Really this post is just to get the yesterday’s post’s completion to trigger! So to see it you may have to scroll down past the home page on the actual www.oneifbylandtwoifbyseablog.wordpress.com site. It does have some typos and other issues…primarily though, it seems to have left off at least one key paragraph: the one about WHY we were towing the boat! Here it is because I simply cannot get back into that post to correct and inseert it to the part immediately before the picture of Nick in his green coat in the dinghy::
“Even the weather cooperated, the Bayliner Beast did not. About 3 miles shy of our destination, a screaming jolt emitting from the engine area stopped us dead in our tracks…or rather made our wake crash up onto the stern swimstep. What the —-???? Seriously?? How can this be? No shallows, no rocks on the chart, new engine gingerly broken in, no crabpots (remember this is a lake afterall). UGH! Ok, well time for ANOTHER first: let’s tow ‘er in.”
In the meantime, here’s a view of Killarney waterfront –a town of 400. It only got its first road to it about 45 years ago so everything along its 3 block length has a dock. Not only do you pull up to the dock for gas but you also pull up to the liquor store, the grocery store, the icecream store and a variety of restaurants at each of their individual little docks. “Parking” is limited to 30 minutes at most places! haha
Lots of Loopers passing through. Some we met last Fall way up on the river; others we’ve read about on the Looper forum.
Ok we only have a handful of Canadian towns to pass by on THIS adventure so winding towards Lake Michigan and Chicago on the horizon. Check back again. We’ll try to post as often as possible. Hope all your retinas are intact after eclipse gazing!
Ok, Ok… I know we aren’t posting as often as we should be; but seriously, the internet connectivity is a REAL problem here. And now that is compounded by multiple nights at anchor in the middle of nowhere which in and of itself has been compounded by a 3 day small craft warning requiring us to hole-up where we are lucky to get a sporadic half-bar signal a couple of times a day. That’s where I sit as I start to write this…hopefully we will make it out to a town of 400 by Sunday the 20th and hopefully there will be connectivity there! We’ll see.
In the meantime, the days are blurring together so perhaps the photos here will not be in exact chronological order (but unless you are omniscient (or have been here) you probably won’t know the difference!)
The bottom line (from this perch that feels like the top of the world) is the soul-fulfilling visual trip caused by the geology formations. Georgian Bay and the adjoining North Channel, is a mere sub section of Lake Huron –separated from the main body of Lake Huron by the Bruce Peninsula and Manitoulin Island. Georgian Bay alone is almost as large as Lake Ontario. The whole area is famously referred to as the Canadian Shield with its igneous and metamorphic bedrock exposed by the passage of time and the last ice age—kinda like a rock yamaka perched on the top of Canada.
The northern shore is dotted with literally thousands and thousands of solid rock islands and even more wannabe, little islands the size of cars, busses and large houses (some of which are dangerously submerged under merely 6-12inches of water)—hence, the area is called 30,000 Islands. They are the mere remnants of 39,000 foot mountains that were formed with the accumulations of multiple layers of volcanic molten from over 150 different volcanic belts. And the shallow waters between all the islands and the mainland are lined with that same solid rock…making anchoring sometimes tricky!
Stunningly beautiful, impossible to capture in a photo, and treacherous if you meander out of the channel for a blink. (kinda sounds like a teen describing his first crush!) Here is a geologic sampling to give you an idea of what we’ve had in the last week.
It is actually impossible to get a feel for all this geology and aura by photo (and certainly even less possible by words alone)…you’ll just have to make the journey. Georgian Bay is so cool that it actually inspired the second best art work of all of Canada (behind the amazing British Columbia totem poles of the Salish and other Firsts): The Work of the Group of 7.
And here’s my photographic version of the above:
So that’s the geology stuff….here’s a smattering of the rest of the week. Our highlights have included Beausoleil, Monument Channel (a big hang out for the Group of 7 artists), Wreck Island, Sandy Bay, Strawberry Island in the Bustards. We’ve also stopped at Killbear Park, Parry Sound (for a harrowing taxi ride to the grocery store and back),and Ojibway Club for gas and a look around at their nice getaway locale. Here’s a collection of shots of some of our stops, scenery and beautiful anchorages:
A few pix that got left off from our boating time with the Canadians last week: pancake delivery…..and yes! WITH Canadian maple syrup, double rainbow after a thunderstorm/rain dump; dinghy safari to the rapids.
Hers and His Ways to Explore
Although we do see little cabins and large homes along the shore more frequently than you might expect, often you would be hardpressed to know humans had even passed by. But here are a few “signs” hard to read: “Site of the original barril denoting safe passage thru turbulent waters” barrel marks ; quintessential island with sign marking towns; and cuter than average arched cairn.
Strawberry Island in the Bustard Islands Group:
We took shelter here for 2+ days of a storm/small craft advisory. It also happened to be N’s birthday (a big one, btw, …just sayin!!)
Being holed up for 3 days in one spot on a 28 foot boat under weather watch, with no generator for back-up power, shore excursions onto patches of land the mere size of a double-wide, no “third parties” to interact with could lead to ____( I’ll let you fill in the blank!) But seriously, B was fine with her naps, tiny island explorations, minimal reading, rock yoga and swimming (aka skinny dipping) while N barely hung in there with a morning swim/shower, ipad solitaire, finishing all his books on his kindle and cleaning non-stop….suffice to say “ I’m going expletive deleted insane” was his mantra. As this is typed, he has actually announced he will simply leave B (and presumably Z) on shore with a tarp and sleeping bag and make the crossing, regardless of condition, and return when the weather is better. With that pronouncement the loons started their wailing, haunting call and lyrical return whistle that we’ve grown accustomed to. Not sure what they were communicating to us with but it did sooth!
Well, after watching the big sailboats that were in the abutting small inlet all scoot out earlier, N managed to hang in there and we sat out the weather watch for the second night in a row under even bigger winds that attacked us from a different direction than the prior night. We were fine after adding our second anchor (in addition to our really great and well-set anchor AND the stern tie). We fared the night well and, in the morning, after checking about 4 websites by holding our arm up in the air to get a one-dot-signal and waiting for downloads of weather, wave and wind info, pulled up anchors and brought in the stern tie and headed out to take a peak and maybe make the 20 mile crossing back to the mainland.
Made it to Killarney! It’s cute and one of the last Canadian “towns” for us. They have some fresh oysters on the half shell flown in here! Yay! Ok not the cheapest on the trip (well, to be honest definitely the most expensive…) but we indulged after our tough last few days and enjoyed while relishing in how really bad that whole problem could have been.
We now sit, at a nice dock, slooooowllllly downloading and re-uploading to the blog website one pic (REPEATEDLY (btw. this is about my 4th attempt at getting this posted) at a time, wrapping up this writing and (happily) waiting for the mechanics from Orillia (who replaced the engine a few weeks ago) to drive up on Monday. Phone diagnosis is the clutch and they plan to just fully replace the outdrive to be done with the matter….hmmmmm. ok—it’s all on warranty—yay!
OK you’ve heard of concierge doctors, personal chefs and life coaches, right! Does this guy look familiar?
As this attempts to upload to the world of Blog, Supermechanic Kyle (also known as pancake deliveryman (see above photo!) and his buddy (prbably an even more super mechanic) have just arrived (after a 4 hour drive from Orillia!!)–luckily not quite a personal mechanic but being under warranty is the next best thing!
Let’s see, more on all that later. In the meantime, enjoy that eclipse wherever you are!
Epilogue: Posting this at 3 am when wifi connectivity is a bit better (but still some tech difficulties…so post isn’t perfect and ….ok, yes, I might appear dedicated! aka obsessed! but the reality is that there is a major lightening and thunder storm right now so might as well do this while i enjoy the scene. and yes, the boat trial was a success…..new outdrive slammed in quickly (and under warranty!)…but bad weather for a few days so looks like we’ll be in Killarney even longer! Yikes…need to get off the Great Lakes by the first week of September or the weather will be even more problematic! Cue the thunder rolls outside!
Holy smokes, how long has it been?! If you’re going to break something mechanical, there’s no point going for half measures. Turns out in addition to the propellers, we damaged the outdrive and blew the motor. So, we basically had to get brand new everything to continue the journey…. you go Bayliner! The good news is that N finally allowed himself to file an insurance claim for something (that’s why it’s called accident insurance) and the better news was that it was 100% covered! That’s right, one brand new drivetrain coming up.
We left the boat for repairs at a little marina off the Trent Severn Waterway in Orillia, Canada, and headed home. B was perfectly delighted to get her grandma time in early and for longer than planned (we’d always intended to go home in late July for two weeks so with this damage we got an extra week)
while N got to get his annual moto trip around WA in and play a lot of golf.
The weather back home was absolutely amazing with sunshine and blue skies every day unlike Canada where the summer has been unseasonably rainy and cool. Oh well!
We were delighted monitoring the marina from afar as they hit every milestone, communicated regularly, and got the work done on-time and at budget. We returned to Canada August 6th to find our RioMarLago peacefully floating at the dock with a beautifully clean bilge filled with a brand new shiny motor. There was some concern about the motor’s performance with our custom 22” props as the boat felt slow to get onto plane and the marina guys simply could not believe she could be that underpowered. Uhmmm…. you go Bayliner price point strategy! Mechanics convinced N to swap to smaller prop to save engine…. more on that later.
After a careful briefing in which N was told our new motor requires special care during its 20-hour break-in period including no time above 70% throttle and no more than 10 minutes at one constant rpm, we were off. It was good to be underway once more, but OMG…. this engine break-in stuff is tedious.
At least we had the Big Chute and last of the locks to look forward to before finally entering Georgian Bay. We made it from Orillia to the Big Chute in one day, but decided to stay up river and watch how this “lock” operated before simply jumping in. We’re glad we did!
Now we’re in Georgian Bay which is at the top of Lake Huron. This is major “cottage” (Canadian for beach house) country with all sorts of homes scattered across what are seemingly thousands of little rocky islands and inlets.
The boating is great, BUT you gotta watch the markers because there’s no sand to hit here, only rocks!
We ended up getting invited to a Canadian cruising rendezvous (Canadians are amazingly friendly!) so we took some time out to join their trip (see pic in header).
It was just as well since it afforded N an opportunity to get fully frustrated with the smaller pitch props and conclude we need to go big or go home (or break…again!). The smaller pitch props don’t get the boat going as fast as the 22’s at the same rpms so we burn more gas and go slower…. who does that? Anyway, we’re going to switch back to our 22’ props and fortunately we’re close to a place affiliated with the place we had the initial work done so we’ll swap out. We’ve lost count of how many haul outs we’ve had… you go Bayliner!
Speaking of traveling in Canada, we’re learning all sorts of things. For example, when we see a sign that says NO WAKE ZONE, we assume it means slow down and leave no wake, but apparently here in Canada it’s different. Seems there was a universal typo where ALL the signs were meant to read NO, WAKE ZONE! See the comma? So, you’re supposed to leave a HUGE wake whenever you see the sign like as you pass marinas, cottages, etc.…. who would have known!? Also, if someone asked you if you needed “hydro”, whaddya think? Water maybe? Nope, it’s power! Of course, electricians are electricians, but they work on hydro!
OK, time to get this post posted and pass the baton. RioMarLago out!
Ok, ok… 16 days since the last post is probably a record. All the usual (and one new one) excuses; bad or non-existent internet/connectivity, boat issues generating frustrating moods, trip home and…… the new grandbaby!
In summary, we flew home a few days earlier than planned so that a repair could take place to the boat (something about the compression of the valves, tulipping, overheating, potential blow outs, etc etc. Who really cares….it’ll get fixed and we’ll keep on movin’! As they say: you can’t take it with you……so just haul out that plastic rectangle from the wallet and get it done! Actually,as this “goes to press” it appears to be an insurance covered repair: YAY! Moods have lightened!
Life begins to really blur together after so many days so I will just post a few pix and captions. In sum, aside from record breaking rain, our Canadian time has been full of pretty scenery and waterways; super friendly locals (despite their own internal views of their president’s occasional missteps, the Canadians should be quite proud of the Rolling Stones cover this week.!); cute little waterside towns; interesting history tidbits and info about the locks and all of the “one-of –a kind” locks; and, of course, as always on this Loop adventure some surprise or insight when we least expect it.
At N’s insistence, included above are some nerdy (yet dumb-downed) explanations of the engineering involved in that big hydraulic lock. We have a totally different and new type of lock coming up soon….so stay tuned for that hopefully by the next post.
We’ve left the boat at what certainly appears to be a great marina with (what appears to be….time will tell!!) knowledgeable mechanics on the outskirts of Orillia, Ontario on Lake Simcoe an hour or so northwest of Toronto.
BTW, Lake Simcoe is relatively large: 287 square miles. For comparison for our Washington State readers: Puget Sound is a tad more than 1000 square miles; and Lake Washington is a mere 33 sq miles). We stopped in the middle of Lake Simcoe and let the boat just drift as we jumped in for a great swim. About 71 degrees so very pleasant!
As we start down our official path of grandparenthood in our revitalized boat that is, as I write this, being brought back from its near-end, we are on the verge of hitting the much-talked- about-as-the-highlight-amongst-Loopers: Georgian Bay; we’ll wrap up our Great Lakes time; and hit Chicago for the final approach to Green Turtle Bay, Kentucky where we will officially “cross our wake.” So stay tuned, we’ll be back on board August 6th after a red-eye flight!
Besides lots of family and friend time, hikes at Mt Rainier, motorcycle adventures, yoga and golf, here are a few things greeting us at home:
In our absence, the backyard (and front) (YES, we live IN the city limits!!) have been invaded by…..
and 2 varieties of owls: Barred and a family of Great Horned (note the adult in the far bottom left of the picture on the right watching its 2 curious owlettes!)
Well, we’ve had another technology driven blog hiatus despite which we’ve continued along the Trent-Severn Canal enjoying random adventures along the way.
We’re into the thick of the Canadian boating season and traffic is building. Not only are we seeing more “looper” boats, but many little towns along the canal plan weekend events to attract people.
That’s cool, but it makes it more challenging to find space each evening. So far, we’ve done OK.
Speaking of events, we stayed in Peterborough on Friday and had a chance to enjoy the annual “Rib Fest” together with seeing two tribute bands; “We Ain’t Petty” (Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers) and “Hot Rocks” (The Rolling Stones).
They were awesome! The good thing about tribute bands versus the real thing is the former ONLY play huge hits rather than forcing you to sit through their latest creative effort. OK, so we’re not big music aficionados…. we just want the hits!
OK, after a night of rock ‘n roll we were off up the canal.
With all the June rains the currents are strong in the canal making for always interesting marina entrances and exits. Leaving Peterborough, we came close to a big 48’ Sab recraft. NO WAY were we going to hit it, but the guy was out watching, paranoid that we would. No problemo! In fairness, another guy did bash another boat exiting.
Two locks up we came across the largest hydraulic lock in the world. Amazing. It’s like one giant railway bridge suspended on a hydraulic pole. One comes down while the other goes up at near elevator speed.
We’re getting into a bit nicer scenery now as we go further north and west. This is lake cottage country with tons of little cottage all over including on individual sized islands. Amazing boating even if there are still a lot of 10kpmh speed restrictions!
Faithful readers will remember we’re using our spare props while we wait for repairs on the other. We’ve been spoiled by the other props and “WE” are getting frustrated by the seemingly poorer performance of the others. At least we have nice scenery and places to stop overnight (even if they don’t have internet)!
Turns out the old props can’t be repaired so N bit the bullet and decided to cough up the 30% plus premium to buy replacements versus waiting until we get to the US. That price included a MAJOR discount since the prop guy had been unable to sell the set for the last three years!
The prop story is actually pretty complicated involving multiple prop shops, friends picking up and dropping off props, etc… but I’m working on the blog from a Tim Horton’s restaurant so trying to save time.
Even with our new props we’re not confident we’re back to normal performance, but there is a lot of current were constantly battling. Besides, now we have a new issue….. something’s weird with the steering. We’ve called ahead and hope to get someone to look at it. Hopefully it’s something really easy like bleeding a hydraulic line, but you never know; that’s boating! OK, maybe that’s Bayliner boating, but even so. In the meantime, we continue to shuffle along the canal. We’re down to our last 10 locks or so and then we have a few months of open water. We’re looking forward to that!
We finished off the historic Rideau Canal (and its 49th lock!) At its “foot”– Kingston. A very nice little town with a vibrant and buzzing center, great waterfront paths and lots of fun restaurants.
But before I get to Kingston…just a thought: Now, as I write this, I’m wishing we had been able to explore the Rideau waterway more and stay longer…but without the rain and the boat issues (or bodily injuries, for that matter). It’s funny, in hindsight, sometimes how much more you appreciate things. And on that somewhat related note, further, before we get to Kingston, a daily life-on-the-boat tidbit:
Now for Kingston:
Well a few nature shots along the waterfront!
Big maple tree, pretty water birds and tons of turtles here! PS Ziggy learned to track the scent of turtles here!
We’re both already missing the cute little historic hand-drawn locking system. But with a calm, quick cross over an edge of Lake Ontario and a bit of the St Lawrence, we jumped from Kingston over to the town of Trent– the beginning of the next big leg: Trent-Severn Waterway. And no disappointments!
We’ll spend 5-8 (? maybe??) days working our way through the 240 miles and 45 locks. Hopefully we don’t fall off the edge of the earth at the gap in the map!
The Trenton Marina is basically considered by most Loopers to be the highlight of Canada (if not the entire trip) as far as marina facilities go. It is nice with plenty of individual, nicely tiled bathrooms, personal bathmats, excellent dock and dockhands and free laundry (AND detergent!). While we’ve had all of those things (and other fun surprises ) at other marinas, we haven’t had them all in one stop. So yes, it is nice. But also the dog park, good grocery store and nice restaurants and yoga (!) are all within a few blocks!
Mowin’ the Weeds….marina style. That’s the other fancy thing about this marina. They spent the entire day at this project!
Trent Severn connects Lake Ontario to Lake Huron Although originally envisioned for military transport purposes, the canal was built in 1833 as a commercial venture to get crops and lumber from west to east. By the time the route was completed its use as a commercial waterway was over; ships plying the Great Lakes had grown much larger than the canal could handle, and the railways that originally connected to the canal took most of its freight.
(if you want to see the cool video timelapse clip of this you can “friend” me (barb113) on instagram!…or I’ll text it to you.)
Well, when you have all those big, heavy Toonies wearing holes in your pockets, ya’ gotta spend ‘em! Actually the Trent Severn Waterway is know for its famous butter tarts. Ok ok, a few other things here besides butter tarts (which, by the way, is the tiniest little circle thing up there—and yes, it is yummy!) But when you do not buy bread or include it as part of your regular food plan, then a trip to a bakery results in a splurge like this. Ugh…there is SOME fruit in there tho, right??!?
Ok…pushing off to work off some of those calories in the locks…lots of bending, pushing, pulling and shoving! Not to mention tying and re-tying fenders alllllll day long!
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……
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.
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.
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.
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!
So where have we been these last few days?
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.
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.
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.
Despite our travails, it wasn’t all bad.
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!
We interrupt this blog for a public service announcement!
A very special edition announcing a special addition to the family! We are now grandparents! Whooooa! Wooo Hooo!
Please meet Malcolm Reaves K……
Less than a precious minute old here, this little bundle arrived late in the night on June 28, 2017 (Pacific Daylight Savings time!) at 6 pounds 6 ounces and 19.5 inches long. He arrived hungry Get used to that bottomless pit, new Mommy and New Dadda! It only compounds exponentially through the teen years….but we’re getting ahead of ourselves! For now, we are all ecstatic and can hardly wait for our cuddle time! LOVE!
We headed out of Montebello on a fresh sunny morning and made the 42 miles to Ottowa uneventfully for a change while enjoying the pleasant Ottowa River and shoreline (….oh wait, we might have been sold some crummy gas along the way…time will tell on that!) So we said adieu to Quebec and all the french-speaking moments. It was great and, as I write this a few days later, already missing the french fun.
Hello Ottowa! We have to get the boat up some stairs to hang out up there first though!
Okay enough locking pictures! Oh, but we are basically living on a lock so still a few more:
With the Jazz Fest scheduled for the coming week, by Saturday evening the wall had over 30 boats tied up. Even while on board, we enjoyed parts (ie NOT all!!) of the very loud jazz fest that blasted just a block away…we even heard Kenny Rogers alleged “last” public concert! Wow….free too!
Just a couple of blocks from the boat, By Market had some great produce, cheeses and fun stuff.
Although most of these pix make it seem that we have had nothing but fantastic weather, suffice to say that, in fact, we have been drenched by a handful of thunderstorm outbursts. Avoided one big one while getting lots of fun facts during our tour of the Parliament Building.
Parliament: nice wood and uncomfortable desks in the House of Commons and arches with columns in the hallways –feels like jolly ole England, right?
The On-Off Bus tour and then again later on a water ferry taxi got us back on the other side of the Ottowa River (and hence technically in the French speaking Quebec), in the small town of Gatineau (but really more like a neighborhood zone of Ottowa), is the not -quite-ready history museum as well as the also not-quite-ready outdoor plant display showcasing 150 years of Canadian history, values, culture, and art.
Lots of public art/ sculptures all over town:
After some provisioning, a good weather boating day got us rolling around 10 in the morning
Although the way feels very peaceful and rural with sections of waterfront homes, we get glimpses of roads, nearby Ottowa airport and civilization as we go.
Play this for the next pic: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=guKoNCQFAFk
The waters opened up into small lake/wide-ish river sections as they gave way off and on to the man made canal zones and locks. Very pleasant ride in fresh air and sun….despite N’s frustration with the 5 mph speed limit for the entire day. We’re coming to the firm conclusion that there is no way we could be content with a boat that only goes slow.
Tucked in at Hurst Marina after a day of 8 locks, only 25 miles of distance covered, 4 running engine hours but 8 hours of actual journey time…..just in time to batten down the hatches for some rain….again.
We left Montreal early to fill up the “gaz” as they say here and still make a 10AM lock opening with a gaggle of other boats transiting at the same time. Hitting that timing was important as the locks on the St Lawrence are commercially focused and the lockmasters have no problem with pleasure boaters waiting 5 to 6 hours to pass when there’s commercial traffic.
Our relatively large group and light commercial demand meant we “sped” (the term is used loosely here as there is a SIX knot speed limit over the 9 miles between locks) through the two big locks.
Between waiting, locking and transiting the whole ordeal took about 4 hours. What the heck, it was sunny and we were boatin’! There are worse things in life!
After the second lock we took a right out of the commercial zone and back into the recreational boating arena as we headed out of the St Lawrence and into the Ottawa River via yet ANOTHER lock.
We decided to stop on the free wall for the night just before the St Anne lock. Very cool little town with a great boardwalk and tons of little restaurants along the lock channel.
Today, we roared off at 11AM in hot pursuit of a group that had left at 9AM. We had our first experience rafting with French Canadians in the lock. Communication was fine as B used her Sprench and N spoke slowly and loudly! The Canadians were amazed we’d coaxed our boat 6,000 miles around the loop so far (that’s right we have officially cleared the 6,000-mile mark!).
Nothing like 25mph+ when trying to catch trawlers! We caught ‘em and passed ‘em and shared the next lift at the Carillon Lock and Dam.
At 65′, the Carillon Lock has the biggest lift in Canada (it does in one chamber the work of 8 earlier locks…yay!) and is the only lock in North America where the lock doors go up and down versus swinging open and shut. The thing is a cavern!
From the lock we headed up to Le Chateau Montebello, which happens to be in the town of Montebello; the site of Canada’s biggest annual rock festival (which we learned was underway as we came up the river). Not the kind you throw, but the kind you attend in a black t-shirt, piercings, and boots. This little town of 1,200 has 80,000 to 100,000 people in it! There were tents all over the place and lots of LOUD music.
Seems like everyone’s got a black t-shirt on and they’re listening to bands like Wu Tang Clan sing songs the extent of which are lyrics like “M…’fer, uh huh, uh huh” while prancing around on stage! Those are the ONLY lyrics! Sorry, what IS that? Oh wait, our age is showing.
OK, won’t bore you here with the travails of internet and Verizon’s definition of “unlimited” data in Canada, but suffice it to say we gotta’ post when we have Wi-Fi, or it isn’t getting done.