Monday, July 24, 2017
FROM SMITH FALLS TO COBOURG, ONTARIO, CANADA
On 7/4/17 We left Smith Falls for Newboro and stayed on the lower wall of Lock 36. On the way, we went thru detached Locks 31 and 32, and thru Rideau Lake. We thought it was deep when we saw depths of 240’ but then it went to 409’ and then 476 ‘ thru lock 35 and lock 36. Locks 33 and 34 are on the Tay Canal which is a side channel. (Juli’s picture) The view here was nothing short of idyllic. This is a beautiful canal trip with some narrow canal-like sections connecting various lakes. It was designed for steam boats and therefore does not have tow paths. In Newboro we had a problem leaving because of heavy weeds and shallow water. Dutchess would not back up, so I made a U-turn and almost got stuck but plowed thru the weeds and mud to deeper water. It helps to have a 24” motor boat propeller and 65 horsepower diesel.
On 7/5/17 we traveled to the upper wall at Jones Falls Lock 39. We passed thru Newboro Lake, Clear Lake, Indian Lake, Chaffey Lock 37, Murphy’s Bay on Opinico Lake, Davis Lock 38, and Sand Lake. At Davis Lock we were told that the Jones Falls Locks had problems and therefore we could not travel to Kingston that day. We tied up at the upper wall because we were told the lower wall was already full. We old people took a nice afternoon nap. Later I walked with Skipper and found that there was plenty of space, and even a small marina with power and a restaurant, near the lower wall. Oh well . . .
On 7/6/17 we proceeded to lock thru all of Jones Falls locks # 39, 40, 41, 42 and finished them by 1140. Then into White Fish Lake, Little Cranberry Lake, Brass Point Swing Bridge, Cranberry Lake, and decided to stay at the gray line dock at the upper wall of Brewers Lock #43 with power! The docks with a gray line painted on them are overnight docks provided by Parks Canada; the docks with a blue line painted on them are designated for boats awaiting clearance to lock thru. Parks Canada does a superb job with these areas – they are clean and planted with beautiful flowers and grassy areas and include park benches, grills, and lovely scenery. Restrooms are available 24/7.
On 7/7/17 we locked thru the Brewers Mills Lock #44. As the biggest boat, Dutchess enters first followed by the others. We promptly enter a lock when the gates open and grab the ropes available to hold us steady and then wait for the others to come in. In Brewers Lock we waited ½ hour for 2 small cruisers to untie from the gray line and come into the lock. Amateurs! Annoying to be held up unnecessarily. We passed thru Lower Brewers Lock #45 into the River Styx, very shallow and weedy, (We hit a submerged log but no damage), and into Colonel By Lake (he designed the Rideau Canal) and finally thru Kingston Mills Lock. We were now done with the Rideau Canal. It was sad to leave the peaceful, gorgeous scenery behind and find a super highway just off our starboard side!
To get to Kingston we had to pass thru a causeway that has a lift bridge and a fixed bridge. The Bascule bridge would not open for an hour so we carefully tried the fixed bridge and only slightly touched the VHF antenna on the concrete over head. WHEW!
We stayed in the City of Kingston Confederation Marina for 3 nights. They charged for 50’ at a cost of $124.70 per day. The annual Bruskers Rendezvous was underway on closed streets and in the waterfront park in front of City Hall. It included jugglers, acrobats, food, music, and street performers of all kinds. On the second day we took a bus tour of the city and stopped at Fort Henry where we had lunch, then back on the bus to the marina.
On 7/10/16 we left for Gananoque. As I backed out, the bow of the boat quickly swung to the left where a new Beneteau was parked. My anchors slightly bent two of his stanchions. At first, I thought that the wind had turned Dutchess but then Juli informed me that the rear ball fender had been caught on a cleat which rotated Dutchess to port. The blue ball fender has a 1” indent where it was impaled on the cleat, a freak accident that I could never repeat, I hope. We exchanged information with the Beneteau but have not heard from him since.
We arrived at Gananoque Municipal Marina and stayed for 3 nights at a cost of $268.49Ca. We enjoyed brick oven pizza one night at a funky little place called the Purple House. It was far superior to other Canadian pizza we have tried. We finished it off with some local brews that were excellent (actually had a bit too much – lol) We took a tour boat to the Thousand Islands and Boldt Castle. The castle was originally being constructed as a gift of love to Boldt’s wife, Louise. When she died unexpectedly just prior to completion, he halted construction and was so heartbroken that he never returned to the island. The castle fell into disrepair and was even vandalized. More recently the Thousand Islands Bridge Authority (USA and Canada) has taken ownership and is meticulously completing and restoring the grounds and structures according to Boldt’s architectural and decorating plans. It is gorgeous. He was a well-known New York and Philadelphia hotel entrepreneur and popularized Thousand Island dressing!
On 7/13/17 we crossed back into the USA at Clayton NY. I was running low on my medicines and could not refill on Canada. I found Kinney Drugs in Clayton and rode there on my bicycle twice. Twice because we had to wait for authorization from the doctors. When you cross to the USA of course you have to check in with US Customs which we did using a video phone. We only had the slip for one night because the marina was fully rented to “poker race” participants. (a charity fundraiser for owners of high speed boats) But I managed to get my drugs and vacate our spot on time! Stopped at RJ Marine for diesel and tanked 53 gallons at $3.34 per gallon - total $181.56 - good USA pricing.
On 7/14/17 we cruised back to Kingston Ontario and stayed one night. I told them that Dutchess is 46 feet overall and was charged for that length, not paying for the dinghy overhang and the clipper-style bow. This time the cost was $115.52 Ca for the slip. (Have to beat them at their own game!)
On 7/15/17 Dutchess motored to Picton, Ontario on a beautiful day on the North Channel of Lake Ontario and into the Bay of Quinte and then into Picton Bay -- a nice 5-hour run. We secured a slip at the Prince Edward Yacht Club, a very friendly place, but due to flooding the hydro (electricity on the docks) was not operational. The unusually high temperatures resulted in sticky, hot weather in the boat when the A/C could not be used They charged $25.00 for the first night and zero the 2nd and then 1.65/ft x 44’ total $170.18Ca. We stayed an extra day for $81.40.
John met a fellow Dutchman and his wife, Martin and Rita Weiland, who have been in Canada since 1958. They spent some time reminiscing in Dutch and then he offered the use of his car for the next day. Juli had ancestors from Picton, a maternal great- grandmother and great-grandfather. We managed to find the family gravesite and the stained-glass window in St. Gregory the Great Catholic Church that is dedicated to Susan O’Hagan, Juli’s great-grandmother. We restocked the boat with consumables and brought the car back to Martin. Martin and Rita also took us out to dinner in Picton. The plan was for each couple to cover their own bill, but when it was time to pay, he informed us that the bill was paid. He would not hear of me paying anything. We also visited their lovely home and gardens and were given a bottle of homemade wine. We made some good friends with Martin and Rita.
On 7/20/17 we sailed to Trenton, Ontario by going through the Bay of Quinte. It started out a nice day but then turned windy with heavy rain for 2 hours before finally clearing and becoming a beautiful day. So goes the weather on the Great Lakes!
On 7/23/17 we motored to Cobourg, Ontario. This trip was thru the Murray Canal which has no locks but does have two swing bridges that need to be opened. They were promptly opened as we approached. Then into Lake Ontario proper with 10 to 15 knot winds over the stern. We were followed by 2 to 4-foot waves which helped to push us along, surfing down the waves. (Poor Skipper did NOT enjoy this portion of the trip!) We entered the narrow entrance of the breakwater with following seas and found our slip, G200.
Sunday, July 9, 2017
We stayed 12 days at St Lambert but only were charged for 10 total cost $440.00. We had a nice long rest here particularly trying to rest my left knee and it got better. Paul took us on a day trip around Montreal in his car and he also joined us for a bus tour of the city. He also took us shopping to stock the boat. Paul insisted that we try the Montreal specialties Smoked Meat Sandwich which is similar to Pastrami and Poutine which is French fries with Gravy and Cheese Curd all delicious. We also spent some great time with John’s Canadian/Dutch cousin, Gerry Doche. We went out to dinner twice and she had us over for a delectable dinner at her house. One of the dinners was for Juli’s birthday, she had Filet Mignon, and Gerry and John had Rack of Lamb and we all enjoyed Profiteroles for dessert. Gerry also took Juli for a pedicure and grocery shopping when we first got to St Lambert.
We left St Lambert on the 6/17/17 and headed for Lachine Marina which is Paul’s home base. It cost us $273.24ca for three nights. We enjoyed a long walk with the dogs and John had his first bike ride of the trip. Paul took us for a beautiful ride along Lac St Louis to St Anne De Bellevue where we each had a huge portion of Fish and Chips in one of the many waterfront restaurants.
On 6/20/17 we sailed Lac St Louis (a wide section of the St Lawrence) to St Anne De Bellevue on the Ottawa River and tied to the wall before the lock. John paid for a season mooring pass for all Canadian park facilities at the cost of $391.60 ca--we hope to make good use of the pass.
On 6/22/17 we sailed up the river to Carillon, a very deep lock that lifts boats over 40’. We stayed the night at the lock wall in front of the big lock door and adjacent to a huge Hydroelectric Plant. Incidentally, Canadians call electric power “Hydro” because it all comes from waterpower. The next morning, we entered the lock with a number of other boats. We were rafted to a large power cruiser and they had to handle the lock ropes for both boats. Dutchess had to leave first because we were in the middle, then all the power boats had to pass us once outside the lock with large wakes rocking us each time. Later we passed the big cruiser which appeared to be dead in the water???
On 6/23/17 sailed to Marina Kitchissippi. Unfortunately, the marina was undergoing major repairs following recent flooding. The lower floor was completely gutted which resulted in a lack of laundry facilities and only old showers with exposed wooden walls, standing water and little privacy – YUCK! No discounts despite the decrepit facilities. Thankfully other boaters were friendly and one even took John into Ottawa to do some much-needed grocery shopping. Because of St John de Baptiste holiday all Quebec stores were closed, therefore we went to Ontario for groceries.
On 6/25/17 we proceeded up the Ottawa River to the city of Ottawa, Ontario – the capital of Canada. Along the way we were afforded beautiful views of the city including Rideau Falls and the Parliament Buildings and Peace Tower. We turned towards the Rideau Canal and up the Flight of Eight – eight locks in a row in the city center. Navigating the Flight of Eight takes about 2 hours and we were exhausted when finished. There were dark skies and thunder when we began, then the skies cleared and we were greeted by sunshine and high temperatures, then another change to thunder, lightning, and heavy rain when we finished!
On 6/28/17 we motored up the Rideau Canal to Hurst Marina in Kars, ON. On the way, I made an error in navigation and went under a bridge that only had 10’ clearance on the chart and must be raised to clear boats. I had read about a bridge to be raised but this bridge did not look like a movable bridge. It is a stone arch that looks solid but is actually on a steel frame, so I assumed that it must be at the 22’ that is normal on the Rideau, NOT! I aimed for the center of the arch and scraped my Radar off, broke a flag pole and busted the welds on the Solar Stick that holds some of my solar panels. Only $3000 worth of damage if I fix it myself. Hurst Marina is one of the largest on the Rideau Canal with sales and service. The cost was $198.88ca for dockage, $81.82ca for 80.2 liters diesel and $20.00ca for pump out. There are also laundry facilities, showers and a pool. The rain was almost continuous while we were there, but we walked to a nearby restaurant, The Swan, that has a warm, English Pub-like atmosphere.
On 6/30/17 we proceeded up the Rideau Canal to Merrickville, Lock 21 and stopped on the lock wall. The small town is well-known for its many small and unusual shops and restaurants. The weather cleared in the afternoon and we walked the dogs in town. We stopped for home-made ice cream and Juli found a wonderful souvenir – a glass bowl formed to a piece of driftwood that was crafted in Bali. Let’s hope it makes it to New Bern intact!
On 7/1/17 went up the canal to Smiths Falls and took a slip at Victoria Park Marina. Cost $1.46 per foot plus $8.84 for hydro total $82.60ca. per day and we stayed 3 days. It is a very nice park with a concession stand, swim dock, laundry, and shower facilities. We were invited to “docktails” one evening with a couple we had met in Ottawa – fellow Loopers. The weather finally cleared and we enjoyed plenty of warmth and sunshine! Several stores are located about ½ mi. away and we were able to do some shopping at WalMart.