Thursday, July 25, 2019

Bob Cajun to Kirkfield

Our day started pretty early. A diner in town had blueberry pancakes and I wanted some before the vet appointment. We were there when the waitress unlocked the doors at 7 am. 

From there we walked the dogs to the vet. Great update, by the way. Both dogs are doing well. In fact, the vet told me we were doing a good job.

So we thought, what the hey, let's head out. We left around 10:30.

The first lock we came to was in the town of Fenelon Falls. We planned to just go through when, about 10 minutes from the lock, Russ's phone rings. It's Bill. 

The famed Fenelon Falls of Fenelon Falls
Looooooong ago, way back in Kingston, New York, we had some docktails with Bill and his wife, Geni. The topic went to anchoring, and from there the lines we have in excess -- we've been schlepping 300 feet of extra line for nearly six months. It's really, really big, and that's really, really long. Turns out, Bill was looking for 300 feet of really, really big line, two 150 feet sections with 15 inch eyes on both ends. A deal was made. Russ was happy to cut and splice the line for him (he's kinda into this whole mariner thing), but Bill was heading out the next morning while we stayed for a day or two longer. Emails were swapped along the way but it looked like we were never going to catch up to their boat, Patriot, again. 

Bill called to tell us that he'd rented a car and saw us on NEBO (the app that loopers use to track one another) and could we meet him in Fenelon Falls. We took a spot on the wall, did a little shopping, then Russ passed off the line to Bill. Woo hoo! That's what I call a great day!

Just as Russ boarded the boat the lock doors opens and the down-bound traffic unloads. Lock protocol is that, if you park on the blue line (a painted blue section of the wall), that's a clue to the lock master you want to lock through. But we were on the mooring wall for the transaction, and the blue line was on the other side of the channel. With all the boats heading out, we couldn't make our way across to the line, and the lock doors started closing. Russ told me to honk three times. I did. Nope, still closing. Again, he said, I did, longer this time. The doors stopped, but didn't open. I honked a third time while Russ stood on the bow, waving his arms. The doors opened (whew!), and we locked through. 

Russ on the bow looking for rocks! Unlike
the Dismal swamp, bumping here will cost us.
The next lock was in a small town called Rosedale, just three miles away. Originally we wanted to end our day there. But (as we've seen through most of the waterway), there was no room. We knew it was only 13 miles to Kirkfield, and lock folks told us there was plenty of room there. We moved on.

This, by the way, is the highest point on the entire loop. It's all downhill from here. Another looper milestone!

The first half of that section was through a deep lake. We picked up speed, and zipped through it. I went below to make us some fruit and yogurt, Russ at the helm. About two minutes in, he cut the engines. Then he knocked on the fiberglass -- our cue to "get up here!" I rushed up just in time to see a woman and her kid on a jet ski coming up to our boat. With a fender. Our fender. Our brand new fender! We dropped it somewhere just past the lock, and she was kind enough to deliver it to us. I'm telling ya, the boater world is crazy friendly.

Then we got to the Trent Canal, blasted out of rock for boats to get through. It's tough to find on a map, it's so small. It's tough to navigate, too.

Boats entering the canal that are over 40 feet need to announce a "sécurité" to warn other vessels. We did. That didn't seem to stop them from coming down, since we encountered two. Both nearly scraping the hulls as we passed.

Took a long time to get through that 1.5 mile stretch.
It was only a mile and a half long, but it was nerve wracking. Nearly the entire time our depth gauge read three feet, less in some places. We stopped at one point and got out Russ's lead line (a string with a lead weight on it) because we didn't believe it was that shallow. It was.

At the end of this madness was Lock 36, the Kirkland Lift Lock. Shorter than the Peterborough lock, it was a bit scarier since it went down. Which means you enter the chamber, facing out over the abyss! We tried to capture the experience on our GoPro, but the camera fell over just as we got into the box. Stupid thing!

Anyway, we parked at the bottom, nearly 5:30, and ate leftovers for dinner. Long day. Time for bed.

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