This adventure began upon our arrival at the Whitby Marina in Whitby, Canada, as 15 excited couples moved into their new PDQ 34 Power Catamarans, most seeing them for the first time. Trawlers Midwest had three of these new cats to deliver to their dealership in Manitowoc, Wisconsin.
A reception in the Whitby Marina Clubhouse the first evening was hosted by the PDQ staff.
The next two days, the PDQ staff and invited speakers put on the PDQ-U (U for University) that gave us a€?hands-ona€? as well as technical information on all the systems on a PDQ 34 Power Catamaran. The couples were divided into four male and four female groups so each group could rotate through the four sessions in the two-day event.
One session included an overview of the Raymarine electronics on the boat and the electrical system which includes a Prosine inverter, the microprocessor that serves as a 2000 watt inverter and battery charger.
A second session involved a thorough tour of a new PDQ going over all the systems on the boat, how they function, and what you need to know to operate them. A third session was the on-the-water portion and hands-on learning with Nanette Kruze, a private captain, for the women and James Power, a PDQ captain and traveling PDQ repairman for the men.
The fourth session involved learning about the Yanmar engine and Northern Lights generator from representatives of each company. With the sessions ending at four in the afternoon, we all had ample time to stock our boats with the needed groceries and supplies and, of course, do some socializing as well. There was excitement in the air as we all did our final checks and filled up with fuel courtesy of PDQ.
Arriving at Cobourg, we gradually filled up two piers as the 15 PDQa€™s tied up side by side. The other nine boats headed 90 degrees for Presqua€™ile Bay and then into the Murray Canal, the official beginning of the Trent Severn. We cruised about half the distance of the Bay of Quinte where six of the boats headed to the Rideau Canal, Lake Champlain and the east coast. This mooring placed us just below the highway bridge marking the entrance to the Trent Severn. Arriving early afternoon gave us a chance to walk around the city as a light rain continued to fall. Before we left Coburg this morning, Gloria had started our crock pot of chicken, potatoes, and carrots, which simmered all day with our 2000 watt inverter running.A  The crock pot dinner was enjoyed by all. Fog greeted our morning but lifted just before we left the dock and passed under the official a€?Trent Severn Waterwaya€? arch.
The waterway is very well marked with buoys but in some places the distance between the red & green buoys was only about 20 feet so we had to be very careful.
Joining us on the wall was the very nice couple from Charlevoix, Michigan, in their 55-foot Fleming.A We had also stayed together at Trenton and we knew they were locking through behind us.
Heeding advice from the locals, we took advantage of a short walk over the bridge to enjoy breakfast at Tisha€™s Country Kitchen. The PDQa€™s have a very comfortable inside helm with great visibility all-around and heat off the engine so we could get cozy again between locks.
As we left Campbellford, the next five locks were pretty close together and Locks 16 & 17 were another set of flight locks. Closing the gate was done by the lockmaster turning a turnstile with a gear under the lock deck attached to the arm on the lock door.
The rain kept changing from a light drizzle to pouring which seemed to happen every time we were in a lock.
We were now on the Trent River with its many switchbacks and we often lost sight of our traveling companions.
Approaching a very low bridge, we werena€™t sure we could pass under without releasing our collapsible radar mast so Ken and I in the lead boat crept ever so slowly up to it and realized we had about a foot to spare so beckoned our comrades to come on through. We encountered a half-hour wait at Hastings Lock 18 but our captains did a great job holding the boats off with the strong current. Completing 6 locks and 59 miles this day, we are greeted by the beautiful Centennial Fountain with a 250 foot jet of water in the lake marking the entrance to Peterborough Marina.
We just happened upon the Kiwanis Carnival including live band music, good food, and later fireworks celebrating Canadaa€™s Victoria Holiday. We pull away from our slips at the Peterborough Marina in a light rain and very chilly air.
The lockmasters have to juggle the size (length and width) of boats to fit in as many as possible. Ita€™s most impressive when you think that this engineering feat was designed in the 1890 time frame.
Clearing Lock 27 at Younga€™s Point, we entered Stony Lake, a large lake with a number of beautiful homes along the shoreline and on islands. At this point in our trip we again encountered lots of rocks, shale and navigational obstructions so ita€™s time to disengage the autopilot and really pay attention.
At this point we were on the top of the Trent Severn and will now be going down hill from here to Port Severn. Our next lock was the Kirkfield Hydraulic Lift Lock 36, the worlda€™s second largest lock of this type, with a lift of 49 feet.

Lock number 37 at Bolsover was the first conventional lock where we would be going down instead of up. The waves gradually subsided to about 2 feet as we entered the narrows at Atherly about 6 pm.
After Swift Rapids Lock 43 we came to the Big Chute Marine Railway, the other spectacular experience to be had on the Trent Severn.
The PDQ catamarana€™s twin hulls with the keel about 12 feet apart can sit very stable on its bottom.
A cable system pulls the boat laden railcar up about 20 feet, over a road, then down about fifty feet and back into the water. After passing thru the Etang Gloucester Pool we encountered Port Severn Lock 45, our last one for this trip. We departed Muldrum Bay at 7:30 and stayed on the north side of Manatoulin Island until we reached the False Detour Channel.
The weather was still overcast with very little wind, so we passed thru Grays Reef toward the north end of Little Traverse Bay and on into Leland.
We always arrive at our homeport feeling excited to be home but also feeling regret that this great adventure has come to an end. Story written by Karen Schuler with detail help from Karen's & Gloria's logs kept during the trip.
We have been servicing the beautiful Portage Lake Chain of Lakes for more than 50 years.Full service marina on the Portage Chain or Lakes Klave's Marina knows boating!
Check out our fParts and Accessories Store where you can purchase over 85,000 boating items.. The President of PDQ, Simon Slater, was our chef and his wife, Debbie, was the hostess. After the group split up for the evening we walked through a section of the beautiful, clean town of 18,000, which is one block from the expansive marina. The Murray is a man- made canal linking Presqua€™ile Bay to the bay of Quinte at the east end of Lake Ontario. Tomorrow, May 19th, is the first day the Trent Severn is open for traffic for the 2006 season and we hear the crews are still removing the build-up of logs and debri in front of the gates that has accumulated over the winter months.
We visited the Chamber of Commerce and the Quinte West Library where we were able to check our emails on their computers. There are 43 locks on the 240-mile waterway known as the Trent Severn which was completed in the 1920a€™s. Even though we only covered 30 miles, we were in and out of twelve locks and all felt we had put in a a€?good daya€™s worka€?. They joined us for dinner at Capers, a restaurant located in a renovated 19th century home on Bridge Street and within easy walking distance from the boats. A cold front came through during the night and a chilling rain started to fall by the time we pulled away from the wall. The wide flat side decks and easy-walking steps to the bridge make these boats very ideal for doing locks.
Locks 20-26 are located very close together so we will spend a good part of our day getting through these. It was interesting to note that Canada is experiencing the same housing pressure we experience on waterfront properties in Michigan and Wisconsin.
In the Peterborough Lock we were the last one in so we had the view to the river below as we went up. One by one boats our boats were loaded on a rail raft-type structure which is then lifted high enough to traverse a road and gradually move down the tracks to the river below.
Because the four cylinder engines are placed low in the hull, the shaft and propellers are straight out the vertical edge of the keel and well protected.
The brochure explaining this neat contraption states that the Marine railway was the lowering conveyance of choice because the authorities did not want the lamprey eel to get into Georgian Bay and the Upper Great Lakes. We traveled another hour and a half and found three slips just beckoning us at the Midland Marina. Since we had flat seas, we traveled at 14 plus knots through the Georgian Bay, past Little Current and into the North Channel. At this point we asked everyone to slow down because I had to call customs to request clearance over the phone rather than having to cruise out of the way to their office on Drummond Island. The radar showed that the three boats were separated by only A? mile and as the first boat we could not see the third boat but we could always see each other on radar. We were thankful to have had safe travels, weather that cooperated most of the time, and such great folks with which to share yet another challenge on the waterways of the Midwest. The food and fellowship were great as it was a good chance to mix with the other owners, other PDQ dealers, and the PDQ staff. Ken Schuler led those in attendance in five verses of a€?AMAZING GRACEa€? as our farewell song, a traditional song for mariners leaving on a long journey. The next six locks were spread out over a 20-mile stretch.A  Some areas were lined with cottages and homes near the water.
Therea€™s a lot of line handling and moving fenders from port to starboard depending on which side the lockmaster needs us to grab the cables on.

The Central Park next to the city wall featured a large sculpture of the a€?Tooneya€?, Canadaa€™s two dollar coin that you can see sticking out amongst the trees. We donned our all-weather gear knowing we would be out in the rain going through the locks. It was a nice break to sit back and enjoy the scenery which varied from farms to islands to beautiful tree-covered hills.
There are already several other smaller boats and a large houseboat waiting at the gate for Lock 20. The Peterborough lock lifts the boats 65 feet above the countryside in about three minutes. It is still the largest lift lock in the world, only one of two in the American continents and was one of the largest non-reinforced concrete structures built in its time.
We were up at 6:30, cleaned the frost off the upper helm seat and were underway after breakfast aboard. In this lock we are the first one in and the lock is at ita€™s highest level so now it looks like there is nothing in front of us and if that forward gate failed we would be in for quite a ridea€¦eerie feeling!!
The railway personnel lowered the railcar into the water and we maneuvered our boat onto the railcar deck with the aft hull hanging slightly over the rail bed.
After a short shopping trip to this highly decorated town with murals painted on many of the buildings, we enjoyed a meal prepared by the cook on PDQ 34-88, our host and leader. One could spend a whole season exploring the Georgian Bay and the North Channel, but ita€™s not for us this time.A  We need to get these boats to our dealership in a certain time-frame and sightseeing will have to wait for a future excursion.
This is necessary because we are bringing three Canadian-made boats into the US.A I had also called them the day before to tell them of our whereabouts and cruising destination. Today would be a 40-mile run on Lake Ontario from Whitby to Cobourg where all fifteen PDQa€™s and their crews would spend one last dinner and evening together before the group split into three different flotillas.
It was 6 pm by the time we completed Lock 31 at Buckhorn so we decided to stay on the Lock wall for the night.
The weather was staying cold and windy so the lower helm station was a welcome reprieve between locks. The marina existed of mostly covered boat slips with an inordinate number of wooden cruisers. We were back in river beds so lost sight of the lead boat at times as it disappeared around the bends. Lawrence Seaway was opened in the 1960a€™s and sure enough the lamprey got into the lakes even though the people of 60 years ago had tried to prevent that.
A nice agent understood our dilemma of not wanting to cruise so far out of the way and to be able to take advantage of relatively calm seas on Lakes Huron & Michigan.
The weather stayed foggy until about three hours out of Manitowoc and then the sun broke out and gave us a beautiful welcome home.
The Schulers have made this trip twice with the PDQa€™s taking the route across Lake Ontario, through the Welland Canal, to Lakes Erie, Huron, and Michigan. In the flight lock the front door of the first of the flight serves as the back door of the second lock of the flight. Consequently the middle of the lake was only 10 feet deep with the navigable channel well-marked with buoys. Gloria had been at her crock pot that morning so not only was it a memorable day, but also a pleasant olfactory event with beef, potatoes and carrots cooking in the pot powered by the inverter.
These lakes were created by the flooding of rivers so the connecting navigation channel was quite narrow but well marked.
This alternative waterway would be the first trip through the Trent Severn for all three couples. Since we had missed church, we had a short service of song and readings then dinner on PDQ 34-85. Many of the properties in this area had boat houses; some of which were in dire need of some tender loving care.
This shallow body of water greeted us with 4-foot waves at very close intervals requiring us to slow to 10 knots for the first half of the15 miles of open water. There was a strong current and a good wind, so it took careful maneuvering to bring the cats snug against the wall. We navigated thru Sturgeon Lake, Lock 34 at Fenlon Falls, across Lake Cameron, Rosedale Lock 35 with only a four foot lift and into Balsom Lake. It was a 70-mile run to Round Island light then over to Mackinac City for fuel at the Schepler Dock. Dan & Lou did a great job of controlling their boats in the small space as one took a port tie and the other a starboard tie.
It actually started snowing lightly for a brief time while they were in the lock so Ia€™m told Laura and Gloria sang Christmas carols to compliment the scenery!

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