In Which the Crew Visits With Old Friends On The Water and Brooke Puts On Water Skis for the First Time in a Quarter Century!
The Lock at Swift Rapids is going to be the last tricky lock for a while. Tricky only in that it has such a high rise (47 feet). The engineering here allows for a very gentle lift because instead of the water coming in from the sides as in most of the other locks (causing turbulence that can push you either against the wall or away from it) there are perforations on the floor of the lock and a separate chamber that fills with water beneath that. So, the water flows gently up from the lower filling chamber, through these small holes, and then we are gently dancing in situ like a cherry in a fizzy drink.
|The Lock Gate|
|Looking down into the lock. It's deep.|
Once we are out of the lock, we find the upper lake remarkably calm and very peaceful. The river below was tumultuous, but up here, not even a ripple.
|Smooth sailing. Except we're not sailing really.|
As we motor slowly along, it reminds me of a time when we were on the ocean in 2007, voyaging from Atlantic City to Manhattan, (after having brought the boat up the Inter-coastal Waterway from Florida). We'd been nervous about being out on the open sea, but once we had ridden out the furious white horses, bouncing around where the out-flowing waterway smashes up against the incoming ocean, we were relieved to find ourselves on a sea of glass. We traveled up the coast about a mile off the vast beaches of New Jersey and eventually, through the haze, saw the Statue of Liberty in New York Harbour. It was 108 degrees F. I guess that’s why it was so still.
The Severn River that now widens before us, owing to the dam I suppose, has that calm-before-the-storm feeling. Again, there are no signs of cottagers, nor of any boats at the few docks we pass.
We are going to anchor in upper Sparrow Lake, in McLean Bay. Old friends of Cappie, Jeff & Val Knight, have a cottage nearby and they kindly arranged for us to park a car at their local marina, Sopher’s Landing. (We drove a car there last week.)
We are looking forward to some R&R! It probably sounds odd to people who don’t get to live on a boat, but it feels as though we have been working constantly, and our muscles are sore.
Before anchoring in the bay, we take the boat four miles down to Lauderdale Point Marina at the bottom of Sparrow Lake. We need to pump out our holding tank and pick up some wine at the agency there. (Maybe the number of times we must empty the holding tank is proportionate to the amount of wine we purchase… Nah.) Again, the lake is eerily flat, but there is a sure sense of imminent rain.
|There is a Thunderbird image in our wake|
Once we are ready to push off from Lauderdale wharf, the deluge begins. We wait for the thunder and lightning to ease and then cast off, even though the rain still comes in lashes. I un-cleat the tin boat from our hip and let the tow line play out. Then, whomp! a wave hits at just the right angle and the new clip on the towline bounces off the tow ring, and Tintin goes drifting back towards the mouth of the river!
“Oh no, Captain!”, I bellow. “BLUE BLISTERING BARNACLES! “
(Cappie note: She didn’t actually say that. It was much more colourful.)
Tintin then gets hung up on weeds against a buoy-line that marks the entrance to the marina. Cappie spins us around and noses the bow of the Mary Mary as close into the weeds as he dares with our four-foot draft while I reach down with the boat-hook extended and, after a bit of stretching, Tintin is retrieved. Need a better clip!
We make it back up to McLean’s Bay, absolutely drenched by the ongoing storm. As soon as the anchor is set and a sodden Cappie comes splashing down from the bridge, the rain stops. Uncanny. Murphy’s law of anchoring.
Next day. We
set out in the tin boat for the landing marina so we can drive to Gravenhurst.
We’re on a search for some cable, a 40
amp circuit breaker, a better clip for Tintin and some more wine.
But first, we had to tow a small boat with a fishing father-and-daughter duo back to their dock across the bay. Their motor had quit, and they’d been out for quite a while in the choppy waters. We’d both been keeping an eye on them while preparing to depart ourselves. They must have pulled on their rope-starter fifty times before we reached them and they were obviously relieved when we approached and towed them over to their cottage. The girl explained that despite their difficulty that they had caught two bass earlier. Cappie thought for sure they’d pay off their towing debt by giving us one, but no. So, we towed them back to where they’d been stranded, let them loose and took off. (Not really, but a bass would have made for a nice dinner. Lake bass are the best eating fish in the world says Cappie.)
|Towing the Fisher People|
Thursday, we drove to Midland to get the new current sensor for the battery and a gizmo so the computer could configure the new inverter/charger properly. We picked up the second car and delivered it to Orillia for the next leg. Soon we will have that R&R. You betcha.
Friday, after installing the new current sensor, and after Adrian figures out how to program the inverter through the new gizmo, with lots of cussing and such, Friend Jeff arrives, and we are ferried to the Knight cottage.
Built in 1920 it has the classic feel of a great old Ontario cottage. Had some of that desired R&R hanging out at the dock with Jeff, Val and other family members, Ali, Pauline & David.
Saturday, a very smoky Canada Day thanks to drifting forest-fire smoke, this time from Quebec. We drive to Bracebridge for a concert by Neil Hutchinson, an old high-school chum of Cappie’s. And we have a fantastic authentic Mexican meal at El Pueblito. The restaurant is owned by the woman who served us, and her husband, the chef. Great food.
at the Knight cottage, we test-drive Jeff’s rocket of a Wave Runner that can
shoot a daredevil up in the air. (It’s for sale, in case anyone is looking for a Yamaha Wave Runner FX SVHO (super velocity high
output) with a dual impeller and RMK (remote control kit) for FlyBoarding…
We wave a last farewell as we prepare for our near-death experience This is the kind of stunt you can pull with the impeller on that machine .
ski-time for me in the morning! I have been keen and just a little trepidatious
as it’s been decades since I last attempted to water-ski. But I could not ask for better coaches. Our fantastic, generous hosts are also superlative ski pros!
Thank you to these Knights! And now view the exciting water-ski video below!
The exciting water-ski video!