June 19, 2014

Day 278 - June 19, 2014: Bobcaygeon, ON

Today, we continued up through Stony Lake, Buckhorn Lake and Pigeon Lake to Bobcaygeon. It was an easy day with only three locks, and we are now 138 miles into the waterway and 807 feet above sea level (starting from 242 feet above sea level). These three lakes are long, slender, shallow in places, speckled with hundreds of stoney islands, and surrounded by pine and cedar trees and many upscale homes. The lake water is very clear due to the invasion of quagga muscles and you can see the bottom, which was worrisome where it is was shallow. This reminded us of the Thousand Islands.

Hundreds of stony islands
Summer homes accessible only by boat

Nicely terraced and landscaped

The boathouses are quite spectacular
This is a popular area for renting houseboats, and we learned that during June through August they are everywhere like flies. The guide books wrote about it and sure enough it was true! They report that many of the people renting house boats here are inexperienced and therefore can be dangerous boaters.

It all began quite innocently when we pulled up to the Lock 28 wall to get a lift up to Lovesick Lake. There were two 50-ft rental houseboats already there and waiting. I walked up to speak to the lockmaster, as it wasn't clear to me that three of us would fit. He advised it would be safest if I let them in first to be placed side-by-side at the front, and then followed them in and tied at the rear. While I noted use of the word "safest," all went smoothly, and we headed out towards Lock 30.

The second houseboat, with only two people aboard, idled along through a mile or more of narrow passages. I was unable to go that slow without shifting in and out of gear, and he didn't respond to my attempts to pass him. Finally, I got around, easily overcoming both houseboats and getting to the next lock early. There was a smaller houseboat tied to the wall, and I joined them to wait for the opening.

When the second houseboat arrived, they attempted to tie up to the wall, and between the winds and currents, broadsided the small houseboat, and moved forward out of control towards our stern. I frantically grabbed the pole and tried to keep them off; however, they smashed into our dinghy on the stern. I watched in disbelief as they then swung over hitting the rocks on the other side of the entry channel before getting control. Obviously I was angry and so upset that I told the lockmaster I would wait until that houseboat went through the lock before requesting our entry. He nodded his understanding. The smaller houseboat on the wall also declined to go in, and we vented together about what had happened. We have learned that it is best that you stay wide of all houseboats!

This area and the surrounding lakes is known as "the Kawarthas." We stopped at the Gordon Yacht Harbor in Bobcaygeon, which was incorporated as a village in 1876, and claims to be the "Hub of the Kawarthas". We biked, caught up using the wifi service, and enjoyed the beautiful sunny afternoon and cool evening.

View of Bobcaygeon and the Lock 32 entrance

A very unusual home we passed by in town

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