Monday, March 28, 2011

No Shoes, No Shirt, No Problems :-)

As we are still suffering through the LAST bit of winter's cold, I felt inspired to put together some warming clips of tropical Florida to heat things up!

 This is a compilation of some video I took down in Fort Lauderdale in February. And yes, those are private boats you are seeing. . .

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Our New Boat Delivery - Home Again

May I present the final part of our Great Adventure, delivering our new boat home from Michigan to Lake Simcoe in Ontario, Canada.

 I know it's only taken me the whole winter to get it posted, but this was the hardest part of the trip - actually getting home and calling it a day. I tell ya, when we did get back to our marina and eventually left for home (our house, that is), it sure was tough. After dreaming, hoping, working for and finally realizing the dream - not to mention the fun and excitement of driving the Big Boy nearly 700 miles all the way from another country, through mostly brand new waters to us - it was difficult to walk away :-(

 But, go home we did. After all, that was the point of the trip, right?

 See, I feel better about it already :-)

Leaving our anchorage of the previous two nights, we were back on the main Small Craft Route heading south.
 Here is 'Water Wings' approaching the turn at O'Donnell Point in the clear morning sunshine. What a beautiful day;

Rounding the big marker on the point of O'Donnell Point;

On the way down, we took a little side trip through a place called 'Indian Harbour' to see what it looked like. Very pretty with the rocks on shore being very smooth as they rise out of the water;

The route is very well marked, but, as with any ventures on the water, one must be careful to stay on the correct path.
 A couple we know from our marina had been coming to this very spot for a number of years but ended up hitting bottom here two seasons ago. When I say hit bottom, I mean they hit with such force that one out-drive was badly damaged and the other one was sheared completely off!! The result? An abbreviated holiday and a $12,000 insurance claim. . .

This guy is known as 'The Hitchhiker';

The 'Big Boy' on The Bay;

The Picnic Island store at Honey Harbour can mean only one thing - we are close to the end of our time on Georgian Bay for another year :-(

 If we study this photo closely, two things become apparent; First, we can see the highway 69 bridge in the distance making this the approach to the first lock of the Trent Severn Waterway at Port Severn.
 Second, we can see the anxious look of trepidation on the face of my lovely wife who is not looking forward to taking this big boat through ANY lock for the first time.
 Can't imagine why. . .

 Oh ya, this is why.
 Clearly, the up-bound channel to the lock under the bridge is very narrow and the current that tends to push the boat's bow from side to side is always a treat.
 You'll be happy to learn that I managed to stay on course through here, but landing the boat on the lock wall didn't go quite as smoothly. The result was a HIGHLY animated 'discussion' between the Captain and First Mate.
 I swear that the lock walls are still ringing!

 Fast forward two hours and we are quietly, calmly secured to the dock at the five star Rawley Resort (and they even let people like us in);

 Anchor Girl patiently wates for me to get a shot of  our boats;

Walking over to the restaurant for dinner;


Mmmmmm, desert time;

You don't wanna mess with this guy's cake ;-)

'Boogaboo IV' climbs aboard the Big Chute Marine Railway for the very first time;

With the boats all settled in, the big machine starts it's upward trek;

Geez, it almost looks like I ain't got no pants on;

 I know that there's allot of boaters who are apprehensive of going over 'The Chute', but after passing through all but one of the 43 locks on the Trent Severn Waterway, I can tell you that this one is by far the easiest and least stressful of them all.
For those of you who haven't seen my previous posts of this technological wonder, here's the view from inside the boat, as we travel up the hill;

And, as yet another bonus feature, some video of our ride;

Looking back;

And a zoomed in shot of the Water Wings crew waiting on the blue line for their turn;

The next lock is Swift Rapids, which has the highest average 'lift' of 47' (the distance that the boats are lifted or lowered) of any of the conventional locks on the system;

Passing through the MacDonald Cut;

Next stop is the last lock before home;

'Boogaboo IV' & 'Water Wings' inside of Lock #42 (Couchiching Lock);

Our home for the night, on the blue line;

The entire crew of 'Docked Wages' had come up for the night & met us here;

The three boats on the wall;

Wevvy & Jason come over to take a peek at the new boat;

Jason entertains us with one of his fishing stories;

Final day on the water for this trip as we pass through The Narrows, between Lakes Couchiching and Simcoe;

Crossing over the lake to our home port, Lake Simcoe gives the Big Boy an appropriate welcome;

Arriving at the gas dock to see where they was gonna put us. Ultimately, we ended up docking right here for the balance of the season while the marina operators figured out what to do with us.
 I know some of you probably had a few ideas of your own, but . . .
 To top things off, the 'Docked Wages' crew were in the midst of upgrading to a much bigger boat and needed a place to keep it as well. . .

The chart-plotter shows the final tally of 662.4 statute miles traveled on this great adventure;

Total Trip Time: 25 days
Total Distance Covered: 662.4 Miles
Fuel Consumed: Don't Ask
Result: A Dream Come True!!

Now, all we need is a new slip . . .

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Boating Parry Sound, South on Georgian Bay

Hey! What's happen to the Rotten Row site?!?!?
 Well, I've noticed that most of you visit this Blog by clicking on the link from the site, but, as you must be well aware by now, there ain't nothing new going up there.
 ALL the newest stuff happens here. So, I simply made it so you are redirected to this place when attempting to visit
Don't worry, the old site is still there. If you want top delve into the past fun, just follow the new link at the top of this page. . . .

Happy first day of Spring!!!
Another winter has come & gone, I'm happy to report :-)

 This is the next to last posting from our Big Adventure, one that took us and our new Sea Ray Sedan Bridge from Michigan to Lake Simcoe over a three and half week period of traveling the waterways . . .

 After spending a couple of days at Big Sound Marina in Parry Sound, we headed back southward with the 'Water Wings' & 'Maple Leaf' crews.

 This is the Coast Guard station at Parry Sound, located immediately to the north of Big Sound Marina;

 When visiting Parry Sound (the town), there are two routes one can take to get there. The most direct one when coming from the south (the one we have taken these past few seasons) is South Channel. The other route rounds the north side of Parry Island and leads through Parry Sound (the body of water).
 This would be the first time taking the Parry Sound/body of water route for the Boogaboo crew. I don't mean to sound like a highly seasoned traveler, but when captain Von Analus referred to the Sound as 'Big Water', we were somewhat taken aback by that pronouncement. After crossing both Lake Huron and the main part of Georgian Bay, this was akin to a day on Cooks Bay :-) Deep, yes, but BIG, not really.

Snapped this photo at the top end of the Sound (that's Killbear Provincial Park towards  the top right corner) at 1:22 pm. Clear and sunny - with some ground level clouds in the distance;

This was taken at 1:36 p.m., a mere 14 minutes later and that ground level cloud has presented itself as full on fog. These are the types of conditions that warrant that new chartplotter I got to replace the old, unreliable Raytheon unit that came with the boat;

Like I always say, it's all good so long as I can see Analus's behind.
 So to speak ;-)

These guys popped out of the fog right in front of us;

Things are clearing now as we head into a beautiful stretch called Long Sault;

Clear, sunny and hot for the rest of the trip southward;

As I mentioned in the previous post, the Georgian Queen caught up to us at this point. We were wondering how far it could proceed along this path, as the charts indicated some tight and winding passages ahead of us.
Ultimately, it turned of the route we followed and stayed more out on the open Bay. Good thing, too, as we were traveling slower & he would have been right up to us in no time;

Here's a series of shots taken through Long Sault. A really pretty passage!






Looks pretty narrow, eh?

Try it with a 14'-3" beam ;-)




As were on our way down, captain Analus decided he would try to get as close to the port hand markers as possible with his dingy in tow. Something about the running joke that if one isn't sure where to go, the best bet is to 'stay close to the green ones'. So, he did;

Four hours later, we decided to pull back into Wani Bay for the night, as the Maple Leaf crew had not got to experience this slice of heaven - and their batteries were still giving them troubles.
 At least we know that this place is Number One with Analus;

I'll toast to that!
 I tell ya, there's nothing like an ice cold beer after a day of traveling on the water;

Another beautiful sunset to cap off the day;

Look - over there . . .

Miss Ellie heads to the bow of Maple Leaf to enjoy the evening sky;

Looks like we're still Number One :-)

Yes, I do have a thing for sun sets . . .

I don't recall what song was playing, but it looks like the three of us at least knew the chorus;

Last year, we got a new camera so that Anchor Girl could capture (amongst all the other beautiful shots) some close up photos of the Loons we see along the way.
 Here's a couple of really good, clear ones she got while we were here;

This one, too;

Everyone's taking a mid day swim;

And I'm just enjoying the lovely scenery ;-)

Unfortunately, the Maple Leaf had to leave before the rest of us to get back home in the U.S., as they had learned a few days before that their garage back home had a small fire & they were anxious to get back to see the extent of the damage;

Later that afternoon, Anchor Girl & I took the dingy for a tour around some of the micro bays in the area to check out the scenery. We ended up finding our way into a great little bay that I figured we could easily get the Big Boy into for an anchorage & wondered why nobody else was anchoring in there.
 On the way out (through a different path) we spotted this sign. Pretty much tells the storey;

Take a look at this rock we saw on the way back to our boats. Looks like any other rock one would see on The Bay, right?
Look closer;

Don't that look like a cartoon duck that was painted on the rock? It wasn't - just a natural fault line shaped like it;

Now, THIS is what a real duck on a rock looks like;

Another inspirational view for the Group Of Seven artists;

That afternoon we spotted a C-130 Hercules search and rescue plane flying low and slow overhead. That's what these guys on deck were looking at - along with pretty much everyone else in this bay;

Seems the Coast Guard got a report of a cruiser on fire in the area of Starvation Bay, which was no more than a kilometer north of us;

Here's some video from the dramatic air search for the vessel;

Evening presented us with DEAD CALM waters.
A great opportunity to see all of the stuff going on below the surface. I didn't get a photo or any video of it, but Analus & I saw a Loon 'flying' through the water right behind the boats. Ya, Anchor Girl was sitting on the swim platform and the thing darted within inches of her feet, but she missed seeing it. A very cool experience!
Take a look at how far along you can see the stern anchor line;

What is Analus looking for?

He's looking for another one of these big monsters!
This catfish must have been 3' long with a girth of at least 10"!

Video of the GIANT fish.
Sort of;

Not wanting to miss an opportunity of letting the Big One get away, Analus quickly got into the dingy for a few casts. Seems those big old fish are a bit smarter, as he only snagged a little guy;

Our last evening at anchor for our holidays :-(
 It sure is a wonderful experience to spend a few days and nights at anchor in a spot like this - close to nature, no traffic sounds and lots of . . . .  great memories.
 One of those great memories for me is to relive the wonderment of being able to hit a switch to fire up the genny (it exhausts underwater and is very quiet as to not disturb the neighbors) and be able to use ALL the the systems on board;

 Next time we get 'Boogaboo IV' to it's new home on Lake Simcoe.