Where we at

Monday, July 31, 2023

Colonel By to Chaffeys Lock, wall

Yesterday was an awesome day. We had brunch, did some hiking on Colonel By Island, some swam, napped, then had dinner, and played some games. We even had a small evening rain that produced an awesome rainbow.

Today turned into a longer day than anticipated. The plan was to anchor out somewhere on one of these cute lakes, surrounded by cuter islands. 

We tried a couple of places in Newboro Lake -- nothing marked on charts, just "this looks nice so let's stay here" attempts. But found nothing for our anchors to hold onto.

Both boats then headed to Stouts Bay, a known anchorage, marked on charts and rated. But try as we may (2 vessels, both Highwind and inQuest, dropping anchors and dragging) we could not find mud or sand or anything grabby -- just rock and tons of weeds. Mega-tons of weeds.

Colonel By Island
So we continued to the next lock and tied up on their gray line. Like many of these locks, lovely parkland surrounds them. Certainly not a bad place to end up.

From Colonel By Island you can just see inQuest through the trees.

David's in the dinghy, Russ and Hannah are swimming.
I am photo-documenting. Hey! It's an important job!

Quite the rainbow!

We locked down at Chaffeys (it's all down from here to Lake
Ontario!) then got on the wall right next to the lock.
We can touch the wall behind us.

Sunday, July 30, 2023

Smiths Falls -> Perth -> Colonel By Island, ball

While having dinner at a picnic table in one of these lovely parks Carol and Larry Olsen (crew of Meraki) stopped by to say "hi." They are doing our loop in reverse, still heading to Ottawa. So we shared some "what to see if you hadn't planned on it" ideas. One of theirs was to see Perth. You can't really get there by big boat, but you can dinghy to it from the lock.

After we left Smiths Falls that's just what we did. We got on the Beveridge Lock wall, then we all climbed aboard Highwind's dinghy and went to Perth for the afternoon. 

Very cute town, and worth the 45 minute dinghy ride. We went to a brewery, then did some mini-golf, then ate dinner at a German restaurant. The day started out rainy, but as we headed to Perth it stopped, and by the time we came back it was sunny. Quite cool, too. A nice reprieve from the sticky heat we'd been having.

Locking up in the dinghy

Perth! No, not Australia.

Getting ready for some putt-putt.

The ride back was just before sunset, and gorgeous.

Happy dinghiers.

To get to Perth we had to lock through 2 locks. The consequence of that was locking back down, and the lock hours. Given our late start we didn't get back to the locks until 7:30 pm or so, and they closed at 6pm. Hannah and David tied it up to the lock and we walked back to the boats. 

This morning, we headed out right away since we wanted to get a little fuel. Hannah and David had to wait for the locks to open (9 am) to lock down their dinghy. They didn't get underway for until 11 am, as a result.

Colonel By Island
Russ picked this island because it was a national park and had mooring balls. After a calm and lovely cruise here we snagged a ball. I'm hoping to do some hiking on the island. People are already in the water swimming. 

Canadians are a hearty folk!

Friday, July 28, 2023

Kilamarnock to Smith Falls, wall

We had 4 locks again -- seems to be the way these are laid out. The first was only a half hour away, then a 2 chamber step lock, then a very short trip to the last one. Highwind and we locked together with no one else in the way. Made it all go much faster.

Smith Falls is a more sizable town, and a bit of a destination for us. Russ had ordered a new/spare starter for the engine and had it shipped here. Now we have a backup, should we need it. Hoping not ever, though.

Highwind and inQuest, over the falls.
The gray line is almost right out of the lock, just on the right. Some sections of it had power, which many folks clamor for. We didn't need it, and cooler weather is coming tomorrow. Of late our only use for it was running the AC without concern. As I'm typing this, it's 84 degrees, overcast, with a wonderful breeze. No AC needed today.

We originally were put right over the falls of Smith Falls. The lock master caught up with us a couple of hours later asking forgiveness -- the Karwatha Voyager was coming and that's the space they use. Once a couple of other boats moved we crept forward, just enough to get out of the cruiser's way.

With its bow up the Karwatha Voyager reminds me of Daffy Duck.

As the Karwatha Voyager comes out of the lock
it's lowering its bow, which it needs upright to fit.
They built these cruise ships (24 state rooms, I'm told)
to fit on these waterways. So the bow folds up and
the pilot house comes down to get under certain bridges.

Thursday, July 27, 2023

Clowes Lock to Kilmarnock, wall

From Clowes Lock it was only a half hour trip to the to Merricksville Locks. We talked about just heading there the night before, but we were all tired since it would be another triple lock. Now, however, it was a shame we didn't. Merricksville was quite a stop.

There was only one small boat looking to lock up when we got to the blue line. We all fit in the chambers just fine. It was a soggy morning, though, drizzle to rainy throughout the locks.

Once we got to the last of the three, however, we could see the town itself. And it looked adorable! So Russ and I called an audible and pulled over to do some shopping and stay for lunch. Merricksville was a very small town but a tourist destination, with cute shops like a bakery, cheese monger, coffee, fudge, grocery, and a liquor store, not to mention a variety of restaurants. It was worth spending a couple of hours there.

inQuest always gets attention. Usually "What the heck is that?!"

The ye old town gelato place.

Me and Maurice.

While there were a number of restaurants we had a quick lunch
at Bob's, sharing a 2 piece fish and chips.

No longer rainy, just a lazy day on the water.

Not sure what the heck is happening here but it 
reminded me of the high water issues we've seen in the past.

Around 2 pm we headed back into the waterway and to go and through the Kilmarock lock. 

When we first started boating we thought we'd do a lot of "stop here for lunch" type of things. But we almost never do. This seemed a perfect place to enjoy an afternoon.

Wednesday, July 26, 2023

Long Reach to Clowes Lock, wall

4 locks today; 1 close by, then 3 kinda clumped together. Once you get into the first lock, they'll tell you you're going to do all the rest with these very boats. So not point in speeding.

Today we traveled ahead of Highwind. This section was a little twisty, a skinny, and a little narrow. Thus the 10 kph limits. Once we got to the first lock around 8:45 am we saw several other boats already waiting for lockage, which started at 9.

Due to sizes and priorities, inQuest locked with a couple of other boats before Highwind. Everyone in our group was fairly well behaved, which made getting the last 3 locks done pretty easy. We coordinated with Clowes Lock to stay. Due to timing we needed to help out and crew Highwind at the last lock.

In the locks with vacay boaters.
Lots of them this time of year.
Hannah and David locked with some ill-behaved fast boats that jammed at 20 knots between locks. Too bad they don't get fined for that. 

By the end, we were snug on the wall by 1 pm.

Every one of these locks has had wonderful park space around them, including mowed lawns, picnic tables, and walking/biking paths. During a tour we were told that the reason the Rideau existed was fear of Americans. Apparently, after the war of 1812 -- where America tried to overtake some key cities in Canada -- the Canadians were concerned the US would do something nefarious, like prevent the movement of goods or troops along the coasts of the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence River. So they built the Rideau canal. It didn't take long for them to be obsolete (because we had zero interest since then in Canadian soil) and they solely exist as parks for the people, and a fun way to travel for rec boats. Like us.

We got held up for a immobile boat. 2 guys were walking
is up the channel wall. We stayed in the lock until they got to us.

If you zoom this pic you can see real lilies on the lily pads.

Tuesday, July 25, 2023

Long Island to Long Reach anchorage, anchor

Last night between rain, dinner, games, and frankly old age we totally forgot to check our power levels. Once we realized that mistake it was already 9:15 pm. Normally we wouldn't have worried about it (we'd just start the gennie!), but we shared the t-head with a third boater, and they were on our stern, close to the generator. We hesitated to ruin a nice quiet evening for them, but we had no choice. Russ ran the generator for about 30 minutes and boosted the batteries enough to comfortably make it through the night, and maintain the "quiet hours" for the park, which started at 10 pm.

By the time we got underway this morning the gennie was already running. This section of waterway was a little deeper, so we made water too.

It's about 30 miles to the next lock, which was longer run that what we wanted to do. So Highwind put down an anchor about mid-way and we tied up next to her. We'll do the rest tomorrow.

Since this anchorage didn't exist before we put the hook down we're naming it. Russ called it Long Reach, since that's the name of this stretch of land nearby. We're posting it to Waterway Guide.

Still some short bridges in the area.

But overall, been a pretty ride.

Monday, July 24, 2023

Hogsback to Long Island, wall

Heading south!

After an exhausting but crazy productive day, today was about some down time. Well, for us anyway. The Highwind folks had to work. Which was why we got off the Hogsback lock wall around 8 am, so we could be done with at couple of locks and stop for the day by 10-ish.

The first lock (Black Rapids) was pretty quick. 2 boats were waiting but weren't in a hurry, so they let us lock ahead of them.

The second lock, Long Island Lock, was another step lock with 3 chambers. Boats were locking up already when we arrived, so we tied off to wait. That was delay enough that Hannah needed to be on a phone call at 10. And then a couple of boats wanted to lock down, so an even greater delay. In that time, the 2 boats that let us pass at Black Rapids joined us.

Russ and I volunteered to keep inQuest on the blue line and crew Highwind to get them through the locks and on the wall, then come back and do ourselves. Neither of the 2 other boats wanted to lock with Highwind, so we had the chamber to ourselves on the way up. Hannah finished her call early so Russ and I were officially dismissed, and headed back to inQuest.

Our boats didn't break but
the lock did. You can see the
legs of the person fixing it.
Eventually we locked up with the 2 other boats (who were NOT boaters, so this was a slow process). By the time we got on the park pier it was nearing 12:30 pm.

All in all, slower than we planned, but no disasters. Hey, we even had 2 engines all day.

Ever have one of those days, where you work and work
 but don't seem to be getting anywhere?

Sunday, July 23, 2023

Ottawa -> Dowe's Lake -> Hogback, wall

Being our last day in Ottawa we wanted to provision before heading through the rest of the Rideau. That, and do an escape room.

Also, being boaters, we change our minds of what we want to do an any given moment.

The plan had been get up, have brunch, do the escape room, do some shopping (which included Costco), head to Dowe's Lake for the night.

Due to lock and bridge schedules it changed to: get up, head to Dowe's lake, dinghy bikes/scooters to shore to go to escape room, bike/scooter to Costco, uber back to dinghies, back to the boats.

We started there. It was after the escape room while eating lunch we thought, "Hey, what if we went through the next couple of locks which get us closer to the Costco, and we can uber from there?"

So we got back on our scooters and bikes, went back to the boats, and did the next 3 locks. From there we got an uber, shopped at Costco, and ubered back.

Getting bikes/scooters to shore
Oh yeah. We were exhausted by nightfall.

But we were some of the fastest escape artists the place has seen. Out with 20 minutes to spare. Woo hoo!

This was one outstanding escape.

The Steps


This is the easy way... 

... and this is the inQuest way.

The biggest difference is the amount of work we had to do. We get into the lock, tie off, then secure a boat TO US (raft), then we manage the lines, untie the neighbors, untie ourselves and off we go. It was an added bit it excitement that we did it with 1 engine. Eventually you can see the lock masters grabbing a bow line (on the left) and walking us up, helping secure us.

SH or SH, part 2

Pretoria bridge, while waiting for you
we lost yet another engine.
We woke around 6 am Saturday morning with the realization that we hadn't pumped out in 12 days. For us that typically means we're due. Upon examining the tanks, we were really, really due.

Not wanting to fill them more we took a walk to a local Starbucks for coffee and morning breakfast (it was the only thing open at that hour, trust me, Starbuck in Ottawa seems pitiful). We got back to the boat around 8, started engines, and headed up river to a small marina just a few miles away. 

As we were untying the lines Dave (you remember Dave, the man who knew Orville) helped out. He mentioned that should be fine, seeing as how he fixed the Dowe's Lake Marina pumpout just a couple of days ago (Lol!). He also mentioned we wouldn't get through the bridge until 9 am. Fooey. We didn't even know there was one.

We headed out anyway thinking we'd just wait on a wall for the bridge. When we got there that's just what we did, sidled up to the port side wall. Full of weeds. (That's a plot point, in case it wasn't obvious).

At 8:25 am we had just tied off, turned off engines, and removed our headsets when the bridge master hailed us. "We'll get you under in a couple of minutes, so untie from the wall and wait in the channel." With a shrug, we did all that, and, as promised, the bridge raised.

But, man, the engines sounded funny.

What's involved to fix anything!
We get through the bridge and were slowly moving through the canal ... and I'm watching the port engine temp start to rise. Within minutes it's over 190, which was hot. I put it into idle and on one engine (again!) we made our way into the lake.

(Side observation) A day or so ago we'd noticed these interesting rental boats, Le Boat. They were like houseboats but definitely mono-hulls as opposed to pontoons. But their rub rails made them stand out; huge, think, black rubber lined the boat. They didn't need fenders, they'd just bounce off everything. Turned out, you can rent them at Dowe's Lake Marina. 

(Back to the story) A couple "le Boats" already been rented so very convenient slips -- like drive straight in!-- were available for us to pull into and deal with our overheating engine. We'd ask for forgiveness later. Besides, someone was already at the pumpout, so we had to wait.

Look! It's tube shaped!
Russ dug right in, taking apart the filter from the water intake of the engine. It took a bit of work and grabbing blindly with an extended claw tool, but Russ produced the offending grass. 

With 2 working engines we pumped out, and headed back to the city.

In conclusions, SH again. This time the first definition.

But we were able to catch up with Hannah and David on the walking tour of Ottawa, then we were joined by a friend of mine, Jason, for a long walk across the Alexandra Bridge, we all went to the Canadian Museum of History, then took a water taxi back to town and had dinner.

The canal is gorgeous, lined with bike and walking paths.

Big view of Ottawa from the museum.

On the bridge looking back, a perfect view of the lock steps

A big chunk of the museum focused on the indigenous peoples.
Wonderful artwork, tools, and clothing to see.

... like this.

Great way to save the day!

Hannah, David, Russ, me, and Jason.
Thank you for showing us Ottawa!

Saturday, July 22, 2023

SH or SH, and explanation

Russ took apart the starter from the engine. He and David (of Highwind) discovered that a cable was broken. Everyone hoped simply repairing that would fix it, but it did not.

While working on the stern deck another boater came by. His name is Dave. "May I entice you to take a wee dram of whiskey with me?" he asked.

"That sounds lovely," Russ said, "but I'm in the middle of this mess," as he waved a hand over starter pieces covering the floor.

"What seems to be the problem?"

Russ went into the story of how the starter died on our way up the steps and fixing the broken cable. Turns out Dave knows a guy right here in Ottawa. "Orville. That's the name. Been fixing alternators and starters for the last 30 years." He even offered to bike with Russ Friday to Orville's garage.

Orville's workshop
After a slightly soggy bike ride Friday morning Russ found Orville(Orville N. Baptiste, if you're trying to find him) and dropped off the starter. Some eyeing and grumbling took place. "These thing should last a hundred years!" Orville told him. He didn't have the parts but could definitely get it back to us by Monday. Russ agreed to that, and biked back to the boat.

He and I spend a rainy afternoon exploring downtown Ottawa -- picking up some deliveries from the post office then grabbing a lunch at the SconeWitch (which was so tasty!). Then some naps.

We woke when his phone rang. It was Orville.

"I got the starter running for you," he said. "But you really need to figure out why this happened. These things should last 100 years!"

The rain behind us, Russ biked back, picked up the starter, and installed it.

The starboard engine started right up on the first try.

Boating. SH or SH... Shit happens or serendipity happens. This has largely been the case for us.

Thursday, July 20, 2023

Governors Bay -> Blue line -> downtown, wall (w/ power)

Part One: Getting to the blue line

After a phone call with the lockmasters in downtown's lock (called "the steps") we were told no one was currently on the blue line. (For non-boaters, "the blue line" is a section of wall painted blue that boats tie to, indicating they want to lock through). Rather that wait, as soon as Hannah and David were done for the day we hoisted the anchor and made for downtown.

Once tied off we hiked up the hill, examining the locks to come as we seeked out some dinner. We had sushi! It was awesome.

Looking down on the steps the night before.

We're totally blown away by how cool Ottawa is!

The official sign

Part Two: Climbing the steps

All the boats wanting to lock up.
Just off the the Ottawa River was the turn to get onto the Rideau. But to do that you must climb the steps: there are 8 locks, right in a row. Get into one, up, out and into the next, repeat. 8 times.

When we went to bed there were 3 boats on the line, Highwind, a SeaRay, and us. By the time the lock was ready to go, 11 of us were waiting.

Each morning the lockmasters pick a direction of flow depending on the number of boats waiting. Clearly, more boats wanted to lock up today than down, so we got to go first. And since Highwind and inQuest were on the line first, we literally were the first in the locks. The lockmasters also want to get as many boats as they can through, so we locked with 2 other boats, packing us in like sardines.

Stuffed with little room to spare
The first lock took a while, just to get everyone organized and in. After that we all knew where we needed to be and how much space we needed between each other, so they went faster.


Our starboard engine died.

As a rule, catamarans are very easy to handle. Unless they only have 1 engine.

This happened just after the 2nd lock. So we had to do the remaining ones with the port engine only. The lockmasters helped out, taking lines to help us get into place and set up for each lock. But it slowed everything down quite a bit. Lock after lock we managed to squeeze out of the lock and into the next one, and get packed again. It was a bit of a trick.

The last lock, however, we were on our own. As we passed by the last gate, a number of boats wanting to lock down lined the starboard wall. Russ called out "we only have one engine!" and all the boaters jumped into action, fending us off. We didn't get too close, but it was a comfort to know they were all alert and ready. One of the reason I like boating; boaters pay it forward.

Quick shot of the steps behind us.

Highwind left the last lock quickly and got docked, then Hannah and David ran up and down the canal looking for a place for us, knowing our situation. They caught our lines and helped us get in, all with little issue.

The problem? We think the starter for the engine died. We typically turn the engines on and off every time we're in a lock, and the starboard one just didn't start. So stay tuned... we may be in Ottawa for a while.

Starting off memorable... lots yet to do!