Doing the Loop in GH 3

A retired couple from the midwest set off sailing the Loop in June 2016. They travel about 2400 miles on a 1999 Hunter 260 sailboat, "GH3". Beginning Jan. 2017, they continue the journey on their newly purchased 2008 Catalina 320 MK II sailboat.

Vessel Name: Bucket List
Vessel Make/Model: Catalina 320 MK II
Hailing Port: St. Louis, Missouri
Crew:
About:
22 November 2017
13 July 2017 | Port Severn, Ontario
11 July 2017 | Hyde Park, New York
30 June 2017 | Waterford, New York
28 June 2017 | Oswago, New York
01 June 2017 | Statue of Liberty, New York Harbor
14 May 2017 | Waterside Marina - Norfork, VA
23 April 2017 | Morehead City, North Carolina ... Mile Marker 203.6
07 April 2017 | Beaufort, South Carolina
27 March 2017 | Jekyll Island, Georgia
18 March 2017 | Anchorage on ICW adjacent to Cape Canaveral
13 March 2017 | Ft. Pierce City Marina
04 March 2017 | Old Bahama Bay
16 February 2017 | Lighthouse Point, Florida
13 February 2017 | 30 Miles East of Marathon
19 January 2017 | Cape Coral, Florida
17 January 2017 | Dunedin Municipal Marina, Dunedin, Florida
31 December 2016 | Dunedin Municipal Marina, Dunedin, Florida
06 December 2016 | Carrabelle, Florida
29 November 2016 | St. Andrews Marina, Panama City, Florida
Recent Blog Posts
22 November 2017

Wrap Up

We successfully transited all 208 miles of the Trent Severn Waterway. Once through the Big Chute Railway - we were quickly in Lake Huron / Georgian Bay.

13 July 2017 | Port Severn, Ontario

Tales from the Trent Severn Waterway

"Roses are Red, Violets are Blue. We finished the Trent Severn Waterway; only 356 miles yet to Do!!!" T. Grass

11 July 2017 | Hyde Park, New York

CIA

30 June 2017 | Waterford, New York

Kids in the Cockpit

"Grandparent doesn't mean that you have gray hair and stay home cooking cakes for your grandchildren." Carine Roitfeld

28 June 2017 | Oswago, New York

NY State Canals

"Fifteen Miles on the Erie Canal" from Erie Canal Song

01 June 2017 | Statue of Liberty, New York Harbor

Our Slice of the BIG APPLE

"I say goodbye to all my sorrows And by tomorrow I'll be on my way. I guess the Lord must be in New York City." Lyrics to The Lord must live in New York City, Harry Nilsson

Wrap Up

22 November 2017
We successfully transited all 208 miles of the Trent Severn Waterway. Once through the Big Chute Railway - we were quickly in Lake Huron / Georgian Bay.

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Tales from the Trent Severn Waterway

13 July 2017 | Port Severn, Ontario
"Roses are Red, Violets are Blue. We finished the Trent Severn Waterway; only 356 miles yet to Do!!!" T. Grass

We never heard of the Trent Severn Waterway (TSW) until we started researching America's Great Loop 11 years ago.

Entrance to the Trent Severn -


Geographically speaking, it is a series of natural rivers and lakes connected by man-made locks and canals, stretching from Trenton, Ontario on the edge of Lake Ontario to Port Severn on the edge of Lake Huron. Mathematically speaking, it is 240 statute miles of waterway which includes 35 locks going upward and 9 locks going downward. It begins at an elevation of 243 feet above sea level at Trenton and peaks at an elevation of 840 feet above sea level at Balsam Lake and ends at an elevation of 576 feet above sea level. Artistically speaking, the TSW includes incredible natural beauty and manmade marvels, such as the Peterborough Lift Lock, The Kirkfield Lift Lock and The Big Chute Marine Railway Personally speaking, the people on the TSW are amazingly generous, helpful, and outgoing. This includes citizens of towns, boaters and employees of Parks Canada. But this does not tell the whole story of the TSW. Emotionally speaking, it includes enough skinny water, raging currents, and narrow rock-lined channels to turn Tracy's knuckles white and cause Tom to nearly grind his teeth.




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CANAL LAKE
Canal Lake is a small man-made body of water near the Port Severn end of the TSW. It is about 5 miles long and one mile wide. Boaters have reported significant difficulty transiting Canal Lake. It is a part of the TSW that cannot be avoided. There are no other options, no detours available. We actually lost sleep thinking about transiting Canal Lake.

The chart on our iPad shows that Canal Lake has a 5 mile long, well-marked, narrow, shallow channel about 40 feet wide with water depth varying from 4.0 feet to 9.0 feet in the channel. "Cruising the Trent-Severn Waterway" by Skipper Bob tells us that Canal Lake has shallows, submerged deadheads (water logged wood lurking below the surface for decades), and heavy weed growth. He recommends traveling slowly and not following another boat closely. Our friends on Endeavor travelled Canal Lake at the end of June. They reported stopping 5 times in 5 miles and anchoring to clear weeds from prop and rudders. Our friends on Living Life travelled Canal Lake at the beginning of July. They reported that their boat was entangled with a mass of thick weeds. They were prepared to tow their sailboat with their dinghy when a kind local boater offered to tow them across Canal Lake behind his pontoon boat. Our friends on Tranquility 2 travelled Canal Lake a few days later with less difficulty. As we exited the last lock just prior to Canal Lake, we asked the lockmaster what he had heard about Canal Lake. He said, "Canal Lake is always very shallow and very weedy. We stopped for a few minutes to talk to 2 sailors who had just crossed Canal Lake going the opposite direction on a Catalina 27 with a 4 foot draft. They reported that they went aground when they were in the channel but off to one side of the channel. One of them went swimming and stood in muddy weedy water up to his chest while he pushed their sailboat back into deeper water in the center of the channel. All report that safely transiting Canal Lake requires travelling in the center of the channel and a willingness to swim and cut weeds, as needed.

We entered the northeast end of Canal Lake early on Monday, July 10. Tom was at the helm with a swim suit and sharp knife close by. Tracy was sitting as lookout on the bow. They had a 4 foot 4 inch draft below them and an inboard motor with a prop well below the water surface which would require a swimmer to clear if entangled with weeds. Their Yanmar engine would overheat if the strainer clogged with weeds. Tom was prepared to drop anchor and clear the strainer, rudder or prop, as needed. We were braced to face whatever challenges lay ahead. Tom engaged the throttle just above idle speed steering Bucket List between the buoys in the deepest water shown on the iPad. He kept a close eye on the engine temperature gauge for any sign of overheating. Tracy sat on the bow reporting the location of upcoming buoys and let Tom know when they were in the center of the channel. She noted the green sheen of weed grown at the water surface just outside the channel. She also saw shredded weeds 2-5 inches in length floating on the water in the channel. As they approached the Hole in the Wall Bridge near the end of Canal Lake, Tom reported the shallowest water yet.

Hole in the Wall Bridge across Canal Lake where Bucket List dodged a bullet!



The depth finder showed 4.1 feet of water, but our 4.4 inch keel kept moving forward. We felt that the depth finder must be "reading" the tops of the weeds, not the mud at the bottom. After two hours of suspenseful travel, we reached the southwest end of Canal Lake without having to swim or clear the strainer. We encountered no deadheads. We attribute this success to our strategy of going slowly and staying in the deepest water. We also attribute our success to boaters who went before us. Their props mowed the weeds below the surface so that we could safely transit Canal Lake.


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OVERHEATING ENGINE
A sailboat motor which overheats is every bit as serious as a car engine overheating.



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TRADITIONAL LOCKS OF THE TRENT SEVERN WATERWAY

We went through 41 traditional locks on the TSW. The day prior to entering the Trent Severn Waterway, we rode our bicycles up to the first lock to have a look.



Working manual gates on one of the TSW Locks



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MANMADE MARVELS ON THE TRENT SEVERN WATERWAY

Three amazing examples of Canadian engineering make it worth the trip to the Trent Severn all by themselves.

#1. The Peterborough Lift Lock

Here is how the Lift Lock appears at its base.




Here is how it appears at the top.





Approaching the Peterborough Lift Lock





#2. The Kirkfield Lift Lock
What it looks like leaving the OTHER Hydraulic Lock on the TSW


Here is what it looks like in one of the "containers" filled with boats riding the lift lock down to the next level.





#3. The Big Chute Marine Railway

The Blue Line is where you wait to transit the lock (or in this case the Marine Railway)


Here is what it looks like entering the Big Chute from Bucket List




Here is a video of the Big Chute in action - with other boats.


Here is what it looks like Riding Bucket List over the Big Chute.






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NATURAL BEAUTY ON THE TRENT SEVERN WATERWAY

One of the smaller towns on the TSW is Campbellford.


Natural Beauty on Lock #30 - one of two locks on the system accessible only by boat.


... and the raging flow of water over the dam at Lock #30


Relaxing at Healey Falls



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Kim Russo we met in Trenton at the beginning of the TSW


Our Canadian Looper Friends


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CIA

11 July 2017 | Hyde Park, New York

Kids in the Cockpit

30 June 2017 | Waterford, New York
"Grandparent doesn't mean that you have gray hair and stay home cooking cakes for your grandchildren." Carine Roitfeld

Tom and Tracy have the great good fortune to not only have four grandchildren but have the opportunity to have spent time with three of them on their sailboat. After seeing a picture of two grandchildren with them on part of The Loop on Facebook, their friend Thorsten said, "I have been proud of you (for doing the Loop), but now I am jealous (of having grandchildren along)."

THE PAST: In June of 2016, Tom and Tracy's oldest grandchild, Will, spent a memorable week with them on their sailboat on Lake Michigan. His favorite memory is hiking on Power Island in Grand Traverse Bay with Grandma and Grandpa.

Will with Grandma in June - 2016 in Grand Traverse Bay, Michigan



THE FUTURE: In June of 2017, arrival of their fourth grandchild was cause for much happiness and hope that she too will sail with them one day.

Amelia with Grandma


Amelia with Grandpa


THE PRESENT: In June of 2017, Cole and Abby spent several days on Bucket List with Grandma and Grandpa on The Hudson River and The Erie Canal.
THEY FOUND OUT THAT THERE IS A LOT TO DO ON A SAILBOAT!

Kid Captain watching a train.



Cole and Abby on Duty


Airplane on The Hudson (getting ready to take off ... )


Kid Captain at the wheel of Bucket List


Canal Princess reporting as Ordered


Canal Princess taking a well deserved break


HOW SPECIAL TO HAVE A BIRTHDAY ON A SAILBOAT!

An actual video of the Cake Making Process on Bucket List ...



Cole and Abby making her YEAR 5 Birthday Cake!!!



Abby's cake in Bucket List oven. Note - our Previous boat GH3 did NOT have an oven. This IS special!


And the final result ... Making a birthday wish!


THERE IS SO MUCH TO LEARN ON A SAILBOAT!

Like seeing a lock and learning how it works. We took a walk up to the first lock to see what we could learn about how it works and what it does.

Erie Canal Lock #2


Erie Canal Diversion Channel


Erie Canal Lock Controls - These controls must be 50 years old at least ... but they still work!


Erie Canal Lock Filling


THEN WE TRAVELLED THOUGH A SERIES OF LOCKS.

Now we understand that a lock uses water to act like an elevator lifting or lowering boats.

Entering an Erie Canal Lock.


HOW SPECIAL JUST TO BE TOGETHER ON A SAILBOAT WITH PEOPLE YOU LOVE!

Grandma and Cole


Grandma and Abby


Cole and Abby with Grandma


Bucket List Crew


Grandpa with Cole and Abby


IT SEEMS THAT ALL GOOD THINGS MUST END.
Abby and Cole were happy to be back home with their parents and their brother.

Grandkids back home


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NY State Canals

28 June 2017 | Oswago, New York
"Fifteen Miles on the Erie Canal" from Erie Canal Song





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Our Slice of the BIG APPLE

01 June 2017 | Statue of Liberty, New York Harbor
"I say goodbye to all my sorrows And by tomorrow I'll be on my way. I guess the Lord must be in New York City." Lyrics to The Lord must live in New York City, Harry Nilsson

Credit for our cover picture of Bucket List sailing rapidly under jib only toward the Statue of Liberty in NY Harbor goes to Andrew T. on Tranquility 2. He also took the video below of Bucket List sailing toward the Statue of Liberty.

How awesome to sail in NY Harbor and then proceed up the Hudson River.
The following images of New York Harbor and The Hudson River speak for themselves!

We approached the Verrazano Narrows Bridge and New York Harbor motoring not far behind our friends, Andrew and Jack, on Tranquility 2.


Sailing into NYC Harbor with Tranquility 2 with an extra push from an incoming tidal current.



Approaching Lady Liberty


Lady Liberty at Night.
This photo was taken from our anchorage just behind the Statue of Liberty. We stayed just outside the security perimeter so that the grumpy security boat would not have to come yell at us.


Liberty in Daylight.
We got this picture of the Statue of Liberty from our sailboat in NY Harbor!


Anchorage Behind Liberty Island


Watching the movie Sully while anchored in NY Harbor.
This was especially fun because Sully landed a commercial plane on the Hudson River not far from where we were anchored.


NYC Harbor at Night


NYC Skyline - daylight.
The New York City skyline is impressive by day or by night, to be sure. It is even more impressive when viewed from the deck of your own sailboat in New York Harbor.


Freedom Tower with Green Spire.
On the evening of June 1,2017, we caught this photo in which the spire on the top of the Freedom Tower was illuminated green as a political protest over Trump pulling the US put of the Paris Climate Accord of 2015.


Ellis Island


Le Grand Bleu.
This private yacht, one of the largest in the world, was anchored in NY Harbor. It is an impressive 374 feet long and boasts two 4570 horse power engines. Near the rear of the boat you will notice a 73 foot sailboat on the deck with its own crane to launch it. The sailboat on the deck is more than twice the length of our sailboat. Out of sight on the other side of this motor yacht is a 68 foot power boat with its own launching crane. Quite a sight to see.


At the insistence of our older son, we took the train from Croton-Harmon into NYC for the day. Andrew showed us how to use our iPad to take mass transit. So we planned to take Line 5 of the subway to ground zero. Unfortunately, Line 5 was not operating that day, so we had a great time walking the streets of NYC instead.

Metro to NYC


Ceiling - Grand Central Station


Bloom's Deli
We enjoyed an old school lunch at the traditional Bloom's Deli on Lexington Ave. Several walls were covered with photos of the many celebrities who have eaten there...no one took our photo.


Empire State Building as seen from the sidewalk on 5th Avenue


Empire State Building - the TOP as seen from the observation deck.



NYC going to the Birds


Tappan Zee Bridge
The north end of NY Harbor is framed with this bridge. At the foot of the bridge is an older small red lighthouse which was the subject of a children's book, "The Little Red Lighthouse and the Great Gray Bridge" by Hildegarde Swift. This book was read on TV by Captain Kangaroo and enjoy by Tom in the 1950s.


Sing Sing.
Maximum security prison which we prefer not to see any closer than this.


West Point. US Army Academy.



Preview of CIA from the Hudson. A few days after seeing this building from our boat on the Hudson River, we attend a cooking class at this famous culinary institute.














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Bucket List's Photos - Leaving on the Loop (Main)
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Loop Adventure in Beaver Island, LeLand and Frankfort dealing with high winds
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