Whew! It has been a busy past few days. Our time in Midland has seemed like a blur; as we had a laundry list of items to complete on the boat to prep it for entering the Trent-Severn Waterway. I think that we spent almost 10 hours a day working on things each day we were here.
Midland is a fantastic little town though. And fortunately, we were able to explore a little each night. We had two memorable meals while in town that are worth mentioning if anyone ever makes there way up to the area. Lilly’s Italian Restaurant and The Explorers Cafe were beyond our expectations. The service was great and the food was even better. And, all this is from a small-small town of only ~30,000 people (including combined outlying cities and towns). It was definitely 4-4.5 star dining and it felt like we could have been in any large city around the globe. Pretty good stuff!
On Thursday morning we had an 8am appointment to get our mast stepped. It’s about a 4 hour process that will remove our mast, boom, headsail furler, and all rigging/components from the boat. I hate to see our ability to sail go away; for it’s actually sailing the boat that I find the most enjoyable. However, our chosen path will not allow for any sailing. And, with our mast up, we wouldn’t be able to clear even the tallest bridge in the waterway system. Bummer!
Here are some before and after photos of the stepping process:
The team at Bay Port Marina was excellent. Their excellence begins when you arrive with all the people at your check-in, the facilities they provide, their service work, and the fact that they will pretty much do anything for you (like give you rides to and from town for groceries or dining). It was just surreal. I only got to meet a handful of the people, but Brian, James, Ben, and Kathleen go down in my book as some of the best people in the business. And, we’ve seen a lot of marinas along our way thus far! Thank you again to the Bay Port team for all of your help throughout our transition.
Getting underway was a little goofy. We’re so used to all of the rigging; and now, it’s nothing. In essence, we are a long, low, and slow powerboat. We placed the dinghy on the coachroof because we didn’t want to completely get rid of our ability to use it. But, we soon realized that it was going to hinder our ability to see while navigating. This became an even more real problem later in the day when we were navigating through some super narrow (16ft wide…boat is 14ft wide) buoys through a bridge entrance. It’s a problem when the helmsman can’t see the other side of his boat!
Coming through the tiny and shallow, minefield ridden route to Port Severn was nerve racking. We didn’t hit anything, but the shallow water and narrow margin for error on either side is just stressful. My dad was at the helm and I sat with the paper charts and my eyes glued to the chart plotter relaying depth, course direction, and a what’s next agenda buoy after buoy. I really hope that this isn’t a preview of what’s to come. It was some beautiful scenery, but I wasn’t able to enjoy any of it because of the necessity to relay our chart data.
We arrived at the South side of the lock entrance of Port Severn with just a little bit of excitement. The lock entrance has two sides. There’s a blue side and a grey side. Blue means that you intend to lock through immediately. Grey means that you’re just going to hang out for a while. Coming into the grey side, there are many ominous looking rocks just to the outside of its outer edge. Trying to steer the boat while I was forward readying fenders and dock lines, my dad got a little panicked as our depth plunged from 15ft to 6ft in an instant. He thought that we were headed for rocks! Thankfully, we were able to tie up to the grey wall without incident.
Once tied up, we both breathed a sigh of relief and I high-fived my dad for a successful day of navigating and docking. It was a good feeling. Something accomplished to have made it this far. But, we’ve only just begun!
I was even able to capture a great video of the entire lock process when we were registering the boat. Pretty neat stuff!!