We are writing this blog for one reason and one reason only. To provide a vehicle to make it easier to remain in touch with our family and friends back home.

Our plan is simple. Depart our home port of Goderich Ontario in the Summer of 2011. Cruise Georgian Bay and the North Channel of Lake Huron while visiting some of the ports and anchorages we have missed over the years. As well as revisiting some of our favourite haunts hopefully with some of our very good friends with whom we have cruised with many times before. All the while adding up the miles and gaining experience with our new trawler. Our first and only self imposed deadline is to be in the Chicago area around Labour Day. South of Chicago, weather and circumstances will guide us!

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

August 2, 2013 – Port Severn Lock 45 to Wiarton, Ontario

Well, we awoke feeling a bit deflated from the day before.  We listened to the radio weather forecast for Georgian Bay and came to the consensus “all systems go”.  Terrmar departed the marina leaving a token of our appreciation to the marina staff to be used for their next party and motored the 5 minutes to Lock 45 and took her place waiting her turn along the blue line.  The green light flashed and the lock gates opened indicating it was safe to enter and tie up to the concrete walls.  Terri was a bit annoyed when the young dock hand who had just endured a lecture and “first strike” from his supervisor for tardiness, proceeded to advise her on the proper way to secure Terrmar to the lock wall.  After the previous day’s events, Terri was not feeling her usual patient and gracious self, however she managed to ignore the little eejit and successfully secured the lines to the lock wall for the 200th time without incident.  All secured!  Terrmar gently bobbed as the water slowly drained out of the lock until again the green light flashed and the lock gates opened as we unceremoniously released our lines and turned our attention to the last leg of our Great Loop.
This grand adventure just keeps on giving!  Our first impression was one of perplexity while scanning the horizon.   Red and green buoys scattered everywhere like crab pots on Lake Pontchartrain, Louisiana.   Terrmar cautiously meandered through the channel maze until finally finding herself in the open waters of Georgian Bay.
Buoy Maze

Nesting Ospreys

Georgian Bay Beckons

So Close

Squall in Distance

Bumpy Ride

Nearing Home

Ah Georgian Bay!  Feels like home.  Sometimes referred to as the sixth Great Lake, it actually forms the northeast section of Lake Huron and is almost as large as Lake Ontario.  Staying true to its reputation of changeable weather and sea conditions, Georgian Bay was determined to give Terrmar’s last day of the Great Loop, roller-coaster memories.  Moments of tranquil seas and mesmerizing horizons contrasted with being tossed about by white knuckle, adrenaline pumping squalls and Terrmar savouring each precious moment of our fantastic voyage!
Wiarton Marina Break Wall

Colpoy's Bay

Sutter Family

Home Port - Wiarton Marina

Truly it was bittersweet as we slowly entered Colpoy's Bay and then Wiarton Marina, each of us quietly occupied with our reflections and realizations that one of the greatest adventures of our lives had been completed.  We were suddenly snapped out of our daydreams when we spotted our daughter Danielle and our grandchildren Lauren and Ian waiting at the dock to welcome us back home.  What a wonderful sight.  We are home indeed!   

August 1, 2013 (afternoon) – Big Chute Lock 44 to Port Severn

Oops!  Boating basics 101 – Never take your eyes off the “road” in a narrow channel, even if you are consulting charts!  Oh, that noise!  That terrible, horrible noise!  The noise which forever more will be etched in memory; the screeching noise of fiberglass grinding rock!
Beautiful Afternoon!

Almost There!


Meet Canadian Effort

Getting to Work

After travelling almost 7,000 miles, one lock to go, one day to home, it happened!  Terrmar drifted slightly to the wrong side of the green starboard buoy and found herself hard aground, perched precariously on a granite rock and heeling 30 degrees!  All the while Lock 45, a stone’s throw away seemed to be taunting us.
So this is what a fish in a fish bowl feels like!  Curious boaters staring, flashing pictures, crowds forming on the shore – we had become the fish!  Despite “help” from a local intoxicated boater, another by- passer offered to enlist assistance from the marina across the channel on our behalf.  Unfortunately, despite all the marina’s service boat’s best efforts, Terrmar would not budge from that rock.
Finally a tow boat, Canadian Effort, from Penetang, Ontario managed to speed through busy Port Severn Lock 45 and like the “Little Engine that Could”, huffed and puffed with all the power it could muster and successfully prevailed over the northern granite.  Terrmar slowly chugged across the channel to the marina where a travel lift and an OPP officer awaited.
The police officer explained that boating incidents were not his jurisdiction, however since he was called (by our “helpful” intoxicated boater who then happened to disappear), he was obligated to fill out a report.  As he interviewed Mark concerning the event, he made sure to get close enough to determine if Mark had traces of alcohol on his breath.  Thank goodness we had learned long ago, cocktails are to be enjoyed after securely anchored or safely docked.  Although a stiff drink would have hit the spot!
Checking Damage

Water Lilly

Life is Good!

Once the marina boys had repaired the travel lift’s carburetor, Terrmar was lifted out of the water and underwent a thorough examination.  Mark was able to send photos to the boat manufacturer, North Pacific Yachts and after much discussion it was determined that Terrmar miraculously had only sustained minimal cosmetic damage to her hull.  It is a wonderful testament to the design and quality of our vessel.  Got to love those silver linings!  Ironically the cost of the tow boat was twice as much as the repair to Terrmar but the greatest causality of the day, hands down, was our bruised egos!


August 1, 2013(Morning)-Couchiching Lock 42 to Big Chute Lock 44, Ontario

What lies ahead and what lies beneath!  Today started out like any other, but with a palpable urgency in the air.  Home was beckoning but we had to keep our attention on the tasks at hand.  As we journeyed ever northward, the rugged beauty engulfed us and we marvelled at our great fortune to share in its splendor.
Fallen Tree from Recent Storm

Morning Sun Breaking Through

Pink Rock

Trust the Green Buoy?

Swift Rapids Lock 43 - Dam

Arriving at Lock 44-Big Chute Marine Railway, we felt anxious excitement as we maneuvered Terrmar along the blue line to wait for the lockmaster to call our name to proceed into the lock.  How does one describe Big Chute Marine Railway Lock 44?  If I was to tell you that your boat would be lifted out of the water and set strapped in a cradle, attached to what looks like duel railway tracks and then slowly rolled down a steep 60 foot decline with yourself on board – you might think I had been drinking Terrmar’s diesel fuel!  Indeed, that is how Lock 44 operates!
The original Big Chute Marine Railway Lock was built in 1917.  The Canadian government decided to keep it operational and updated it in the 1970s.  Their reasoning was to try to control the spread of the invasive species, the sea lamprey, from Gloucester Pool (at the bottom of the railway lock), into Lake Couchiching and Lake Simcoe.  Biologists found that when the boats were raised out of the water, any lampreys attached to the bottom would drop off before the boats arrived at the top of the lock.  It is the only marine railway of its kind still operating in North America!
Engine 1000 Hours

Big Chute - Waiting our Turn

Looking North

Pilot House View

View from the Stern

Whew!  All good!  We were gently released from the straps of Bug Chute into Gloucester Pool.  No time for sight-seeing, as the whirlpool currents challenged Mark to keep Terrmar inside the narrow channel well away from boats waiting for Big Chute to carry them south.

Well done!  Only one more lock to conquer on the Trent-Severn Waterway before entering Georgian Bay.  One more day – then home!    

July 30-31, 2013 – Lovesick Lock 30 to Bottom of Couchiching Lock 42

Spending the night on the lock wall at Lovesick is eerily beautiful!  A lock on an island, only accessible by boat you say?  Huh!  Storm clouds are brewing!  A magnificent show in the northern sky and it quickly and thankfully pass us by unscathed, giving us a restful sleep.
Lovesick Weather

View from Lovesick Lock 30

Again an early morning rise.  Feeling the tug of home, we instinctively forge on with purpose, systematically conquering lock after lock.
We are the first boat to arrive at Kirkfield Lift Lock 36 the morning of July 31, 2013.  While waiting for the opening, it gave us a chance to examine it more closely.  It is the second highest hydraulic lift-lock in the world rising almost 50 feet and first built more than 100 years ago.  It is also the highest point of elevation on the Trent-Severn Waterway.
Shale Rock Walls

Narrow Channel

Water Lillies

Kirkfield Liftlock

Kirkfield View

Ah!   At long last we arrive at the entrance to Lake Simcoe.  It is the largest body of water along the Trent-Severn Waterway with an area of 300 square miles.  It is said to be deceiving, often giving boats a ride of their lives if the wind comes up and the waves churn.  Today the lake was resting and we had an uneventful crossing.
Kirkfield Lift Lock

Bridge Entrance to Lake Simcoe

Lake Simcoe

C.N.R. Swing Train Bridge

Finally day is done and Terrmar is relaxing peacefully at the bottom of Couchiching Lock 42.  

July 29, 2013-Peterborough, Ont. To Lovesick Lock 30

Another early rise, up and at em!  All rested and prepped and waiting on the blue line for the Ashburnham Lock to open, then headed for Lock 21!
Lock 21 is the Peterborough Lift Lock National Historic Site of Canada.  The highest hydraulic lift lock in the world, it is powered by gravity and rises 65 feet high.  Built with two side-by-side compartments that move up and down but opposite each other as water fills one side and empties out the other. 
Quite a surreal feeling as we ascended to what felt like the top of the world!
As of 2017 we have had the privilege of traversing the Trent-Severn Waterway in its entirety three times.  The first time was our maiden voyage with Terrmar before the Great Loop in 2010, south to north.  We were delivering Terrmar from New York to our home port Goderich, Ontario  and still shaking the kinks from her, Terrmar decided to take a six hour rest at the top of Lock 21 (the time it took Captain Mark to discover that her batteries had been hooked up incorrectly – thus no juice to start the engine.)  The lockmasters were most accommodating, helping us to tie up to the lock wall and directing boat traffic exiting the lock.  As Terrmar and crew baked in 30 degree Celsius plus temperatures, Mark had booster cables delivered by taxi to the top of Lock 21 and successfully managed to get us moving again.
The second time, Terrmar was completing the last leg of our Great Loop adventure in 2013, south to north.
Lock 20 Ashburnham
Lock 21 - Peterborough Lift Lock on Blue Line

Terrmar Lock 21 - 65' High

Rear Camera View Lock 21
Top of the World -Lock 21

The third time in 2016 Mark and I repositioned  a sister ship to Terrmar from Orillia, Ontario on the Trent-Severn to Port Credit, Ont. across Lake Ontario travelling north to south.  We began this trip on the opening day of the Trent-Severn Waterway in May 2016.  Lockmasters at Lock 21 allowed us to tie up at the north lock wall for a night.  We spent a blissful, secluded evening enjoying the fireworks at the top of the world, overlooking Peterborough, Ontario.  What a glorious night!
Narrow Channel

Island Church

Granite Island

Pink Granite

Moving north, the waterway hints at what lies ahead with hardy pine, spruce and cedar trees clinging precariously to Precambrian granite rock islands.  Bring it on!