During the summer 2012, our Can-Am Canal Tour took us from Jacksonville, Florida to Canada, for the summer. On Saturday, April 28th, we left Jacksonville and traveled 7 hours stopping in Thunderbolt GA, near Savannah. Our last night on the boat for this adventure found us at that same marina in Thunderbolt; we returned home on Wednesday, October 24th right in front of Hurricane Sandy.
On the way north we traveled along the intra-coastal waterway up to the Alligator River in Columbia NC, making stops in Savannah GA, Charleston SC, Myrtle Beach SC, Swansboro and Belhaven NC. We had our first boat problem in the Alligator River, just south of the Albemarle Sound. The coupler that connects the engine and the outdrive failed. There was no place to get it fixed there so we had to get a truck and trailer to haul us into Portsmouth VA for repairs. Things worked out ok, because we were able to attend the AGLCA Rendezvous in Norfolk, just across the river, while MemoryMaker too… was being repaired.
After the Looper Rendezvous was over in Norfolk, we spent a few weeks travelling up the Chesapeake Bay. We made stops in Deltaville VA, Urbanna VA, Solomons, and Chesapeake Beach MD. We stayed at each of these places for several days while we waited for the winds to die down. It was a windy spring; the waters on the Chesapeake Bay were very bumpy most days.
From Chesapeake Beach, MD we traveled to Delaware City, Delaware, on the eastern end of the C & D Canal. We had lots of fog on the trip from Delaware City to Cape May NJ and had fog drop down on us again on our trip from Atlantic City to the New York harbor. Cape May is where we had to make our first ocean appearance. Our ride from Cape May up to Atlantic City was good. The ocean was a little rolly, but no real problem. But, when we left Atlantic City, heading up the ocean toward the New York harbor, we had the worst day in our boating history. We had the fog lay down about 10:00 a.m., after starting the day off with a calm peaceful morning. Due to the fog, we had to slow way down. Then the wind came up and the ocean started getting a little rough. It really started bouncing us around and soon we had to deal with uncertainty as to where we were going to get out of that mess. That was capped off with some fear that we were running low on fuel. It was quite a morning! After a few hours, we managed to get some help from a couple commercial captains and get into Sandy Hook NJ. Fortunately that was really the only ‘bad’ day during the entire adventure. Once the fog finally lifted, late afternoon, we fueled and drove on through the New York harbor.
Instead of stopping at Liberty Landing in New York, we traveled on up the Hudson River and stopped at Croton on the Hudson. On Memorial Day we put our bikes on the train and rode back into NYC. We spent a very memorable day riding our bikes all over the city from Central Park to Times Square, to the Battery, and all along the river’s edge. The bike trip was really one of our highlights of the trip.
Traveling north on up the Hudson River took us through Lake Champlain and into Burlington VT…another really great town. When we left there, we cleared customs just north of Rouses Point NY and followed the Chambly Canal to the town of Sorel on the St. Lawrence Seaway, and then down to Montreal Quebec. What a wonderful city Montreal is! We so enjoyed the great biking trails and the Atwater market. After Montreal we did the Lachine and Sainte Catherine locks on the Saint Lawrence and from there we went up the Ottawa River, going through the Sainte Anne De-Bellevue and the Carillon Locks on our way to Ottawa.
Eight-step locks in Ottawa enable you to enter the Rideau Canal. When we did the loop in 2005, we missed out on doing the Rideau Canal, so for this trip we were really excited about getting to explore that area. We took about 10 days to cruise the Rideau Canal – could have spent more time! There are 47 locks on the Rideau. It was everything and more that we’d hoped for.
When we finished the Rideau, we went in search of Beauteau Boatworks on Simco Island. We needed some service and repairs. After a night on Simco Island, we headed to the Basin in Kingston Canada. We enjoyed this city when we did the loop in 2005…and we enjoyed it again this year. We then headed to Trenton, the gateway to the Trent Severn waterway. Right as we were preparing to enter the Trent Severn, we had another boating problem. We started taking on water, lots of it. MemoryMaker too…had a leak and needed to be lifted out of the water. Her engine had to be removed and a new transom plate installed. She was ‘on the hard’, out of the water, from June 27th through July 6th. During that time we were still able to spend nights on her, sitting on a boat trailer, in a corner of the marina’s dusty parking lot. The marina in Canada provided us with an extension cord so that the refrigerator could be powered, but we had no A/C or electricity for TV or anything extra. Fortunately, nights cool off enough in Canada that we were able to still rest comfortably in the boat without A/C.
When we got the boat back in the water, we headed up the Trent Severn Waterway. We spent about two weeks enjoying the locks and towns along the Trent. We arrived at the last lock in Port Severn on July 24th. There are 45 locks on the Trent Severn Waterway. Some are really spectacular, like the Big Chute and the Peterborough Lift Lock.
Plans were for us to continue out into the Georgian Bay and North Channel when we got to the end of the Trent Severn Waterway. We were going to come back into the states in Michigan and then follow the east coast of Michigan down to Lake Erie and take the Erie Canal back to the Hudson River. When we arrived at Port Severn, the last lock on the Trent Severn, there had been a problem on the Erie Canal and part of it was closed. We feared we might end up having trouble getting back home if we continued with the original planned trip. We really enjoyed the towns along the Trent and had bought a season pass to moor on the lock walls, so we turned around at the last lock and went back through the Trent Severn Waterway.
When we exited the Trent Severn waterway, we spent another night in Kingston Canada and then crossed Lake Ontario and went into Oswego NY. It’s there where we checked back through customs. We’d been in Canada for 70 days, mostly in the Providence of Ontario (60 days); the remaining time we were in Quebec Providence.
From Phoenix NY, we traveled west on the Erie Canal and rode over to Fairport NY, just east of Rochester NY. We went through several neat little communities including Baldwinsville, Newark, and Lyons. There are 34 locks on the Erie Canal. Much of the canal was a slow zone. We did 30 of them before turning back east. We exited the Erie at Waterford and headed back down the Hudson River reaching Sandy Hook, south of the New York Harbor on September 5th. Our trip out in the ocean and back through the Delaware and Chesapeake Bay was very pleasant…no more fog. We mostly had calm glassy water. We stopped and spent time in Cape May, Chesapeake City, and Baltimore, actually spending a week in Baltimore and then nine days in Hampton VA at the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay.
On our way back to Jacksonville, we traveled down the Dismal Swamp canal. We made stops in Elizabeth City, Hobucken, Oriental, Swansboro (home of Yana’s), Southport, and spent a week in Myrtle Beach. We also stopped at Bucksport, Georgetown, McClellanville, Isle of Palms, Beaufort, Port Royal and ended up in Hilton Head Island for our 34th anniversary. While we were in Hilton Head, Hurricane Sandy entered the scene and caused us to make a push to get home. We hustled up and made it back to Jacksonville on October 24th, just before she passed by Jacksonville.
- 4,435 Miles traveled
- 2,649 Gallons of gas purchased
- 174 Nights at marinas or on lock walls
- 0 Nights at anchorage
- 4 Nights in a motel (during the AGLCA Rendezvous in Norfolk)
- 13 Nights on the hard (Memory Maker too…-being worked on)
- 10 U.S. states visited
- 2 Canadian providences visited
- 104 Towns visited
- 187 Locks traversed
- 41 Subscribed Blog followers (receiving email updates)
- 1,750 Photos uploaded in the MemoryMaker too.. Photo Gallery
It was a great adventure…one that went by way too fast! Hopefully there will be many more to come. Both the admiral and the captain enjoy this style of traveling!