The Erie Canal

I’ve been interested in the Erie Canal since grade school when we sang “Low bridge, everybody down. Low bridge, for we’re comin’ to a town”. The whole idea of mules and towpaths was intriguing. We got a taste of that when we did a narrowboat charter in the Midlands of England in 2005. There was a walking trail along the canal where the towpath used to be.

NOT the Erie Canal. It’s a canal in England, but it fits the song. Note the low bridge and the towpath!
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Back in the USA!

The boat entered Canada on July 5, 2023 and left on September 15, 2023. Lance and Brenda made a trip home mid August, but the boat was there for, what, 72 days?

Our last few nights in Canada included a lock wall with electricity (Frankford), a marina with free laundry (Trent Port in Trenton) and an anchorage that turned out to not be very protected from the way the wind blew in the middle of the night (Witlow Pt in Hay Bay).

Frankford, Ontario where you can tell autumn is on its way
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Locks of all shapes and sizes

The locking systems on the Trent Severn are really amazing! Lots of good ingenuity and engineering went into them.

The busier locks and those with long drops use hydraulic pumps to raise and lower the boats. The less busy locks with shorter rises/drops still use manual methods to open valves and to open the gates.

After Labour Day the student workers go back to college and the locks are working with skeleton staffing. One morning, the one of the regular workers was covering at another lock and Lance volunteered to help get the first locking going, while they waited for an additional person.
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Orillia to Lakefield – Lock 26 – Labour Day Weekend

We left Orillia the Thursday before the last weekend of summer, Labour Day weekend.

It is a huge deal in Ontario, Canada because it really does mark the end of summer. Schools all start up the day after Labour Day, so kids and teachers and everyone are back to the grind.

It turned out to be a really good weather weekend, so there were a ton of people out enjoying the water.

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Georgian Bay

We had been watching the progress of some Tacoma friends and knew they were in Killarney at the Sportsman Inn marina. We needed to pump out after several days on anchor so chose Sportsman’s Inn in hopes that we might run into our friends.

As we pulled into the dock, guess who was there waiting to help with our lines?

John and Carol from Tacoma, our home town
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Baie Fine to Snug Harbour – North Channel part 3

After leaving our prime Little Current location of the closest dock to the swing bridge, we cast off our lines to go through the bridge at the top of the hour and head to Baie Fine. There were four boats going our direction, but there were probably a dozen or more boats lined up to come into Little Current.

Baie Fine was a 25 mile jaunt from Little Current. The last 9 miles are fjord-like, according to what we read.

The waterway was fairly narrow, compared to the rest of the cruising, and had some tricky navigation around rocks in the lake.

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Little Current – North Channel Part 2

From Hotham Island, the next logical place to visit is the Benjamin Islands. They are a unique circle formation of islands. I’m told the circle is because there was a dome formed in ancient times that has been worn down over the ages.

But, logical or not, the wind was not right for anchoring there, so we cruised in amongst them, took some pictures, and headed out for Little Current.

Outer Benjamins rocky islets
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The North Channel (Part One)

We spent a little over a week exploring several anchorages and a town in the North Channel.

After our first anchorage in Long Point Cove, we continued to hop to the anchorages recommended by Fred, a former Looper who generously spent an hour with us in Sault Ste Marie going over recommendations.

From Long Point Cove to Beardrop Harbour to Hotham Island to The Benjamins to Little Current to Baie Fine to Covered Portage Cove to Snug Harbour
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