Jun 27 – Jul 2, Days 211 -216 Bang Ding Ow

Grab a coffee, crack a beer because we’ve been “off-air” for a while so this will be a longish post. Let’s not begin with an internet access rant (notice a Canadian theme here?), but c’mon. OK, so this Rideau Canal does get into some remote areas, but between poor wi-fi and Verizon’s “unlimited” data plan providing about 5 milliseconds of 4G speed north of the border before stepping down to carrier pigeon speed we really are hamstrung on the tech side. Anyway……  


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OK, a bit of a re-run. Here’s a picture of an aerial picture of the first 8 locks on the Rideau passing right into downtown Ottawa. Just wanted to provide more perspective.


We’ve leapt into this Rideau Canal journey without really providing any historical context, but the latter is pretty cool. At 200km, the Rideau Canal is the longest canal in North America and includes 47(!) locks from top to bottom…or bottom to top depending on direction! Built from 1829 to 1836, the Rideau was originally conceived as a military defense against the risk of the “imperialist Americans” blocking the St Lawrence river thereby cutting off British trade routes to the interior of Canada and the Great Lakes. It was never used for military purposes and is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site operated by Canadian National Parks for use by recreational boaters.


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Typical scene of approach to one of the multiple locks. Each spot generally allows overnight docking at the top or bottom of the lock. Lots of walks and always a peaceful night.


It’s an unbelievably cool waterway passing through small towns, parks, and moorages. Of course, the price is having to travel at 10kmph most of the time (N still jumps on the throttle whenever the opportunity presents itself), but at least our fuel burn is up to 4 miles/gallon which bodes well for our 200 miles+ trip without services a few months ahead.


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Even N is unwilling to power up here….not to mention that white marker clearly says 10kpmh!


We’ve also not really talked about this whole 150th Canadian birthday thing. OK, so I don’t think we’re alone as Americans not really understanding a whole lot about Canadian history, but there’s lot of interesting things. The Canadian flag we all recognize was only adopted in 1964! Wow, we were alive by then! Also, although Canadians celebrate Canada Day on July 1st, they’ve NEVER actually declared their independence from England…what!? Not sure they can claim an “official” birth year, it just sort of happened and the Queen still has a perfunctory role (she delegates the job to the Canadian-based British High Commissioner) in approving any law passed by Canadian Parliament. She’s never vetoed a bill, but even so. I could go on, but this is a boating blog!   

Anyway, this 150th “birthday” is a pretty big deal and we’re passing masses of boats and paddlers headed in the opposite direction headed to Ottawa to celebrate.


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This group was paddling from Kinston to Ottawa! Another group of retired school teachers paddling the same direction serenaded B with the Beach Boys’ “Barbara Ann” from their lock-side overnight camp. No idea of the backstory, as N was talking to the lockmaster when the singing started.


As for us, we’re shuffling up the Rideau on our way to Kingston at about 30 miles/day (the locks take time) because N is only willing to spend so much time steering our inboard/outboard at 10kmph!


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There’s a chance to stretch your legs at each lock. Most are totally manually operated. At this spot not only did the lock staff need to crank the gates, but then had to manually swing the road bridge open.


So where have we been these last few days?


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Never a good sign… boat in a sling on a brutally rainy day.


They say there are two kinds of sailors, those who have run aground and those who have yet to do so! Super poor internet access has kept us off line for a bit, but a bigger factor has been N’s poor attitude following his “grenading” a prop a few days ago.


7-1 prop
Aaaahh! Our beautiful stainless prop! If you’re going to “grenade” a prop, you might as well do it properly. No, the blades are not supposed to be pointing forwards! Oh, and there’s not really supposed to be chunks out of the skeg either, but that’s more a pride thing.


This is N’s 3rd time doing that over the course of his nearly 50 years of boating so he is the kind of “sailor” who just doesn’t seem to learn! His self-flagellating has taken up his blogging time. The issue of wrecking the prop has been compounded by not being able to replicate our boat’s pre-prop strike performance. N has checked the prop shaft, put in fuel cleaner, and swapped out everything from fuel filters to spark plugs.


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#$@%^&……N does not really have an ideal mercruiser mechanic’s physique, but he got himself pretzeled in to do some wrenching.


Now we speculate our replacement props were somehow pitched incorrectly when we sent them out in Florida. Of course, all of this is taking place over the biggest holiday weekend in Canada so N gets to stew while Canadians celebrate (and don’t answer the phone or work on boats). Seems appropriate we came down the river Styx (seriously, that’s the name of the river) into Kingston. We’ll order new props ASAP and slam then on sometime this week hopefully.


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…and it wasn’t just the boat getting dinged! B cut her hand washing dishes (not good when you’re in charge of handling the lines over 30 upcoming locks), then N half fell into the canal while scraping his elbow on a lock wall (he was exiting the boat with a drink in one hand and crackers in the other!!!!) and finally B slipped on the bilge floor and slammed her thigh and shin into the engine. 



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B gets her lock on…you can’t see the gloved hand, but it’s there!


Despite our travails, it wasn’t all bad.


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We spent some peaceful evenings at quiet spots.



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Found fun pubs in small towns serving great beers!



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Had to take the pic…. N complains he always has to go out for fish and chips….what’s up with that!?



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From the pics you might think we’ve had a lot of sun, but it’s actually rained 26 of the 30 days of June! This scene is more typical of a cruising day (notice rain splashes in water)! Still, there is some fantastic scenery.



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Yep, this is navigable in our boat. Check out the channel markers all the way down.


In the meantime, we’re out of the Rideau Canal with 70+ miles of clear sailing to Trenton at the start of the Trent Severn Canal and another massive number of locks. Phew….that post is done! Hope to return to more regularity. Keep fingers crossed for those props!


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This post is coming to you from the Kingston Starbucks! Trent Severn here we come.



2 thoughts on “Jun 27 – Jul 2, Days 211 -216 Bang Ding Ow”

  1. Well, when it rains it pours, or something like that. I was so glad you included a map for Point of reference. And the history perspective!

    But Barb, where are you going??? I may have missed the destination blog. Is there a water route to the NW? (Just kidding!). But I am wondering how far west are you heading? Where will you leave the boat when you head home to Tacoma to see Baby Malcom!

    Pictures are beautiful. I love that every day is a new horizon! Love to Nick. Tell him Aunt Jane says, “Breathe!” 🇺🇸🦅🍁


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