“Punch it, Chewie!” – Layover Day at Pointe-Claire

First of All -

  • First time our boat is clean in months
  • First time going out sailing in another MacGregor
  • First time swimming in fresh water

Loop Log:

  • Miles Cruised today: NA – Layover Day
  • Total Miles Cruised to date: 5,455
  • Hours Underway: NA
  • Fuel: NA
  • Morning House Battery Reading: 14.3 (plugged in)
  • Wind Speed: 10 ; Wind Direction: W
  • Daily High Temperature: 76
  • Water Temperature: 71

This is boat cleaning day. Both inside and out, the many miles of travel have taken their toll on poor old Chinook. She has a dirty brown “moustache” stain on her bow and running down her water line, black streaks on the side of the hull bear testamony to less than perfect landings at cushioned docks, dead mayflies litter the deck, seagull droppings are all over, and that’s just outside. Inside DSCF4790the cabin dirt, dust, grit, black streaks, and mildew spots disfigure the fiberglass surfaces, the carpets are stained and loaded up with sand and dirt, the sinks are dirty, it goes on and on. I tackle the exterior while Sandy attacks the cabin. While we’re busy with these chores, we take occasional breaks to watch the little kids preparing to go out, on another perfect light air day, for their sailing lessons. With a minimum of coaching they set their boats up and head out onto the lake. We also watch as wheelchairs are rolled down to the dock. The yacht club here has a great sailing program for paraplegics. A pair of davits with winches are installed on the dock, and people in wheelchairs can be hoisted into the small sailboats and back out again. It’s a great thing for this club to share the sailing experience with people of all abilities.

In the afternoon Ilya, wife and family, which includes a grown daughter and 3 energetic young boys, arrive at the yacht club. It’s a perfect afternoon for going out in the boat, and one of their favorite things to do is run out into the lake a couple of miles to a shallow area, anchor out, and go for a swim. Sandy stays behind to put the finishing touches on our boat, while I join Ilya and family on their outing. Once clear of the breakwater Ilya shoves the throttle forward and his 90 hp Etec quickly has is boat up on plane and running at 19 mph. The kidsDSCF4791 gleefully shout “Punch it, Chewie!”, in reference to Han Solo jumping into hyperspace in the Millenium Falcon in Star Wars. In no time we’re out to the shallows, where Ilya drops anchor. Time for a swim. Water temperature is 71, which makes me just a little reluctant to jump in, but comfortable enough once I make the plunge, along with Ilya and the 3 boys. I swim around a little and then head back toward the boat. I’m swimming but not getting anywhere, because a 1 knot current is trying to sweep me away. After cooling off in the water we climb back on board and snack on fresh strawberries, ripe watermelon slices, and homemade guacamole with chips. For our return trip, Ilya hoists the main and we sail off the anchor. Out comes the jib, and we clip along on a reach, trying our best to “break the record”. We come close, getting her up to almost 6 knots, and afterward discover that we’ve forgotten to raise the swim ladder up. The extra drag certainly prevented the setting of a new record. This little outing, running quickly on plane to a great swim and snack spot and then sailing back really highlights what a great boat the MacGregor is. We all thank Roger MacGregor for designing and building this boat, which has enabled its many owners to enjoy so many times just like this.

DSCF4792 Back at the dock it’s time for Ilya and family to come on board Chinook, to see how we have our boat set up. Ilya tells his boys that we’ve been living on our boat for almost a year. “How can they do that?” is the question they ask. Once they climb in they get a better idea. One boy takes a quick look around and says “Don’t let mom see this”. I mention that we’ve been modifying the boat for 14 years, getting her to this state. I tell them how lucky they are to have their boat and to be able to do the things they do together on it, and the gleams in their eyes confirm that they totally get it. We finish off the day with dinner at a local favorite Greek restaurant, which is filled with animated conversation and authentic, tasty food.

I’ve read many comments by people, upon completion of their Great Loop cruises, and they all tend to list people met along the way as among the greatest highlights of their experience. They are generally referring to fellow cruisers that they’ve encountered and, in many cases, cruised with in the course of their loops. We’ve certainly enjoyed this aspect of cruising the Great Loop, and have had some great times in the company of other cruisers. However, I think that, after we complete our trip, we’ll look back on the non cruisers, the local people we’ve met and befriended along the way and who have gone out of their way in extending hospitality, as among our fondest memories. Certainly, Ilya and his beautiful family have contributed strongly to this sentiment.

Canada Day Cruise up the Ottawa River – 7/1/16

First of All -

  • First Day of July – Happy Canada Day!
  • First guillotine style lock
  • First time locking through in the company of a beaver
  • First time anchoring out since lowering the mast on Lake Champlain

Namely Speaking-

  • Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue
  • Lac Des Deux Montagnes
  • Carillon
  • Lac Dollard-Des-Ormeaux

Loop Log:

  • Miles Cruised today: Power: 37; Sail: NA
  • Total Miles Cruised to date: 5,492
  • Hours Underway: 6
  • Fuel: NA
  • Morning House Battery Reading: 14.3 (plugged in)
  • Wind Speed: 8 ; Wind Direction: E
  • Daily High Temperature: 74
  • Water Temperature: 73

DSCF4794Our pleasant pause at Claire-Pointe Yacht Club has come to an end. We are once again under way, heading west. We motor a few miles west on Lac Sainte Louis before reaching the lock at Sainte Anne. We raft up with a Carver trawler and lock through with 5 other boats. The lift is only 3 feet, and once the gate opens, we begin our cruise up the Ottawa River. The river is quite broad to begin with. It’s a lovely day, with lots of boats out enjoying the sunshine and light sailing breeze. We pass Oka, a very popular swimming beach which lies to the north. As we draw closer to Carillon Lock the river begins to narrow, and we’re regularly passed byDSCF4796 numerous large power boats heading up and down the river. They tend to pass closer than I’d prefer, kicking us around with their wakes. We reach Carillon Lock around 3 pm, and we find half a dozen boats tied up on the blue line, waiting for the lock gate to raise. A couple other boats are tied up beyond the blue line, apparently planning to spend the night there. I decide to tie up at the overnight dock and evaluate our situation. The weather forecast calls for strengthening west wind in the early morning hours, and the mooring wall above the lock is not a good place to be in a west wind. The dock below the lock would be more secure, however, that would require us to wait until 9:30 for the first lock opening in the morning. I see a nice looking bay a few miles above the lock, which has potential of being a good anchorage, however without use of the dinghy, we wouldn’t have access to the shore. We end up with a compromise plan. We’ll lock up at the next opportunity this afternoon. Once we exit the lock we’ll go over to the mooring wall above the lock, tie up, fix dinner there, and go for a walk afterwards. Then, before it gets dark we’ll motor over to our anchorage spot, where we’ll have good shelter for the night.

DSCF4800Carillon Lock is noteworthy on several counts. It’s the first gullotine style lock we’ve encountered. Instead of swinging sideways, the downstream lock gate here raises up into a high tower, helped by a massive counterweight. Despite weighing a couple hundred tons, the counterweight enables the gate to be lifted by a mere 40 horsepower motor. The lock lifts boats 65 feet, making this the highest lock lift in all of Canada. The floating dock inside the chamber makes this lock very easy to negotiate. When we get the green light, we’re the only boat to enter. A fairly heavy rain hits is as the Parcs Canada crew take our lines and secure us to the dock. After the lock door descends behind us, enclosing us in the chamber, someone says “There’s a beaver in here.” Sure enough, a good sized beaver has evidently decided to lock through with us. Either that or he just made a big mistake. In either case, he’s going up with us. One of the Parcs staff says she’s worked here for 3 years, and this is the first time she’s seen a beaver in the lock. It’s particulary cool because the official Parcs Canada logo is a beaver, and it’s Canada Day to boot. The rain quits by the time the lock gate opens, so we follow the beaver out of the lock and head for our tie up wall. By the time we get tied to the wall we’re both a bit damp from the rain, so we go down into the cabin. Sandy heats up some chilli, which makes the perfect dinner on this cool, damp evening. It rains a bit while we’re eating, but after dinner the rain quits, and we’re able to go for a nice walk. Around 7pm we head over toward our little anchorage. I follow a winding route into a small channel behind a little island. It’s a perfect spot for out boat. We should be quite comfortable here tonight.

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Magic in Montebello – 7/2/16

First of All -

  • First day cruising in Ontario Province waters
  • First bridge on the Ottawa River
  • First cigarette boat race encountered
  • First gourmet barbque buffet attended
  • First time being asked for directions (and knowing the correct answer)

Namely Speaking-

  • Chute-A-Blondeau
  • Hawksbury
  • L’Orignal
  • Montebello

Loop Log:

  • Miles Cruised today: Power: 28; Sail: 0
  • Total Miles Cruised to date: 5,520
  • Hours Underway: 4 1/2
  • Fuel: NA
  • Morning House Battery Reading: 12.88
  • Wind Speed: 15 ; Wind Direction: W
  • Daily High Temperature: 68
  • Water Temperature: 70

DSCF4831It pleases me when I awaken to a stiff westerly breeze, since it validates our decision to anchor out instead of remaining tied up to the lock wall, completely exposed to west wind. The sign posted at the lock wall graphically warns of the hazards of that place. We head out of our bay under gray skies and steer into 1 to 2 foot wind waves. As we near the town of Hawksbury I see a pair of jet skies, each flying bright orange flags, zipping along. One peels off and heads our way. He pullsDSCF4835 alongside and I cut our speed so I can hear him call out that very fast speed boats are coming, and we should stay clear of mid-river. I thank him for the heads up. Apparently, some sort of speed boat race is scheduled for this morning. As we proceed up the Ottawa River, however, I begin to doubt that anyone could stage a race today. The wind is strengthening, and wind waves are building to more than 2 feet, steep faced and close together. At the narrows near the entrance to Baie De L’Orignal, we actually hit a set of genuine 4 footers, which lift our hull high into the air and then pound back down. I’m getting a lot of spray in the face. No way could they race speedboats in these conditions. The wind surfers, on the other hand, are loving it. We see several guys out surfing with parasail kites. Their athleticism is amazing. The waves diminish a bit in size as we near the upriver end of the bay, and as I round a corner I hear a thunderous sound, accompanied by huge rooster tails of white spray. The race is indeed on. We’re well off the main channel, and we watch with awe as a dozen or more sleek, powerful cigarette boats blast their way down river, oblivious to wind and wave. I’m later told that one of these boats spent more than $1,500 on fuel making a series of training practise runs. This is clearly a sport for the wealthy.

DSCF4836Shortly after noon we draw near to Montebello, which is our destination for the day. There are two marinas to choose from. We opt for the more modest of the two, and are comfortable with our choice. The owner is helpful and friendly, and the boats here feel like our kind of people. The other place is a very upscale resort type marina, located right in front of the impressive Le Chateau De Montebello, and it’s filled with large motor yachts. Not a single sailboat there. We are, howevere, within comfortable walking distance of the Chateau, and once we’re checked in, we begin our 3/4 mile walk in that direction. We take a lovely, winding path through the forest which leads us to the Seigniory (estate) of Louis-Joseph Papineau. Papineau was one of the most important figures in the history of 19th century Lower Canada. He was outspoken on behalf of the rights of French speaking Canadians, and was one of the leaders in the abortive Insurrection of 1837. When the uprising failed he went into exile. After 8 years he was granted amnesty and returned to his estate, building theDSCF4851 great manor house and other structures which stand here today. They are now owned and managed by Heritage Canada, and are beautifully preserved for current and future generations. We visit the chapel where Papineau and other family members are buried, and then go on a guided tour of the manor house. The tour is excellent. A butler in period costume greets us in living history mode, and introduces us to our tour guide, who leads us through the house. It’s richly furnished with many original articles from the time of Papineau and his heirs, who lived here until 1929.

DSCF4856Following our tour we walk a short distance further, to the impressive Chateau De Montebello, which was constructed by the Sportsman’s Club, which acquired the estate property from the Papineau family. The Club constructed a massive lodge, reputed to be the largest log structure in the world. Today it serves as a luxurious hotel, part of the Fairmont hotels. We visit the lobby and marvel at the towering stone chimney in the center of the room. We snack on ice cream and admire the landscaping out on the patio, then make reservations for their famous barbque buffet. When 5:30 rolls around, we’re seated at a lovely table, warmed by the evening sun and looking out on the landscaped flower beds and lawn, directly in front of a pretty fountain. Our waiter is friendly and engaging, and he makes us feel perfectly at ease. The meal is memorable in every way. After our drinks arrive, we walk over to the appetizers and select fruit, cheese, shrimp and mussels, being careful to not overdo things, since we want to save plenty of room for main course items. For meats they offer tender strip sirloin, grilled to your specification, along with lamb t-bone, sausage, chicken skewers, ribs and more. Fish choices include Pacific salmon, mahi mahi and red grouper. One chef mans the wok station, and he serves up a delicious shrimp or chicken stir fry. Not to be slighted are the vegetables. Fat but tender spears of asparagus, vine ripened seasoned tomato slices, grilled corn on the cob. Quality ingredients, expertly prepared. Our waiter removes each plate as it is emptied, and as soon as the sun dips behind the lodge roof a staff member arrives to light our table’s propane space heater. Somehow we exercise enough self control to save room for dessert, with many delicious items to choose from. We will long remember our delightful buffet supper at Le Chateau De Montebello.

Our walk back to the marina is just what we need to settle our meal. We take an alternative route, along the main street through town. While strolling along a car pulls over and the window rolls down. They start to ask for directions, but hesitate when they realize that we’re obviously tourists. However, when they ask if we know the way to the Chateau, we’re just the folks to ask. We point them the right way, telling them the buffet is outstanding. They say that’s where they’re going. Usually we’re the ones asking for directions. The evening is complete with a pretty sunset, another outstanding day on the Loop.

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8 Giant Steps up onto the Rideau Canal – 7/3/16

First of All -

  • First time seeing a guy hovering on jets of water
  • First locks passed on the Rideau Canal
  • First time ever in the City of Ottawa

Namely Speaking-

  • Papineauville
  • Orleans
  • Gatineau
  • Rideau River
  • Ottawa

Loop Log:

  • Miles Cruised today: Power: 44; Sail: NA
  • Total Miles Cruised to date: 5,564
  • Hours Underway: 8 1/2
  • Fuel: 22 gallons; $102; 6 mpg
  • Morning House Battery Reading: 14.3 (plugged in)
  • Wind Speed: 8 ; Wind Direction: W
  • Daily High Temperature: 80
  • Water Temperature: 74

DSCF4883We get started around 7:30 this morning, since it’s more than 40 miles to Ottawa. The day is clear and sunny, with just a light breeze out of the west. The river is wide and easy to navigate, with fairly light boat traffic until we draw near to Ottawa. I see a marina with a fuel dock on the south side of the river, just below Ottawa, and decide to stop there and fill the tanks. It’s a busy place, with lots of boats coming and going. While filling the starboard tank I hear a commotion and see a crazy sight out on the water. A jet ski is circling aroundDSCF4885 and, above him is a guy standing on two jets of water. An umbilical trails behind him and drops down into the water, obviously connected to a high speed submerged pump which is being towed by the jet ski. I’ve never seen such a thing before, and I have no idea what it’s called. It looks like one of those rocket packs, only using water. The guy is pretty good at maneuvering around, and only crashes once or twice. What will they come up with next?

We arrive at the entrance to the Rideau Canal around 3 pm, and we tie up on the blue line behind one other boat which is waiting to lock up. These locks are quite famous, located in the heart of downtown Ottawa and right next to the Parliament Building. A stairstep set of 8 locks dramatically lift boats up from the Ottawa River and into the start of the Rideau Canal. These historic locks are all hand operated and boats enter the first chamber, rise with the filling water, and then directly enter the next chamber. The chambers are quite small, with only enough room for 4 to 6 boats. It takes 90 minutes to travel all 8 locks. If they’ve started a cycle of lowering boats, the wait can be up to 3 1/2 hours before passage is completed. We wait on the wall for about anDSCF4889 hour while 3 boats in the locks complete their downstream passage. This gives us time to walk up and view the system and take pictures. When our turn comes, we follow the other boat into the chamber, and secure to the wall on our starboard side. The chambers have fixed cables running vertically down the lock walls, and we simply ease up to the wall, pass dock lines around the cables, and hold the lines while locking up. We have a bit of a tail wind which makes maneuvering inside the chambers tricky. I use our boat hook to grab a cable DSCF4893for our stern line. We’re in a bit of a fish bowl, with both sides of the locks crowded with tourists, who are there to watch the show, and we’re definitely the show. We do just fine, up until the final lock. I catch the cable with my boat hook and start pulling our stern in when the telescoping boat hook pole gives way, and the hook half of the pole falls free, into the water. Major oops. I expect it to immediately sink out of sight, but to my surprise it floats, evidently with air trapped in the pole. I lean over the side and manage to catch the hook with the handle half of the pole and, by sliding it up the lock wall, I retrieve hook. Trying to look as casual as possible, I reassemble the boat hook and secure us to the wall. The other bit of drama in the locks involves a hen mallard and her 4 tiny ducklings. They’ve managed to get themselves inside the 7th lock chamber, and the lock attendants are eager to get them out. They herd them toward the upstream opening gate by dropping life rings into the water. The ducks lock up with us into the 8th chamber, and then make their exit once the final gates open, accompanied by cheers from concerned onlookers.

Once clear of the locks it’s time to look for a place to tie up for the night. We have a season pass which enables us to tie up along the canal wall, however, the best places, with electrical hookups, are all occupied. We end up tying to the concrete wall on the north side, and just hang out for the rest of the afternoon.

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Independence Day Tour of Ottawa – 7/4/16

First of All -

  • First 4th of July ever spent outside the US
  • First US Embassy seen on the trip

Namely Speaking-

  • Bytown

Loop Log:

  • Miles Cruised today: NA – Layover Day
  • Total Miles Cruised to date: 5,564
  • Hours Underway: NA
  • Fuel: NA
  • Morning House Battery Reading: 12.88
  • Wind Speed: light ; Wind Direction: variable
  • Daily High Temperature: 85
  • Water Temperature: 74

DSCF4933Today we begin our exploration of Ottawa, the last major city we will visit on the trip. We start off by walking over to the old Commissary Building adjacent to the stairstep locks, which now houses the Bytown Museum. This compact but excellent museum tells the story of the building of the Rideau Canal and the development of the new city which grew up at its eastern terminus. Originally named Bytown in recognition of Lt. Col. By, the British officer who supervised construction of the Rideau Canal in 1835, the City was renamed Ottawa in the mid 1800’s. Ottawa successfully lobbied to become Canada’s capitol when federation occurred in 1867. It so happens thatDSCF4936 next year Canada will celebrate its 150th year as an independent country, and the signs of this upcoming anniversary are everywhere. Construction cranes dominate the skyline. Major public buildings are shrouded in scaffolding, as work is done to refresh and refurbish. New buildings are going up all over the place. I talk with one construction worker, commenting on all the work being done. He says they need to get everything done by the end of this year. Ottawa will be a busy place between now and winter shutdown.

Following our tour of the museum we grab lunch at an outdoor cafe and then walk over to a kiosk where we purchase 3 day passes for the hop on/hop off tour bus. We rode one of these in Quebec City and found them to be both informative and convenient. We have half an hour before the bus takes off, just enough time to search out an ice cream store. We decide to ride the tour route for an overview of the city. In the next couple of days we’ll use our passes as transportation to and from some major museums. Our tour narrator is interesting and humorous, speaking alternately in English and French. We see many of the major public buildings and museums, with which this City is particularly well stocked. We particularly note several foreign embassies, including the American DSCF4949embassy, which are located along the tour route. We finally hop off in the Bymart area, which is quite close to where the boat is parked. It’s also the heart of Ottawa’s restaurant district. We walk down to a coffee house for some iced drinks, since it’s a warm afternoon and we’re both hot and thirsty following our open air double decker bus ride. We walk the streets of Bymart, casing out the restaurants and doing a bit of shopping. We find a nice, casual place for supper, and enjoy a well shaded outdoor table. After eating, we walk a few blocks over to the Metro grocery store, where we pick up a few items we’re low on, and then walk back to the boat. We’ve definitely walked off our dinner, and are glad to get off our feet. DSCF4957

This is one of the quietest 4th of July’s we’ve ever experienced. No fireworks, no fire crackers, not even a truck with a backfiring exhaust pipe. We do get a “happy 4th of July” from a couple walking down the sidewalk next to the boat mooring wall. Our American flag on the stern of the boat identifies us as Americans. We thank them for their friendly greeting. I guess time heals many wounds. After all, the canal we’re floating was originally built as a military project, in the aftermath of the War of 1812, following the unsuccessful American effort to conquer Canada. The Canadians decided they needed a more secure supply line, further away from the American border, in case the Americans once again invaded.

 

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Parliament and Museum of History – 7/5/16

First of All -

  • First time being asked by a tour boat to move and make room for him (I declined)
  • First time needing to assist a disabled power boat (I gladly agreed)
  • First time calling the police to report a disturbance

Loop Log:

  • Miles Cruised today: NA – Layover Day
  • Total Miles Cruised to date: 5,564
  • Hours Underway: NA
  • Fuel: NA
  • Morning House Battery Reading: 14.3 (plugged in)
  • Wind Speed: light ; Wind Direction: variable
  • Daily High Temperature: 85
  • Water Temperature: 74

DSCF4968Big day of touring ahead. We hit the street in the direction of Parliament shortly after 8am. Tours of Parliament are free, but the demand for tickets is high, and we must stand in line for our reserved tour tickets. We reach the ticket office by 8:15 and the line has already formed. The doors don’t open until 9am, so there’s plenty of time to chat with other folks in line. The tour is well worth while, though. Canada’s Parliament buildings are remarkable in their detail and beauty, and so very different from our US Capitol. Intricate carvings in wood and stone adorn every possible surface, and they’re rich in symbolism and meaning. Our tour takes us through the House of Commons and the Senate Chamber, as well as the very ornate Parliament Library, the only portion of Parliament to survive the disastrous 1916DSCF4976 fire, which totally destroyed the rest of the structure. The only thing that saved the library was insistence of the librarian at the time of construction that the library be fitted with iron fire proof doors, and a heroic individual managed to rush over and shut them just in time, after the fire broke out. We are also take up to the top of the Peace Tower, where the carillon bells and great clock are installed. The final stop on our tour is the Memorial Chamber. This chamber, located within the Peace Tower, is a deeply moving place, dedicated to remembering all who have given their lives on behalf of Canada. It was created in the immediate aftermath of the First World War, a conflict in which more than 66,000 Canadians gave their lives. This tragic toll becomes even more significant when one considers that this figure represented fully 1 percent of Canada’s total population at the time. If the US were to lose a comparable number based on today’s population, it would involve the deaths of some 3 million soldiers. A set of remembrance volumes have been created, with the name of every soul lost hand written in them. Each day a page in one of the volumes is turned.

Following our Parliament tour we grab a quick lunch before hopping on our tour bus for our ride over to the Museum of History. This is the most popular museum in all of Canada, and 5 hours after we enter, we can easily attest to its popularity. The architecture of the building alone is magnificent, and the exhibits, which focus largely on the stories, culture and artifacts of Canada’s aboriginal people are fascinating. Even in 5 hours, it’s almost too much to take in. We try to manage our time, but it’s difficult. Midway through our tour we take a break and watch a 3D Imax type film on wild Africa. DSCF4978After the film we walk through two special exhibits. The first features Canada’s gold rush, which hit British Columbia in 1858. We’re familiar with this story, since people headed for this gold rush passed through our home territory. We’ve also visited some of the sites of the gold rush up in BC. The second special exhibit is on Napolean Bonaparte, and includes a remarkable collection of artifacts associated with the great emperor, on loal to Canada from France. Such artifacts as Napolean’s throne, ceremonial breastplate, camp tent and bed,DSCF4987 and death mask are on display.

By 5pm we’re about museumed out, so we hop on our bus for the ride back to our boat. When we get back we find a power boat tucked right behind us, and another power boat is being hand lined up to it and is rafted up. I speak with the owner of the outside boat and learn that his outdrive failed while in the locks, and he barely got clear of the locks. He’s been trying to get help to diagnose the problem, without much luck. He needs to get up to Dow Lake, a couple miles above our present location. I offer to tow him up there on Thursday, when we plan to head that way. He appreciates the offer and says they would very much like to take me up on the offer. We’ve been helped by so many folks on our voyage, it feels good to help someone else out.

We are further entertained this evening by some sort of film shoot involving 3 dragon boats, which are highly decorated canoes holding around 15 or 20 paddlers. To accomodate the film shoot, the river tour boat needs to move away from its accustomed tie up, further back in the canal. When we get back from our museum trip a crew member approaches us and asks us if we’d mind untying our boat from the wall and sitting out in the canal while the tour boat moves in and secures to the wall in front of our location. I’ve seen this boat go by, and have noted the bow and stern thrusters, and I also see that it’s a very calm afternoon, and the space ahead of me is at least 150 feet in length, to accomodate a 75 foot tour boat. I politely but firmly decline to move. I’m then told that if they hit and damage my boat it will be my responsibility. Talk about cheek! Needless to say, the tour boat moves up and secures to the wall with no difficulty at all.

Final event of the night is an extremely loud, emotional and highly profane verbal altercation between a man and a woman, just 15 feet from our boat. After listening to them go at it for about 15 minutes I call 911. I’m on the phone with the dispatcher for a good 10 minutes giving my report, and all the while the verbal battle continues. She tells me that a police unit is being sent. Shortly after the dispatcher hangs up, the battling pair start walking in opposite directions. I’ve been waiting for 15 minutes for the police to show up, but no colored lights yet. Presumably if this had been something more serious they’d get here more quickly. I sure hope so, anyway.

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War and Nature – Museums, That Is – 7/6/16

First of All -

  • First time Sandy and I have gone our separate ways, when heading for museums, that is

Loop Log:

  • Miles Cruised today: NA – Layover Day
  • Total Miles Cruised to date: 5,564
  • Hours Underway: NA
  • Fuel: NA
  • Morning House Battery Reading: 12.88
  • Wind Speed: light ; Wind Direction: variable
  • Daily High Temperature: 85
  • Water Temperature: 74

DSCF5079We have another full day of museum visiting planned, with the hop on/hop off bus as our transportation. We’ve decided to go separate ways. I want to see the Canadian War Museum, but Sandy is not the least bit interested in going there. We both would like to do the Canadian Museum of Nature, so our plan is this: we catch the 10am bus, I hop off at the War Museum, and Sandy continues on the bus to the Nature Museum. I’ll join her there later in the day. Since I tend to go through museums at a somewhat faster pace, it should work out ok. I’m a bit surprised at the magnitude and extent of exhibits at the War Museum. The brochure suggests allocating approximately 5 hoursDSCF5083 to adequately visit all the exhibits. I can only afford to spend about 3 hours there, so I try to focus on the highlights. It’s tough to do, since it’s such a fascinating place. Canada has a rich, proud, and frequently tragic history militarily, and this museum does an outstanding job telling these stories. Beginnning with aboriginal pre-history conflicts, continuing with British/French competition for supremacy, the two conflicts with our United States (Revolutionary War and War of 1812), overseas participation in the Boer War, the horrific price paid by Canadians during the first and second World Wars, and finishing up with accounts of Canada’s more recent military involvements, often in the role of extremely difficult international peacekeeping missions, this place covers them all. With just 20 minutes of time remaining, I do a quick walk through the lower level, which houses all sorts of heavy weapons, from tanks to heavy artillery, mostly from the First and Second World Wars. There’s enough military hardware down there to equip a formidable armored division or two. Around 2pm it’s time for me to head out to the bus stop, so I reluctantly disengage myself and catch my bus ride over to the Nature Museum. It takes over an hour to get there, since I have to go all the way around on the tour route, but around 3:30 I make it. By a fluky happenstance, Sandy spots DSCF5084me as soon as I walk in. She’s covered about half of the museum, so I go up to the Earth Gallery and try to catch up. The Earth Gallery has features a stunnning exhibit of minerals, including some huge and colorful crystal forms. I catch up with Sandy in the Gallery of Birds, and we marvel at the beautifully taxidermied specimens. We wish we could spend a full day just in the Birds Gallery, since it does a great job of educating on how to identify different species. We have enough time to go through the Gallery of Mammals, which focuses on Canadian wildlife, and then finish up in the Gallery of Water. One item whichDSCF5087 catches my eye is a chunk of crystal which has encased a bubble of water. The text says that this water has been enclosed inside this rock for half a billion years. We can see it sloshing around inside the rock with the aid of a strong back light. And they say that Perrier is fancy water. Imagine what a glass of this stuff might cost.

By 5pm we’re both very tired and ready to head back to base. We catch our bus and when we get off, decide that we’re to warm and tired to bother fixing dinner on the boat. We pop into a conveniently located Irish Pub, with good air conditioning, and enjoy a nice supper. By the time we’re finished it’s cooled off a bit outside, and we walk our meal off on the way back to the boat.

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Towboat Chinook – 7/8/16

First of All -

  • First time providing a tow for a disabled boat

Namely Speaking-

  • Dows Lake

Loop Log:

  • Miles Cruised today: Power: 4; Sail: NA
  • Total Miles Cruised to date: 5,568
  • Hours Underway: 1
  • Fuel: NA
  • Morning House Battery Reading: 12.67
  • Wind Speed: light ; Wind Direction: E
  • Daily High Temperature: 80
  • Water Temperature: 74

DSCF5123This will be our final day in Ottawa. We walk back toward Parliament Hill so we can secure a good place along the fence which surrounds the lawn in front of the Parliament buildings. At 9:45am we hear the sounds of bagpipes from a contingent of marching guards, approaching from behind East Block. About 30 troops march by us in tight formation, wearing their brilliant crimson uniforms and tall, black furry hats. They’re accompanied by another group playing bagpipe marching music. Once they reach their designated position on theDSCF5107 lawn, they await the arrival of their replacements, who come marching up Elgin Street, accompanied by a brass band. The pageantry is a treat to see. Ritualized inspections of uniforms and weapons are conducted by stern sergeants, the colors are solemnly paraded around the grounds, and after around 40 minutes, they all march off again. It’s a uniquely Canadian experience.

We stop by the Post Office to ship a small parcel back home before returning to the boat. We meet up with Kevin and Selena, owners of the disabled Sea Ray which is tied up in front of us, around 11:30, and we prepare to take them under tow for the short run up to Dows Lake, where they’ve arranged to have their boat hauled out. I decide the best way to tow will be rafted up, instead of by using a tow line. This will avoid the risk of being bumped into if I have to abruptly slow down, and it should also simplify the process of docking. We each place fenders on the side where the two boats will be rafted, then secure bow and stern lines, and finish off with fore and aft running spring lines. This should minimize movement of the boats against each other. When I’m ready, Kevin releases his dock lines and I attempt to back away from the wall. I quickly discover that our boat handles much differently when rafted up to another boat. Instead of backing out into the channel, the bow tries to swing out. This will serve just as DSCF5131well, so I go into forward and try steering out into the canal. The boat doesn’t want to turn, and keeps pulling toward the side where we’re rafted up. Not until I increase the throttle does the boat begin turning to port. I have to keep the wheel turned to port in order to counter the drag on our starboard side. After a short while I get the feel of things and we’re able to maintain a straight heading up the center of the canal. About a mile above our starting point we near the Pretoria Lift Bridge, which has just 8 feet of clearance. I radio the bridge, requesting an opening, and am pleased to receive a prompt call back. The bridge tender raises his bridge as weDSCF5148 approach, avoiding any need for loitering, which I’m grateful for, since I’m not that confident about our ability to maneuver in tight places. After we enter Dows Lake we head across toward the marina. Kevin radios them that we’re coming in, confirming where we will dock. We’ll head for the fuel dock, but must hang out in the lake a short while, since a boat is being fueled. When it’s our turn I swing in, calculating the port side drag and effect of side wind. I must keep enough throttle to maintain steerage, but will have to cut speed quickly once we’re close to the dock. For a moment it looks like we’ll swing the stern of Kevin’s boat into a nearby docked trawler, however, we come around with a couple feet to spare and slide into the fuel dock, slick as can be. Kevin and Selena are most grateful for the assistance, and I tell them we’re glad we could be of help. We’ve been helped by so many people in the course of our trip, it really feels good to be able to do the same for someone.

With Kevin’s boat secure, we untie and head over to a slip. We’ll stay here for the night, and freshen up with showers and laundry. This place is quiet and relaxing, and a nice contrast to the bustle of down Ottawa. After dinner we go for a walk along the lakeside paved path which leads back toward the canal. It’s a beautiful trail, well used by bicycles and folks out for an evening stroll, and makes for a nice way to finish off the day.

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Locking our Way up the Rideau – 7/8/16

First of All -

  • First combination swing bridge/lock gate encountered
  • First time seeing 4 water skiers being towed by a single boat
  • First time having to clear aquatic weeds from the outboard lower unit
  • First time seeing a guy cutting aquatic weeds around his dock

Namely Speaking-

  • Kars
  • McGahey’s Bend
  • Kemptville
  • Burritts Rapids

Loop Log:

  • Miles Cruised today: Power: 35; Sail: NA
  • Total Miles Cruised to date: 5,603
  • Hours Underway: 8
  • Fuel: NA
  • Morning House Battery Reading: 12.53
  • Wind Speed: 10; Wind Direction: NE
  • Daily High Temperature: 73
  • Water Temperature: 77

DSCF5207It’s time to make some miles up the Rideau. The first few miles are in a dug canal and we soon encounter the first of 9 locks ascended in the course of the day. The lifts are moderate, only 10 or 12 feet in each lock. Locks 9 and 10 are flight locks, with the first chamber opening directly into the next. A little further on we pass through a lock which has a road swing bridge crossing integrated as part of the lock gate. Most of the days run is in the Rideau River channel, with locks creating navigable depths and enabling us to get past historicDSCF5212 rapids. We quickly leave the suburbs of Ottawa behind, and begin cruising through a pretty, pastoral landscape which alternates between natural wetlands and farmland, with scattered riverfront homes mixed in. The locks are mostly hand operated, and the canal workers are friendly and helpful. One gives us a good suggestion for a destination, telling us that we should be able to make Burritts Rapids by 5pm. He ends up being right on. The Burritts lock is our 9th of the day, and once we clear the chamber, the lock workers help us get secured to the wall for the night. The lock building has nice, clean restrooms which are open all night, and the grounds themselves are grassy and shaded by lovely trees. A nice restaurant is just across the street. In addition to a nice dinner menu they sell ice, have wifi, and even offer laundry and showers for passing boaters. We have no need for the latter, but it’s still nice to know that such services are available. We share this pleasant spot with half a dozen other boats who are, like us, traveling along the Rideau. Tomorrow we may only go a few miles, up to Merrickville, since rain and possible thundershowers are in the forecast. Depending on the weather, we might just go up to there and hang out for the balance of the day, waiting for better weather. We have no interest in standing out in a rainstorm while going through a lock, and I’m sure the lock workers would be less than pleased with us if we showed up during a downpour.

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