Peterborough & Buckhorn, ON

After spending the night on the Peterborough Lock 19 wall we pulled into the marina Monday morning.  We were so excited to finally meet the Pronk/Zomer family.  We’ve been emailing and texting them along the way since October or November and yet somehow have never been in the same place at the same time.  We were further south first but then we went to the Bahamas.  We came back from the Bahamas when they were just slightly north of us in Florida.  Then we hung around Florida for some family visits and they made it further north.  But they live in Peterborough so there was no escaping us now!  Not only do they live in Peterborough, they live across the street from the marina.  James and the boys, Marcos and Lucas, came over to see us as soon as we got settled in.  They hung out on the boat with us for a bit.  We gave them a tour and the kids played dominoes up on the fly bridge while we talked and got to know each other officially!  As they were leaving we met Nancy – she had been at an appointment with her dad and came over as soon as she got back.  We had plans to come to their house for dinner later that afternoon.

They treated us to a great evening.  The kids had fun playing at the house.  The pogo stick was especially popular.  They also discovered the games Twister and Dogopoly.  Their boys are the same ages as our girls so they were perfect playmates.  Nancy and James prepared a feast.  A couple they met boating on the Georgian Bay joined for dinner along with a fellow looper who was driving through Peterborough that night on his way to meet a friend and Nancy’s dad.  It was a full table and wonderful to visit with so many other boaters and to meet Nancy’s dad.


Tuesday morning we headed to the zoo.  The kids spent an hour or so going down this huge slide and playing at the playground.  They ran the stairs for the slide more times than I can count.  Then we had a picnic lunch and walked around the zoo.  The meerkats and monkeys were my favorites.  We all took a ride on the zoo train as well.

After the zoo James took us to see their sailboat!  We had heard so much about their 27 foot sailboat and were excited to see it.  It was eye opening for the girls to put the space and size difference in perspective….and great to remind them of that when they complain about not having enough room for all of their doll things!  Nancy, James and the boys did an incredible job of finding a place for everything and using every nook and cranny.

Nancy and James had us over for dinner again.  What a treat and so generous of them.  After dinner we all walked over to the marina so Nancy could see the boat.  We visited until way too late but after all these months it was such a short time to spend together so we made the most of it.  It was great to finally meet!  But as this trip goes, we had to say goodbye and keep moving.

Wednesday morning we headed through Lock 20 and onto Lock 21 – the Peterborough Lift Lock.



Ben and Molly hanging out above Lock 20 waiting our turn


This is the largest lift lock in the world at 65 feet.  We were traveling up the lock.  And I really don’t like heights.  It operates like an elevator.  In the picture you can see boats at the top on the left side.  On the right we pulled in at ground level.  Once everyone is loaded they close the doors and as the left side goes down, the right side goes up.  The whole lock is counter balanced and pretty amazing.  It moves fast.  But then we got to the top and were just held there for what felt like ages with me standing on the side of the boat looking down.  The chamber moves quickly for all but the last foot which took an eternity to fill.  It was a neat experience but I was happy to get out of there and not be hanging 65 feet in the air anymore.

We made our way to Lakefield (Lock 26) Wednesday night and stayed on the lock wall.  It was crowded and included boats like ours, pontoon boats with tents, and a lot of rental houseboats.  We’ve officially hit house boat territory and they are everywhere.



Sign from Lock 22 showing where we’ve been and where we’re headed


The next morning we headed the rest of the way to Buckhorn.  We traveled through Hell’s Gate safely.  It was narrow and rocky and beautiful.  There was a little church on a little island about the same size as the church.  There were little cottages all over the place on little islands.  And rocks everywhere.  The channel markers were so close.  My pictures are not zoomed in….we were that close to the markers because the channel is that narrow.

Buckhorn was a quick trip and we found space on the lock wall before lunch.  We spent awhile watching the boats in the lock.  Some of the houseboats do ok.  But many of the people renting them have no idea how to drive a boat and end up sideways in the lock.  The lock tenders are pretty amazing.  They are friendly and patient and stand on the wall and talk the driver through which way to turn the wheel and what to do each step of the way if they are having trouble.  We just try to keep them from hitting our boat.  We’ve had a couple of close calls.  Molly and Maddy and I hold the lock lines and Ben will come down armed with a fender to jam on the side the boat to fend off the houseboat if necessary.


Buckhorn was sleepy and fairly boring for us.  We had fabulous pizza for lunch and walked around a bit but never really found town.  We headed back to the boat when an afternoon of rain started.  We spent the rest of the day inside watching the rain, getting a bit stir crazy, working on our current puzzle and playing dominoes.


Next up on our list are Bobcaygeon and Fenelon Falls – two stops that come highly recommended to us.

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