Friday, July 31, 2009

Return to Burritt’s Rapids.

Thursday, July 30

First thing this morning I returned the rental to Enterprise then we were off to start the return trip on the Rideau from Ottawa to Kingston. Since I described this going the other way, I may not describe as much detail going back.

Just on the outskirts of Ottawa
we past this piriate ship.

Jan and Loren need to be in Kingston by August 5, so we need to travel a little faster going back. To get a jump on this we did 37 miles and eight locks today. This took us through the Long Reach and back to Burritt’s Rapid. We spent the night above the lock. We should now have time for them to do some sightseeing along the way.

The weather today was near perfect. It was mostly sunny, low humidity and a temperature in the upper 70’s.

Life is GREAT.

Work Days in Ottawa

Tuesday – Wednesday July 28 and 29

Tuesday we spend thoroughly cleaning the boat inside and out. We also had a Yanmar diesel mechanic come for major, routine service. With all the hours we have put on the engines the manual called for a lot of work. Diana got Pictures proofing I was cleaning, they all show the pavilion that has three restaurants and is surrounded by water.

She also got pictures of the beautiful flowers in the park just across the street.

Wednesday we finished the cleaning, rented a car, then went grocery shopping. Then I drove the two plus hours to Kingston. My sister Jan and husband Loren drove in and left their car in Kingston and will do the return trip on the Rideau with us. They got held up by an accident and road construction so it was it little late by the time we got to the boat. We loaded their stuff on the boat and went to the restaurant right here at Dow’s Pavilion. We had a nice dinner, showed them around the boat and then it was an early night for everybody.

Tourists in Ottawa

Monday, July 27

Today’s plan was to see downtown Ottawa as tourists. Ottawa is the national capital of Canada and has an impressive Parliament complex on a hill overlooking the Ottawa River. Every morning they have an elaborate changing of the guard ceremony in front of the parliament building.

We were up and making plans to catch a bus downtown shortly after 8:00, when a heavy rain cell moved in. We checked the radar and it looked like it wouldn’t last. By 8:30 it had quit and we headed for the bus stop. It was a quick easy twenty minute ride, and the bus dropped us off about three blocks from the main entrance to parliament grounds.

By now the sky was clearing and it looked like a nice morning, unfortunately the sign on the lawn said the changing of the guard ceremony was cancelled.

The parliament complex has three buildings as you approach, the center main building and an east and west building. We admired the grounds and took some photos.

Then we headed for an information tent. They conduct regular guided tours of the parliament building, at no charge. The next was in about fifteen minutes. We relaxed and studied the literature. Soon it was time for the tour and our friendly knowledgeable guide, Natalie, lead us off to start the tour. Unfortunately all visitors to parliament must go through security, just like an airport. It delayed the start for another ten or fifteen minutes.

The tour lasted almost an hour and gave us a chance to see much of this beautiful building plus some insight into the workings of the Canadian government. Afterward we walked around the lovely grounds the view is of the Ottawa River looking across into Quebec.

The parliament library is in a separate connected building behind the main parliament building, it is very ornate and is actually older then the main building. The original parliament building burned in the early 1900s but the library was saved.

When we reached the far end of the parliament grounds we were looking across the Rideau Lock Chambers at the beautiful Chateau Laurier Hotel.

From the bridge to the hotel Diana took a picture looking done the flight of locks, then another from down beside the locks looking back up at the hotel.

It had been a long morning of walking; we went on past the hotel and found what appeared to be a nice restaurant for lunch. They offered an outdoor patio, but we choose to go inside, it was rather humid outside. About the time our lunch came it rained hard again.

By the time we were ready to leave the rain had moved on and we walked another few blocks to the National Art Gallery. This is a newer grand building with a giant spider sculpture out front. We spent about two hours at the gallery, most of it in the Canadian Gallery, Diana enjoyed immensely. I think a series art lover could spend a week but we didn’t have the time and old feet were getting tired.

We walked back and found a bus stop, in ten minutes we were on the bus and another fifteen we were back to the boat. It was a fine day in a very interesting and lovely city.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Dows Lake, Ottawa

Sunday, July 26

We were up and away by 8:00 this morning. We had five miles to the next lock and the forecast had a greater chance of showers later in the day. As we started down river from Long Island Locks there was a trailer park just beyond the lock.

This area still has some undeveloped river bank but is more and more developed.

The next lock is Black Rapids; they have a nicely landscaped lock station.

As we exited the lock looking back we could see a lot of water coming over and thru the dam. We have not seen real heavy rain just frequent showers, especially at night, for several days. There has been heavy rain nearby. Normally this time of year the dams are all closed trying to hold as much water as possible. This year they are dumping water like they do in the spring.

Friday night Ottawa had enough rain to cause significant flash flooding. The flight of eight locks downtown that connect the Rideau to the Ottawa River were over four hours late opening Saturday while they dealt with the high water.

I knew the Kawartha Voyageur had turned around the last night in Ottawa and we would be meeting here somewhere. I called heard on the radio to make sure we didn’t meet in a narrow channel and before she could answer I saw her coming around the corner. We had lots of water to pass, we exchange greetings and she headed into the lock we had just left.

Being a weekend there were many people out enjoying the water. These three young women went by in their kayaks at a rather rapid pace.

We are now well into the greater Ottawa area and there are nice homes all along the river bank. We are soon at the next lock, Hogs Back, and through it we have left the Rideau River for good as it flows through a series of rapids down to the Ottawa River. We are now in an all manmade channel.

A mile further we are at the Hartwell locks, a flight of two. All along this stretch there is park with a bike/hiking trail. It runs all the way through downtown and out along the Ottawa River. Note in this picture; it has started to rain slightly and the high water is slightly above the gate of the lock.

From here it is only another mile to the Dow’s Lake Pavilion where we have a reservation to dock for the next four nights. As we leave the lock it starts to rain harder. By the time we are docking it is back to a light drizzle. We get tied up and relax, it is lunch time and we are in no hurry to do anything.

This is the halfway point of our trip. From here we will turn around and basically go back the way we came. There are a few places the route will be different.

We will be here until Thursday; tomorrow we will sightsee in Ottawa, Tuesday a diesel mechanic is coming to service the engines and Wednesday we will rent a car to grocery shop and pick Jan and Loren, my sister and brother-in-law, up in Kingston so they can cruise back to Kingston with us.

Life continues to be great.

Long Island Locks

Saturday, July 25

We were ready to lock down when the lock opened at 8:30 this morning. It was overcast, but otherwise a very pleasant morning. After Burritt’s Rapids lock there is an open stretch called Long Reach, it is over 23 miles to the next lock.

We had a very enjoyable cruise through a variety of scenery. Early it was mostly rural with at lot of undeveloped shoreline. As we proceeded we were getting closer to Ottawa and there was more and more development.

Along the way we past this interesting old small cruise boat.

At the end of Long Reach is the Long Island locks, the locks are in a channel separate from the main river channel. There are two islands between the channels that are joined by a dam. There are 20 to 30 houses on the island with their only access being a swing bridge over the lock. The bridge is opened by a loc k attendant walking around a capstan in the middle of the bridge.

The Long Island Locks are a flight of three chambers. We had planned to go to the next lock for the night but this lock like such a nice lock station and there was the threat of a few showers we decided to spend the night on below the lock.

Here is a picture taken from Memories of the other boats below the lock. We had a few showers but they did not last. It was a pleasant afternoon.

Late in the afternoon two older gentlemen (I would guess about 80) locked through in a large kayak. They set up their tent right beside Memories. We have seen them a couple of time in previous days but not talked to them. They are kayaking and camping the 125 mile length of the Rideau from Kingston to Ottawa. This is day seven they figure two or three more. They wish the rain would stop even more then we do.

There is a circular stone dam similar but smaller than Jones Falls here. It still amazes me that 175 years ago they were able to stack stone blocks without mortar in a way that has held for all these years with limited maintenance.

The final picture is looking down at the lower approach area from the top of the dam.

It was another very good day.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Burritt’s Rapids

Friday, July 24

We wanted to go through the Merrickville locks (three of them) this morning, but the Kawartha would be first. Because of the heavy traffic lately we got underway about 8:20 motored out of the pond were the dockage is, around to the channel so that we could take a spot on the blue line when the Kawartha left.

She was just leaving as we got there. We idled in the channel for a couple of minutes and she pulled into the lock and we tied to the blue line. Diana took a picture of the bow folded up so that the boat is not too long for the lock.

It had rained some over night and everything was wet this morning, it looks like it is not going to be a great day for boating.

Finally it was our turn and we started down the three locks, this picture shows the view from the second chamber.

We passed another adult loon with a young in tow.

Two miles after Merrickville is another lock, the first of three in less than a mile. They try to coordinate the traffic going thru. We locked through the first two with three other boats and they held us in the second lock so that we would pass boats going the other way between the second and third locks. It turned out there were seven boats going the other way.

A few miles further is a swing bridge about a half mile before the Burritt’s Rapids Lock. The lock staff at Burritt’s knows when boats are coming and ride a bicycle up to open it.

This was as far as we were going today. We tied to the look wall above the lock and have settled in for the day. It rained and drizzled much of the morning and hot soup tasted good for lunch. It was only a seven mile day, but six locks.

This is a long canal section and there is a walking trail down the peninsula when it stop drizzling for a while we walked part of it. Diana took this picture looking back at Memories and the lock station.

A Day to Explore Merrickville

Thursday, July 24, 2009

We spent all day in Merrickville. It is a very interesting old town. It is also Stan’s (my dad) birthplace. He left before he was two and the family does not have a lot of history in the area.

Unfortunately it rained hard and then drizzled off and on all morning. I found the library and used the internet for weather, e-mail and the previous posts. Diana spent the time on the boat, painting, croqueting and reading.

Finally mid afternoon it cleared a bit and we had a nice walk around this lovely town. There are many old buildings.

On the way back to the boat the ice cream shop looked very attractive. They have all homemade ice cream with many interesting and unusual flavors, many with local ingredients. I had a rhubarb ice cream that was wonderful.
A good day, less rain would be nice.

After a short rest and some socializing we walked back to the Main Street Family Restaurant for a nice pasta dinner.

The Kawartha Voyageur cruise boat (see Bobcaygeon entry for description) had docked at the blue line for the night. After dinner I walked over and had a nice conversation with Brian, the engineer and John the Captain/Owner.

Then I walked back to the library to check e-mails and the weather.

Thursday, July 23, 2009


Wednesday, July 22

It rained hard overnight, but by morning it had quite and it was just very wet out. We were up and ready to lock thru when the lock opened at 8:30. Cher was there also and we locked thru with them all day.

This is one of the busiest weeks of the year for the Rideau system. Montreal follows the European custom of businesses closing and everybody taking holiday (vacation) at the same time. This is the first week and many people with boats have come up the Ottawa River into the Rideau. They are all going the other way, but it means that at the most popular locks overnight tie ups are full early. It also means hearing as much French as English spoken.

After locking down the new combined lock Diana got a picture looking back up the old flight of three.

A mile later we were at the Old Sly lock. It has a large swing bridge just above the lock. They were locking thru three boats going the other way, so we went to the blue line. Soon they swung the bridge to let the three out and we proceeded in. This is a flight of two, but with just two boats it went quickly. There is another old lock office here.

As we exited there were six boats heading the other way. We were soon out of the narrow channel into the river and some very nicely landscaped properties.

This area is all low land and a mix of nice properties, farm land and marsh. Although the water is wide in places except for the channel it is very shallow. In this picture, although it may look like we are going around to the right by the far end we actual leave the picture to the left.

We pasted this tour boat headed the other way, with a full load of tourists enjoying the scenery.

We continue to see many loons, it appears the young are nearing adult size and trying to learn to fly. We also saw several osprey and lots of turns, Diana has not decide which of the tern family

We were soon approaching the Edmonds Lock, a remote lock with no population nearby. This lovely boat was parked on the approach wall.

The lock has a manual swing bridge. The attendant is just visible at the left end of the bridge pushing it open.

We were on thru one more lock after Edmonds and into Merrickville, our destination for the day. Here the tie up space is on the other side of the peninsula that leads to the lock. As predicted even though it was just before noon, things were pretty full. In the corner there appeared to be room on the shore end of a floating dock. We went in slowly rotated the boat between the sailboat and the weeds on the shore. With the help of a couple of line handlers we wedged the boat in, notice there is a fender between the dingy and the wall. Later a 30 foot cruiser came in and tied to the wall in the foreground of the picture.

On one side of the canal are the ruins of the old milling complex. They had lumber, flour, and woolen mills here; it was the original reason to settle the town in the 1790s. They have a small museum in one restored building.

On the other side is downtown with an old church near the river and one of the old blockhouses across the street. The blockhouse has been restored and is now a museum. We toured both the mill ruins and the blockhouse this afternoon.

Merrickville is a set of three locks, but not a flight. Each is a separate lock with a small basin between. The picture is from the swing bridge at the first chamber looking down the two turning basins and lock chambers.

Best of Times, Mike and Jeanette, came through late this afternoon. There was no space to tie up above where we are, so they locked on down and got the only small tie up area below the locks. They went into town for dinner and stopped by afterwards. They came aboard and visited for awhile. After they left the couple in the sailboat just in front of us came aboard and we had a nice visit.

Another fine day.