Thursday, July 25, 2013

Orillia to Port Severn

Yes, I know it has been awhile.  We are still alive and actually in Georgian Bay finally.  We’re anchored in a very secluded spot called Echo Bay (where the anchor is displayed in the picture below).  Well, secluded in the sense that it's in the middle of nowhere, but there are 18 other boats anchored with us.  

Anyhow, a neat story before I catch you up on our travels to get here from Orillia - today while I was working on our dinghy outboard, a couple pulled up in their dinghy and said, “Hey, you haven’t updated your blog since Orillia.”  I was kind of busy at the time and a little aggravated with my outboard so, for the life of me, I cannot remember these nice folks’ names or their boat name.  I think they are from Canada and they were anchored in another spot so I can’t get their information again, but it’s good to know folks around the world are reading the blog ("around the world" might be a bit of a stretch, that exaggeration thing again).  Anyhow, would that couple please identify yourself again in the comment section of this post, and thanks again for stopping by to say hello and for following the blog - wish I would have had more time to visit.

Back to the trip.  On the last post we were at Orillia.  We planned to be there 2 days.  After this huge front rolled through we had to stay for 5 days. 

Why? The front’s storm damage knocked out power at 2 locks, a bridge, and another place called the Big Chute (details later) – all necessary for us to get through Port Severn and into Georgian Bay.  I am not making this up!  We are really starting to wonder what’s up with all of the delays we have experienced since we left Jacksonville, FL in March, all weather related.  Let’s recap.

Darien, GA – 4 days.  Weather/wind.
Belhaven, NC – 3 days.  Weather.
Elizabeth City, NC – 4 days.  Weather.
Morehead City, NC – 7 days.  Weather.
Portsmouth, VA – 6 days.  Weather/wind.
St. Mary’s, VA – 4 days.  Weather.
Delaware City, DE – 3 days.  Weather/wind.
Cape May, NJ – 6 days.  Weather/wind.
Waterford, NY – 4 days.  Weather, floods, Erie Canal.
Amsterdam, NY (Riverlink) – 3 days.  Weather, floods, Erie Canal.
Amsterdam, NY, Lock #11 – 14 days.  Weather, floods, damage, Erie Canal.
Illion, NY, 6 days.  Weather, floods, damage, Erie Canal.
Orillia, Canada, 5 days.  Weather, damage, power outages.

If my math serves me correctly, that is over 2 months, time we could have been stopping to check out other places.  But as I noted in one of the blog posts called “Perspective,” you have to expect some delays on a trip like this and we’re very thankful these are not mechanical problems or damage to the boat, illness, etc.  We know several couples that have had to stop or delay finishing their Great Loop trip for all of those types of reasons above.  So, we still have a great attitude, are enjoying the trip, and we should point out once again that these delays are on the water, so just how bad can that be?????  And, we would miss out on sunsets like this one at Orillia.

Here are some pics of the storm damage in the Orillia area.

So, while we waited again, we took the opportunity to get some bike riding done on a very nice bike trail along the waterfront with some cool bike racks along the way at one of their waterparks.  They also have a couple of beaches, baseball fields, a skateboard park, really nice stuff.

And how cool is this?  “McManus” is of Scotch-Irish heritage and what are the odds that Orillia would be having a Scottish Festival all day Saturday while we were delayed there?  As we headed to all of the festivities, I was thinking, “What is the possibility that I might just run into a long-lost relative or something?"  And sure enough, we hadn’t been there an hour and I ran into a distant cousin of mine.  Meet Sean and his dog, Shaun.  I almost didn’t recognize him in the skirt thing.  Boy, it was good to see him again.  (Yes, I know it's a kilt).

His friend, Shawn, was warming up his bagpipes for the parade and bagpipe competition.  This picture doesn’t show it, but these folks make some really strange faces when they blow into that thing, something like a face you would make with a really upset stomach. 

 There was a big parade at noon.  I’m pretty sure every bagpiper in Canada was there.  I’ll only show you one band and one color guard (but let me know if you would like a picture of all of them – I’ve got them).

They also had some horn and woodwind bands, local celebrities, “fun cars,” and classic cars, you know – parade stuff.

And, we found a McManus keychain with the McManus Coat of Arms.  I didn’t look it up but surely it stands for honorable stuff like bravery, intelligence, seamanship, etc.

Having learned about Rhonda's love of cows, Galen and Becky were really nice and bought Rhonda a pet cow – she named it “Seannette” in honor of our Scottish Heritage Day.

After the huge front had rolled through and “cleared the air” so to speak, Rhonda got a great moon shot.  How is it possible that we can stand on this planet, take a fairly basic camera, and get a shot like this from 239,000 miles away?

The canal folks had the locks and Big Chute open by Sunday, but the railroad bridge was still closed so we walked to Orillia Community Church about 4 blocks away.  This was a departure from the grand historic churches we have visited.  This group had purchased a movie theatre and converted it into a church.  The sermon was excellent, and we always enjoy contemporary Christian music.  In the second picture below, Rhonda said this is a contemporary version of stained glass windows!

We finally got underway on Monday and early in the morning came across a canoe that sure looked overloaded to us.  WDYT?

 After the 5-day delay at the locks, they were really packing them in trying to get all of the traffic cleared out once everyone was moving again.  There were 6 of us in this one.

The scenery through much of this stretch is beautiful.  Mostly evergreen trees, clear water, rock walls, cottages, etc.

Lock #43 is called Swift Rapids and is also a hydroelectric plant. 

This was an interesting coincidence.  Both Galen and me in what appears to be very deep thought while waiting for our turn through the lock, you know – pondering the meaning of life and all other things needing pondering.  Or, could it be that we’re just old and tired!

The bench I'm sitting on at Lock 43 was nicely done. The park settings at the locks are always beautiful. They also have bathrooms (called washrooms in Canada) and usually picnic tables.

And then there was the BIG CHUTE!  This was super cool. Big Chute is a wide "railroad car" and platform in the water where you drive in, they sling you in place, take you over a hill and then down the other side 58 feet lower to the next pool of water.  Obviously it works the other way for boats traveling opposite our direction.  There are 2 smaller boats on the platform with us.  The platform was too small to carry us and "Mooring Dove" at the same time, so they got shots of us and we took some shots of them.  Hope the pictures make sense. 

Notice how much of the stern on "Mooring Dove" is hanging over the back side.

So you might asked why this versus a lock?  This rail system is normal installation for the construction of locks which was the intent here.  However, there was a concrete shortage which halted the construction, then there was a concern for lamprey fish transiting from Georgian Bay into the Trent-Severn and Lake Simcoe.  So, the land mass was the perfect natural barrier for the fish problem, and they replaced the original "Little Chute" with the newer and larger "Big Chute" in 1978.

However, before the adrenaline rush had gone, we left Big Chute headed for the last lock on the Trent-Severn and our passage into Georgian Bay.  About half-way to the lock I noticed the engine temperature on the starboard engine was up around 220 (normally around 170).  The overheat alarm had not gone off yet but that temperature rise is not a good sign.  So, we scrapped our plans to get through the lock, shut down the starboard engine, and went into Starport Marina in Port Severn on one engine in case this problem would require a mechanic.  It was funny when we arrived at the dock - no one seemed interested in grabbing lines or helping until the dockhand said, "Are you the boat with just one engine?"  All the locals overheard that and rushed out to protect their own boats in case we had any problems docking, which we didn't.

The short version is that when they lifted us out of the water, the water drained out of the strainers and engine intakes.  They normally self-prime when back in the water, but the starboard engine did not and the impeller ran dry long enough to shred 10 of the 12 blades.  So, I spent the evening in the engine room, by that time about 150 degrees I’m sure, replacing the impeller.  While I had that apart, I went ahead and cleaned the strainer, replaced the zinc in the heat exchanger, and tracked down all the impeller pieces throughout the cooling system.  All's well that ends well - just part of boating.

The next leg will get us into Georgian Bay, Port Severn to Echo Bay.

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