2006 Adventure UPDATES


UPDATE #15 07/08/06 thru 07/15/06

 Howdy Everybody,

 UPDATE #15   07/08/06 through 07/15/06.

 The period 4/1 thru 7/07 has been covered in Updates 1 through 14. 

We are very interested in hearing from ya’all.  If you have missed out on any of the previous emails and would like us to re-send them, please let us know.

Please let me know if these emails containing pictures are too large and we will send you a version with text only. 


     There is a two-day limit on stays at the Bobcaygeon Lock wall.  Our friends aboard “Lazy Susan” and “Triumph” had to move on, however, we had this day to relax and recuperate.  Energetic Judy decided that we should wash the rugs from the boat, so, we loaded our cart and headed to the Laundromat.  They had a large 50-pound capacity washer just made for our load.  While the rugs air-dried along the railings of the boat, we strolled the shops in town and had lunch at the local Chinese restaurant.  Almost all of the small towns seem to have at least one Chinese place.  I guess its much like Mexican restaurants in Texas. 

      There are a great many rental houseboats and small boats being operated by folks without much experience.  It is almost comical to watch some of the situations where they are completely out of control.  We had watched a boat just bump into the side of another boat, which pushed him into the side of another boat, and then the first boat turned away and bumped into a houseboat while the third boat ricocheted into another.  Now you probably think that there was a lot of angry yelling and name-calling, not so, not a word was exchanged between any of the boaters.  I guess it is just acceptable practice to play bumper boats in this narrow channel.  Many times, Judy and I would grab our boat hooks to fend off the barrage of slow moving boats.  Other than being nerve racking, it was kind of fun to watch.

     All in all, it was a fun day of people watching in some of the nicest weather you can imagine.

  Still fairly full from lunch, we opted to find somewhere for just French Fries.  Here in Canada, they call them either “fries” or “chips”.  What makes them so great is that they are almost always fresh, hand-cut potatoes and fried to perfection.  There is a huge difference between these and the usual, frozen variety most common in the States.

     We had expected a fairly rowdy Saturday night that never materialized. As evening set upon us, the waterfront became amazingly quiet.  Life is so good.


     When I poked my head out the cabin door at 7 am this morning, it was clear and bright and our friends Hud and Betty aboard “Scout” had already relocated to the “blue line”.  As you may remember, the blue line is established for those ready to be locked through.  Although the locks do not start operating until 8:30 am, Hud wanted to be first to avoid the mad rush.  This seemed like a pretty good idea to me so I roused Judy and we relocated to the second position by 7:30 am.  This move would sequence us ahead of the runabouts and houseboats.

       As the swing bridge opened,  we followed “Scout” for the first positions.  Although a few more boats locked with us, everything went smoothly and we headed out into Sturgeon Lake for the next couple of hours.  This beautiful open lake narrows into a lovely, river-like canal at Fenelon Falls.  Through the binoculars, we spotted a familiar boat tied to a residential dock alongside the waterway.  It was “Beta Omega”, a 42 foot Hatterus.  Norm and Barb Hewton were the wonderful couple that we had met way back in Waterford, NY.  They were the first to help us with our lines when we arrived and were the impetus and source of energy that put together the Pot Luck dinner at the special “Waterford High Water Yacht Club.”  At that time, they had extended a gracious invitation to visit them at their home in Fenelon Falls, Ontario.  Now, here we are and, once again, Norm was ready to take our docklines and greet us with his wonderful smile.  This great couple completed their loop cruise several years ago and, now, take an annual trek to Florida for the winter.  It was on their return trip that we first met them.

      We had a delightful visit chatting and Norm went over some chart tips and enlightened me on many cruising locations and hints that he has acquired through his extensive background of experience.  Loaded into their van, Norm and Barb gave us the tour of the Fenelon Falls community.  A lunch at the Captain’s Table, adjacent to the large lock, was their specialty of Fish N’ Chips.  We all went over to the Marina where Ocean Flyer and Scout were moored for the night.  Jean and Pricilla gave us the full tour of their 47 foot Hatterus.  Wow, very luxurious! 

       Norm wanted to watch TV soccer and I wanted a nice nap, so, that’s what we did.  Even though our host had plans for the evening, they lent us their car to enable us to dine with the others.  The recommended restaurant was right at the marina.  Just in time for our 7 pm reservations, the group consisting of Hud and Betty Baxter (Scout), Jean Turnbull and Pricilla Myers (Ocean Flyer), and Fred Reed and Judy Law (Amarse), were seated at a lovely round table with a fantastic view of the lake and the marina.  Judy and I had arrived dressed in our matching yellow, monogrammed “Amarse” shirts.  Quite unplanned, Jean and Pricilla had chosen similar green tops while Hud and Betty were in blue.  Immediately, we became known as the Yellow, Green, and Blue teams.  “The Dockside Restaurant” is well known by the locals for their fine dining.  Judy and I selected the Caesar Salad with their signature homemade dressing.  Our entrée choices were a Lasagna made with Asparagus, Portabello Mushrooms, and Goat Cheese and a perfectly prepared Sirloin Steak with Garlic mashed potatoes.  The “green team” enjoyed the Tilapia, the “blue team” savored a Cream of Tomato Rice soup, Sirloin steak, and a special roasted pork tenderloin, and all the teams sipped their favorite wines.  Dessert choices included a fabulous Cadbury Milk Chocolate cake, as well as, a strawberry rhubarb fruit pie with ice cream.  As you can imagine, everyone was delighted with their meals and, even more, with the stories and adventures of the folks.  Five of the six of us had either lived or had grown up within 4 or 5 miles of each other.  Now that’s a “small world”.

       Sleep was easy and very restful in this tranquil and lovely location.  Our utmost thanks to Norm and Barb, our fantastic hosts, for their generosity and friendship.  Merci Beau Coup and Muchas Gracias!


     It had rained heavily during the night and it continued lightly in the morning.  Norm and Barb joined us on the sundeck of AMARSE and we had a great time chatting about all kinds of things.

  We have been so lucky to have this opportunity to enjoy these wonderful folks.  Hopefully, we will see them again soon as they will be at the big Rendezvous next week.  We are still on the waiting list and there is a good possibility for some cancellations due to the flooding in the New York canals.  Many “loopers” are stranded back there and may not be able to proceed for quite sometime.

     Just after 10 am, we eased away from “Beta Omega” headed to Lock #34 just eyeshot away.  Across Cameron Lake, through Rosedale Lock # 35, then six miles across Balsam Lake brought us to one of the narrowest of canals on the Trent.  We made our security call announcing our intentions to pass westbound and proceeded cautiously.  The canal has barely enough room for two boats to pass each other.  An encounter with a larger boat would need to be conducted within a very confined, close quarters area leaving little room for error.  Many a boat has damaged its propellers, or worse, in this stretch.

  Our passage was uneventful except for the chance meeting of a few small vessels which, when passed very slowly, created no real hazard.  By early afternoon, we were in full view of the Kirkfield Lock #36.  This is another unique and different lock that we have much anticipated.  It is of the “Pan” type much like the larger one at Peterborough.  As you may remember, the two pans work in conjunction with each other to raise and lower the vessels.  The entrance to this lock is unusual in two respects.  Firstly, this is the first lock on the Trent that will descend us rather than lift us.  Balsam Lake had been the highest elevation on the Trent-Severn Waterway at 840 feet above sea level.  Secondly, the external structure of the lock is much more open due to the steel  framework.  As you proceed out into the pan, you get the feeling of running up to the edge of the world.

  All of a sudden, you can see the river and structure some 47 feet below.

  The rest is easy since you just tie to the fixed rods on the side and the lock does the rest.  Once the operation starts, it only takes about 2 minutes.  The engineering and process is thoroughly fascinating to me.

     As we exited the pan, we selected a docking spot on the starboard wall.  Folks that we had met several times before helped us tie up for the night.  Andy and Dinata, aboard “Frobenius”, were the only others to tie up here.  We were all secured by 1 pm.  The afternoon turned rainy and we were content to enjoy this quiet location.  It was fun watching the lock operations during the afternoon.

  We joined Andy and Dinata for cocktail hour and had a delightful time talking about all kinds of things.  Andy gave me some of his favorite recipes to try.  They sound great and I’m looking forward to an opportunity to try them out. 

     It rained heavily all night with periods of long, rolling thunder.  These storms are different than those of the south and Texas.  Down there, the thunder is very loud and cracks very sharply.  Up here, the pitch seems lower, the volume quieter, and the duration much longer.  In Texas, the rain comes in a deluge, whereas up here, the rain is more gentle and persists much longer.  The stormy weather just seems less violent here. 

     What would be the right meal for a cool, rainy evening?  Yes, soup, of course.  I made a pot of wonderful Broccoli Cheddar cheese soup and served it with grilled sesame bagels.  Perfect?  I think so.


     We had planned an early start for the morning, however, the rainy skies had other plans.  We waited until 8 am when there was a slight clearing.  The trend continued and the morning gave way to clearing skies.  Lots of swing bridges and lots of locks filled our schedule today.

  Being lowered in the locks is much easier than the lifting.  The dropping operation is absent the turbulence common with lifting.  It’s quite gentle and quite enjoyable.  Shortly after 11 am, we had completed the succession of locks for the morning.  Locks # 37 through # 41 were behind us and we would be entering the large expanse of Simcoe Lake.  This is the fourth largest lake in Ontario and has a reputation for being rather nasty during inclement weather.  “Frobenius” had been locking along with us and decided to moor along the wall before the lake.

  They wanted to make the crossing in the calmer, early morning.  We opted to continue out into the lake to take advantage of the nice weather today.

  I think we made the right choice as we had a wonderful afternoon of cruising in gentle seas and near cloudless skies.  Our specific route only crosses a small section of the big lake, so, in a relatively few hours we were back into more canals, rivers, and small bays and lakes.

  Places like the “Narrows”, “Couchiching Lake”, Lock # 42, “Sparrow Lake” and numerous others like “Murray Cut” were very enjoyable for a variety of scenic beauty.

     As we made our way up to Lock # 43 at Swift Rapids, we spotted our friends aboard Lazy Susan and Triumph.  We had caught up with them again and snapped up the last remaining spot on the upper lock wall.  Also tied up at the wall were Betty and Bill on the trawler “Betty B”, a  40 foot Mainship.  We had met them at Waterford, NY too.  So now there were six members of the original “Waterford High Water Yacht Club”.  A potluck dinner was loosely organized and at 7 pm, the picnic tables were slid together and the culinary extravaganza commenced.  I prepared a large pot of my special recipe Chicken Noodle soup.  I probably shouldn’t brag, but it was delicious and seemed to be enjoyed by everyone.  Others brought pasta salads, rice dishes, potato salad, shrimp cocktails, baked salmon, and the like.  It was fun.

  Bill kindled the fire pit for a beautiful bonfire.  We sat around and chatted until the mosquitoes won the territorial battle.  Even the visiting bats couldn’t rid the place of all the pesky biters.


          The plan to make the first locking was soon altered as the rains continued through most of the night.  Betty B was determined to press on and left in the showery morning.  The rest of us decided that this was a very nice place to sit and wait for more pleasant weather.  It was mostly drizzle interrupted by occasional light rain showers.  We had the pleasure of watching the Kiwartha Voyager lock through on it way down.

        After lunch, the skies were rapidly clearing and we decided to lower the dinghy for some exploration of the little lakes and bays.  Dan and Cindy took Ivor and Susan in their aluminum fishing boat.

  Judy and I could zip around in the RIB (Rigid Inflatable Boat) to our hearts content.  Together, we explored the first remote bay.  We wove a sinuous course around shallows and rocky areas far into the little bay.  As we turned back from the navigation limit, the others decided to try their luck fishing.  Judy and I sped off to explore more and varied sights.  The dinghy is fast and covers lots of area quite quickly.  Of course, we would proceed very slowly through the narrow, hazard-ridden portions of these remote waters.

  At times, you get the feeling that you might be the first and only people in all these parts.  Soon, however, those thoughts give way to numerous little cottages and summer homes.  All are very beautiful in their own rustic way.

       The others continued fishing as Judy and I returned to the “Mother-Ship”.  After a refreshing swim in the clear, cool water, we loaded up the boat and commenced cocktail hour.  The fishing party returned with a stringer of only two fish, a nice Pike and a smaller Bass.

  Their plans for dinner started with the cleaning fish duty.  Susan fried up the fillets and some hushpuppies.

  Judy and I opted for our own dinner on the sundeck featuring British “Banger” sausages, herb mashed potatoes, and applesauce.  The others enjoyed the “catch of the day”.

       The girls took an evening swim while the fellows talked boat stuff.  We always seem to have fun both when we are together by ourselves or together with our friends.


     AMARSE was poised for the first locking with a 47 foot drop in elevation.  This was the largest single operation, conventional lock in the system.  The drop was smooth and we were on our way at 8:48 am.

  Today was our day to traverse one of the most interesting locks of the trip.  It is not really a lock in the conventional sense.  It is really a unique devise that loads the boats on to a submerged railway car.

  The vessels are balanced on their bottom keel and held upright by large straps.  The entire railway car with the boats is hauled up and over a large hill using a huge cable system.

  The car is specially engineered using a two track arrangement that keeps the railway car level at all times.  The unit is then allowed to descend into the adjacent lake where the railway car again submerges to refloat the boats.  The straps are relaxed and the boats motor off the car and continue along their merry way.  It is a truly amazing operation and the mechanics fascinate me.

     We opted to stay at the top for several lockings to observe the devise in operation.  As the camera clicked away, our friends on Lazy Susan and Triumph made their way across.  AMARSE staged on the blue line and sequenced for our turn.  We even took a movie picture of our crossing in the railway car.  What fun….  !

      We proceeded along some beautiful waterway to arrive at Port Severn.  Our friends were waiting and help us dock AMARSE. 

      After a little local shopping for supplies, we went to dinner with Bill and Betty from “Betty B II” and Phil and Rose Stewart from “Wings”.  The special was fish n’ chips, however, it was a long way below standard.  Everything was frozen and not well prepared.  Oh well, the company was great and we had lots of fun.

07/14/06    FRIDAY     PORT SEVERN

     We lowered the dinghy in hopes of exploring the local area.  The other Loopers joined into a mini flotilla to cruise around Port Severn.  The waters around here are full of partially submerged rocks just waiting to catch your propeller or worse.  These large chunks of granite are called “awash rocks”.  They are often marked with a simple plastic jug or float marker.  Some enterprising folks have ingeniously marked some of these hazards in a unique way.  They placed an old “washing machine” on them as markers.  Like, “a wash” rock?  Get it?

    Judy and I decided to expand our area.  We had joked about taking the dinghy back to Big Chute and ride the railway car lock in the dinghy.  We thought, “why Not?”  Off we went in search of adventure.  The scenery was lovely as we sped toward Big Chute.  At the railway lock, we docked the dinghy and walked around observing the operations of the huge railway car.  Fascinated once again, we marveled at the workings of this unique transport system.

  The lockmaster said that we could take the dinghy if we paid the minimum fee of $10.80.  Now, tell me, where else could you get that much adventure for that much money?  We loaded aboard and soon we were underway for the upbound transfer to the lake above.

  We may have been the smallest boat around, but we had huge fun.

     After departing the railway car, we zipped up the lake toward a place I had wanted to visit but had to bypass on the way here in AMARSE.  The “Lost Channel” is a spectacularly scenic waterway that meanders off the main route and leads to a semi wilderness area through narrow, rocky passages.  When we reached the small bay several miles up, we found two of our friends, anchored in the peacefulness.  “Little T” and “WyLaWay”, two nearly identical Roseborough 25’s, had found Nirvana for the night’s rest.  We chatted for a while then headed back toward the railway lock at Big Chute.  We refueled the dinghy gas tank at Big Chute Marina.  For those still complaining about gas prices in the States, consider the plight of the Canadian gas prices in excess of $5 per gallon.  Expensive, Yes, but I’m not complaining because this trip is so very wonderful and so very enjoyable that expense is pretty well down the list of concerns.

     We were placed in the railway lock with a bunch of large boats.  We were dwarfed in size and much of the view was blocked but we enjoyed the return trip once again.

     It was now Friday afternoon and many of the weekend boaters were already out and about.  The waters were somewhat choppy from the numerous boat wakes.  We jounced and bounced as we zipped along at the dinghy’s top speed.  As we returned to AMARSE at Port Severn, we suspected that we would be the only Loopers to have ever traversed the Big Chute Railway Lock in a dinghy.  I think we have convinced our friends that we are truly “Nuts”.


       Today was a windy day with periods of intermittent rain.  We decided that we would not proceed unless we had to.  The very nice lockmaster allowed us special dispensation from the two day limit due to the weather conditions.  The skies did clear a bit, however, the winds remained strong.  Several of us spent a lot of time helping approaching boaters handle their lines as they attempted to lock through.  We were quite content to remain securely attached to the dock walls.

      Judy worked on the brightwork.  Several areas had worn through from chafe caused by the fender lines and dock lines.  She sanded and varnished numerous spots to protect the wood from further wear and discoloration.  She is so good.

      Judy and Cindy splashed about like a couple of kids.  The water is so clear and the temperature is comfortable in the high 70’s.

      Dinner on board AMARSE was excellent once again.  Seems we always have our best meals on board.  Of course, we enjoyed numerous hours just visiting with our friends and fellow Loopers.



  As you can see, we are still in Canada.  My Verizon AirCard that operates my computer internet will not operate in Canada.  We will be sending this out when we can find a WiFi hotspot.  These locations are few and far between.  Our internet capability will be extremely limited for close to two months.  This may be the last update for a while.  If and when I can, I will post what is available.

   Judy’s phone will be out of service in Canada.  Fred’s phone will be available throughout the trip in Canada.  I have North American Service and hopefully it will be OK.  We can be reached at 210-296-4933.  Please call us if you like, ‘Eh.


"AMARSE".  is pronounced "AM-ARE-SAY".  Our website is:   www.amarse.net   .

Check it out while we will attempt to keep you informed via email

  We would like to hear more about what is happening in your lives.  Let us know as we very interested in what’s going on with our friends and family.  Please DO email us with your thoughts and comments and ideas too.  Thanks

Lot of Love,

Fred Reed and Judy Law