OUR PLAN

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!

Saturday, October 24, 2015

July 22, 2013 - Oswego, N.Y. - Fraser Park Marina, Trenton, Ontario

Well as we thought, our lock masters were not prepared for a speedy on-time lock-through.  There was daily maintenance to be performed before such matters as locking boats through could be considered.  They had to grease the lock door bearings, empty the trash, and sweep the walk way..….
But by 8:30 am Terrmar and another boat locked through and we were on our way.  The marine weather forecast while not ideal, certainly seemed less than treacherous.  The wind was forecast at 10-15 knots from the South-East.  That should put the wind and waves more on our stern than the beam.  Well the forecast was correct for the first two hours but then the wind backed around to more of an Easterly, putting the wind just aft of the beam.  Not our most comfortable point of sail, but I kept telling Terri that the closer we got to the North side of the lake the less effect the wind would have on us because we would fall under the lee of the Prince Edward Peninsula. I was correct, well sort of but, the wind picked up at the same time and the effect on the boat remained unchanged.  No worries as we had seen much worse.
LAST LIGHTHOUSE AS WE LEAVE OSWEGO NY. AND THE USA


OUR CHART PLOTTER AS WE CROSS THE BORDER BETWEEN USA AND CANADA ON LAKE ONTARIO
One thing that did change our mood was the realization that with every mile we traveled now was another mile closer to Canada.  We have been travelling for the better part of two years with the boat. We enjoyed ourselves immensely.  I would do it again next year given the chance, but we missed home, simple as that!  One of us missed home more than the other, but we were both glad to see the Canadian Forces Jet greet us from the base in Trenton. We were almost giddy.

CANADIAN FORCES JET GREETS US AS WE NEAR TRENTON ONT.
It was three years ago that we first traveled to Trenton in this boat. (See blog entry for July 2010).  It was the year that we bought Terrmar and sailed it from Toronto to Trenton and eventually Lake Huron.  There was only familiar boating ahead and we really looked forward to it.  We had chosen to take the Murray Canal route from Lake Ontario into the Bay of Quinte.  This would save us time and put us into sheltered waters sooner.  There were also two bridges in this canal that we would need an opening from.  They are open until 5:00 pm.  No problem we had it timed perfectly with 30 minutes to spare.  But when we arrived at the first bridge and deposited our $5.00 in the tin can, the bridge tender warned us the second bridge was going to close early today and that we had better get a move on.  We didn’t have any time to question the reason for the time change or more importantly the lack of notice for the time change.  We just pushed our speed up to 7 knots from our no wake speed of 5 knots.  I managed to raise the second bridge tender on the radio and he did confirm that they were closing very soon but would wait for us.  “Hurry up” he said.  I push the throttle up so we are now doing 9 knots and leaving one heck of a wake.  I didn’t enjoy the high speed in the tight quarters of the canal, but I didn’t want to spend the night here either.  The bridge tender made one last plea for us to hurry up and that he couldn’t even see us yet.  "Okay", I said as I again push the throttle down and we are doing 11 knots.  We did make the bridge and I did thank the bridge tender for waiting, but I never did find out the reason for the early closing that day.  I wonder if there were other disappointed boaters who didn’t make it.  That’s boating!

ENTERING THE NARROW MURRAY CANAL

Murray Canal a short cut from the western end of the Bay of Quinte to Presqu'ile Bay on Lake Ontario. About 5 miles long.

We stayed just before this bridge at Fraser Park Marina in Trenton.
We had reservations for Fraser Park Marina in Trenton.  No problem as they were ready for us and put us in to our slip with little fuss.  I had planned on fueling up here before going to our slip . I did have arrangements made with the dock master for fuel upon arrival, but there was another boat blocking part of the fuel dock and we agreed that I would be first in line in the morning.  No worries, sounds like a plan.
Now the only thing left to officially accomplish today was clearing customs.  We had never had to clear Canadian Customs while travelling on the boat before and were unsure of the proper procedure. All we had was a phone number to Canada Customs and the borrowed phone at the marina office.  I did call and did answer all of the questions, no issues.  The agent on the phone asked me the usual questions about firearms, tobacco and booze.  No issues as we only had a little Wine and Beer.  He asked me to explain what the Great Loop was about and I complied.  The reaction from him seemed one of amazement and jealousy.  “I would like to do that someday” he quipped.  “Don’t wait too long” I replied.  We chatted lightly for a minute or so.  I gave him some Vessel Identification information and it was over.  “Here is your clearance number and please don’t lose it, have a nice day and welcome home.”.  Even now as I write this I get a fuzzy warm feeling.  Again O Canada!
Terri and I were home and happy.  Fish and chips at the local restaurant and then watching the world go by from the fly bridge, finished off our day.  Later that evening we did see a group of Canada Customs officials (four) walking the docks with intention and authority.  They appeared to have a specific agenda and went to specific boats, some Canadian and some not, some Looper’s and some not.  Boats of interest were boarded and inspected.  There was one senior person who was the obvious quarterback.  He directed his people quickly, efficiently and with respect.  Terri and I watched with great interest and waited our turn, but as quickly as they had appeared, they had disappeared.  The show was over and we were not part of it.  They didn’t even appear to give us a second look!  Oh my gosh!  This is not typical of our luck, what is going on?  We were prepared with documents and our clearance number and as per usual nothing to hide.  Alas, our excitement would have to be contained to include drinks on the fly-bridge and Smudge guarding the boat.  We can do this.
Oh Canada!
Cheers,

Mark