Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Penetanguishene, Ontario

On Monday, August 6, we finally arrived in the much anticipated Georgian Bay!  We left our lovely anchorage in the Lost Channel at 8:45 after each of us enjoyed some paddleboarding.

We had two more locks to go through before we completed all 45 locks on the 125.6 mile long Trent-Severn Waterway.  The Big Chute is truly the most unique one of all.  This lock is a railroad-style lift that actually hoists the boats up on straps and wheels them over a rocky cliff to the other side.
We tied up Zendo before entering the lock and walked over to watch the Big Chute in action.  It was an amazing sight!  It is the biggest lift of its kind in North America.  We were lucky to arrive when we did because the day before it broke down stranding dozens of small and large boats for the night!

Having satisfied our understanding, we took a place on the blue line where we lined up to wait our turn to load onto the lock.  The lockmaster determines who goes and when based on how many boats of varying sizes can be accommodated.  In our case, we had to wait until two other groups went ahead off us.  When it was our turn, they assigned two 28 foot boats in front with two jet skis behind them and our boat alone in the back in the middle.  The lock tenders ride alongside on the lift as well. The lift brought us all up and out of the water and over a rocky ledge then slowly lowered us into the water on the other side.  All this took only eight minutes and was an incredibly cool experience.

We took off for the last lock of our journey, the Port Severn lock.  This was the smallest lock of all of them.  We had to wait almost two hours at the lock wall to go through because it can only accommodate a small number of boats.  So we chatted with fellow lockmates and had lunch.  While waiting, Lynn happily discovered how to retrieve the blog posts that occasionally disappear on her causing her to have to do numerous rewrites.

When it was finally time for us to load, we were packed in like sardines. So much so that our dinghy was touching the back wall of the lock. Also, one of the lock tenders acted as a human fender to prevent our boat from knocking into the one next to us.  Of all the locks we’ve been through, we’ve never been packed in like at this one!

When we exited that lock, we officially entered the Georgian Bay!  We went through the Potato Channel where it was very important to follow the narrow and winding passage through numerous rocky outcroppings  above and below the surface of the water.

As we entered the open bay, we left the small boat channel and headed towards our anchorage for the evening.

Our anchorage for the night was in Penetanguishene Harbor opposite the Discovery Village complete with 18th century schooners.   It was a beautiful setting with only a sailboat joining us in the calm waters there.

Lynn made a delicious chicken curry in her Smart Pot with chick peas, cauliflower and peas.  We had a pleasant dinner on the aft deck.  Anchoring out in these pristine anchorages is truly our favorite thing!

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