Thursday (7/19) Still thinking…
Last night a couple walked down the pier and noted our ALGCA burgee. They asked about our travels, and we theirs. In the winters they live in North Fort Myers, FL. For the past ten years they have driven to Gananoque for the summer season. They spend 4 ½ months on their boat during the summer which they store here over the winter. They travel the beautiful Canadian canals, rivers and lakes during the summer and the Florida golf courses during the winter. Another option to be considered.
This morning at sun rise, LOOFAH III caught the attention of another visitor.
Over a cup of coffee, Art was enjoying the view of a few of the 1,000 islands laying aft.
He though of all of the wonderful times the family have had at his sister’s and brother-in-law’s summer home on Madeline Island, one of the Apostle Islands in Lake Superior.
How about of one of the personal, “pocket sized” islands here. Maybe a “fixer upper?”
Just as he was thinking about it, a boat left with several drums forward. Was this water? Fuel for a generator? Didn’t look like much fun at this stage of our lives.
Our boat is on a pier with large “no wake zone” signs posted which everyone, including the cruise ships, ignore… until a Canadian patrol boat conducted exercises in the channel!
We took our bicycles down town for some provisioning and stopped to see the Thousand Islands Playhouse. “In 1982, Greg Wanless, together with a passionate group of community members, purchased the Gananoque Canoe Club from the local Rotary Club. Over a few intense months, the vintage building was converted into a 360-seat proscenium theatre right on the banks of the St. Lawrence River.”
We have been to a number of waterfront restaurants but going to the theater by boat would be a great experience!
And next to the Playhouse was another charming waterfront home.
This is a charming community and it is easy to see why individuals would choose to “homeport” their boat here.
It was a productive and enjoyable day that could not end without a drone training flight over the marina.
Responding to an email we received that requested additional aerial shots of the Rideau locks. We took the shot at the Davis lock before it opened at 9:00. Art got the drone out at the Jones’s Falls locks and was told that the locks were a security zone area; drones were not authorized to fly in the area. Apparently, Google Earth and the pictures on some navigational software are OK but drone shots are not? Really?
Further downstream when we were moored below Lower Brewers Lock, Art wanted to study the control of aperture settings on the drone camera. When he turned the controller on, the GPS software indicated that the drone was in a security zone and could not be activated. Interesting; why there and not Jones Falls?
But a great day ended on a terrible note.
On the evening ABC national news, we saw pictures of tornado damage in a small community east of Des Moines. The system was heading east at the time, toward Marshalltown. We checked in with our children in Des Moines. All OK!
But when Sue checked with a former colleague who lives in Marshalltown, Julie sent a few pictures she took on her way home.
Checking other local news sources, we found that several communities had suffered substantial damage.
Fortunately, no deaths reported thus far.
As we sit in this idyllic place enjoying a beautiful clear sky and silver moon, we finished our day thinking of those who faced losses. Tragic!
Every day we count our blessings!
Wednesday (7/18) Back to the Great Lakes.
Confident that LOOFAH III’s “watertight integrity” was secure, we departed our downstream mooring at Lower Brewers Lock # 45 about 10:00 AM.
Two miles on we entered Colonel By Lake and River Styx. The cruising guide notes that these “are lakes created by flooding the land when the locks were installed. While the channel is well marked and deep enough, there are stumps and other obstruction under water outside the channel.”
The channel was, indeed, well marked… and narrow. Check out the red marker to port and the green to starboard. Just enough for two boats to pass.
At mile 121.1 we approached Kingston Mills Lock #46. We realized that we were shortly coming to the end of another wonderful leg of our year-long experience.
The lockmaster greeted us at the upstream blue line and informed us that it would likely be 30 minutes. He had two boats coming up from the 3-step flight immediately below. He would bring them up and out; leave the gates open for us; close the bridge to maintain traffic flow; wait a few minutes until two boats from Lower Brewers lock arrived; and then take the three of us down through the 4 locks together.
As expected, 30 minutes we were locking through. Looking down from the top of a flight of locks is still a thrill.
As we departed the last of the 44 locks on the Rideau, with cars and trains passing above, we knew soon we would be back in the Great Lakes.
We approached Kingston about 12:45.
The last impediment to be negotiated before we entered Lake Ontario was the LaSalle Causeway Bridge at Mile 125.5.
The timing could not have been more perfect. LOOFAH III arrived just before the scheduled hourly opening at 1:00.
Then we came to the Confederation Basin at mile 126.0.
In the 126 miles from the 8-lock flight at Ottawa, we had gone up 30 locks (272’) to Upper Rideau Lake, and back down 14 locks (166’) to Lake Ontario.
Heading to our marina at Ganaoque, we passed the MacKenzie Building at the Royal Military College (RMC), the military academy of the Canadian Forces established in 1876. Is a visit to another military academy in the offing?
Next was Fort Henry, constructed during the War of 1812 to protect the Kingston Royal Naval Dockyard (the site of the present-day RMC) from a possible American attack, and to monitor maritime traffic on the St. Lawrence River and Lake Ontario. More historical research…
We passed a number of lovely homes on the mainland.
Some of the properties on Howe Island, directly across the channel, were not as fully refined. But the view of the beautiful channel was the same from either side.
It became immediately obvious that we were approaching the “Gateway to the 1000 Islands,” Ganaoque, when we started to see paddle wheelers and other tour boats, some a great speed.
LOOFAH III got was secured in her slip about 2:30.
The afternoon was spent stowing the tools and equipment used in our search for the errant water, reassembling and making the bed.
As the dinner hour approached, it became obvious that at least one of us (the light sleeper with sensitive ears) had not rested well last night. Hence, in favor of going ashore for dinner, we dined aboard.
While we were enjoying a beverage on the aft deck, a passel of kayakers passed just feet off our pier.
These tourists are real sports, opting for renting kayaks rather than enjoying one of the cocktail cruises which also depart from our marina. Funny people!
Tuesday night addendum – Are we sinking?
We were route planning after dinner last evening. Art heard one of those sounds that was unusual, certainly not normal. It was different. Then it went away.
Not content, Art started his investigation and after searching various hatches he saw some water near the forward bilge pump. Through a weep hole in a compartment further aft, he also saw water between the hull and subfloor. The bad news was there was water inside the boat, not desirable; the good news was it didn’t seem to be rushing in or measurably increasing.
Chasing a water leak is never easy. The only thing about which you can be confident is it runs down hill!
We got the little wet/dry shopvac out (great for inflating the dinghy and other things) to suck the water out of the bilge through the weep hole, noting that the water had not raised to the level necessary to start the bilge pump. We were relieved to see that the water level was going down and became relatively confident that there was not a hole in the hull.
No water in the hull forward. Was the hot water heater or some plumbing leaking? We worked our way aft to our cabin and traced remnants of water to the area in front of our bed, under which the hot water heater is located.
Big decision. The water situation did not seem to be significant. The next step would be to tear the bed apart. Should we tear the bed apart, or get into it? Given the hour, we selected choice #2.
Absent funny sounds during the night, Art was able to get some sleep.
This morning we took the bed apart and found no water in the proximity of the water heater. Great, but now where to look? There had to be something else around here.
We pulled out a drawer located under the bed, at its foot. And there it was!
To minimize openings in the hull, small plastic tanks are located at various locations in the boat to collect condensate lines from the air-conditioning system. When they fill up a float switch starts a pump to pump out the water. If it fills, and the pump doesn’t empty the tank, it is designed to overflow into the bilge where one of three bilge pumps responds after getting sufficient water to activate its float switch. It was full to the brim.
With as hot and humid as it has been, the air-conditioning has generated a good deal of condensate. With the exception of what appears to be a faulty float switch, everything appears to be operating as designed. We will monitor the tank level and deal with the float switch later.
Tuesday (7/17) Heavenly!
The morning started out with drone practice #2. Today Art was able to fly the drone AND control the gimballed camera. Peter heard the buzzzz and joined Art for the aerial exercise. We promised copies to our Davis Lock friends.
We enjoyed another day of cruising the beautiful lakes of this section of the Rideau, today two miles on Sand Lake. There was always something to be enjoyed on every island; something to think about for our next chapter.
Maybe a boathouse with simple quarters above two enclosed slips where boats could be hoisted out of the water during the winter.
At Jones Falls (mile 98.8) we approached Lock 39, a 14’ drop. As two boats were approaching from downstream and could be accommodated without reversing the lock, Bucket List and we laid up on the upstream blue line.
But all was not lost as there was a blacksmith shop to be visited.
After we locked through #39, we turned to port and were greeted by the 3-step flight of #40, #41, and #42. The choreography between LOOFAH III and Bucket List entering and exiting locks had been well refined by now. Debbie and Sue would handle the forward lines; Ron and Art the aft line. This gave time for girl and boy talk!
Some of the locking crew were a bit green, even at this time of the season. These locks have vertical cables secured at the top and bottom of the lock wall around which you loop a line from your boat. This technique holds your position as the water gets a bit turbulent as the water level is raised or lowered.
On this flight the water level on entering was just inches below the top of the lock wall so one of the lock crew would pass your line down around the cable and hand it back to you. Except for the fellow assisting Ron who took the line and asked, “if this one was OK?” pointing at a cable. Ron responded “Fine.” The fellow passed it around the cable, dropped it in the water and started to walk off before Ron reminded him that Ron needed that end back! Ron and Art shared a chuckle.
We stepped down through the flight.
The Brass Point Swing Bridge at mile 105.6 was opening as we approached.
The Lockmaster at Jones Falls had notified the bridge to expect us. The coordination between the lock and bridges has been greatly appreciated.
Bucket list continued to follow us.
We followed another boat, that had come from another part of Cranberry Lake, toward Washburn. It is always nice to have someone with local knowledge leading.
As we proceeded we enjoyed this glorious area and before we knew it we were in a dead end at Seeley’s Bay!
Would we have blindly followed them over a dam? We were embarrassed, as was Bucket List who blindly followed us.
We reversed course and got back on track. As we were locking through the Lower Brewers Lock (#45) at Washburn, here came the boat that we followed into Seeley’s Bay. Apparently, they were not locals, and didn’t want to be in Seeley’s Bay any more than we!
Shortly after 2:00, we were at Lower Brewers Lock #45.
Realizing that we were just four locks from completing the Rideau we chose to stop at the pier downstream of the lock where peace, quiet and power pedestals awaited. However, for the second day in a row, we were without internet access. In fact, we had only one bar on the cellular!
We enjoyed talking with Bill, on the Heritage East 36’ called “Hearken,” moored in front of us. His friend, Jim, was standing in for Bill’s wife on this leg of the trip. Jim had completed the Loop previously and provided some helpful information on upcoming legs. Bill flew B-52s for six years had had quite a pedigree in avionics.
Last night the area received some much-needed rain, although it was brief. The front also brought with it reduced humidity, lower temperatures, and pleasant winds. It was a perfect night for pasta on the aft deck.
Monday (7/16) Plan A, Plan B, or both?!
You must pass the Abbot Swing Bridge (that operates with Lock #31) to depart the basin at Smith Falls. Because the bridge is on a major thoroughfare, it only opens every 45 minutes starting at 8:45 AM until 1:00 PM (just 5 openings prior to 1:00) when it opens upon request.
Lock 31 will accommodate two vessels, side by side, in the chamber. Only two boats of LOOFAH’s size, or four or more smaller boats, will fit at a time.
Our cousin, the Prestige 550 Fly, and their buddy boat, wanted a good start this morning so they headed toward the blue line about 7:15 to ensure they would be first, and pass through the 8:45 opening. They were followed shortly by a third boat. The que had begun!
We had various plans for the day. Plan A: stay in Smith Falls another day; go to the bakery; finally take time to learn how to fly a drone; do a much needed touch up of LOOFAH’s decks, and maybe even work in a nap. Plan B: get underway.
Chocolate croissants were secured, the drone instructions read, and the drone readied, which was far more difficult than anticipated. Flight control software need to be installed and systems calibrated. Finally, in “beginner mode”, after working through some error messages not fully understood, it took flight. Art felt like the Wright brothers at Kitty Hawk!
About 10:30 we were at a decision point: stay or depart? Confirmed by a short bicycle ride to the lock, we could be accommodated at the 11:00 opening. The bicycles, shore power cords and adapters, and kayaks were promptly stowed. We left the pier at 10:50. A half hour later we were through the bridge and riding high in the lock, on the third leg of the Rideau Canal.
We passed these rental house boats and thought about how the owner felt when his tax dollars were spent to entice a foreign competitor to come to town.
Probably the same way my friends in the hotel business did when our city and county plowed millions of dollars into a convention hotel down the street. Did everyone benefit? A hard call to make as Art experienced during his time on Des Moines’ Urban Renewal Board. But he (we) don’t have to deal with those issues presently!
The scenery today was varied from narrow cuts…
… to open lakes. Some onboard were even able to work in the nap included in Plan A!
We saw homes on personal islands …
… and on rocky bluffs
About 2:15 we approached the Newboro Lock (#36) where we would start the descent to Lake Ontario. The boats that queued up hours before we did in Smiths Falls were at the blue line (indicating they were ready for the next opening) but waived us past.
We were unsure why but did squeeze into the chamber next to Nine Lives. After we got secured Dick mentioned the others were waiting for an open chamber so they could go through together.
The swinging bridge here is opened manually by putting a Y-shaped “key” into a gear. The operator then proceeds to push it round and round to swing the bridge. It was quite a sight.
The it was back to the lakes and the narrows that connected them.
The cruising guides noted: “Mile 90.8, Ferry Crossing. Watch for ferry crossing the waterway in the narrow channel between Indian and Clear Lake.”
Was this it? Was it seaworthy, inspected, licensed and operated by proper authority?
The lockmaster at Chaffeys Lock #37 told us about the mooring available on the upstream side of the next lock. It had nine 30-amp electrical pedestals. When we expressed interest he called ahead to confirm there was space; there was.
The lock crew at Davis Lock #38 was there to greet us. As it was getting late in the day with no other boats anticipated, they placed us at the end of the blue line at this “beautiful, isolated and quiet” place.
Other boaters on the pier were interested in our boat and hearing about the loop. After getting the Great Loop briefing, Brian and Betty (Mutual Fun$ II) and Peter and Debbie (Smile and Wave) came aboard to check out LOOFAH
Later, Ian and Jaime, aboard a houseboat they rented, came down to chat. They are attorneys enjoying a week off their long hours at law with their two girls, 6 & 8.
As we came into the pier, the girls and Jaime were swimming, laughing and generally having a grand time. Ian said the girls caught so many fish the he was going to make them start cleaning them!
We declared a “Martini’s and Steak night” and enjoyed dinner looking at this bucolic sight.
Sunday (9/15) Remaking Smiths Falls
This is the basin in the center of Smiths Falls formed by the pool between locks and dams 26A and 31. It is a happening place and it is the first time that we have been able to see the bottom in seven feet of water since the Bahamas!
It’s a picturesque place with families swimming, picnicking, and kayaking on this warm Sunday.
It is a town that has a fast-food strip, but also clearly has maintained a celebration of the past retaining the old locks and structures when this was a major stop on the canal connecting Ottawa with Kingston on Lake Ontario.
As many small towns, in all countries, struggle to remake themselves and maintain economic stability, Smiths Falls is no different. The Rideau Canal, is a UNESCO World Heritage site, is a unique asset and community leaders went to work on developing it.
Over docktails the other evening, cruising the canals of England and Europe was discussed. Others have done it. Thus far, we have only collected literature from Le Boat and discussed the possibility with our ISU traveling companions. It sounds, and looks, lovely.
So we were interested when we saw a Le Boat fleet here in the basin and did some research.
“Thousands of tourists are expected to flock to Smiths Falls come 2018 when water expedition company Le Boat opens up shop.
This will be the first North American operation for the European based boating company.
Le Boat will be offering boat rentals to anyone to travel the Rideau Canal and its waterways. There will be 16 Horizon cruisers to start the fleet, with 16 more coming within five years of opening.
Le Boat picked Smiths Falls, saying that “the picturesque town” offers all the best qualities of Europe’s top travel destinations.
Le Boat also says their operation will bring in jobs and put millions of dollars into the local economy, including $16 million dollars to open the North American base.
The Ontario government is directly investing $2 million and Le Boat is also benefiting from roughly $3.6 million in federal government work that was already going ahead on the Rideau Canal.
Le Boat is investing $16 million itself to launch its operations in Smiths Falls when the Rideau Canal opens for the season in May. The company has already shipped 16 Horizon cruisers worth more than $250,000 each. Depending on the model, the boats can sleep up to 10 people.
Prices range from $1,398 for shorter, four-night hops to Perth or Merrickville. For larger boats, prices can be as much as $13,078 for 10 days to Ottawa or $16,030 for a two-week sojourn to Kingston.
Vacationers rent the boats and are taught how to drive, then spend their trip cruising waterways and exploring communities. Le Boat’s vessels are equipped with beds, bathrooms and kitchens. “Basically it’s a condo on water,” said Sandy Crothers, the base manager of Le Boat in Smiths Falls.
“We’re already 60 per cent sold out for the season,” said Lisa McLean, Le Boat’s marketing manager for Canada. “Literally, tourists from around the world are booking to see the Rideau Canal.”
Reading this article, we thought of all the money we are saving by doing it ourselves!
And although this town has its roots in the canals, other roots have also been cultivated.
For years Loopers stopped here to visit the Hershey factory and then sample the chocolate in a visitor’s center. Then it closed. How could this facility be repurposed?
“CTV News Ottawa
- Published Friday, May 25, 2018 6:33PM EDT
- Last Updated Monday, May 28, 2018 10:22AM EDT
Canada’s biggest marijuana company continues to bring new life to Smiths Falls with its Tweed facility. Tweed, owned by Canopy Growth Co., moved into the old Hershey Plant on 1 Hershey Drive.
The warehouse had previously been empty since Hershey moved out years ago. Hundreds of jobs were eliminated when the chocolate giant left.
When Tweed took over, the company started with a few employees. Today they have 500 at this site alone. Jordan Sinclair, the company’s communications manager, says they expect to have 1000 employees in Smiths Falls by next year.
“We’ve got operations all over Canada and all over the world but this is the principal hub of operations,” Sinclair said.
On top of creating jobs at the plant, the Mayor says it has opened opportunities throughout the community. “We are seeing an economic revival like we’ve never seen before,” said Mayor Shawn Pankow. Pankow says the housing market is hot, and restaurants and businesses are flourishing.
Sinclair says the community took a chance on Tweed when marijuana was less of a hot topic – thanking Smiths Falls for that.
Pankow says Tweed has provided more jobs than Hershey’s did. He says the commitment has paid off ten-fold.”
Attention fellow Century Club Investors:
“The company was the first federally regulated, publicly traded cannabis producer in North America, traded on the Toronto Stock Exchange as WEED. It began trading as CGC on the New York Stock Exchange on May 24, 2018, as the first cannabis producer on the NYSE.”
We enjoyed the day catching up, kayaking and bicycling; things we have not done as much as we had anticipated.
We also watched a rerun of the World Cup soccer final and the post-game celebrations in Paris on the Champs Elysees. It brought back memories of our honeymoon and a special birthday celebration.
The picnic benches were empty and all was quiet on the Smiths Falls basin as the sun set. We had much to ponder as we grilled Canadian bratwurst (nothing like we get in Wisconsin) on the back deck.
It was another “Pinch me, am I dreaming?” day on the Loop.
Saturday (9/14) Rideau #2
Yesterday we didn’t know what to expect, nor did we today. We would make it through twelve locks and get to Smiths Falls, just under 40 miles – or not.
Our departure was at 9:22; LOOFAH III’s fuel tanks had been topped off, and the holding tank pumped yesterday when we arrived, so we were good to go.
We had 17 miles before the first lock of the day. Shortly after we left the marina the river widened, and the shoreline was undeveloped, enabling us to blow the cobs out of the engines. But that changed as we approached the lock.
After our first lock (#17 at Burrits Rapids) we were 9’ higher.
We were in a beautiful, quiet, undeveloped area. There wasn’t even a bridge at this lock.
Just a half mile further we came to this alarming view! CLOSED?
The cruising guide notes “Mile 40.5, Burritts Rapids swing bridge (10’) Opens on request. One long horn blast.” The swing bridge was open, but what was this safety netted barrier? Some sort of temporary construction platform. Why wasn’t this advertised?
Then we saw someone walk across the barrier, followed by two bicyclers. Then a man waived at us, acknowledging we were there. Shortly another man came to the bridge and adjustments were made at both ends. Then the floating bridge was pulled open, by hand and rope.
After 6 more locks we passed charming main street Merrickville. This was a potential stop, but as it was only 2:00, and we were “ahead of schedule”, we decided to press on to Smith Falls.
At 4:30 we arrived at Smith Falls. We passed the original three manual locks (28,29 and 30) to port.
They remain for historical interest and have been replaced by one lock (29A) with a 26’ lift. It is fully automated. Art inquired of the lockmaster if assignments were based on seniority; this one had to be more enjoyable than the manual ones. He responded that this assignment was made as an accommodation for his disability.
Slips at the Victoria Park Camping and Boating Facilities are available on a first-come-first-serve basis. It had been a long, hot, day. We had traveled 38.6 miles; been underway for over 7 hours; been through 12 locks; and been lifted 107 feet since departing Hurst Marina.
We wanted to sleep with the air-conditioning and to get the DISH satellite system powered up and ready for the World Cup finals tomorrow morning. And there was a slip open, right near Nine Lives. We pulled in.
And we were just in time for docktails, hosted by Louise and Dick. We met Orin & Sherry (“Green Eyes”) and Tim and Diana (“ZANADU”) for the first time this evening.
LOOFAH III’s Chief of Communications and Public Affairs noted a Prestige 560 Fly a few slips from us and introduced herself on her way to meet the pizza delivery person.
After getting our exercise locking, and a day in the heat and the sun, it didn’t take long to fall asleep!
Friday (7/13) Out of control!
Today was day one of our transit of the Rideau Canal constructed between 1826 and 1830. The canal is one of the UNESCO World Heritage sights
Approaching Ottawa Wednesday, we noticed this twin set of falls, marked on the charts as the Rideau Falls.
We later read that when Samuel de Champlain traveled up the Ottawa River in 1613 he saw these falls that appeared to him a curtain of water. Hence, he named these falls, and the associated river, “Rideau,” the French word for “curtain.”
At about 8:45 we departed from our mooring across the street from the Shaw Center.
The next few miles were in a beautiful park setting with cyclists, walkers and joggers enjoying the paths on both side of the canal.
Five of use gathered at the at the Pretoria Bridge for its scheduled 9:00 AM opening. We would follow these boats for a major portion of the day at the canal speed limit of 10 km/hr (6.7 mph).
At 9:30 AM we came to Lock 9 that could fit two boats at a time, so we waited our turn at the blue line.
All of the locks gates, sluice gates and bridges on the Rideau Canal continue to be operated manually.
Ross, the senior member of this team and in charge of this lock, was extremely engaging and helpful, as were all of the lock crews.
Some of the locks had bridges associated, which were also opened manually.
LOOFAH’s lines are unique in this area and generally draw many comments and photographs. We have become accustomed to it. But when campers on this dragon boat, one of four that had been racing, started yelling “cool boat” and waiving, we had to smile and return the waves.
Our last locking for the day was this step of three, and one last bridge.
We completed 7 locks today that took 4 ½ hours to transit. The total distance traveled was just 22 miles in 6 ½ hours.
Normally, since leaving Milwaukee last September, we have been in control of the distances we travel each day. Today we totally lost control of time and distance.
We are going to spend some time on the Rideau!
Dinner this evening was at Swan of the Rideau, a pub reminiscent of those we visited with our Iowa State University friends last year in Ireland. David and his staff made it another enjoyable evening.
And then it was back to our home on the water.
Maybe being out of control once in a while is not all bad!
Thursday (7/12) Sandy’s tip pays off!
We awoke in downtown Ottawa on a boat!
On the agenda: the 10:00 AM Changing of the Guard in front of the Parliament. We were there and ready for the pageantry.
The reviewing stand had assembled…
… and the retiring guards marched to the parade grounds. You have to love a good military parade with bagpipes leading the way.
And much to the surprise of the others (we had been briefed by Dick and Louise last night) the replacement guard approached from down the street.
It was a half hour filled with tradition, precision, and pageantry.
We felt relatively safe under the watchful eyes of the security detail who were not exactly British Gurkhas.
We walked the grounds and particularly enjoyed the exterior of the Parliament Library.
The sight from the terrace included the National Gallery of Canada and Notre Dame Cathedral Basilica, which we visited by foot.
As we walked by the American Embassy, we could only guess the issues de jour the Ambassador was addressing with his Canadian counterparts. It sounds like President Trump and Prime Minister Trudeau are still generating news.
Next stop lunch at the Heart and Crown Irish pub in the ByWard Market area.
The ByWard Market is named after Lt. Col. John By who supervised the Rideau Canal construction from 1826 and 1832. It was the home to many of the laborers who built the canal. The area has hosted an open-air market since the 1840s and is a colorful and eclectic place…
Immediately adjacent to the Byward Market is Rideau Center and its sheik stores; quite a contrast.
We went back to LOOFAH to put our feet up after we got the 10,000 step congratulatory vibration of Sue’s Fitbit.
Shortly there after there was a knock and we met Daryl Banke, the ALGCA “Harbor Host.”
We had heard about Daryl from Sandy (Karine) who said that Daryl graciously secured a 50’ 30-amp extension cable so they could use their “Y” to get 50-amp shore power.
Sandy and Bob had warned us about this when we had dinner with them on Marco Island; we were prepared. Daryl was pleased that we knew the story.
Daryl and Mark have been reading, greeting and talking with Loopers, and evaluating boats in preparation for possibly doing the Loop in 2024.
We went back to the Byward market for dinner and were lucky enough to get the corner balcony table at the Aude Dubliner.
The people watching was wonderful and we think we photobombed many photos taken of this colorful Irish pub.
On the way back to the boat, we made a stop at Starbucks to complete and post yesterday’s log entry as we had exhausted our high-speed internet allocation for the day. The shot of caffeine consumed while on the computer kept part of the crew up well into the night. It was probably a good thing, as he needed to get up to speed on the specifics of the Rideau Canal which we will experience tomorrow!
Wednesday (7/11) Successful summit!
From the sandy beaches of the Bahamas to the fir trees of Quebec, every morning we have enjoyed a different vista. From the skyscrapers of Manhattan to the forests of Montebello, this has been a phenomenal experience we aren’t anxious to finish!
Our goal for the day was for LOOFAH to summit the 8 stair-step locks in front of the Fairmont Chateau Laurier in Ottawa.
Although a small head-on current was still evident, the seas were flat as we proceeded 43 miles west on the Ottawa River.
We passed these individuals who have it all covered – air, land and sea!
This stretch of the river is relatively broad, not crossed by many bridges, but rather crossed many ferry’s, this one at mile 26.7 pulling along its submerged cable.
Just 10 miles upstream, there is this notation in Skipper Bob’s cruising guide: “Caution: Very heavy ferry traffic between Cumberland, Ontario and Masson, Quebec. Stay alert.”
At this point there were four ferry’s running. On both shores, as soon as one departed the terminal, another entered. It was quite a ballet.
We approached Ottawa about noon …
… and found Samuel de Champlain overlooking the river at Nepean Point, behind the National Gallery of Canada. Champlain founded Québec City in 1608 and, in 1613, he explored the Ottawa River.
“This statue commemorates the 300th anniversary of Champlain’s second voyage on the Ottawa River. It was erected at the same spot where Champlain made his solar observation during his expedition in 1615.
“Champlain certainly knew how to use an astrolabe — an old navigational instrument — but the sculptor did not. Champlain is depicted holding it upside down!”
Then we found the foot of the steps. Unlike the commercial locks in Canada, the lockmasters on the Rideau don’t monitor VHF channel 68. In fact, they don’t monitor any channel. A boat that wants to lock through simply approaches the lock, and if the gates are not open, ties off on the approach wall at “the blue line” to wait. We did.
We took turns going up to the lock to see if we could find a lockmaster.
Finally, Art was able to find Ted who was working with a team on the hand operated gates and valves bringing a pontoon down. It would be another half hour or so.
At almost exactly 13:00, the lower gates opened, the pontoon boat exited and LOOFAH III, with its admittedly anxious crew, entered.
It was quite an experience, made so much more enjoyable by the joystick and bow thruster controls available on the starboard side of the aft deck. Sue could loop a line around a fixed cable at the bow and Art could do the same at the stern.
LOOFAH exited the eighth lock, 79’ higher than the river, at 14:10. She had completed the 90-minute process in just 70, a testimony to outstanding teamwork which was recognized by not only the canal crew, but also those watching and photographing our every move!
We found a place along the wall above the last lock where we intend to spend two nights. It is free, but there is a nominal fee for electricity, should we wish to utilize it.
Nine Lives was moored at the wall immediately aft of us. When Louise saw us she immediately invited us to join them for 5:00 docktails. Dick and Louise have been here for two days so they provided us with several helpful suggestions that we will employ tomorrow.
We also spent some time talking about boating the canals of England, which they have done on several occasions. Dick and Louise are considering purchasing property in Northern England in the Lakes Country.
Walking to dinner at Milestones, we got drawn to the bridge over looking the locks. They were drained for the evening.
After dinner, as we were walking down the canal, we met a couple who were returning to their sailboat with provisions. The sailboats mast was down, trussed on the deck to get under the bridges.
We spent several enjoyable minutes speaking with Paul and Wendy about their sailing experiences. This time they were heading out the St. Lawrence to New Brunswick and points north, something that may be in LOOFAH’s future next summer.
It was another day filled with wonderful experience and people.
Hold the presses – LOOFAH III makes the big time!
While we were in Annapolis, Paul Fenn asked us if we would be willing to talk about our boat and experience on the Loop. We received an email from Paul saying that Prestige was posting it on their site as well as You Tube.
If you are interested, here is the link.
Thanks, Paul! Great job of editing.
Tuesday (7/10) Now that’s a log cabin!
Our time at the Royal St. Lawrence Yacht Club and Montreal was memorable, made even more so by the presence of Ellen and the grandchildren. It was now time to move on.
Today’s cruise is from Montreal to the marina at Le Chateau Montebello, 66 miles east.
We departed at 8:40 and came to our first lock, the Saint-Ann-de-Bellevue lock, about 45 minutes later. The gates were open and although we would only rise 3’, a lift easily accommodated by lines, we were secured to a floating raft inside the lock on the south wall. It took 17 minutes.
Sue, LOOFAH III’s Chief Communications Officer and External Affairs Officer (CCOEAO), had seen on a post that George and Patty Hospodar were doing the Rideau-Champlain-Erie triangle. Their book, “Reflection on America’ Great Loop,” was one of the first we purchased when we were considering the loop and remains a valuable resource.
And there went Reflection…
Art hailed George on the VHF and expressed our appreciation for their work. It was a cordial conversation; Loopers are a special bunch!
Our next lock for the day was a 65’ lift at the Carillon hydroelectric dam.
“Together with the Grenville Canal and the Chute-à-Blondeau Canal, the Carillon Canal was built to navigate the Long Sault Rapids on the Ottawa River which stretched for 13 mi from Carillon to Grenville. The impetus for these canals was the War of 1812. During this war, attacks along the Saint Lawrence River jeopardized the communication lines between Kingston and Montreal, the two main military positions of Upper and Lower Canada. The Ottawa River Canals and the Rideau Canal were thus designed as an alternative military supply route in the event of war with the Americans.”
The remains of lock No.1, built between 1830 and 1833, could be seen as we approached. The hydroelectric dam was constructed from 1959 to 1963.
We entered the chamber with two other boats.
Typically, the larger boats are secured to the floating platform and the smaller boats raft off of them.
It took just over 30 minutes to fill the chamber. So far, only the lift of Whitten Lock on the Tennessee Tombigbee waterway at 84’ was larger than this one.
At 1:30 Le Chateau Montebello came into view. We had been told that this was a “not-to-miss” stop. It certainly appeared to be from the water.
The setting for the Fairmont Le Château Montebello is 65,000 acres of forested wildlife sanctuary and 70 lakes on the shore of the Ottawa River, between Ottawa and Montreal. It is the largest log building in the world. The hotel is on one of the last surviving land grants made by 17th-century French kings to early settlers of New France and originally belonged to Bishop Montmorency de Laval, a founder of Quebec.
“The remarkable log chateau was built in 1930. The first log was laid on April 7. In June, newspapers across North America told of the completion of the massive log chateau in only three months.
“The unusual structure, in the form of six-point star, was built of 10,000 hand-cut and set red cedar logs all transported to Montebello directly from the forests of British Columbia by way of the Canadian Pacific Railway. The project was the dream of Swiss-American H.M. Saddlemire, who was inspired by the chateaux of the Swiss Alps. Finnish master-builder Victor Nymark oversaw the work of as many as 3,500 craftsmen at the peak of construction.”
For it’s first 40 years it was a private retreat. “The Seignory Club’s membership included prime ministers, royalty, and Canada’s business elite.” In 1970 the resort was acquired by Canadian Pacific Hotels Corporation and opened to the public. In 1981 the G7 Economic Summit was held here.
We enjoyed dinner in the chateau’s Bistro before retiring.
Monday (7/9) In port, “paying the fiddler.”
After a marvelous week, it was time to “pay the fiddler.” A number of issues required attention including email, logs, blogs, provisions, etc.
We have been looking so forward to the past week that planning beyond it has been neglected. Tomorrow we will begin a leg that is one of the reasons we diverted from the Erie Canal to go north. It was time to get into the details.
“The Rideau Canal is a visitor’s paradise with its many historic lockstations and 202 kilometres (125 mile) of scenic waterway. The Rideau Canal; a National Historic Site of Canada, a Canadian Heritage River and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, consists of a series of beautiful lakes and rivers connected by canals. It stretches from Kingston, at the foot of Lake Ontario, to Ottawa, Canada’s capital. Maintained by Canada’s Parks service it is arguably the most scenic and historic waterway in North America. Whether you visit by boat, car, bicycle or on foot, the Rideau has something for you.
“The Rideau Canal is living history. It is the oldest continuously operated canal in North America and the locks are operated today much as they were when first opened in 1832. Each lock is unique and the lock staff are always ready to offer the visitor any assistance they can. Most locks provide washrooms, overnight mooring and picnic facilities, including tables, benches and barbecue grills.
“You can visit the Rideau in a number of ways. A boat is of course best to get the full ambiance of the region. The Rideau also makes for a wonderful driving trip, with many scenic roads winding their way through the heart of Old Ontario. So, whatever your vacation preference, the Rideau Canal has something for you.”
As we went to bed this evening we reflected on the another wonderful week with family, friends we have met and made, on experiences, the safe journey we have had, our health, the ability to have this adventure, and other blessings too numerous to list.
As we were high atop the La Grande Roue de Montréal ferris wheel last night we saw this image at sunset.
We acknowledge we are not the center of the Universe. Regardless of theology, or lack thereof, it is concept we wish everyone could embrace.
Our journey continues….
Sunday (7/8) “There’s just a few more hours…”
The only thing that came to mind this morning as Camps Pops and Nanny was drawing to a close was the song from “My Fair Lady,” “Get me to the Church in Time.” It starts with “A few more hours, that’s all the time I’ve got…” And that’s the way we felt.
We jumped into the car and headed back to the Montreal Science Centre to take advantage of the few more hours we had before a plane would take our crew back to Boston.
Our first stop was “DreamWorks Animation: The Exhibition” which shows the “Journey from sketch to screen.”
“This summer at the MSC, go behind the scenes of DreamWorks Animation’s most celebrated animated films. Spend time with Shrek, Alex and the gang from Madagascar, Hiccup and Toothless from Dragons, Po from Kung Fu Panda and Eep from Croods, and many more in this fully immersive adventure into the world of animation.
Find all of the family’s favourite characters in this engaging globetrotting exhibition and explore — from sketch to screen — the secrets behind the making of these fantastical story environments. Discover exquisite concept art, maquettes, illustrations and backdrop designs. As you wander through the many realms of the DreamWorks universe take the opportunity to fly on a dragon’s back or create a short movie, experiment with lighting effects or control the facial expressions of your favourite characters.”
Next the 3-D movie, “Our Blue Planet”
“Take an extraordinary plunge into the world’s largest and least explored habitat. Filmed in oceans from all across the globe, Oceans 3D: Our Blue Planet reveals and explores the deepest realms of planet Earth using state-of-the-art oceanic technologies.
“Discover the mysteries nesting in the expanses of submarine forests and dazzling colourful coral reefs, including the Great Barrier Reef, the world’s largest living structure. Explore the submerged wilderness that supports all life on Earth and meet friendly 40-ton mammals, a fish that uses tools to prepare its food, and a clever octopus able to put a chimp’s intelligence to the test.”
The questions then became, do you want to look at the exhibits upstairs or head back to the marina?
The marina! Which meant “swimming.” So, while Mom did the packing, there was time for noodle fights and a race or two.
But then it was time to do the most difficult thing Pops and Nanny ever must do: say good bye.
It was comforting to know that Dad had cleaned and properly prepared the Boston playhouse for the campers arrival.
We had a Bloody Mary and took a nap!
Saturday (7/7) The Grand Finale!
The sun rose on the last full day of “Camp Pops and Nanny.”
But this morning was going to be special as Ellen was flying in early from Boston. She was working on just a few hours of sleep having just returned from a business trip late last night.
But she showed up right on time, bearing gifts!
Sweden was playing England in the quarter finals a FIFA World Cup at 10:00. Since we found the pool was closed until 10:00, it was time for Spirograph.
As it turned out the soccer games was not available on TV, only the internet. We ended up watching on the Little Guy’s iPad.
His father was watching on his transatlantic flight to Boston as we could see from his post on WhatsApp.
We have come a long way since March 10, 1876 when Alexander Graham Bell said to his assistance, “Mr. Watson – come here – I want to see you.”
After England scored the first goal, the children and “Nanny” left for the pool. The rest of us joined after England won, 2-0.
Each day we are in Quebec, we learn a little more French!
Late this afternoon we headed to Old Port Montreal with the intention of visiting the Montreal Science Centre. However, the 3-D film we wanted to see was not available until after the balance of the Centre had closed. We opted to come back tomorrow and headed for an early dinner.
Then it was off to Voiles en Voiles, “a family theme park with aerial adventure course, climbing and inflatable games in the World of royal and pirate ships.”
We donned the harnesses and helmet for the climbing adventure!
Next we headed to “Take a seat in La Grande Roue de Montréal for an unforgettable experience. A panoramic view 60 meters high, with a breathtaking view of the river, Old Montreal, downtown and the mountains! In the evening? It’s simply magical. And all this in an air-conditioned cabin in summer and heated in winter.” Complete with the photo in front of the green screen.
The view was worth the admission!
And to top off the evening, a fireworks show for the Grand Finale of Camp Pops and Nanny!
The traffic was horrific as we headed out of the Old Port. By the time we got back to the marina it was nearly 11:30. Pops was in the back seat; The Little Guy’s head was resting on his left shoulder, the head of The Eldest, in his lap.
It was the grand finale of a wonderful of a week!
Friday (7/6) Heading for the barn!
You could almost sense it, LOOFAH III could. Today we turned the corner.
At precisely 08:10:03, after traveling 5,579.7 miles, 297 days from Milwaukee, LOOFAH III got to N46⁰ 03.146’ latitude, as far north as she was going. From now on it was all south and west – she was on the final leg, heading for the barn.
As soon as we left the Richelieu River and entered the St. Lawrence Seaway, LOOFAH immediately faced two challenges: a 3-4 mph head-on current and big ships
We knew Singapore …
… but Limassol? Later we found it to be a beautiful place on the southern coast of Cyprus.
The churches and spires we passed were stunning.
The skyline of Montreal soon presented itself.
Not the skyline of New York City, but stark contrast to the RV park of last night.
It was a good thing that we got underway this morning at 7:30. We knew that we needed to cover nearly 80 miles today, had two major locks, and would be limited in speed to 6 knots through the Canal de la Rive Sud, around the rapids at Montreal. What we didn’t know was how long we might be delayed by commercial vessels at the locks.
We arrived at the St. Lambert lock at 10:32, encouraged as the only freighter we saw on AIS was entering the lock. Hopefully our turn was next.
Pleasure craft tie up at an L-shaped dock in a small basin down stream from the lock. Boaters proceed up some stairs to a credit card kiosk to pay the $30.00 fee and to call the lockmaster. Boaters then return to their craft until notified when to get underway and to approach the lock by a PA system.
When we reported we were told they were expecting to lock a “special boat” about 12:30. We would have a two-hour wait.
Time for more crafts. This one is called scra-ffiti. You use a stylus to scratch off the black wax covering to expose the colors.
It was about as much fun cleaning up the wax as it was scratching if off!
Shortly after 12:15 the “special boat” arrived:
The voice over the PA systems advised us to get underway and to follow the craft into the lock. We did so. Two lines were thrown to each craft to use as the chamber was filled and rose 18’. The wind gave Nine Lives, the power catamaran behind us a problem coming in, but they finally got secured and up we went.
Our exit from the lock would follow the hoisting of the railroad bridge after the train passed.
We followed the Police vessel, and Nine Lives followed us, for the next 80 minutes at 6 knots as we proceeded to the St. Catherine lock.
The gates were open when we got to the lock; we had a green light. The Police boat proceeded in directly. Nine Lives already had their ticket and could proceed. We needed to visit the credit card kiosk. Would they wait? Fortunately, yes.
By this time the winds were +25 mph and getting the lines was a challenge. Our aft line was tossed three times. Thirty-three minutes later we were up 32’, and out.
The canal is narrow and needs to be shared, hence the 6-knot speed limit.
When we hit the open waters of Lac Saint-Louis, upstream of Rapides de Lachine, the , the winds had kicked up a 3’ sea. The bad news: the little guy arose from his nap a bit green at the gills and needed to make a quick visit to the head. The good news: the Royal St. Lawrence Yacht Club was just across the bay.
We got secured at 4:30 and a trip to the swimming pool was job one!
Dinner, cards, and ice cream onboard rounded out another wonderful day.
And, Mom would be rejoining us first thing tomorrow morning!
Thursday (7/5) After 64 locks, LOOFAH meets a new configuration
Having completed the Chambly Canal and its nine locks yesterday, today we cruise 36 miles up the Richelieu River to Parc Bellerive Marina, just 7 miles short of the St. Lawrence Seaway.
LOOFAH III and crew departed the Marina de Chambly at 9:15.
At 0900 the iPads are stored for the balance of the day leaving time for other activities. This morning a new card game was created. Initially called “Bridge” it was renamed “Brisk” after consultation and brainstorming. It is really a remarkable game; one the four of played on numerous occasions.
We tried to work in time for summer workbooks, but on some days (actually most days) we had other priorities. After all this is a vacation!
We passed an amphibious airplane base and discussed why float plans are so popular in Canada.
We also passed other campers enjoying time on the water. This dragon boat…
… and others in all sorts of paddle craft.
About 9 miles into the trip we came upon Point Beloeil and this bridge:
Skipper Bob’s cruising guide notes: “Caution: Very narrow with swift current. This tight bridge opening with rapid water will give larger vessels cause for concern.” LOOFAH handled it with aplomb!
We continue to be surprised with the number of cable ferries. So far, the cables and our props have not become acquainted!
Just after lunch we approached the only lock of the day at Saint Ours, a large lock that just has a 5’ drop. This was the first lock we have experience where boats are secured to a floating platform, within the chamber, that rises/drops as the water level changes. Although it takes up available room in the chamber, it certainly makes things easy as long as the sun shade doesn’t meet a stanchion or rail.
Parc Bellerive Marina is associated with a large RV park which had a five-star swimming pool which got immediate attention!
After all of the exercise the kiddo’s were hungry and devoured four tacos apiece! Fortunately, we had time for games of Brisk and War before the ships bell range one bell (20:30/8:30 PM) which means lights out.
It was another great day on LOOFAH III!
(previous posts can be found at Ship’s Log III – Norfolk to Canada)