Archive for July, 2008

Another week of work

July 27, 2008

This was an event filled week, with work, completions, and new experiences galore.

After leaving Peterborough, we went through twenty some more locks, including Kirkfield, which is the little sister to Peterborough, with the exception that we were now going down instead of up, so I tried to nuzzle the boat as close to the edge as I could, so I could get a good picture looking down, MB is afraid of heights, and she had control of the bow line, so I couldn’t get as close as I would have liked.  It was still an amazing picture, looking 45 feet straight down from a Pan of water.

We also went through Big Chute Lock, which is not really a lock, it is a railway car.  It was built in 1907.  At the time, it was cheaper to build it that way than a regular lock.  Since then, it has been kept that way to keep the Lamprey Eel from getting into the Trent Severn System.  There was a new rail car put in service around 1977, but the old one is still workable, and still used at times (when the new one is out of commission).
Since our boat was out of the water, I requested permission to inspect my hull due to the rock issue in Mont Louis, although I was not allowed to exit the boat, the lock employees (the pick of the litter to organize and operate this lock) checked out the hull for me, and says it’s still in excellent condition.  Whew!!

We finished Lock 45 on the Trent Severn on Friday, July 25th (Tina’s Birthday!).
We pulled into Midland (Bayport Marine) where our mast was waiting for us.  We stepped it on Saturday (in between thunderstorms) and hoisted our sails Sunday morning.  We inflated our dingy, and are now ready to sail!

There is a seminar for Loopers in Penetanguishene Monday and Tuesday, so we have yet to decide if we are heading up the Georgian Bay Monday, or wait until after the seminar.

We went through McDonalds Cut on the Trent Severn, which was hand cut in 1905 through solid granite with no machinery.  I included a picture of it; the effort to build this entire Trent Severn was astronomical at the time.  I don’t believe we could hire folks to build it the same way today.

We’ve had a great journey since Montreal, now we are on a new leg, where we can sail for five to six weeks to Chicago.  We will be entering the US, and visiting with my cousin in Grand Haven, Michigan.

Love to All,

Joe & MB Amelia
S/V “Pot ‘O’ Gold”

Just After Night Time is the Right Time to travel the Trent

July 21, 2008

Although beautiful in its own right, the Trent Severn Waterway is different from both the Ottawa River and the Rideau Canal.  It was built over a period of 90 years, during different generations, so there are different aspects to each part.  It is also mostly private property on the banks, so there are cottages and houses everywhere.  There is no place to feel lonely, or secluded, with the exception of the Indian Reservation.  It has been kept to nature.  That is where, of course, all the fishermen and boats are.  The large motorboats do not generally stay at the locks, as there is no power at most of them (about 50% on the Rideau have power), only one so far at Frankford (lock 6) and you had to pay extra for it, so it seems they go to marinas.

Early in the morning is absolutely wonderful to travel.  There are no boats on the water, the sun is just rising, and the homes and cottages are all different architecture.

On the 18th we stayed at lock 20 wall, just shy of Peterboro and a sudden squall came up, lasted 5 minutes exactly, and we had 3 foot waves in the lock.  Visibility was reduced to several feet.  That must be what a small twister is like, only with damage afterwards.

We were in Peterboro for the Festival of Lights and Fireworks on July 19, and we met up with seven other “Looper” Boats (all motorboats from the US) and had a potluck dinner and our own dock party at the marina.

We moved a bit Sunday, so we could see the Peterboro Lift Lock (hydraulic pan lock, the largest in the World, 65 foot rise), it is one of only 2 like it in North America, the other one is in Kirkfield, also on the Trent Severn.  We moved into a big “bathtub” for want of a better word, both pans, top and bottom weigh the same with the water, our boat moving in simply displaces the same amount of water, then a hydraulic cylinder moves a small amount of water into the top pan, and it comes down.  I took a video of it from the visitors center, it drops 65 feet in 1.39 minutes.  They built this instead of 3 regular locks at this site.

We are currently in Lakefield (lock 26) and are hoping to be in Midland getting our mast up this weekend, the boat has felt crippled with no mast.  Of course, its only going to be up until Labor Day (Chicago), when we will be motoring for months yet again.

Love to everyone, hope your summer is going as well as ours is!

Joe & MaryBeth
S/V “Pot ‘O’ Gold”

Six weeks into the trip now!

July 14, 2008

This week the story is locks, seaweed, locks, canoeists, locks, anchorage, locks, Rideau Canal, locks, sunsets, locks, fish, locks.

We left Manotick in nice weather, not a lot of boat traffic on Monday, and we had already completed 16 locks, and were ready to do 30 more.  My cooling water intake got plugged with seaweed at the lock at Westport, when that happens, the motor overheats, and I need to stop, clean out the water intake lines, or I could blow a head gasket.  I had purchased screens for the water intake before leaving home; I just hadn’t got around to installing them.  I did that now, in Westport.

Ran into some canoeists there, they don’t purchase a lock pass, so when the lockmaster does not let them through for free, they portage.  That means carry the canoes and equipment across the rapids.

There were 5 of them, all brothers and sisters, their spouses refused to come.  They were between 55 and 75 years old.  Says this keeps them in shape.  Ha!  I think they’re nuts, but healthy.

At Smith Falls Locks, there are 4 locks dropping a total of 60 feet, you know, locks are a lot like Cod Fishing, sounds like fun, but after the first 20 or so, it becomes work!
Now about my “eat what we catch” program.  I have now caught sunfish, catfish, and today two large pike (proof is in the picture).  MB refuses to either clean, or cook them, so I released them all.  Now she is picky, and only wants perch, bass, or pickerel.  While I don’t think that’s fair, I am eating well so far, so no complaints yet.

MB took pictures at the end of the Rideau of the Canal, and of a Blacksmith.  She toured the Blacksmith shop at Jones Falls, and was fascinated with the old workmanship.

We have anchored in a few places along the Rideau, and the morning sunrises are unbelievable.  We could not decide between the two, one is the railroad lift bridge at Smith Falls that is no longer attached to a rail line, but the bridge stays, as it is a heritage site and very unusual bridge.  The other is the anchorage on Whitefish Bay before Kingston.

We did a total of 44 locks in the Rideau, and finished at Kingston Mills July 12, where we will moor for the weekend, to stay away from the weekend boaters.  We are then ready to begin the 43 Locks on the Trent Severn.

Love to All,
Joe & MaryBeth
S/V “Pot ‘O’ Gold”

The first week of July spent in Ottawa

July 7, 2008

The story this week is locks, the dingy, fish, and family.

We missed the fireworks in Ottawa July 1, we were anchored in a little cove and woke up to pouring rain, MB had done something to her back the night before (ha say I, just an excuse to slack off swabbing the decks), so we just took it easy for the day, and went through Ottawa the next day.

While at the anchorage, I caught a huge (well, about 2 lb) catfish. I didn’t know how to clean it, and MB didn’t know how to cook it, so back in the water it went. I caught another the next night in the next anchorage, so I guess there are a lot of them in the Ottawa River. Can’t wait to catch and eat a pickerel, my favorite next to Cod!

In Ottawa, we went through the 8 locks, and got a kind of rhythm. Somehow I always end up on the starboard side, and when I reverse the engine to stop or slow, the stern pulls to port. We are getting the hang of it, it seems. We did 8 more locks that day to get to Manotick for Friday, where Tony & Suzanne live, so we could spend the weekend off the river while we visited.

We tried to tie up to Tony’s neighbors dock, but the water was simply too shallow, so we went to a marina up the river a mile and drove our dingy back to his house. The little British Seagull ran like a champ. Cute and light little motor, certainly easy to handle.

After breakfast and dinner with Tony, Suzanne, Roberto and Melissa, we were back to visit and dine out on Sunday. It was a great visit, and we are certainly glad we came up the Rideau.

Now its off for 27 more locks then to the Trent Severn with their 44 locks.

Just a note, our blog address has changed, apparently I’m still a spammer! To stay current, get to the blog from I will keep that one up to date.

Love to all,

Joe & Mary Beth


July 5, 2008

This week the story is Montreal!

We met with Lee & Anna, had a visit in old Montreal, saw part of the festival going on, saw a young boy of about 8 years learn to juggle, ate tofu, stepped our mast, and met an amazing number of incredible folks at the Beaconsfield Yacht Club.

We stopped at the Beaconsfield Yacht Club on Tuesday, after passing Montreal, and crossing Lac Saint Louis. We met with their administrator, David Speak and made arrangements to step our mast, and have it moved to where a truck could pick it up. It turns out that Beaconsfield is a private club, and not used to strangers coming in. They have no idea what they are missing. The members are real, down to earth folks that made me feel like an old family member, and I was not uncomfortable for even one minute. The cooks and the food was out of this world (although that is typical of Montreal everywhere, I found), their social interaction was unbelievable, and that comes from me, who has lived the last 30 years on PEI where friendliness is expected!

Everyone who we saw stopped and spoke, offered advice, asked questions, and requested to be of assistance.

Two of their CPS examiners and trainers will be taking a trip to PEI this summer, Peter Sharp and John McLaughlin; I hope they have an incredible trip!

Stepping the mast with an unfamiliar mast hoist can be an intimidating experience; these folks made it a fun experience.

David has a ball driving the crane around (he took the mast to the upper parking lot for truck pickup), and the staff of Boson’s are professional and quick.

Lee looks great! He is on his way to South America now, so didn’t get home to the island this summer, we were very glad to be able to get together with him for a few days before both he and us go our own way this year.

We offered to take them to dinner, and after about 55 miles of walking (and taking the Metro, and taking the bus) they found a restaurant that they felt we would like. I had a plate of beef, and a plate of rice and mushrooms, and chicken. MaryBeth had duck and potatoes and mushrooms. We shared a shish kabob of a strange and interesting meat.

After we were all finished, and I had declared the meal was both different and good, Anna and Lee surprised us with the news that the food was ALL TOFU. Nothing had been what we thought, and this is apparently a famous restaurant in Montreal for veggie eaters. They got me good! Remember Anna and Lee, I have a long memory, and never forgive!

It was Jazz Festival time in Montreal, and although MB and I didn’t have the wherewithal to take the Metro into Montreal at night, we did visit part of the festival going on during the day. We saw a juggler take a youngster out of the crowd, and teach him to juggle as a partner with him in about 15 minutes. He made it look easy!

Our mast is now down, and Kerry picked it up (and visited and spent the night with us) and has delivered the mast to Midland, Ont. We are heading out for the rivers now, and will traverse the Ottawa River to Ottawa, hopefully in time for the July 1 fireworks, then the Rideau Canal to Kingston, then the Trent Severn Waterway to Midland Ont.

It should be a ball!

Love to you all,

Joe & Mary Beth

S/V “Pot ‘O’ Gold”