2018-07-17–Middleport, Medina NY

West Erie Canal equals good living. Cruising this section of the waterway is filled with small towns with free docks and lots of 30 amp power…bring your “smart reverse splitter” and you are good to go.

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Out first Erie Canal Locks we came to were located in Lockport, NY. Actually two locks back to back. Pictured below is the first of the two locks

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Here is a picture of the entire 2 lock complex. You go directly from the first to the second lock…each lock dropped us 25 feet.

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The locks are numbered east to west, so we only have 35 locks to go through until we reach the Hudson River and “sea-level.”

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Our transit day was a bit damp and overcast but we did find a lovely spot along the wall in Middleport, NY

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The next morning we made the short trip to Medina where we have a number of things planned.

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Still a little gray and overcast but relatively dry.

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Medina, NY for their sandstone quarries in the early 1900s. This seems to be a local example.

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Not surprisingly city hall is also sandstone.

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Love the doors..

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Our first real stop was the train museum which really has any number “collections of history.”  The museum though really is centered around trains.

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And do they have trains, like a HUGE HO model train setup.

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It is a cool setup

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The Admiral might have OD’d on trains though and had to take a breather from the excitement that is model trains.

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This post office just struct me as a the quintessential post office reminding me of the one in Lima, OH

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I kinda cracked up on this sign..I thought it was a stretch as far as history goes…just me though…

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There is also an aqueduct in Median. The Canal is actually a “bridge” going over the creek gorge and water fall.

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Per direction from the Admiral, we stop at waterfalls…all waterfalls….

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Not to worry, there is another one tomorrow in Holly…

2018-08-15–Tonawanda, NY (Niagara Falls)

After our “concert night” in Buffalo we were off to Tonawanda, NY.

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Departing Buffalo “can” be a little tricky and failure to take the right path…well we will get to that….departing Canalside it is imperative to get into the Black Rock Canal entrance keeping the sea wall to port. That seawall is the separation between the Canal and the Niagara River.

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As the Niagara River narrows the river accelerates so that at this point we are moving along at 6 knts in the canal and the river 20 feet away is flowing at 12 plus knots!

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If for some reason you get on the wrong side of that sea wall the current is so strong there is not way to turn around and get out….you will end up here….yea, Niagara Falls….dont mess up!

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We did not get any pictures during the passage because of staying focused on doing it right…no mistakes could be tolerated. In the end we made it into Tonawanda just fine.

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After getting Magnolia settled we walked around town to get our bearings.  North Tonawanda, NY is on the north side of the Erie Canal and Tonawanda, NY. 

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Who would have guessed?

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The grounds and

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harbor were just lovely, really nice.

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The Admiral took a day and made the short trip to Niagara Falls.

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It was her first time and seemed to really enjoy the views

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Meanwhile, back aboard I started stripping the old something. Its not varnish and its not paint but some kind of covering with high adhesion!

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Annette’s family name is “Weckesser” which roughly translates to roll maker. Well we found a place that sells “Beef on Weck” and below was her response!

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The Admiral also continued her Lake Erie Carrousel Tour by touring the Herschell Carrousel Factory Museum.

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As we head towards the middle of August its time to start looking east and our next stop on the Erie Canal

2018-08-14–Erie PA, Dunkirk NY, Buffalo, NY–A Terrific Lake Erie Passage

This whole trip has been absolutely wonderful but since arriving in Michigan it has taken on a much more relaxed tone.

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After departing Ashtabula, OH we had a wonderful day passage up to Erie, PA. The yacht club there was very nice gave us a great place to ride out a couple days of weather. I did manage to get the rest of the boat waxed so that was a plus! Yes, and no pictures!

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Dunkirk was a was a wonderful spot for a couple of reasons. A couple that came to look at Magnolia-S when we had her for sail have been “following” us and invited us to come visit their yacht club if it worked out.

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In addition one of our sailing instructors family kept a boat here years ago so was able to get Roger some updated pictures of the area.

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We sat out on the patio of the club with Carl & Donna and a dozen other club members well into the evening yacking about boating. It was a a REALLY fun evening and look forward to visiting with them again!

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We were up with the sun and as the aft camera proves shortly underway to Buffalo.

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Those “lines” in the water are the protective sea walls off the shore of Buffalo, we can see them in a picture below. Have to pay a little attention when arriving, that is for sure.

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All week we have started the days out with glass flat water but by mid-morning a light west wind starting making things a a little sloppy…not really uncomfortable but even we need something to complain about!! Buffalo skyline as we are approaching.

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The protective sea walls off of Buffalo

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Thats Magnolia moored at Canal Side

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We moored at the touristy Canal-Side docks. The docks hands were excellent and really positioned us out of the malay that was to come…see being Thursday we assumed it would be a quiet night at the municipal docks….ahh…Thursday is concert night. A Canadian rock band came and there were several thousand of people who came to watch. It was quit the evening but really turned out wonderful. Besides, we were moored just aft of the USS Little Rock, a WWII cruiser converted to one of the Navy’s early missile cruisers.

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She carried old RAM jet engine powered Talos….that was my fantasy system to work on when I joined the Navy but unfortunately it was just being phased out…a mear 35 years ago…where does the time go!!

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Out next stop is the entrance to the Erie Canal. I think it is now that it really struck us that we are headed for “home.”

2018-08-07 Cleveland & Ashtabula, OH

After departing Sandusky our next stop was Cleveland. We were looking forward to meeting up with fellow GenIV Sean. We also learned that Cousin Dan and Lori were making a surprise visit to Cleveland.

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Our first stop was Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame. Neither Annette nor I had ever visited before so were looking forward!

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We really enjoyed the visit much more than I expected. We arrived early and stay much longer than I had expected!

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I was really excited to see Elvis Presley’s Volkswagen based trike. It was just like Tennar Trikes…

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I think Elvis purchased from the wrong company truthfully!

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After the museum we popped next door to a Mexican place that cousin Dan suggested…

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We met up with Dan and Lori and made a trip to the West Side Market. The market is a true old school market similar Redding Terminal in Philly!

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Note this is where I would have inserted a great picture of Sean, MaryAnn, Lori and Dan visiting on Magnolia and the fun dinner we had after but there were no good ones so we will have to just imagine….the next day Magnolia as off to Ashtabula, OH

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Arriving in Ashtabula we learned our friend Roger from the Pentagon Sailing Club was from here, so Roger these are for you!

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Only our second bridge request in the Great Lakes. We came up the river into town we found a very active boating community.

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Downtown was completely filled with active store fronts.

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Since we did not get any good pictures on Magnolia, the whole gang was kind enough to drive over to Ashtabula to share the evening.!!!

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We found  a place called Rennick Meat Market. It had a long butcher shop history and dry aged steaks….perfect.

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It was a very fun evening!

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Like all good times the evening flew by and it was time for us to get back aboard for any early departure. Thank you all for sharing your time, great times and great memories!!!

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Nest stop, Erie PA!!!


2018-07-31–Sandusky, OH

As we departed Put-In-Bay there was a forecast for late afternoon thunderstorms. Not unusual for many places we travel and we always do the same thing, get moving and get in by late morning.

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We had a short 15 mile or so passage down to Sandusky passing Cedar Point Amusement as we arrived Sandusky Bay

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We arrived, got the boat settled and made the rounds of the facility until the thunderstorms had come and gone.

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As they arrived and I was laying on the settee relaxing the Admiral said its really blowing out there and headed for the pilothouse where she tunred on the instruments and related that it was blowing 50 knts…huh? That got me off the settee!!! In a few short minutes all had passed and we were not surprised to hear a few sirens etc.

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It was only later that we became aware that a couple of roofs had blown off and actually part of a building had collapsed! Thankfully no one was hurt but sometimes you just don’t know what’s around the corner….

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Thankfully we were able to get the weather behind us before the weekend began. My cousin Suzie along with her two friends came by on Friday evening for a wonderful visit aboard and diner ashore. It was a terrific evening of catching up.

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On Saturday my cousin Jon , Betty as well as our friends Ted & Tina came for a visit.  We had a wonderful time catching up.

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All the gabbing made us all hungry so we scoured Sandusky for a suitable establishment….

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Success..

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There is nothing we enjoy more than visiting with family and friends along the way. We are so very appreciative of the time and effort taken to visit Magnolia. Speaking of visits, Magnolia is off to Cleveland where we hope to meet up with fellow GenIV Sean while we are there….the adventure continues!!

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2018-07-30 Put-in-Bay, Ohio

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Put-in-Bay, Ohio – Neither and I had ever been here before and some of the parties that go on are legendary so truthfully we were not overly excited but submitted to peer pressure and made a stop! Our stop was a mid-week stop so we figured any potential parties were likely to be contained…and in fact they were. We had a delightful visit and with a such a historic monument greeting us, how could we not?

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We even had a double ended rainbow with no rain show itself…how cool is that, a rainbow and never getting wet

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Of course our very first stop had to be a history lesson which we were a bit ignorant of, but that is why we do this.

Perry’s Victory and International Peace Memorial

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I sure do appreciated plaques that to the explaining here so I dont have  too!

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You have likely heard the phrase but now you know the origin!

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Zoom in….

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Viewed from the top of the Memorial, Magnolia grabbed a mooring ball. Mid week, the mooring field was empty. We were told by the weekend it would be full and people rafted up!

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Magnolia is the last vessel down and left in photo.

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The view to the NE from the memorial

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As expected the town is all about the tourist. It felt like a mini Block Island RI though BL has better ice cream….yes it is true! Seeing this sign immediately made of think of our friend Frank & Elaine wondering on the progress of their project? I also know what we will be doing when we arrive in Towanda NY…..

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I had no idea that northern ohio was such a hot bed of carousels, but more on that in the next post!

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We also made a stop across the harbor to Gibraltar Island which is home to the Stone Laboratory operated by Ohio State University.

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They study much of the great lakes ecosystem and that includes snakes….yeah, my favorite!

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But in addition to the science, there was some history so that was the up-shoot! More information about Jay Cooke.

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Supposedly this man-made cave was used during prohibition to smuggle booze in from Canada (un-substantiated)

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In an effort to escape the tourist area (ok, the best we could) we were told of a place the locals go outside of town. It was a lovely way to wind down our stay and I enjoyed the bottle of beer talking to me about the history of Oliver Hazzard Perry….it was amazing!!!!! Smile

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2018-07-26 Home to Detroit

Magnolia departed St Clair city in a quiet Sunday morning thought we did have to wait for the Pine River Bridge to open!

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As we transited down the St Clair River to Lake St Clair we could not get over how much the water looked as if we had been transported to the Bahamas!

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Always traffic…not the bow wave…that’s probably close to 4 feet!

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Arriving Detroit we moored at the Detroit Yacht Club. A true old time Yacht Club. We really enjoyed our visit and the club was a wonderful place to host Magnolias visitors.

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The DYC is filled with beautiful rooms.

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The marina is well laid out and large fairways for good maneuverability in spite of the Detroit Rivers current.

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We had a terrific slip location on “Slab” dock…the gentleman who built the dock owned a tombstone company…no kidding.

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First visitor aboard was my dad who had not visited me on a “boat” since his two trips aboard Ticonderoga back in the 80s! It was a wonderful day and he received the full Magnolia treatment!

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Looking towards downtown Detroit

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A side note, I did build and install a Raspberry Pi, Signal-K server while we were in Detroit. Much more on this down the road.

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We were truly blessed to open our home to school mate friends…there are friends in this picture whom I went to kindergarten with!!! No kidding.

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We had a wonderful afternoon available and so appreciative to those who made time!

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Departing DYC the Detroit River was absolutely flat!

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Approaching the Belle-Isle Bridge

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Under the Belle-Isle Bridge.

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This guy was actually anchored in the river….

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I never imagined visiting Detroit via our own boat. It was very humbling to us to have the ability and capability!

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The Renaissance Center has been the highpoint of downtown Detroit since I was young.

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Though the center was originally built by Ford Motror, somehow it became the headquarters for General Motors.

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Cobo Hall, some great concerts there…

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The River Rouge plants…where Detroit became Detroit.

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I have no idea when we will be back the experience of coming home via the water has been unbelievable.  We are off to Lake Erie and the Ohio coast.

2018-07-18–Tobermory, Ont – St Clair, MI

We had been watching a weather window for more than a week that would allow us to make a comfortable overnight passage down lake Huron. We made a short transit over to Tobermory from Wingfield Basin. 

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Tobermory is a wonderfully protected harbor and just the water….

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the water is crazy clear.

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We could inspect the entire bottom from the surface!

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Magnolia in Tobermory Harbor

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The sign is self explanatory….there is so much about this country I had no idea about…simply amazing…

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After a good dinner out and good nights sleep, we were off. The forecast was spot on and we had a terrific day.

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With the sun going down the “running lights” came on and we “set the watch” Annette takes the 9pm-12, I get the “midwatch”, Annette comes back at 3am and then I am back at 6am.

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As the sun came up the morning was beautiful.

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As we approached the south shore of Huron we approached Port Huron and the Bluewater Bridge which connects Michigan and Canada.

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We stayed over on the Canadian side of Huron to avoid shipping but when you get near St Clair River, no avoiding!

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On the way to our marina we needed to have like the only bascule bridge in the area open. Its first opening was at 8am so we have a little time to kill in the middle of the St Clair River.

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Pine River Bascule Bridge

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The marina was not our first choice but in hind sight it should have been

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The marina and the town of  St Clair was lovely. As the pictures show the area was absolutely beautiful

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All over town were these beautiful statues….

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The joy also of this marina were the classic two Classic Crafts

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We really enjoyed out stay in St Clair. The facility, area and people were all just terrific….onto Detroit!

2018-07-12– Trent-Severn Canal (Part 2)

We were bold enough to pass through Bobcaygeon the day before Canada’s 4th which is actually on 1 July. Bobcaygeon is known for there houseboat RENTALS….yes RENTALS. Yes, we fear “credit card captains” We made it unscathed and found a kind of quiet corner of Sturgeon Lake to hide in for the actual holiday. It was a fine day and we did our part to help Canada celebrate.

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The next day we went to went down to Fenelon Falls site of the great boat flip….it seems on Independence Day someone went through the lock…ties there boat to the side and as the water departed the lock, the boat flipped right over. Thankfully no one was hurt and little fuel was spilled. Fenelon Falls turned out to be a real joy of a spot to visit. Many Canadians take vacations and cruise the Trent Severn on their small power boats. We were as interested in their stories of places to visit and how they did it. On hot days they swim right off the boat in in the canal right in the most urban of environments. Us Americans would tend not to do that but the water is so pure it is amazing.  Side note, we had not taken fresh water on Magnolia is a couple weeks and there was a hose so thought great opportunity. I have a mter to test the water before we put in the tanks. When Annette asked how it was, I said they should bottle this stull…60prts per million!! Crazy clean

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A spillway near near the lock. There is a lot of adjustments to be made in this system to keep the electricity generating, the locks working and the water at the right levels…

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Note to self: this was a damn good beer

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Kirkland Ontario

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Kirkland like Peterborough is another lift lock…its a bathtub on a elevator. They open a side of the tub…you drive in…they close the side of the tub…they lower the tub, Magnolia inside down 65 feet. The only thing I am thinking is….please don’t leak!

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Many of the canal locks are around small towns and villages. There are others though out in the middle of no where. This lock was one of the nicest evenings we had. You might think that is Magnolia but no it is one of our sister ships named “Erben Renewel.” We had met them once before when we had the sailboat but no one could remember where. It took 2 days of VHF conversations to nail it down. It was like 3 years ago in Onnsett, MA. We live in a very small community…

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This hardware must be years and years old yet, they use it every time to fill and empty the locks. I have no idea but I would not be surprised to know it goes back to the early 1900s

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This is how they open and close the gates. It takes 13 laps around to open the a single gate. These interns end up with strong legs…its real work

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The second from last lock is the Big Chute…its actually a huge rail car that you drive your boat onto…they pull the car out of the water, up a hill and down the other side of the hill and back into the water. The boat in front waiting to go.

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There he is loaded up and going up the hill..

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Here the front view from Magnolia as we are on the car and going down. Yes it felt like the top of a roller coaster and we were about to plunge down…no kidding

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Here is a picture from the stern as we are going down the hill towards the water….

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The route messed up a little…we exited the canal system at Severn Ontario and headed across the 19 mile bay to Pentatang. We were glad Magnolia is the boat she is. It was really the first time we had really poopy weather to travel in. We had wind on the nose and a solid chop had built up. We were happy to get in because it was our first meet up with cruising friends in Canada

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Copper Penny we had not seen since Georgetown, Exumas. They were anchored next to us the night of the 2015 Derecho..crazy night. Paul and Paula were sailors and recent came to the trawler world on a Defever 40. We visit with Paul and Paula in Stuart last winter.

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Magnolia was off the dock at first light since we had a very long passage…upwards of 70 miles.

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The passage worked out perfectly…it was a long day but the weather was perfect. We were headed to the top of Bruce Point on Georgian Bay.

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The area had a real feel of difference from our normal cruising grounds. It kind of felt like Maine but without the saltwater. The colors were so vivid and the water so clear it was amazing.

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This lighthouse is abandoned now but you can see the replacement tower light next too it. We hiked to the lighthouse from our anchorage.

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The top of Bruce Peninsula

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Wingfield Basin is an perfectly protected anchorage in the middle of NO-WHERE we could wait out an expected front for a couple days.

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A few chores, some relaxation, a cigar and an empty scotch bottle marked a wonderful spot. A couple notes, that bottle was opened some time in ‘17 and yes there is a spare!

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When it was time to depart…well lets just say there was about a bale of grass on the anchor. Took nearly a half hour to get the Rocna aboard but it was sad to go.

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We really did enjoy these stops. The visit with Copper Penny and Change of Pace was wonderful. Coming up..Tobermory and Huron


2018-07-01 Loyalist Cove, Trent-Severn Canal (Part1)

Crossing Oswego, NY – Loyalist Cove Ontario — 48nm

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We were very fortunate on our weather window to cross Lake Ontario. Hardly any wind and crisp clear sky

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Oswego Light

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As as we got to clean fresh lake water it was time to get water through the wash down pump and guck off the deck.

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Crossing US/Canadian border

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Up goes the Quarantine Flag telling Canadian official we have not through Canadian Customs & Immigration

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Loyalist Cove Marina

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Arriving to Loyalist Cove Marina we were able clear Customs & Immigration via telephone…completely painless. Once that was done we raised our Canadian Courtesy Flag indicating we had cleared C&I

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We took a walk into Bath, about a mile or so and the first building we came to was the water treatment plant….now you might not think much of that but this is the treatment plant….not the office but the plant. I was amazed by its appearance….I am going to like this country.

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Not un-attractive street signs…

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After enjoying a couple days of poopy weather we headed for Trent Ontario.

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Lots of islands mean lots of ferries.

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Typical Lock & Park along the canal…(beautiful Admiral extra)

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Look at that hottie…does she have a stern or what??? (of course I highlighting the beauty of the Admiral as well)

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These moorings are included as part of our cruising permit fee

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Then there is the inside of the locks…behind those doors is  about 40 feet of water just wanting to wash over me….grungy cloths in the lock required…ok…that’s what I wear most days aboard…

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Ok, if you include both locks, more like 65 feet of water!! We were down THERE 40 minutes ago…

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The town of Campbellford was a very nice stop with great docks.

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A movie theater which we partook in…a fabulous bakery where I overstocked while Annette shopped the Farmers Market…pretty darn good!

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Though we like to joke that most people might believe our life is nothing but sunshine and umbrella drinks…a little rain does fall. Even when it does though, we get to look at cool things on the water…voted best boat garage of the day.

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Most locks you drive into…they close some doors…add some water, you float up to the next level…not in Peterborough. Here you drive into a lock,  more like a bath tub in a an elevator. They close the door and raise the bathtub up 65 feet…open the other door (and not the wrong door) and you drive out. Bath tub on right is in up position, bathtub on left in down position.

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We drive into the left bathtub.

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Yes take me up and drop me at men’s sporting goods please….

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Pretty amazing how quickly you are lifted up….

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Remember, open the front door!!!

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Here we are at Men’s Sporting Goods…..

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After that experience…the simple things in our life are really appreciated….I like could watch these families all day long…

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Its straight forward, follow the marks and miss the rocks….miss a mark and you WILL find a rock..

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Canada Independence Day is 1 July but the holiday weekend is beginning!

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Part 2 assuming we survive the holiday weekend….