A very busy boating day on a busy long weekend in August. This was filmed during our return trip homeward to Lake Simcoe, coming back from Georgian Bay. Location is at the top side of Lock #42, Couchiching Lock, of Ontario’s 240 mile long Trent Severn Waterway.
The weather had been forecast for strong winds and potentially heavy thunderstorms, so we were eager to get back to our home port before the worst of it hit. As luck would have it, we made it back mere minutes before a big storm rolled through! Click on this link to see what that looked like, as well as more footage from this part of the trip – https://youtu.be/2GslNAotBh4
Be sure to visit us at http://BoatsBeachesAndBars.com/video_store.html for information on purchasing our exclusive Trent Severn Waterway feature DVD/Blu-ray that takes you from the beginning at ‘Mile Zero’ in Trenton, Ontario, and through to Port Severn at the north west end at Georgian Bay. Take in the beauty and adventure as we cruise all 240 miles of the highly diverse waterways and see the many wonders of the world’s highest lift locks, take a ride over North America’s only marine railway, visit the communities along the way and so much more!
Look for our other DVD productions including travels through Florida, the Rideau Canal, Erie Canal & more. Please keep up to date at http://BoatsBeachesAndBars.com for latest information!
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Have you ever guided your boat up a gigantic elevator? Rode over North America’s only marine railway? Cruised past granite formations almost as old as the earth itself? Well, have I got a boating destination for you! Discover all of these, and more, diverse boating experiences along Ontario, Canada’s historic Trent-Severn Waterway.
Overnight stay at Rosedale Lock, one of 44 locks along the system.
A Long Way To Go
Starting on eastern Lake Ontario at Trenton, Ontario, this fascinating inland route extends in a north-westerly direction to Port Severn where the Severn River flows into Lake Huron’s Georgian Bay. A series of interconnected lakes, rivers and canals takes one through ever changing vistas that range from pastoral farmland to the rugged outcroppings of the Precambrian Shield.
Take in the wind swept pines on the Severn River, or wave to the cows as you pass almost within reach on the Talbot portion. Drop a hook in Rice Lake to catch a prize bass, walleye or muskie. Quaint towns and bustling cities provide places to tie up to, do some shopping or go for dinner – all at a speed that matches your mood.
Boaters can travel end to end, or enter from many points all along the system. Whichever direction one heads, they can find their way to the Great Lakes and Atlantic Ocean beyond. This makes virtually the whole world accessible from – and to – the Trent Severn Waterway. For those of us fortunate enough to live along the waterway, this opens up access to essentially endless destinations beyond our home waters.
A gorgeous morning to be cruising on the Trent Severn Waterway.
History in The Making
With an overall length of 240 miles (386 km), it features 44 locks, including the two highest lift locks in the world. Travelers can also experience two sets of flight locks and one marine railway – the only one of its kind in North America. Taking 87 years to complete, this engineering feat began way back in 1833 with construction of the first lock at the popular tourist town of Bobcaygeon.
As many of the waters are at varying elevations, a progression of locks was built over time to allow vessels to overcome these obstacles and travel the system from end to end. In fact, boaters transiting from Lake Ontario are raised a total 596 feet (182m) to the summit at Balsam Lake. From there, the descent is 262 feet (80m) back down to Georgian Bay.
Transition From The Early Years
Initially built to accommodate water powered mills and the movement of timbers cut by local logging companies, by the time the waterway was completed it’s original purpose as transportation corridor had been overshadowed by an expanding railway network, as well as the increased reliance on the automobile. What was once a loose amalgamation of varying interests is now a unified canal system operated by Parks Canada, its importance being recognized as a designated National Historic Site Of Canada.
Boaters share this beautiful resource with local and long term cruisers, as well as cottagers, fishermen and even the occasional rental houseboat. As an integral part of the ‘America’s Great Loop’, one can swap stories with those fortunate souls making the year long journey through the American mid-west, Gulf of Mexico, Eastern Seaboard and central Great Lakes region – with the Trent-Severn Waterway playing a vital link in that journey.
Have look at the introduction to our ‘Cruising The Trent Severn Waterway’ video production. This 76 minute long feature is now available both as a DVD/Blu-ray combo pack, or a convenient digital download. Feel free to visit our site at TheWaterway.ca for more information on the video, as well as the entire Trent Severn Waterway.
In the next installment, we will explore the Trent Region and the communities from Trenton through to Peterborough.
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Georgian Bay is renown for the number of shipwrecks that are not only extremely well preserved, but also the fact that many lie very close to the surface. The cool and clear waters are perfect for keeping the remains of the mostly wood constructed vessels in such a good state of preservation.
The combined result has been the establishment of Canada’s first underwater national park. Located near Tobermory, Ontario, where Georgian Bay meets Lake Huron, Fathom Five National Park includes many natural and cultural highlights, including the wrecks of over thirty ships, making it popular with the diving crowd.
For those of us that are more familiar with the eastern reaches of ‘The Bay’, or who don’t necessarily want to don full scuba gear, the Thirty Thousand region holds many treasures of it’s own. Located not far from the ‘world famous’ Henry’s Fish Restaurant in Sans Souci, sits Wreck Island. An easy dinghy ride from Henry’s, one can easily discover the remains of the paddle wheel ship, ‘Waubuno’, which was lost in a gale on the night of November 22, 1879.
The side wheel steamer ‘Waubuno’. Photo credit: southchannel.org
Although the specific reason for the ship’s loss was never determined, the overriding factor on that fateful day was the brutal weather. From all reports, a gale force wind was howling, with heavy snow thrown into the mix. Anyone who has ventured onto this part of Georgian Bay on a windy day quickly realize that this body of water is not to be taken lightly. With it’s full on exposure to the prevailing west winds, modern day boaters’ understand to be aware of conditions that are know to change quickly. I could only imagine what those poor souls aboard the Waubuno were thinking on that dark November night. . .
Speaking of that day, November 22nd is also marks the date that U.S. president John F. Kennedy was assassinated in 1963. For that reason, I’m able to quickly recollect both tragic events.
Current Resting Place
The ship had set out from Collingwood, at Georgian Bay’s southern shore, and was destined for Parry Sound, roughly 50 miles northeast. An historical plaque resides in ‘Anchor Park’ in Parry Sound to commemorate the loss.
Historical plaque in Parry Sound, Ontario.
This anchor, which was recovered in 1959, is located next to the historical plaque in the park. It’s interesting to consider how many people pass right by this anchor without knowing any of the history, or how accessible the wreck is today.
The recovered anchor.
On to the wreck site. Another bit of irony for those of you taking notes – the wreck is actually just off of ‘Bradden Island’ and not Wreck Island itself. Wreck Island is actually just a bit to the south.
We took our dinghy over for a look see and to take some pics and video to share. At the time of our visit, the remains were clearly visible just below the surface.
The remains of the Waubuno’s hull are easily visible form the surface.
I was amazed to see how much has survived after 130 + years;
Amazing how much still survives
How Did it Get There?
Looking back westward from the wreck site towards the open Bay, one can see the two giant rocks that protect the remains from the full fury of Georgian Bay.
So, how did it get here, you ask? Remember that the water level has dropped roughly five feet (!!) in the past 20 – 25 years, so the conditions depicted in these photos would have been quite different from 1879. The storm gale that caused it’s demise would have resulted in a storm surge of three – five feet or more, so the ship would have been able to easily clear (or be pounded over) those rocks back in the day.
These giant rocks now protect the ship’s remains.
Being is such close proximity of this place gave us both chills. The ship carried 24 passengers and crew, yet no bodies were ever recovered. Makes one think about whatever became of them.
Here’s some underwater video I was able to capture with my GoPro camera. This really helps to illustrate how much remains intact;