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Day 2 and 3 on the Trent Severn Waterway

Exiting the channel above Lock 6

It was a great day Saturday.

We had some interesting experiences with new kinds of locks, beautiful waterways, watching people swim and fish, and just generally enjoying the day.

We spent the night before at Lock 6 by Frankford.

The night has been perfect…except for the mosquitoes. In terms of mosquitoes, they were of the Southern Ontario Canadian variety, which meant they buzzed around you politely, almost apologetically and quietly until they landed.

We’ve fallen in with a group of Loopers.

It’s one of the fun things about doing the Loop.

Selkie and Cat Bottom Girl in our first double lock

People have different ways to do the Loop in terms of speed, length of travel day, and things to do when you tie up to the dock for the day.

Sooner or later, people with like minds and boats generally start hanging with each other.

So it is with us.

We have met a couple of other boats. We travel at the same speed, we enjoy the same after boating activities, and have similar interests beyond the Loop.

Selkie, Dashaway from Houston, Tx and Madam O, a non-looping boat headed to the Apostle Islands in Lake Superior.

We talk on the radio coordinating our lockage, we text each other with important information, and enjoy each other’s company.

Fellowship was one of the attributes of the Loop that attracted Libbie and me to do it.

It took us time to learn that in order to make friends, you have to stop every so often to let it happen.

We have moved enough to know better, but it was reinforced once we hit Canada and slowed down.

But now we have a stack of boat cards, and contact information. And a bunch of really nice people who are doing the same thing we are.

We are getting news about the Loop from those ahead of us, and relaying news back to those behind us.

On top of all that is the daily morning blast of the Loopers Forum that keeps us all connected.

Humans are, after all, social creatures, and we do better being with a group than being by ourselves at least some of the time.

We made it to Campbellford for the day mid afternoon.

Selkie at the Wall in Campbellford

Lib and I popped our bikes together and pedaled over to inspect a used dinghy for sale.

It was a foot or two too long, so we went around town and scouted it out for stocking up and dinner plans.

That evening, we joined some friends at a restaurant and had a good dinner.

A couple of things about the dining in Canada so far:

1. The food is good, but not great.

2. The service is very friendly. Even at short handed restaurants still recovering from COVID, you don’t really mind because they are so friendly.

In fact, I have to mention that more than once, when they hear we are from the USA, they almost sigh with relief and thank us for being up here in Canada.

It’s been tough on people and business up here too.

One sailboat saw our flag and motored over to us.

Usually, when that happens in the states, you become wary because the sailboater sometimes chide you for too big a wake (which we don’t do) or for too loud a generator (ours is very quiet).

In this case, the sailboat’s captain asked us if we were from the states. When I affirmed that we were, he said, “that’s awesome, we’ve missed our US friends. Welcome back!”

When you get that kind of greeting it makes you want to stay.

Lock fully filled, waiting to open to let us continue

It’s nice to have no agendas or timetables when boating.

If you trap yourself into deadlines and destinations, it puts an unnecessary pressure on you that can quickly get you into trouble.

It’s taken us a month of moving and a thousand miles for us to get to that point.

We have to be in Mackinaw the end of July. That’s probably 3 solid weeks of travel time, and we have 4+ weeks to get it done.

So we decided when we got into a group of boaters this morning that we might take the lead of one of our new friends and just hang back for a night.

We went through the series of locks planned for the day.

Included in that series was our second double lock. What that means that in the space of two football fields, you go up over 50 feet, or five stories in elevation.

It can be very intimidating pulling into a lock, and realizing there’s nothing between you and a 50 foot wall of water except a lock gate.

Coming into Locks 14/15, our second set of double locks
Entering the lock
Parked and waiting for the gates behind us to close
What going up more than 5 stories looks like on Selkie

By now, we’ve has enough practice to handle Selkie in the locks. It’s pretty routine. Even the slime on the walls doesn’t seem as bad as it did in the New York Canal System.

An interesting aspect of the Canadian locks is that you don’t talk to the lock operators by radio.

They wait until you are close, or tied up to the “Blue Line” before they talk to you, either in person or by loudspeaker.

The system is definitely not New York style, and it works very well.

They always chat us up in the lock, giving us information about what we can expect ahead, or what a good restaurant might be in the next town, or where the better lock walls are.

But today, with the boats we were with, we decided to hang back and not go all the way to Hastings.

We made a left turn and stopped on the wall above lock 15 in Healey Falls.

There is nothing here.

Selkie above Lock 15 at Healey Falls

It’s so quiet. All you can hear is the birds, leaves rustling in the trees and a distant water rushing sound from the dam releasing the still large amount of water that’s in the Trent Severn Waterway.

This has been a trip of a lifetime for both of us. We’re only twenty percent through it.

We can’t wait for the next day.

By Tad Sheldon

I'm a retired Silicon Valley Technologist and Director. I teach skiing as a 4th (5th? 6th?) career for fun, and am passionate about Boating. I'm even more passionate about my family and friends. I volunteer occasionally for non-profit Boards, and currently serve as the Secretary of the Board for Western Division of the Professional Ski Instructors of America / American Association of Snowboard Instructors.

One reply on “Day 2 and 3 on the Trent Severn Waterway”

Hi my dears. So fun following your adventure . Thanks for sharing. We leave for AK this Friday to visit family.

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