The Motor Vessel "Once Around"

The Motor Vessel "Once Around"
The Motor Vessel "Once Around" in the Florida Keys

Friday, July 15, 2011

Nail Biters in Canada...and in Germany

We had a nice stay in the little town of Bobcaygeon.  There were some great little shops, so the Admiral and the rest of the ladies got at least a short term shopping fix.  Also, Mrs. Howell found a nail parlor about two blocks from the harbor. 

Thanks for squeezing me in, Betty

My bride put this hat on in the store and asked me what I thought.  I said she looked like the Cat in the Hat!  I think I am sleeping alone tonight.

We ate lunch Wednesday at the Lock 32 Pub and watched the USA defeat France 3-1 in the Women's World Cup semi-final.  Now, I know I am biased, but our pal Megan sat out the first half and part of the second.  When she entered the game it was tied 1-1 and France was pressing.  The entire flow of the game changed when she got on the field.  Within a few minutes it was 3-1 USA.  Megan hit a neat tap off the outside of her foot right into the path of Alex Morgan who made a sweet little chip shot over the goalie for a score.  So, I believe that gives Meggie one goal and two assists in the cup so far, and that's coming in each game off the bench.  Wonder what she would have if she were starting and getting more minutes?  Hmmmm.  Anyway, the FINALS are Sunday against Japan.  We will not miss them!  Tear it up, Megan!

We left Bobcaygeon along with Moonstruck and Jolly Tolly Thursday morning.  By 3:30PM we had only gone about 30 miles and through about 5 locks.  There was a lot of traffic at the locks, and much of what we had to cruise through were 5 MPH canals on the Trent Severn.  These were really scary.  They were as narrow as, and maybe even shallower than what we had encountered in the Dismal Swamp in North Carolina and Virginia.  But, while the Dismal was a soft bottom, this bottom, along with the sides of the channel, are all rock.  A boater's nightmare.  There were times when my depth guage showed less than one foot under our boat!  We actually began to breathe easier when we'd get anything over 2 feet!  No thumps today though. 

That is point 8 feet, not 8 feet

We entered the lift lock at Kirkfield and it was a thrill.  It was very similar to the one we had gone up with Carrie's dad, except this time we were headed down.  Driving the boat out onto that suspended "pan" of water 45' in the air was a very strange feeling.  Kind of like driving your car right up to the edge of a cliff!  Again, I hope the pictures do this justice.

The bow of Once Around almost hangs over the edge!

The bottom of the lock, where we spent the night, aka, "Margaritaville".

This is looking forward in the Trent Canal, not much perspective...

...looking back at Jolly Tolly following us.  They are similar in size to us.

Miles and miles of white knuckled piloting through these shallow rocky canals can take it out of you.  We had planned to go another ten miles or so, but pulled over exhausted and tied for the night to the lower lock wall.  It was at this point we broke out Frank's special Margaritas (see previous post).

So, this morning there were a few very slow moving loopers, but we managed to get under way by 7:30 or so.  Since we were now travelling downstream, the marker bouys would be on the opposite side.  No longer red-right-returning, red would now be on our port (left) side, with green to starboard.  After my little brush with the bottom in Hastings, my Admiral was unsure that I could keep this straight, so she worked out a little code system that even I can't fail to see using the tools at hand:

Note the red and green marker pens taped to the side of my chart plotter.

We had another serious amount of canal to cover, several more "regular" locks, and a lake crossing at Lake Simcoe.  Lake Simcoe is a pretty good sized lake, and reportedly high winds can whip up up to eight foot seas at times.  Once again, we had a gorgeous Canadian summer day with water on which you would have loved to water ski.  Next some more "skinny" water, (that's boater talk for shallow, narrow and scarey as hell) and across a small lake to the town of Orillia.

Tightly packed locks again all day today.

This photo of Carrie was taken from the boat in front of us in the lock.  That's how close we were, actually hanging over their cockpit.

This bridge, called "Hole in the Wall Bridge", was constructed in 1905.

We did pass through some beautiful rural areas.

This one's for Carole.

I got to play electrician some more, helping with a minor problem on Moonstruck's connection and finding an adaptor I had in my storage room that got Jolly Tolly powered up.  I told both of them what my service rates are and they both answered, "Bill me".  The three of us are planning to spend three nights here and take some time to smell the roses.  Blue Highways is also here, and the eight of us are headed into town for dinner, followed by a "Full Moon" party on the flybridge of Moonstruck.  Everybody is supposed to bring music about the moon.  Ron says he has some North Carolina moon song he's going to sing.  I think the boats around us may be calling our "full moon" party a "howl at the moon" party before it is over.

We also heard there is some kind of a "Scottish Games Festival" going on here in Orillia all weekend.  Should be fun.  I'm gonna go see if I can buy me one of those plaid skirts!

PS  OK, maybe I am not so biased about Megan.  The New York Times agrees with me (and that's the only thing the Times and I have agreed on in years!).  Carrie just returned from town with a copy of Thursday's Times.  There is a picture (ON THE FRONT PAGE) of her jumping on top of her teammates in celebration. 

Under it is the caption:  "One Win to GoMegan Rapinoe, top, sparked the US to a 3-1 win over France in the World Cup."  The article in the sports section is all about how Megan has brought the energy to win the last two games.  WOW!!!  Attagirl Meggie!

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