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.