Happy Anniversary

Day 330: Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Port to Port: Big Bay to Percy Reach (Lock 8)

Underway: 6:23 am      Motor Off: 4:36 pm      Miles Traveled: 40      Stayed At: Lock Wall

Mile to Mile: On a boat…sunshine…8 locks…40 miles…presents…an amazing anniversary dinner…pecan pie and wine (gift from Kent and Jane)…pecan pie shared with Carina, Never Say Never (Rick and Carol) and Moonglow (Barbara and Roger)…31 years (330 days of that on a little boat). What a wonderful way to celebrate our anniversary. Wish us luck on our next 31 years.

Our fortunes have changed and the locks were kind to us today. We made a lot of progress and we didn’t have to wait for any locks. They try hard to have them ready when you get there. The boat traffic is much lighter too – there were usually only three of in the locks.

I can’t believe tomorrow is the first day of August. This past year has gone incredibly fast. If we have good weather and a little luck, we should be home in 6-8 weeks. That will be weird. We have not been “homesick” at all. We miss everyone but we haven’t really missed home. We haven’t even started to think about what is next. We hardly know what we are going to do tomorrow. We’ll just have to wait till we get to that bend in the river. Just like tomorrow.

Boogey Day’s

Day 329: Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Port to Port: Kingston to Big Bay

Underway: 6:06 am      Motor Off: 3:50 pm      Miles Traveled: 57      Stayed At: Anchor

Mile to Mile: We started early, early this morning (by definition early is 7 am, early, early is 6 am and early, early, early is 5:30 am, right Kent?) Lake Ontario was calm, the sun was shining and the sky was clear. We boogied (went fast) for three hours before the wind started picking up a little creating a light chop (right on the nose, of course). It was a great day to travel.

The waterway gradually narrowed and became more protected and we started racking up the miles. With no locks or other obstacles in our way, we traveled three times farther today than we did all day on Sunday.

D: Doable (oh wait, we don’t do doable)

E: Eh?

T: Time consuming

O: Oui (yes in French)

U: Unexampled (means outstanding, right Linda?)

R: Remarkable

The wind started to get a little annoying for the last couple of hours of the day but we soon anchored in a quiet bay only a few hours from Trent and the first lock on the Trent Severn. We are excited to finally be here after our long and winding detour. It will be interesting to see how our journey this time compares to our experience in 2002. It will be a lot different, no doubt, without Jess, Sarah or Spice with but we will make the most of it.

We don’t expect to see a lot of other Looper boats along the way – we are probably the tail end of the pack (we travel slow and we took the long way around). Hopefully we’ll see some of our friends. Tomorrow we start locking through again – we hope for smooth sailing.

Rest Day

Day 328: Monday, July 29, 2013

Port to Port: Kingston, Ontario

Underway: 0:00 am      Motor Off: 0:00 pm      Miles Traveled: 0      Stayed At: Marina

Mile 125 to Mile 125: Hah! We decided to stay an extra day in Kingston to wait for better weather to get across a couple big bays – the forecast was for 25+mph winds, scattered thunderstorms and even the potential for waterspouts (small tornadoes over water). Sounds like a good idea to me.

So, what did our day of rest look like? Starting at about 5:45 am (I was up and wanted to get our projects done early in case we were able to leave at noon):

  • Walk a couple blocks down the dock and across the boat yard to take a shower.
  • Return  a couple blocks back to boat.
  • Pick up computer and head 5 blocks to Tim Hortons (donut shop) for coffee and internet.

  • Walk 5 blocks back to boat to get gas cans after finding out they have gas pumps and cheap gas ($0.40 cheaper per liter or $8 cheaper per can).
  • Walk 5 blocks to Tim Hortons, get gas and work on blog until 7:20 am.
  • Walk 5 blocks back to boat to get laundry.

  • Walk 7 blocks to first Laundromat only to find out it has been closed for a month.
  • Walk 7 blocks back to boat to tell Cindy so she doesn’t meet me at wrong place.
  • Walk 8 blocks in different direction to another Laundromat and start two loads of clothes.
  • Walk a block to McDonalds for breakfast and to use internet.
  • Walk 8 blocks down mainstreet to find dentist. Get xray.
  • Walk back to boat to find Cindy. Cindy is not at boat.

  • Walk 7 blocks back to Laundromat with Kent to see if she went back there with Jane. Jane’s there but no Cindy.
  • Walk 7 blocks back to boat. Finally find Cindy.
  • Walk 5 blocks to downtown and 15 blocks up and down mainstreet shopping and sightseeing.
  • Walk 7 blocks back to boat.
  • Rest.

  • Join Kent and Jane and walk 8 blocks past downtown to an excellent pizza place. Enjoy pizza and company.
  • Walk 8 blocks back to boat. Stop a grocery on way back for last minute items.
  • Get last gas can and walk 5 blocks back to Tim Horton’s for a fill – gas now 5 cents cheaper per liter. It starting to get dark.
  • Walk 5 blocks back to boat.
  • Get Cindy and walk back to marina to use payphone to call Jess and Grandma A (using payphones just like we did on our big trip in 2002).
  • Walk back to boat for final time.

30,000+ steps and many miles later, our rest day thankfully came to an end. How was your day?


Rideau Adieu

Day 327: Sunday, July 28, 2013

Port to Port: Cranberry Bay to Kingston, Ontario

Underway: 7:37 am      Motor Off: 4:55 pm      Miles Traveled: 18      Stayed At: Marina

Mile 107 to Mile 125: We finally passed through the last of 44 locks on the Rideau Canal System. We wish we had more time to enjoy the journey but, because of the delays caused by the Erie Canal closure, we had to keep moving. Next time we will take more time and not be here during the busiest three weeks of the entire summer. Live and learn. We will be back, though, I hope.

After a quiet night being serenaded by resident loons, we motored a leisurely couple of miles to the first of seven locks for the day to get our place in line. Idylle was on the dock too. We got through on the first lock down and were on our way through. We had to wait a while at both step locks – we just missed going down with everyone at the four step lock at Kingston Falls so we had to wait two hours for the next run. We were frustrated but decided it didn’t matter because we were just going to anchor in a couple of miles anyways so we laid around and read until our turn. It took about an hour to lock through all four locks and then we were free and finished with the locks on this canal system. Yah. We are getting pretty good at getting in and out of these things, though.

We motored downstream to catch up with Carina at our chosen anchorage near Kingston and soon heard a hail on the radio that they found a marina with room for all of us so we aimed for the dock and found a home for a night or two. We haven’t stopped at a marina for a long time so we have laundry to do, gas to get, groceries to stock up (we ate our last fruit yesterday) and internet to search. Every once in a while, we need civilization.

We had hoped to get more projects done tonight but we were tired and had trouble getting a good internet connection (to map the places we need), so we settled for groceries, a chicken sandwich and locating the laundromat. We only made 18 miles today, but we completed a pretty amazing journey and now we need to get ready for the next phase of our adventure – the Trent/Severn Canal System. We are looking forward to a more peaceful and slightly more leisurely couple of weeks exploring this amazing part of Ontario. Wish us luck.

By the way, thank you to everyone who has left comments on our blog. We have comments from California to Florida and Canada to China. Amazing. It is a special treat to see good wishes from everyone – it makes the effort to write and blog about our trip everyday worth it. We hope you enjoy it as much as we do.

Plan…What Plan?

Day 326: Saturday, July 27, 2013

Port to Port: Narrows Lock to Cranberry Bay

Underway: 7:27 am      Motor Off: 6:15 pm      Miles Traveled: 25      Stayed At: Anchor

First Things First: First 3.5 hour wait for a lock.

Mile 82 to Mile 107: We “planned” to get to a stop about 15 miles before Kingston, Ontario but these locks put a quick stop to that plan. The first two single locks went very easy and we were optimistic and making great progress. Then we hit the Jones Falls – Locks 39 – 42 – along with dozens of other boats. This was another step lock – 4 steps this time. And it was slow going. We even caught up with Idyll who ended up having to wait over 5 hours before locking through with us at 3:10 pm – we got out the over end at 4:20 pm. Then we had to boogey (that means go fast) to a railroad bridge about an hour away to just make their last opening so we could get to a nice protected anchorage. Phew.

In the end, even with the long delay, we were able to go 25 miles and complete 7 locks. “Only” 7 more before we get to Lake Ontario and, finally, the Trent Severn Canal System with its 44 locks (we are expecting this system to be a lot quieter and more peaceful).

Our payoff for the day was a nice quiet and well protected anchorage in Cranberry Bay with just the two of us. I guess it all balances out in the end.

My Wish

Day 325: Friday, July 26, 2013

Port to Port: Edmund’s Lock to Narrows Lock (No. 35)

Underway: 7:57 am      Motor Off: 3:40 pm      Miles Traveled: 24      Stayed At: Lock Wall

Mile 58 to Mile 82: We didn’t go lots of miles today but we had a wonderful travel day. The scenery was beautiful – mostly tree covered shoreline with a few cabins here and there and deep blue sky. With their reduced hours (9-5 vs 8-8 last year), the locks are busy and make long days impossible. The last lock-through is around 4:30 pm so you are usually forced to stop around that time. That’s probably a good thing.

The lock we stopped at was quiet and peaceful – the dock on the lower side was already full with weekend travelers staying a day or two. The upper dock was empty which worked perfect for us. The dock also happened to be low enough for me to reach the water line of the boat if I laid down so I decided it was time to get the eyebrow off the boat again – hopefully it will stay clean a while longer. We just moved the boat back and forth and I scrubbed the hull until it was white again. A nice project done. I took a quick dip to clean up and cool off and headed down the dock to enjoy some cheese smothered chicken enchiladas ala Jane on Carina. What a wonderful treat.

After dinner, the lighting was perfect so I took a walk over to the other side of the lock and took some pictures of the setting sun and stopped to chat with a couple of the boaters parked there. Two of the boats were beautiful old wooden boats – one was a 1940 Chris Craft – Nemesis – with a perfectly finished mahogany cabin the lots of chrome details. Jaccque and Judy were the proud owners and were enjoying a nice vacation cruise aboard. These old boats are works of art that we will never see again.

Cindy was already tucked in and reading by the time I got back. I tried to read but could hardly keep my eyes open after three pages – this cruising life is hard work. So it was lights out for me too. What a great way to end a semi-productive day.

Serenity Now

Day 324: Thursday, July 25, 2013

Port to Port: Kars’ free dock to Edmonds Lock (No. 25)

Underway: 6:30 am      Motor Off: 4:25 pm      Miles Traveled: 34     Stayed At: Lock Wall

First Things First: First time doing 9 locks in one day.

Mile 24 to Mile 58: As I am writing this, the sun is casting long shadows in the grass, a soft low rumble from the nearby dam can be heard in the background and two loons are calling each other out on the river. Today was a good day.

We started early, as usual, so we could get to today’s first lock by mid morning. A light fog was lifting on the water and the sun was almost over the tops of the trees as we started up river with Carina. We made good time but still had to wait for the lockmaster to bring a load of boats down coming north bound. We made it into the next life up and were soon cruising down the river again. This is their busy time of the year so patience is a definite virtue. Our next lock was a triple step lock which, of course, are usually time consuming. We can’t complain, though, since it was a gorgeous day – temps in the mid 70’s, low humidity, a light breeze and an inspiring mix of puffy white cumulus clouds and high wispy sirus clouds making the perfect backdrop to the day.

We started off as a group of five boats but two power boats peeled off at a popular stop in Merrickville while three pokey sailboats decided to continue on a little farther. Locking through was not nearly as crazy as our first day and was almost enjoyable – we are getting pretty good at it. We waved and said hi to our friends on Miss Darlin II and Kiwi II whom we met back in Kingston. They are doing the same triangle we have been doing only in the reverse direction. They made it through the Erie Canal finally and came across Lake Ontario and up the Rideau.

We all locked through our last lock for the day – No. 25 – and found an empty dock just waiting for us to stay at. We did our normal boat projects – restow gear, clean a little, top off the gas for tomorrow and fill our water bottles. I went for a swim to wash off the days grime and cool off a little – the sun is hot even when the temps are only in the mid 70’s.

What an amazing day of travel on the Great Loop. We didn’t want it to end.


Random Walk

Day 323: Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Port to Port: Ottawa to Kars, Ontario

Underway: 8:36 am      Motor Off: 5:10 pm      Miles Traveled: 24      Stayed At: Town Dock

First Things First: First time seeing docks cantilevered out over the water.

Mile 0 to Mile 24: We reluctantly left Ottawa this morning to start our way back south again. Ottawa has been a short but amazing stop. I would leave a lot more time to explore this town if I ever am lucky enough to get back here. We didn’t need to leave early this morning since the next lock in the sequence doesn’t open until 9 am and is less than an hour away. I used the time wisely. I found a gas station less than a mile away so I carted our gas cans down there for a fill, I got coffee on the way back and even had time to take some pictures along the way.

We went through 7 locks today. The first ones – No. 9 and 10 – and No. 14, 15 and 16 were step locks. These are time consuming expecially when the waterway is busy like it is now. We locked through with the same 4 boats each time. Each boat has to go in slow and get secured to the cables running up and down along the sides before the next boat comes in. We actually were rafting in between two other boats so we had to go extra slow to avoid hitting anything – especially someone’s $200,000 gelcoat. Two big power boats came in behind us – also disconcerting when they come in and stop with their bow sprit/anchor only a foot or two from out solar panel. Exiting a step lock to go into the next step/lock is also a special challenge since there is no maneuvering room. It’s like a dance. We were successful, if slow and had a productive day. (There are 44 locks in the Rideau Canal System so we should get pretty good at this dance by the end).

We didn’t get quite as far as we had hoped but we found a nice free dock in Kars, Ontario with no other boats on it so we decided to take advantage of the opportunity instead of anchoring out as originally planned. Lucky we did since it gave us a change to meet Kathy and Cameron (hope I spelled that right), two retired teachers who live near the landing/dock. I was walking up the road and they were outside by their truck and horse trailer and we started chatting (funny how that happens). A few minutes later they offered to let us use their car to go to a good restaurant – the Red Dot – in a nearby town. Well, if the choice is between leftovers or going out to eat after a long, hard day in the sunshine, going out wins almost every time. We invited them both with but Cameron had a meeting so only Kathy joined us and we had a wonderful dinner learning a little about each others lives, families and adventures. It will be another wonderful random experience we will remember for a long time. (Thanks Kathy and Cameron for the hospitality).

Step By Step

Day 322: Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Port to Port: Ottawa, Ontario

Underway: 9:10 am      Motor Off: 12:15 pm      Miles Traveled: 0.1 mi      Stayed At: Lock Wall

First Things First: First time (and hopefully last time) through 8 step locks in a row.

Mile 0 to Mile 0.1: We lucked out yesterday getting a spot to park rafted up with Idylle and we lucked out again today getting into the locks on the first lock through of the day. Even though we arrived later than some of the boats in front of us on the blue line, the lockmaster decided to take Carina first – she was the longest with her mast sticking out both ends and we ended up sneaking in at the end between two other boats – there were 8 boats in our locking group and we stayed together for all 8 locks. What a stressful time. Three hours later, we finally got to the top and last lock and popped out one last time into the Rideau Canal tired but satisfied with our 0.1 miles of progress today. Our last bit of luck was finding two empty spots on the wharf outside the lock where we could spend the night for free with our passes. We really wanted to see more of Ottawa so this worked out perfectly.

The Rideau Canal lock system is a World Heritage Site. It has been maintained in pretty much original condition for many years. The locks are still hand operated by the lock personnel – usually young people with a fun summer job. The waterway by Ottawa is lined with parks, trails and bike paths which are heavily used on a daily basis (built it and they will come). It is a treasure for this city and worth the detour north by itself.

After our locking adventures were done for the day and we were securely tied up, Cindy and I decided to do some serious exploring. We wandered around our side of the river for a while, ate lunch, bought some groceries, did some window shopping and took lots of pictures. It was time for dinner by the time we were done, so we combined our already hot rotissiere chicken with some fresh bread and fruit and called it dinner. Just in time too, since a quick little thundershower rolled through with rain and loud thunder soon after we were done.

Even though we a had a busy and tiring day, I convinced Cindy it was worth staying up well past Loopers midnight (8 pm) to see the laser light show at the Parliament building (the second time for me). Surprisingly, she agreed. We walked over to the other side of the river early to see explore downtown and see if the show was still on even with the previous rain. We were talking with one of the volunteers (who said the show was going to start as scheduled) when we met Michele and Louie – two guys from the Sainte Anne De Bellevue area who were in Ottawa on business for a few days. To make a long story short, we stood in front of the Parliament building , at the sun set behind the building, chatting with them for more than an hour – they were fascinated with the Great Loop and we enjoyed telling them about our adventures. Thanks Michele and Louie.

The MosAika light show was better than the first time since I wasn’t trying to take pictures or movies – I just got to enjoy the show. I’ve never seen anything like this before. The scale and creativity of the presentation were amazing. Its impossible to explain without seeing it. I don’t want our Great Loop to end.

Uncharted Territory

Day 321: Monday, July 22, 2013

Port to Port: Atocas Bay to Ottawa, Canada

Underway: 6:18 am      Motor Off: 3:45 pm      Miles Traveled: 51      Stayed At: Lock Wall

First Things First: First time rafted three deep waiting at the lock wall for tomorrow mornings first lock thru; first laser light show.

Mile 51 to Mile 0: Today was a repeat of yesterday weatherwise. Absolutely beautiful travel weather. We had a little fog when we first got up but it burned off almost instantly after the sun came up. We left a little before Carina but we were soon a two boat caravan heading up the last 40 miles of our journey on the Ottawa River. We have been very pleasantly surprised by the lack of current – we average 5.5 mph all day. We were expecting 4.5 mph.

The Ottawa is fairly wide and deep making navigation easy. We ended up following Carina for the last part of the day since our chart package on the Ipad doesn’t have this section of the Ottawa River or the first section of the Rideau Canal. Not sure why. It hard to get lost, though, since there are buoys at important intersections and the depths are very consistent. Its just fun to follow your progress on the screen.

  The boat traffic picked up a little in the afternoon although nothing like Saturday and Sunday. Traveling during the week is a definite must if possible. We decided to keep going past our original stopping point and travel another 6 miles to the first lock to see if we could get in line for tomorrow morning. We lucked out and were able to raft up at the end of the blue line with Idylle, another smaller sailboat with a couple of retirees from Canada – Henry and Carol – on a 30 day boating adventure. We will go through the first 8 locks one right after the other – they are connected to each other in sequence. The locks will no doubt be full.

Click Here: Laser Light Show

I went for downtown to explore and wait for the laser light show they present each night using the Parliament building as a screen. By the time the show started at 10 pm, the huge grass courtyard was full of visitors enjoying a beautiful summer evening in Ottawa, Canada. It was worth the wait. (Cindy had was probably sleeping for an hour and a half by the time the show started). The entire Parliament building was used for a multimedia/laser light show on the history of Canada. I’ve never seen anything like it. I have a new appreciation for Canada and its history. Maybe Cindy will stay up past Looper Midnight and enjoy the encore performance.

We are planning to stay tomorrow to wander around Ottawa. The locks are right downtown in the shadow of the Parliament building so there should be lots to see. You never know what you’re going to discover in this uncharted territory.

Total Miles: 4,556

Fancy Camping

Day 320: Sunday, July 21, 2013

Port to Port: Sainte Anne De Bellevue to Atocas Bay

Underway: 5:30 am      Motor Off: 0:00 pm      Miles Traveled: 47/46      Stayed At: M

First Things First: First guillotine lock (main door was a huge steel panel that slid up on tracks instead of two doors swinging open).

Mile 97 to Mile 51: We just finished dinner of grilled pork loin, red potatoes, corn on the cob and applesauce. Cindy calls what we are doing fancy camping. I just might get used to this “fancy camping” stuff.

Can someone explain to me what defect in their DNA causes certain people to buy penis replacement boats (mini – cigarette boats) and abuse everyone around them. There were a number of them locking through yesterday with their huge, mufflerless engines and even louder crappy noise they consider music. They kept their music playing even in the lock while most people pointed at them and laughed. Worse yet, a couple of them parked for the evening near us and came back loud and drunk and blasted their music and engines at 12:30 am as everyone was trying to sleep. It is interesting that our two most negative experiences on this trip have to do with the same type of boaters. Enough ranting for this month. There probably won’t be many more of these idiots between here and the beginning of Lake Michigan.

We had a wonderful day today. The air was much cooler and less humid than the past few weeks and the sky was beautiful in the predawn light. We got going early again to make it to the first lock by 10 am. They had already loaded the chamber, though, with boats that were at the wall even earlier (we thought they opened at 10 am). Oh, well. We had time to wander up to the top of the lock and get a birds eye view of this work of engineering. The Carillon Lock on the Ottawa River raised us up 65 feet in one hop. (It replaced of series of 7 smaller locks). It took a little over two hours to get through this lock (our longest wait yet) but that was the only one today. We let all the power boats go by us and we had a nice cruise up the Ottawa River to our chosen anchorage. It was a little busy with power boat traffic (a perfect Sunday afternoon) but it quieted down after we got past a popular gathering spot where hundreds of boats were anchored.

Click Here: Time Lapse of Lock

After Carina got anchored, we tied up alongside for boat-tails and snacks before moving off to anchor nearby and make our wonderful dinner. Most of the other boats enjoying this large bay started heading home about 6 pm leaving this amazing anchorage all to our two boats. Like I said, I may just get used to this fancy camping and take a left instead of a right when we get back to the Mississippi River. Who knows.

A Little Calmer After the Storm

Day 319: Saturday, July 20, 2013

Port to Port: Sainte Anne de Bellevue

Underway: 0:00 am      Motor Off: 0:00 pm      Miles Traveled: 0      Stayed At: Lock Wall

Mile 97 to Mile 97: With another down day on the schedule, we started the day making a hot breakfast of hard-boiled eggs and waffles (Aunt Jemima toaster waffles in a fry pan).  A little more fun than our usual cereal and fruit. We could have probably left today but the wind started kicking up pretty good early and it was a Saturday so there was a fair amount of boat traffic out there. Tomorrow is supposed to be perfect so we decided to wait one more day.

We wandered around town exploring the nearby parks and waterfront. Except for a lot of overpriced restaurants and bars and a few shops, there isn’t much else to hold your interest here. I wouldn’t want to be stranded here for as long as we were in Kingston, NY. Next time we’ll have to take a train to visit nearby Montreal for a few days.

We stopped and sat in front of the library (closed on the weekend) for a while and used their wifi to call home on the computer. We were only half successful but it was free.

With nothing important on our task list, we packed a picnic and walked over to the other side of the lock and enjoyed peanut butter sandwiches on fresh, warm bread before going back to the boat and taking advantage of the quiet downtime to read, relax and take naps. We decided to move our boats to the high side of the lock so we could leave really early tomorrow. We bought a tub of ice cream and offered to share with Kent and Jane (which they readily agreed to) and we sat in their cockpit eating our $3 (on special) quart of caramel vanilla swirl ice cream with almonds and enjoyed the end of another memorable day on the Great Loop.

Hot and Stormy

Day 318: Friday, July 19, 2013

Port to Port: Sainte Anne De Bellevue

Underway: 0:00 am      Motor Off: 0:00 pm      Miles Traveled: 0      Stayed At: Lock Wall

First Things First: First Tim Horton’s (donut shops) – Canada is littered with them.

Mile to Mile: I guess hot and stormy is better than dark and stormy (unless it is the liquid kind). We decided to stay put today – the forecast is for gale force winds and storms this afternoon as a strong cold front pushes its way through – finally. Who knew it could get this hot in Canada. Every third person on the sidewalk is carrying an ice cream cone. Tomorrow the high is supposed to by in the 70’s and Sunday it might be in the 60’s. Should be good travel conditions as soon as the wind subsides.

With nothing better to do, I got up early and walked 2+ miles to the closest Walmart to get oil, a 12v fan and a few other items. I wish I had a bike since there was a marked bike trail the whole way. I was early even though I walked so I took a detour and stopped at our first Tim Horton’s. Okay but not really special – just easy to find in any medium size town with strip malls.

It was too hot to do anything strenuous today. We took showers at the community center pool and relaxed in air-conditioned comfort at the library. Cindy went back to the boat to close the windows before the clouds moved in. Hopefully this front will pass through and bring calmer and cooler conditions for next week. We are looking forward to exploring the Rideau Canal before following our Looper friends up the Trent Severn Canal System.

We had a little excitement in this quiet little town this afternoon. I was busy working on the blog when Cindy came back to the library out of breath saying the wind had shifted and the boats were getting pounded by the waves. So we ran/walked fast back to the boat and saw Carina and Aurora rocking up and down like bucking broncos. I guess I missed the worst of it when the gust front moved through. We agonized over moving into the lock to the other side or staying tied where we were. The dark clouds were moving in fast and it was very lumpy in the channel leading to the lock. To make a long story short, we decided to stay tied securely to the wall instead of getting caught in the big waves and coming downpour before we were securely tied again. We sat under Carina’s enclosure and watched the rain and wind roll in. It poured buckets but we stayed fairly dry. After the first storm rolled through and the lightening stopped, we moved into and through the lock to the protected side and parked along the wall under the road bridge so we were completely protected from the rain for the rest of the evening. There were probably 20 other boats doing the same thing for the night. The only “damage” was we lost our rug that had been on the lock wall and must have washed away with one of the breaking waves. That’s enough excitement for one day wouldn’t you say.

Sainte Anne De Bellevue

Day 317: Thursday, July 18, 2013

Port to Port: St Catherine Lock to Sainte Anne de Bellevue

Underway: 6:22 am      Motor Off: 11:22 pm      Miles Traveled: 23      Stayed At: Lock Wall

First Things First: First time seeing a huge Coast Guard hovercraft – noisy and lots of spray.

Mile 23 to Mile 0/97: We are done with the St. Lawrence Seaway. It went way better than expected. I guess it would have been difficult had we wanted to go into Montreal but we didn’t so we missed the worse part of the current. We averaged over 5 mph this on the first part of the Ottawa River so maybe this is a sign of good things to come.

We left early again today to take advantage of great travel conditions. Todays forecast is identical to yesterday – hot and humid with a chance of thunderstorms in the afternoon. We decided to stop after the first Ottawa River Lock in Ste Anne-de-Bellevue. The next lock is 20 miles away but has no services. We might have to camp out all day tomorrow too because the forecast is for gale force winds all day and some rain. Not a good travel day – especially on the wide part of the river coming up.

   After locking through and tying up to the floating dock, we worked on our normal boat projects – get gas, fill the water bottles, clean the boat, get local info, find the bathrooms, locate the nearest ice cream shop (we found three in three blocks) and figure out where we can get internet. We solved all those problems quickly and joined Kent and Jane from Carina for lunch at a random restaurant down on the waterfront promenade. We have had enough sun and heat this morning so we chose to sit under the AC vent to cool off and relax without sweating.

After lunch, Cindy watched the laundry spin around while I wandered over to the library to upload blog posts and check email and weather. I think I got the better duty since the library was nicely air conditioned.

We have heard that our friends who chose to wait for the Erie to open have been making good progress. Depending on the weather and timing, we may meet up with some of them along the Trent Severn – wouldn’t that be fun.

It’s A Small World After All

Day 316: Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Port to Port: Iles Verte to St Catherine Lock

Underway: 5:57 am      Motor Off: 1:30 pm      Miles Traveled: 27       Stayed At: Anchor

Mile 50 to Mile 23: After a quiet night at anchor, we woke with the sun again and decided to take advantage of the great cruising conditions to head toward the first big lock on the Saint Lawrence River. Carina followed us up river again. Carina needed to stop for fuel and a pumpout so we followed them into a marina where we had another reunion with some friends from Kingston (and Green Turtle in Kentucky) – Gay and Mike on Irish Attitude. They are heading the same way we are along with several other boats getting fuel at this marina. We all headed up river and soon joined a bunch of other boats waiting to go through the first lock.

We had another reunion at the lock – Rick and Margie on Journey whom we met in Kingston also – were one of the boats waiting. You have to be careful here in Canada – you never know who you are going to meet.

Us and 11 of our fellow boaters all motored into the lock and, with some effort and confusion, finally got rafted up and secured to the wall. The lock operators offer very little help – they won’t even communicate on the radio. Their job is to get the big ships through – us pleasure boaters are a nuisance. With everyone working together, though, we finally figured it out and, before long, we were headed up to Lock 2 in a long boat parade. The wind was starting to pick up but we were fairly well protected in the channel and everyone did the same thing all over again. It was a little exciting this time though because a huge ship was waiting to come into the lock and everyone had to get out of the way to let him pass.

The weather forecast was sketchy for the afternoon – 20-30 knot winds potentially and thunderstorms so we joined Carina and anchored in a nice protected basin just above the lock. The bad weather held off until a little later in the afternoon so we got a relaxed and got a few projects done before the rain, lightning and thunder hit. We haven’t had a storm like this for a long time and it was nice to be securely anchored instead of out in a wide-open bay somewhere. The storms only postponed our planned dinner together to a different day. All else is well in Canada.

Buddy Boating

Day 315: Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Port to Port: Saint Ours Lock to Iles Verte

Underway: 6:00 am      Motor Off: 4:15 pm      Miles Traveled: 43     Stayed At: Anchor

Mile 12 to Mile 0 and Mile 81 to Mile 50: After a very quiet night on the floating docks along the lock wall, we woke up early (as usual) and were off the dock by 6 am. We are going to meet Carina at an anchorage about 20+ miles upstream on the Saint Lawrence River. The last 12 miles of the Richelieu River/Chambly Canal flew by – we got a huge boost from the current and averaged over 7.5 mph. It was fun while it lasted.

We didn’t know what to expect when we turned the corner onto the big river. Big ships, fast currents, hidden rocks, big water, big waves, and every other worry you can think of was going through our minds. Like has happened many times on this trip when we are doing something new, our worries quickly faded into joy. We saw a couple of big ships but they were along way away. The current was stiff but better than most of the Hudson – we averaged over 4 mph for most of the trip up river – with just a little 8 hp motor. There are rocks but they are marked on the chart. The water is wide in parts but the weather is perfect for traveling – the river was dead calm. It was a thoroughly enjoyable cruise.

We made it to our initial chose for an anchorage before 12 pm – too early to stop on such a nice travel day. There was a town dock too so we could have explored a little before anchoring but we don’t really need anything right now. We couldn’t get Carina on the radio so we stopped at the dock to wait until we could contact them. I took advantage of the break to walk to the nearest gas station to fill one our jugs and, by the time I got back, Carina was pulling up to the dock too. We both had the same idea to keep traveling so we found another anchorage on the chart about 14 miles upstream and hit the road again.

For unknown reasons, this stretch was slower than this morning. At times we were going only 3.5 mph the current was so strong. But at least we were moving ever so slowly toward our goal – get off the St. Lawrence River. We pulled into our second anchor choice about 4:30 pm and, as soon as Carina was set, we pulled up next to them to raft up until after dinner. We made meat loaf patties and red potatoes to go along with their salad and brownies. Everything was amazing – the food, the setting and the company. Even Squirt (Carina’s guard dog) tolerated our presense.We sat in their cockpit, eating al fresco, as the sun went down in the west and the sky turned all different colors of red, orange, purple and gold.  We are trying to enjoy every minute of this unexpected detour. I suspect that, in the end, this experience will be one of the highlights of our trip.