first road to it about 45 years ago so everything along its 3 block length has a dock.  Not only do you pull up to the dock for gas but you also pull up to the liquor store, the grocery store, the icecream store and a variety of restaurants at each of their individual little docks. “Parking” is limited to 30 minutes at most places!  haha

Lots of Loopers passing through. Some we met last Fall way up on the river; others we’ve read about on the Looper forum.

Ok we only have a handful of Canadian towns to pass by on THIS adventure so winding towards Lake Michigan and Chicago on the horizon.  Check back again. We’ll try to post as often as possible. Hope all your retinas are intact after eclipse gazing!

Augusts 14 -21; Days 231-238   Georgian Bay: Epitome of Nature’s  Beauty…. and the Beast Bayliner


Ok, Ok… I know we aren’t posting as often as we should be; but seriously, the internet connectivity is a REAL problem here.  And now that is compounded by multiple nights at anchor in the middle of nowhere which in and of itself has been compounded by a 3 day small craft warning requiring us to hole-up  where we are lucky to get a sporadic half-bar signal a couple of times a day.  That’s where I sit as I start to write this…hopefully we will make it out to a town of 400 by Sunday the 20th and hopefully there will be connectivity there!  We’ll see.

In the meantime, the days are blurring together so perhaps the photos here will not be in exact chronological order (but unless you are omniscient (or have been here) you probably won’t know the difference!)

The bottom line (from this perch that feels like the top of the world) is the soul-fulfilling visual trip caused by the geology formations.  Georgian Bay and the adjoining North Channel, is a mere sub section of Lake Huron –separated from the main body of Lake Huron by the Bruce Peninsula and Manitoulin Island. Georgian Bay alone is almost as large as Lake Ontario.  The whole area is famously referred to as the Canadian Shield with its igneous and metamorphic bedrock exposed by the passage of time and the last ice age—kinda like a rock yamaka perched on the top of Canada.

2017-8-21 big chart overview
Here’s a big picture of the area we are boating in for a few weeks.


The northern shore is dotted with literally thousands and thousands of solid rock islands and even more wannabe, little islands the size of cars, busses and large houses (some of which are dangerously submerged under merely 6-12inches of water)—hence, the area is called 30,000 Islands.  They are the mere remnants of 39,000 foot mountains that were formed with the accumulations of multiple layers of volcanic molten from over 150 different volcanic belts.  And the shallow waters between all the islands and the mainland are lined with that same solid rock…making anchoring sometimes tricky!

Stunningly beautiful, impossible to capture in a photo, and treacherous if you meander out of the channel for a blink.  (kinda sounds like a teen describing his first crush!) Here is a geologic sampling to give you an idea of what we’ve had in the last week.

2017-8-15 wreck island beach

2017-8-15 wreck i molten rock hardened

2017-8-19 grey peach best


2017-8-17 wreck is
Imagine the hot molten lava swirling down and cooling at water’s edge…or maybe there was no water yet?
2017-8-16 white vein
No,  not a property line…NOR graffiti… just a big long white vein! Looking at the rocks is like going to the granite store for your kitchen counter top…every hue: black, grey, pink, white, red. Some solid others with layers, veins, and warps
2017-8-15 moss etc sandy bay
  And from every crack, crevice and depression a little pocket of accumulated decomposing leaf and sand or thin layer of soil makes a home for bright green moss, muted lichen, grasses and then the occasional tree and bush.
2017-8-21 parry sound
A zoomed in overview of just Parry Sound area– a tiny section from the bigger navigation chart (Parry Sound Harbor is on the right hand side in the first chart above)  Shows the mazes between the islands and the water. Remember there are over 30,000 of these land chunks!
2017-8-16 zig zagging thru hairpin turns
Zig zagging our way through the mazes.  We frequently have to make hairpin turns on this journey! Literally and figuratively it seems!

It is actually impossible to get a feel for all this geology and aura by photo (and certainly even less possible by words alone)…you’ll just have to make the journey.  Georgian Bay is so cool that it actually inspired the second best art work of all of Canada (behind the amazing British Columbia totem poles of the Salish and other Firsts):  The Work of the Group of 7.

2017-8-20 group of 7 4 part art
Around the 1920’s, they famously collectively committed to exploring art through the unique character of the Canadian landscape and, in particular, Georgian Bay, With nationalistic sentiment and a break from the European tradition their work reflects a distinct Canadian identity. Up here you see reference to their work allllll over!

2017-8-20 group of 7 art

And here’s my photographic version of the above:

2017-8-21 phto like group of 7
Just missing the stormy clouds!  But i’ll take those blue skies over what we had a few days later…even at the sacrifice of an artistic pic!

So that’s the geology stuff….here’s a smattering of the rest of the week.  Our highlights have included Beausoleil, Monument Channel (a big hang out for the Group of 7 artists), Wreck Island, Sandy Bay, Strawberry Island in the Bustards.  We’ve also stopped at Killbear Park, Parry Sound (for a harrowing taxi ride to the grocery store and back),and  Ojibway Club for gas and a look around at their nice getaway locale.  Here’s a collection of shots of some of our stops, scenery and beautiful anchorages:

A few pix that got left off from our boating time with the Canadians last week: pancake delivery…..and yes! WITH Canadian maple syrup, double rainbow after a thunderstorm/rain dump; dinghy safari to the rapids.

Sandy Bay:

2017-8-16 sunset pano sandy bay

2017-8-16 sandy bay from high
At anchor ….noone else in sight.


Hers and His Ways to Explore

2017-8-16 sunset sandy favorite
This was perhaps our favorite anchorage during the whole 6800 miles to date.


Although we do see little cabins and large homes  along the shore more frequently than you might expect, often you would be hardpressed to know humans had even passed by.  But here are a few “signs” hard to read: “Site of the original barril denoting safe passage thru turbulent waters” barrel marks ; quintessential island with sign marking towns; and cuter than average arched cairn.


Strawberry Island in the Bustard Islands Group:

2017-8-17 bustards pano strawberry

We took shelter here for 2+ days of a storm/small craft advisory.  It also happened to be N’s birthday (a big one, btw, …just sayin!!)


2017-8-17 sunny bday eve at anchor better
Stern tied and ferried back and forth to shore in motor disturbing the solitude…nor heave ho’s from rowing!


2017-8-17 blueberry crack
Blueberries! Fortunately the rough and ready (and yummily ripe in August!)  blueberry has taken ahold on some of these outcroppings! Just 20 feet from the stern.
2017-8-17 blueberry patch patience
A whole patch on the warm side of the little island: Our backyard!  Wild berry picking is for the patient person….or in the alternative one becomes patient while wild berry picking. Either way, it’s good for the soul!
2017-8-17 blueberry pickins
How handy—a birthday gift for N!   Doesn’t get much better than vine ripened, fresh picked (with love!), wild, organic, non-gmo blueberries!
2017-8-17 bday blow
Happy Birthday! Brownie and yogurt with the blueberries and donut peaches (from Washington)  snatched up at the Parry Sound grocery store!
2017-8-18 rain strawberry
Big storm blows n as i write this but we were tucked into our nice little anchorage where it’s calm….but still wet!

Being holed up for 3 days in one spot on a 28 foot boat under weather watch, with no generator for back-up power, shore excursions onto patches of land the mere size of a double-wide, no “third parties” to interact with could  lead  to ____( I’ll let you fill in the blank!)  But seriously, B was fine with her naps, tiny island explorations, minimal reading, rock yoga and swimming (aka skinny dipping)  while N barely hung in there with a morning swim/shower, ipad solitaire, finishing all his books on his kindle and cleaning non-stop….suffice to say “ I’m going expletive deleted insane” was his mantra. As this is typed, he has actually announced he will simply leave B (and presumably Z) on shore with a tarp and sleeping bag and make the crossing, regardless of condition, and return when the weather is better. With that pronouncement the loons started their wailing, haunting call and lyrical return whistle  that we’ve grown accustomed to.   Not sure what they were communicating to us with but it did sooth!

Well,  after watching the big sailboats that were in the abutting small inlet all scoot out earlier, N managed to hang in there and we sat out the weather watch  for the second night in a row under even bigger winds that attacked us from a different direction than the prior night.  We were fine after adding our second anchor (in addition to our really great and well-set anchor AND the stern tie).  We fared the night well and, in the morning, after checking about 4 websites by holding our arm up in the air to get a one-dot-signal and waiting for downloads of weather, wave and wind info, pulled up anchors and brought in the stern tie and headed out to take a peak and maybe make the 20 mile crossing back to the mainland.

2017-8-19 ready to cross N

2017-8-19 dinghy tow
Here’s N making slow but steady headway pulling the boat into Killarney.   Ok I have to admit that one fun thing about the whole event was that a monarch butterfly  (they are on their way back across the Great Lakes right now to Valle de Bravo, Mexico) flittered and followed N and his lime green rain coat for about 10 minutes and then abruptly turned left and headed southward.  Despite the flitting, it was so intent on its whole purpose and,personally, I thought it was a good omen!
2017-8-19 tow ropes to NVR
Tying up for a more efficient tow
2017-8-19 towed by nvr
Loopers Jim and Jeff from NVR II NAUTI towed us in!  Actually, we think the boat should be re-named: NVR II NAUTI AND NICE ! Thanks for the ride!

Made it to Killarney! It’s cute and one of the last Canadian “towns” for us.  They have some fresh oysters on the half shell flown in here! Yay! Ok not the cheapest on the trip (well, to be honest definitely  the most expensive…) but we indulged after our tough last few days and enjoyed while relishing in how really bad that whole problem could have been.

2017-8-20 dingy ride rescue
We ventured out in the dinghy to explore and take a swim….and ended up rescuing a father/son duo who had flipped in their rented canoe…that was fun!

We now sit, at a nice dock, slooooowllllly downloading and re-uploading to the blog website one pic (REPEATEDLY (btw. this is about my 4th attempt at getting this posted) at a time, wrapping up this writing and (happily) waiting for the mechanics from Orillia (who replaced the engine a few weeks ago) to drive up on Monday.  Phone diagnosis is the clutch and they plan to just fully replace the outdrive to be done with the matter….hmmmmm. ok—it’s all on warranty—yay!

OK you’ve heard of concierge doctors, personal chefs and life coaches, right!  Does this guy look familiar?

As this attempts to upload to the world of Blog,  Supermechanic Kyle (also known as pancake deliveryman (see above photo!)  and his buddy (prbably an even more super mechanic) have just arrived (after a 4 hour drive from Orillia!!)–luckily not quite a personal mechanic but being under warranty is the next best thing!

Let’s see, more on all that later. In the meantime, enjoy that eclipse wherever you are!

Epilogue:  Posting this at 3 am when wifi connectivity is a bit better (but still some tech difficulties…so post isn’t perfect   and ….ok, yes,  I might appear dedicated!  aka obsessed! but the reality is that there is a major lightening and thunder storm right now so might as well do this while i enjoy the scene.  and yes, the boat trial was a success… outdrive slammed in quickly (and under warranty!)…but bad weather for a few days so looks like we’ll be in Killarney even longer! Yikes…need to get off the Great Lakes by the first week of September or the weather will be even more problematic! Cue the thunder rolls outside!

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.


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!


July 11-14 ; Days 226-229  On the Precipice

Ok, ok… 16 days since the last post is probably a record. All the usual (and one new one) excuses; bad or non-existent internet/connectivity, boat issues generating frustrating moods, trip home and…… the new grandbaby!

In summary, we flew home a few days earlier than planned so that a repair could take place to the boat (something about the compression of the valves, tulipping, overheating, potential blow outs, etc etc. Who really cares….it’ll get fixed and we’ll keep on movin’! As they say: you can’t take it with you……so just haul out that plastic rectangle from the wallet and get it done! Actually,as this “goes to press” it appears to be an insurance covered repair: YAY! Moods have lightened!

Life begins to really blur together after so many days so I will just post a few pix and captions. In sum, aside from record breaking rain, our Canadian time has been full of pretty scenery and waterways; super friendly locals (despite their own internal views of their president’s occasional missteps, the Canadians should be quite proud of the Rolling Stones cover this week.!); cute little waterside towns;  interesting history tidbits and info about the locks and all of the “one-of –a kind” locks; and, of course, as always on this Loop adventure some surprise or insight when we least expect it.

2017-7-12 made in argentina
Not sure how efficient it is to import garbage cans from another hemisphere. But still fun to see as it reminds me of Malbec wine! (and no!, not because I drank too much and needed one of these!)
2017-7-12 snowmobile trail 75 k
Who knew….well, I certainly didn’t.  In fact, you can ride snowmobiles, x-country ski, ATV, bike over 1800 kilometers just in Ontario on places like this; not to mention more trails connecting Yukon in the west to Newfoundland in the east.
2017-7-12 lift B
Another hydraulic “elevator” lift lock with B filming …waaaay too many accidents waiting to happen here!  Nothing did tho–yay! Let me know if you want the video clip of this!

At N’s insistence, included above are some nerdy (yet dumb-downed) explanations of the engineering involved in that big hydraulic lock.  We have a totally different and new type of lock coming up soon….so stay tuned for that  hopefully by the next post.

2017-7-12 spider lock
Locks can sometimes be scary and full of unknown, not good surprises….this was a surprise we’d not yet run across before.  A first for everything! Right where B’s hand was about to grab as we entered to tie up, but luckily N saw it just in time. It even caught the lockmaster’s attention.
2017-7-12 sunset axis feel
With this western sunset in the exact direction of where we are heading, my internal axis felt automatically aligned.  Very weird feeling when that hit me.

We’ve left the boat at what certainly appears to be a great marina with (what appears to be….time will tell!!) knowledgeable mechanics on the outskirts of Orillia, Ontario on Lake Simcoe an hour or so northwest of Toronto.

2017-7-12 lake couchiching
NOT Lake Simcoe here, but literally abutting it through a little cut right where our marina is located, this is Lake Couchiching.  Really nice lakefront large park with late sun, post afternoon showers and mist provided this soul-filling scene during our leg-stretch outing!

BTW, Lake Simcoe is relatively large:  287 square miles. For comparison for our Washington State readers: Puget Sound is a tad more than 1000 square miles; and Lake Washington is a mere 33 sq miles).   We stopped in the middle of Lake Simcoe and let the boat just drift as we jumped in for a great swim.  About 71 degrees so very pleasant!

As we start down our official path of grandparenthood in our revitalized boat that is, as I write this, being brought back from its near-end, we are on the verge of hitting the much-talked- about-as-the-highlight-amongst-Loopers: Georgian Bay; we’ll wrap up our Great Lakes time; and hit Chicago for the final approach to Green Turtle Bay, Kentucky where we will officially “cross our wake.”  So stay tuned, we’ll be back on board August 6th after a red-eye flight!

Besides lots of family and friend time, hikes at Mt Rainier, motorcycle adventures, yoga and golf, here are a few things greeting us at home:

2017-7-20 b n malcolm
Baby Malcolm: THE most precious little bundle around!

In our absence, the backyard (and front) (YES, we live IN the city limits!!) have been invaded by…..

2017-7-20 coyotes
A family of coyotes (here are 2 of the pups).  Z has had a near death experience and now we have an ugly wire fence up around the perimeter…..(aka more $$ !)

and 2 varieties of owls:  Barred and a family of Great Horned (note the adult in the far bottom left of the picture on the right watching its 2 curious owlettes!)

and typical summer tidal highs and lows:

2017-7-20 tide beach house
17 foot tidal change on Puget Sound can keep you working on your math calculations as you lay awake at anchor. Here a negative 3.3′ low tide which, in 6 hours will be a plus 14′.  We look forward to all our Looper friends visiting us and experiencing this fun (and beautiful) place in the future! Yes, there’s a reason there’s a song called The Bluest Skies are From Seattle!

Stay tuned for more in 10 days (give or take!!)

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!


July 3- 5; Days 217-219 Canal Hoppin’

Farewell Rideau Canal. Parting shots:

We finished off the historic Rideau Canal (and its 49th lock!)   At its “foot”– Kingston. A very nice little town with a vibrant and buzzing center, great waterfront paths and lots of fun restaurants.

But before I get to Kingston…just a thought: Now, as I write this, I’m wishing we had been able to explore the Rideau waterway more and stay longer…but without the rain and the boat issues (or bodily injuries, for that matter).  It’s funny, in hindsight, sometimes how much more you appreciate things. And on that somewhat related note, further, before we get to Kingston,  a daily life-on-the-boat tidbit:

2017-7-5 warrior pose kitchen window counter
Above the galley sink: a little action figure that we found in the dirt back on an island in Florida. Sometimes she gets bumped and falls over. I plop her back up. Every morning and evening (and sometimes in between) I look at her and remind myself to gather her strength and fight through difficult boat, body, mind and weather issues.  Always so good to remember all the good and the power of positive thinking!

Now for Kingston:

2017-7-5 kingston sign
Kingston is a vibrant and buzzing center, great waterfront paths and lots of fun restaurants…..and fun street names! (we both thought the other was taking cute scenic pix of the town….ugh….that’s it for Kingston!)

Well a few nature shots along the waterfront!

Big maple tree, pretty water birds and tons of turtles here!   PS Ziggy learned to track the scent of turtles here!


We’re both already missing the cute little historic hand-drawn locking system.  But with a calm, quick cross over an edge of Lake Ontario and a bit of the St Lawrence, we jumped from Kingston over to the town of Trent– the beginning of the next big leg: Trent-Severn Waterway. And no disappointments!

We’ll spend 5-8 (? maybe??) days working our way through the 240 miles and 45 locks.  Hopefully we don’t fall off the edge of the earth at the gap in the map!

The Trenton Marina is basically considered by most Loopers to be the highlight of Canada (if not the entire trip) as far as marina facilities go.  It is nice with plenty of individual, nicely tiled bathrooms, personal bathmats, excellent dock and dockhands and free laundry (AND detergent!). While we’ve had all of those things (and other fun surprises ) at other marinas, we haven’t had them all in one stop. So yes, it is nice. But also the dog park, good grocery store and nice restaurants and yoga (!) are all within a few blocks!

2017-7-5 buffing
N gettin’ his buff on!  Look at that reflection on the side of the boat!
2017-7-5 Z shaking fall
Not sure Ziggy will hold fond memories of the marina tho!  The aftermath of one of her worst tumbles into the water (just 2 other times and those both were when we were immediately there to yank her up…in fact, we had pushed her in accidentally on one of them) Anyway, at the dock Z likes to perch on the edge watching the world go by (see prior pic).  B heard a kerplunk and ran out to retrieve her only to see that she CAN swim! Yay!  But her little heart was beating very hard when B finally got positioned to pluck her out!

Mowin’ the Weeds….marina style.  That’s the other fancy thing about this marina. They spent the entire day at this project!

2017-7-5 welcome trent sev
The sign says it all!
2017-7-5 waiting at blue line waterline
SOOOOO much rain and flooding. Look how little wall there is to tie up to.  Feels like you could just add tires to the boat and drive on up the curb!

Trent Severn connects Lake Ontario to Lake Huron    Although originally envisioned for military transport purposes, the canal was built in 1833 as a commercial venture to get crops and lumber from west to east.  By the time the route was completed its use as a commercial waterway was over; ships plying the Great Lakes had grown much larger than the canal could handle, and the railways that originally connected to the canal took most of its freight.

2017-7-5 big lock
Big double step lock.

(if you want to see the cool video timelapse clip of this  you can “friend” me (barb113) on instagram!…or I’ll text it to you.)

2017-7-5 campbellford wall better
After only 30 miles, 8 hours on the water, 12 locks and only 4 hours of engine running time we made it to Campbellford. On the wall on the right.
2017-7-5 better coin
The artist who designed the $2 coin is from Campbellford! The coin is called a Toonie…get it? Loonie….two Loonie…Toonie!

2017-7-5 pastryWell, when you have all those big, heavy Toonies wearing holes in your pockets, ya’ gotta spend ‘em!  Actually the Trent Severn Waterway is know for its famous butter tarts. Ok ok, a few other things here besides butter tarts (which, by the way, is the tiniest little circle thing up there—and yes, it is yummy!)  But when you do not buy bread or include it as part of your regular food plan, then a trip to a bakery results in a splurge like this. Ugh…there is SOME fruit in there tho, right??!?

Ok…pushing off to work off some of those calories in the locks…lots of bending, pushing, pulling and shoving!  Not to mention tying and re-tying fenders alllllll day long!

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……  


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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.


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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.


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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.


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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. 



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


Despite our travails, it wasn’t all bad.


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We spent some peaceful evenings at quiet spots.



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Found fun pubs in small towns serving great beers!



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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!


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This post is coming to you from the Kingston Starbucks! Trent Severn here we come.



June 28  Special Edition: Special Addition

We interrupt this blog for a public service announcement!

A very special edition announcing a special addition to the family! We are now grandparents! Whooooa!  Wooo Hooo!

Please meet Malcolm Reaves K……

2017-6-28 umbilical baby close

Less than a precious minute old here, this little bundle arrived late in the night on June 28, 2017 (Pacific Daylight Savings time!) at 6 pounds 6 ounces and 19.5 inches long. He arrived hungry Get used to that bottomless pit, new Mommy and New Dadda!   It only compounds exponentially through the teen years….but we’re getting ahead of ourselves! For now, we are all ecstatic and can hardly wait for our cuddle time! LOVE!

One full day later:

2017-6-28 all 3 baby
2017-6-28 baby hand
The new hip hand signal!
2017-6-26 all 3 looking down
Love, Love, Love!


At Home:  Yay!!!

2017-6-28 at home alex baby
Peek-a-Boo Baby!

JUNE 24-26; Days 208-210 Inta – n – Outta Ottawa!

2017-6-26 parl library pano feature

We headed out of Montebello on a fresh sunny morning and made the 42 miles to Ottowa uneventfully for a change while enjoying the pleasant Ottowa River and shoreline (….oh wait, we might have been sold some crummy gas along the way…time will tell on that!)   So we said adieu to Quebec and all the french-speaking moments.  It was great and, as I write this a few days later, already missing the french fun.

2017-6-26 shoes
Life on a boat when you’re having fun on land (and it’s been rainy!)


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Early morning walks around the grounds of the Chateau Montebello before heading out toward Ottowa.  Would be fun to come back and cross country ski around the trails/over the icy lake along the shore!
2017-6-26 falls rideau entering ottowa
Just before the entrance to the locks up to Ottowa are the pair of beautiful curtain-like Rideau Falls joining the Ottowa River below.

Hello Ottowa! We have to get the boat up some stairs to hang out up there first though!

2017-6-26 Locks looking up
All Eight Locks Looking UP! As with some of the prior locks in Canada, these are for pleausure craft only, historic and all operated/cranked open and shut by hand.
2017-6-26 rio into lock
Here goes RioMarLago into the fourth of eight locks under the watchful eyes of about 200 people.
2017-6-26 boata us parliament
It even felt like everyone in the Parliament Building was watching us from the towers.
2017-6-26 locks aerial
If you look hard, you can see N in the back cockpit . By the third lock we had developed a good duo-strategy.  Seems just when we get comfortable with one locking system, the next one we come to changes the entire procedure.  Here the turbulence was pretty intense so it took some muscle to keep the boat from grinding the cement wall.
2017-6 lock b with line
Phew! B on deck, trying to look professional and simultaneously relieved to be done and past the hordes of onlookers. (Z and N above still barking orders!)


2017-6-26 locks looking down N
Full view of all 8 locks stepping down to Ottawa River–3 ½ football fields long to go up 79 feet.  The crowds are gone here…show is over…locks closed a few hours ago.

Okay enough locking pictures!  Oh, but we are basically living on a lock so still a few more:

2017-6-26 wall ottowa
On the free (!)  wall  … although we did have to walk a few blocks to find toilets when we didn’t feel like filling up our own tank with ‘des eaux usees’ (see prior “Dilemma” post for definition…in case you need a refresher course!)  We were lucky to get one of the few power connections.

With the Jazz Fest scheduled for the coming week, by Saturday evening the wall had over 30 boats tied up. Even while on board, we enjoyed parts (ie NOT all!!)  of the very loud jazz fest that blasted just a block away…we even heard Kenny Rogers alleged  “last” public concert! Wow….free too!

2017-6-26 locks of love
Locks of Love….get it??!?

Just a couple of blocks from the boat, By Market had some great produce, cheeses and fun stuff.

2017-6-26 market samples
The Good, the Bad, and The Yummy!…..actually ALL Yummy (some just not so good for you!) (Top left are just some of the options for a “Beaver Tail” (basically an elephant ear…well, in the shape of, you guessed it,  a beaver tail-duh!) Sampled the cinnamon with lemon–wow! shockingly great combo ( Bonus Points: the fewest calories!!) Z got a sample baby carrot from the vendor and thought she was in 7th Heaven.

Although most of these pix make it seem that we have had nothing but fantastic weather, suffice to say that, in fact, we have been drenched by a handful of thunderstorm outbursts. Avoided one big one while getting lots of fun facts during our tour of the Parliament Building.

2016-6-26 parl lib ceiling
Although Canada is younger than the USA, this feels so staid and like it’s been around forever-ish.  Awe-inspiring library…wonder how long it will last with digitization.


2017-6-26 parl green

2017-6-26 parlaiment arches


Parliament: nice wood and uncomfortable desks in the House of Commons and arches with columns in the hallways –feels like jolly ole England, right?



The On-Off Bus tour and then again later on a water ferry taxi got us back on the other side of the Ottowa River (and hence technically in the French speaking Quebec), in the small town of Gatineau (but really more like a neighborhood zone of Ottowa), is the not -quite-ready history museum as well as the also not-quite-ready outdoor plant display showcasing 150 years of Canadian history, values, culture, and art.

207-6-26 lumberjack plant history
Over 40 giant live plant sculptures ….apparently SOMEONE has the right to claim large hands! Officially not set to open til Canada Day (july 1st) but we saw a few things from the road.  Really really cool looking!  Go this summer to see!

Lots of public art/ sculptures all over town:

2017-6-26 mother spider
Ode to your mother???  This cool sculpture (with a bunch of  marble “eggs” in the underbelly sac) is the result of the artist’s love and respect for her mother:  “Like spiders, my mother was very clever. Spiders are friendly presences that eat mosquitoes. We know that mosquitoes spread diseases and are therefore unwanted. So, spiders are helpful and protective, just like my mother. ”    okkkkkaaay!  While I too hope my children think of me as clever, helpful and protective, I really really hope, for their sake, that they don’t dream about me as a spider!    Yet I have to admit I do feel kinda partial to the motherlyness of this one!

After some provisioning, a good weather boating day got us rolling around 10 in the morning

2017-6-26 exiting O canal boat pass
For about the first 8 miles out of Ottowa there are bike baths on both sides of the canal. Farther down it opens up into the Rideau River and connects with lakes.
2017-6-26 iceman
We forgot to stock up on ice before leaving Ottowa….so the Ice Man Cometh after a quick run to a nearby store while we wait our turn at a lock

Although the way feels very peaceful and rural with sections of waterfront homes, we  get glimpses of roads, nearby Ottowa airport and civilization as we go.

2017-6-26 50 style motel resort
A cute 50’s style/feel “resort”….but pretty empty for now.

Play this for the next pic:

2017-6-26 summer fun swing
Summer time—Life is Fun!

The waters opened up into small lake/wide-ish river sections as they gave way off and on to the man made canal zones and locks.  Very pleasant ride in fresh air and sun….despite N’s frustration with the 5 mph speed limit for the entire day.  We’re coming to the firm conclusion that there is no way we could be content with a boat that only goes slow.

2017-6-26 hurst marinaTucked in at Hurst Marina after a day of 8 locks, only 25 miles of distance covered, 4 running engine hours but 8 hours of actual journey time…..just in time to batten down the hatches for some rain….again.


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.

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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!).


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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.


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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”.



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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.


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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.