On Friday July 22nd we left Hurst Marina at 8:25 and travelled 17 miles to Lock 17, Burritt’s Rapids. We arrived at 10:25 and tied up below the lock, as it had more shade. A boat, Believe which was tied up near us the previous time we were at Burritt’s was also below the lock. Above the lock was Water lily with Tom and Peggy and Nailla from Hamilton. We invited them down to share our shade and for drinks and snacks later in the afternoon, and so Nailla could do for a swim and cool off.
I spoke with the lockmaster and asked if they had a hoe or rake, so that I could help them out with some weeding in the flower beds.
We watched many boats arrive as the construction holiday in Quebec officially starts at the end of shift Friday. However, it appears that some have left early as we’ve been surrounded by PQ boats all week. It was a hot day; the air conditioning ran non-stop to cool down the boat. Early Saturday, morning I spent about an hour weeding the flower beds around the lock house. Later in the morning, we watched some spots on the docks be vacated, only to fill up again. A couple boats docking were complaining about the wind- we were happy in the shade tied to a dock. Across from the boat there was a farm with several horses, for several hours in the afternoon, I watched someone cut the grass with a riding lawnmower. What I didn’t know until later was that they were preparing the field for Polo.
I later saw several riders with sticks and a ball.
Other sighting on Saturday afternoon was this boat/car which went past,
as well as this floating pad that drifted by with several people and drinks.
It was another hot day, there was a staffing shortage, so no fees for power were collected on Saturday. On Sunday morning Andy talked to the lockmaster and paid the money owing as well as for an additional day. Typically, you are only allowed to stay two nights, but we had heard that some stormy weather was predicted for later in the day, so we wanted to stay tied up. As the day progressed the wind picked up and the sky darkened. In the evening at 9:30 and 10:30 we got two alerts on our phones saying the strong thunderstorms were imminent. Didn’t make for a good sleep.
On Monday we left at 9:40, on the 3rd lock up by ourselves and were thru Burritt’s lock by 10:10. We went through the swing bridge and on to Lower Nicholson, they were just loading the lock with 4 boats, and we tied up on the blue line. It seemed like a very nice lock, and had recently renovated washrooms. Andy asked the lock master if we could tie up for the night, but were told that locking was only available on the blue line below the lock but it was too early in the day. Above the lock is a basin, used for boats meeting from Upper and Lower Nicholson, so no mooring is allowed there. We went through Lower Nicholson and on to Upper Nicholson, we were through and tied up on the blue line by noon. Once again, we were happy to be tied up as the wind was starting to gust. After lunch we did a little cleaning on the teak railing, Andy sanded off the stain in a couple of places and touched it up with Cetol. Around 2:30, I went for a walk into the town of Andrewsville. I saw this sign to save this bridge,
I also walked down Andrewsville main street, and counted 4 houses. Saw this sign about country living- only 4 neighbors would be great!
On the way back to the boat saw these people tubing in the creek.
We had a cool quiet night.
On July 26th we left upper Nicholson at 8:50 and proceeded to Clowes lock #20, we waited for a couple of upbound boats, and were through the lock by 9:35. We met the Kawartha Voyager just before reaching Merrickville, we have seen it multiple times this summer.
We were through the Merrickville flight locks of 21-23 by 11:00 We met upbound boats in the basin between locks 22 and 23. We were in luck, we tied up at a dock in the Merrickville pond at 11:20 with power. The previous three times that we went through Merrickville, the pond was always full. We walked into town and checked out some of the stores. We had lunch and bought some locally made fudge and caramels as the Ice cream store was closed.
On Wednesday morning we were up early and saw three boats pull out at 6:30 headed for Kilmarnock, the next lock, 8 miles away. We decided to fire up at 7:30 and head that way as well. A couple French people from one of the small cruisers helped us shove off. Within a few minutes, I saw them leaving the dock as well. About 10 minutes later the two cruisers waved as they passed us in succession going full speed. We were not able to recover from the first wake before the second hit, lots of things went flying within the cabin. In the 8 mile stretch to Kilmarnock we were passed in a similar fashion by another 5 boats, all from Quebec. We slowed down our pace as there were now 8 boats ahead of us and it wasn’t yet 9:00 when the first lock up was scheduled. Four boats went through at 9:00, another boat came up behind us and we said that they could go ahead of us with the remaining 4 boats that were waiting- this would allow us to lock up alone. However, the plan changed- one of the boats decided to stay at Kilmarnock, so we had to lock through with this group- and on the Port side which we detest. Another thing, once the lock door closed, one of the boats cranked up their music so loud that you couldn’t hear yourself think, nor could I hear Andy giving me directions through the headset. We were the last to leave the lock and chugged along to the next lock- Edmonds, where the first lock up was just finishing, and three boats were tied to the blue line. The lockmaster there, told the other boats that the big boat—us, would go in first. So, we went to the front on the starboard side. Typically, if you are first in- you are also first out- but maybe that doesn’t compute in Quebec brains, as the boat on the port side drove out as soon as the doors opened. We went second. After the lock, we were again passed by the two boats that had been at the rear of the lock. People from Quebec also don’t know what a slow pass is. We arrived at Old Slys, we had decided to hold back on the blue line, so that we didn’t have to lock trough with these 3 ignorant boaters, however the lockmaster wanted us to go through and stop on the other side of the flight lock, as two 60-foot boats would be arriving shortly. We did a crossover in this lock as another boat was in the upper chamber and locking down. This would be our second crossover in 2022, as we had one in the Healy locks in June. The lockmaster said that there was room in Smith Falls so we decided to continue on with this group. When we got to the top of Smith Falls lock 29A, there was a mad dash by these boats to get to the power pedestals in the park. We had no desire to be anywhere near these people so tie up on the grey line by the dam,
across from the Le Boat rentals without power around noon.
I gathered up our dirty clothes and headed to the laundromat. While I was gone the two 60 footers tied up behind us- great surrounded by the French Navy again! Around 3:00 we walked over to Giant Tiger to pick up a few groceries. We relaxed on the back and read our book, as there was a nice breeze. Andy bbq’d veggies and salmon for supper, we played some cards and went to bed when it was dark. The rain woke me up around 3:30, but it didn’t seem to rain for very long, next a train woke me. Not a good night for sleeping for either of us.
On Thursday there was some bad weather predicted, so we decided to stay put where we were. We watched boats come and go. We decided to walk up past lock 31 to Walmart and the beer store. After lunch, Just Wright locked up and we moved our boat a little so they could fit in between us and Child of the sun, loopers from Spokane Washington. Late afternoon they stopped by for a beer and a catchup. They told us about their experience of doing the step locks, and where they had anchored on the Ottawa River. We waited all day for the predicted rain and thunderstorms but they didn’t materialize. On Friday morning we waited for all the boat shuffling around us for power and moving to the blue lines. Andy started up our engines at 10:50 and we went to the blue line which was finally clear. Boats had begun to move there at 6:30 to ensure they were the first ones through. We locked through with Just Wright, child of the Sun and one other boat. Child of the Sun and us moved on the two miles to lock 32 Poonamalie.
After locking through we tied up in the shade and plugged in, a very quiet place. We did some more cleaning of the teak and Andy applied a coating of cetol to parts of the railing. Andy talked with Daniel from the boat tied up behind us and learned about some good anchorages in Big Rideau Lake.
On Saturday morning we decided to stay one more night before moving on. We saw Just Wright on the first lock up, they were planning to take the Tay canal and go to Perth. We were unable to go there as the canal is only 4 feet, which is too shallow for us. We did some more cleaning and relaxing and stayed out of the sun.
On Sunday morning we left around 8 and headed for the Lower Rideau followed by Big Rideau. We checked out several of the suggested anchorages in Nobles Bay. We continued on to Lock 35 the narrow, which divides Big Rideau Lake from Upper Rideau Lake. This lock is only a 3-foot lift/fall, but by adding it in the original rideau canal plan, it allowed for less rock excavation at the Newboro lock.
We were almost in the lock to go through when we spotted a spot on the dock, so we moved to it at 10:50 tied up and plugged in. It was supposed to be hot with a humidex of over 35 so we wanted power.
It was too hot to do any work outside. We met some people we had first met in Upper Brewers several weeks before, Andy and Renee sat down and reviewed our charts for Lake Superior, as Splash Landing- Renee’s boat plans to go there next summer. Later in the afternoon we learned that there is a racoon issue at the Narrows, and several boats have been damaged by it. In order to obstruct his entry to our boat, Andy opened the propane locker and put a 20 lb tank on our swim platform, we also made sure that all our windows were tightly closed for the night. We had no issues.
On Monday morning, August 1st, when we first got up it was fairly foggy. Around 8:30 we got ready to switched places with Splash pad who was on the blue line, so that we would be in the first lock up. We locked through with two other boats and were through by 9:15. Then it was a 5-mile crossing of Upper Rideau Lake before reaching the Newboro lock. We were through this one by 10:15. We locked through with Tom and Peggy from water lily, who had spent the weekend in Westport. Our next lock was Chaffey’s which was again 5 miles away across Newboro Lake. We arrived before 11:00, however were delayed waiting for another boat. We got through this one at 11:35. We are now locking down until we reach Lake Ontario, as Newboro Lake is the summit of the Rideau canal. We then had two miles to Davis Lock #38, where we tied up on the top and plugged into power by noon. French still appears to be the language of choice for many of the boaters at this lock.
We left the next morning on the first lock down with another boat and were through by 9:15. We moved on to Jones Falls, and there was no wait there we were through the 4 locks by 10:40. There were some dark clouds and we did have a rain shower when we were near Seely Bay. We were tied up at Upper Brewers by noon, and had another shower after 1:00, but the showers didn’t last long and it was soon hot and sunny. We met Martin on the dock we had previously met in 2020 and recognized our boat and said he follows my blog. Martin and Kim live in Bobcaygeon, and their boat is called Grace too. He has just switched over to Lithium batteries, so that got Andy thinking that we might need to upgrade, after we add more solar. Andy called Confederation Basin marina in Kingston to try and book a slip for the next night, but they told him that they need 48 hours in order to book, but we could call them on VHF 68 when we were near the marina to find out it, they have a last-minute spot. Doesn’t make any sense to us. After supper, Andy did a little more touching up of the railing with cetol, he also gave the dining table a thin coat as well. We played cards and went to bed early.
On Wednesday we locked down with Grace too at 9:35 and proceeded to Lower Brewers. I walked up to the lock, and there was no one around, we later found out that they were working at the dam, so we had about a 40-minute wait before locking through. We then had the 10 mile stretch through River Styx and Colonel By Lake, I saw these Swans, not sure if they were attacking each other or doing a Swan dance.
We arrived Kingston Mills locks by 11:45. We had missed a lockdown, and they had many boats at the bottom, so they were doing a double lock up, we were told that we would have a 2 hour plus wait. We finally got into the first lock at 2:30 and were through by 3:30. We decided to tie up on the grey line at the bottom, as the bascule bridge does not open at 4 or 5, so we would have had to wait for the 6 pm opening.
We had also called confederation basin to see about dockage and they were full. We tried calling Gananoque for Thursday night but they were full as well. Here’s a picture of these really old locks.
We left Kingston Mills around 8:30 following a boat called Hard at Play, this boat had hit something in the channel on the River Styx yesterday so was running on one engine. We followed him to the gas dock at Kingston Marina. He was able to get a slip, and we got one along the wall without power. We filled up with water and then moved to the wall once the space was vacated. Here’s one of the types of boats that they manufacture at Kingston Marine.
Once we were settled, we walked to Food Basics and the LCBO for supplies. On our return Andy went in and paid for our slip.
Our goal on the Rideau was to try and stop at every lock that we could. There were 24 lock stations that we travelled through and we stayed at 17 of them in 2022 and one additional one, Hartwell, back in 2016. So, a total of 18, which would be 75% of them. We had asked the lockmasters at two stations- Old slys and Lower Nicholson if we could stay but they only allow it at end of the day. Black Rapids had limited space due to fallen trees earlier in the year. We chose not to stay at Hog’s Back as it wasn’t desirable- a wooden dock inhabited by Canada Geese. The other two locks we missed were Clowes and Edmonds, but they were in a grouping of locks and it didn’t make sense to stop. Many of the lock stations we stopped at both going up and again on our return trip. We were on the Rideau a total of 34 days, almost double what we spent on it in 2016. We took our time going to Ottawa, in hindsight we should have planned better so that we didn’t overlap with the Quebec construction holiday.
We will go through the Bascule bridge tomorrow at the 7 am opening as we have an appointment with Karl at Ivy Lea on Friday morning. We hope to spend a few days in the Thousand Islands before heading back towards Trenton and the TSW.
If you think wakes cause problems for CruisingonBusiness, you should see what happens to ‘The Aud’ my 17’ cedarstrip canoe. Last summer we were going through the Prince Edward Island inside channel (Killarney on Georgian Bay) when a wake just about put us into orbit.
Our summer canoe tripping starts on Monday with a 4 night trip on the French River. Hopefully no big wakes.