Trenton to Midland – The Trent Severn Waterway

Tuesday July 10 and Wednesday July 11, 2018:

We took advantage of our time staying in such a nice marina and also managed to relax and recoup a little. I confirmed with Brian Smith of American Diesel that the correct amount of oil to put into the Ford Lehman is only 14 ½ quarts.  Not five gallons, like I had been using.  During our stay here in Trenton, I changed the oil, cleaned the air filter and degummed the intake manifold (maybe from using too much oil).  I also changed the transmission fluid, cleaned all the strainers and serviced all the batteries.  The Trent Port Marina has new HE washers and dryers and they not only free to use, but the marina provides detergent and dryer sheets.!  Jane did the laundry plus the sheets and mattress pad.  She was in laundry heaven.  We got the shopping done and took care of some business.  We were going to leave on Wednesday, but I was able to get an appointment with a good dentist to get my crown put back on.  It had fallen off a month ago and I popped it back on but now it won’t stay on anymore. The dentist keeps his boat here at the marina so he understands the urgency since we are traveling. It was a very well run practice and I was pleased with the result and price.  The dental practice was very modern, even had a 3-D printer from which to make same day crowns.  Wow.  The visit was less than $150.  Maybe I should have gotten one of those same day crowns anyway.


Wednesday was Jane’s birthday, so I made her blueberry walnut pancakes for breakfast.  She didn’t want any gift from me, but Sherry from Sea Jamm showed up with flowers and a card for her.  That was so thoughtful.  I did take Jane out to Thai Sushi for dinner and when she tasted my vegetable green curry dinner, I lost it to her completely.  Happy birthday, Dear.  That’s what happy couples do.

Thursday, July 12, 2018:

After I washed the decks and refilled the water tanks, we cranked up at 0810 and made our way over to the fuel dock for a holding tank pump out. There was a sail boat already ahead of us, but by 0900 we were on our way up the Trent-Severn Waterway under crystal clear skies.


We encountered more waiting at Lock 1 and entered the lock at 1050.  Less than 3 ½ hours later we had gone through six Locks with Sea Jamm.  We both tied to the west wall at Frankford and paid our $9.80 for the electric service.  The day had heated up quite a bit and we needed to cool off, so Jane and I went down through the park to the beach.  It’s not much of a beach, but there is some sand amongst the goose poop and we waded out through the river rocks and boulders for a refreshing dip.  We got back to our boat and the A/C had cooled it down nicely and so it was nap time.  When we woke up we found that several new boats had arrived on the wall and how they got so close in front of and behind us, I’ll never know.

Loopers and locals gathered for drinks at the picnic table after dinner.

Friday, July 13, 2018:

It was a beautiful day without wind. At 0750 we shoved off the wall with Alan and Sherry’s help.  We needed a full sideways push to slide out of the tight parallel parking spot having been hemmed in the afternoon before.  At 0830 we were battling the deer flies again as we went through Danger Narrows.  By 0930 we exited Lock 7 at Glen Ross going up 9 feet with Sea Jamm, and a Canadian couple and a sailboat from France with an older couple. We continued on locking with the same group for five more locks.


The locks on the Trent-Severn are not as antiquated as the locks on the Rideau.  Most have been rebuilt.  The double locks of 11 and 12 at Ranney Falls provided a lift of 48 feet.  It was only another mile to Old Mill Park at Campbellford and we docked on the west wall at 1400 with 30 amp power.


We paid for two nights and will get the third one free.  We got out and walked the town a bit and then realized how tired we were.  Locking in the heat takes a toll and we returned to the boat for a nap.  There were about six or seven other looping boats along the walls on either side of the river.  We found a restaurant (Capers) that reminded us of Café Gardens and enjoyed dinner on their patio and their live musician.  On Saturday we ventured over to the farmers market and the Incredible Edibles Festival. Later there was a Rotary street dance with a great band.  We dined at Antonia’s, a great small ethnic restaurant, and then hung out aboard Magic listening to the music and watching the people.

Sunday, July 15, 2018:

We had planned to go to church and stay another night in Campbellford, but when we got up and moving, we decided to give up the free night and move on up the Trent-Severn. We left the wall at 1025 and locked in Lock 13 with three other boats.  Canadians, Dave and Leslie from Endeavor rafted to us and we kept the same order for each lock through 17.  Locks 16 and 17 are double locks and raised us 55 feet and into Seymore Lake.


When we reached the Hastings Lock (#18), we went through alone as the other boats had made it through the lake much faster.  We continued on and the river gave way to Rice Lake.  Rice Lake is about 20 miles long and several miles wide in places.  There are a number of islands and some good anchorages.  We opted to drop the hook between Rack and White Island at 1705.  We went for a cooling swim and I donned fins and mask to check on our zincs.  They all looked good except I didn’t see the prop shaft zinc.  I brushed a lot of growth off the hull.  That was good exercise, treading water and working with the long handle scrub brush.  It was a very pleasant anchorage in fairly open water.  There were few fishermen around and we showered on the fantail.  After a beautiful sunset in the western sky, Venus flirted with the crescent moon before it descended as a dark orange fingernail.


Monday, July 16, 2018:

We pulled anchor at 0755 and sprayed off some weeds that clung to the anchor, but not as bad as some had told us it would be. By 0845 we were at the mouth of the Otonabee River.  The river proved to be mostly rural with some cottages along the way at the Hiawatha Indian Reserve on our right as we moved up river.  By 1305 we had passed through locks 19, 20, and the Big Lift Lock at Peterborough (#21).  The Peterborough lock is not really a lock.  It has two pans and one goes up while the other works as the counter balance and comes down.  It is over 100 years old and each pan weighs 1300 tons when filled with water.  They just put an extra foot of water in the pan that is at the top when they are ready for it to come down, so the whole thing works sort of like a giant hydraulic teeter-totter.  It was amazing how fast it raised us 65 feet.

At 1345 a storm was coming so we tied up on the wall below Lock 22 at Nassau Mills. By 1510 the storm had passed and we were on our merry way again.  At 1812 we tied off on the starboard wall below Lock 27 at Youngs Point.  The lock master from Lock 26 had called ahead and had them leave a washroom key hidden for us at 27.  Youngs Point was a very pleasant and quiet place to stay the night.  The dining room at the local inn was closed, but we had plenty to eat on board.  The old bridge from 1885 still stands, but is only used for foot traffic now.  We saw some interesting sights along the way.


Tuesday, July 17, 2018:

We pulled Sabbatical  by hand from her spot at the end of the wall to the front of the blue line.  By 0900 the lock tenders had arrived and by 0918 we were out of the lock and cruising in Clear Lake.  It is appropriately named.  This is beautiful boating territory and it was a fantastic day under a cloudless sky with a good breeze.  The temperature was perfect and I made a mental note that this is the best day so far considering the combination of weather, water, and location beauty.  The islands and cottages are amazing and the rocks are intimidating.  It’s a good thing we can see them through the crystal clear water.


We paid very careful attention and stayed in the marked channel.


By noon we had passed through Hells Gate and the locks at Burleigh Falls, Lovesick, and Buckhorn.  We wanted a spot on the wall in Bobcaygeon with electricity but they were all taken so we went on through the lock there to look for a spot on the upper side.  Before we could get out of the narrow channel with boats tied up on left and right, here came a houseboat head on, trying to get into a spot to our port.  There would be no way for the two of us to pass between all the boats.  I recognized that the houseboat was a rental and knew immediately that the operator would not give way or even have good control of the vessel.  I was forced to reverse and hold position with boats tied within just a few feet of us on each side.  Meanwhile Houseboatdude further entertained us by crashing into a runabout trying to dock.  After we were able to get by Houseboatdude, the lock workers came out and helped make some room for us to tie up on the starboard side by pulling one of the locals ahead and they even helped us get docked.  It was windy by then, but we put it right where we wanted gently against the floating dock.  We walked over to the laundromat and then to the grocery store.  I wheeled the groceries back to the boat and Jane went to finish the laundry.  Bobcaygeon is a small touristy town and it’s pretty packed.  We dined at Embers after getting turned away from the Waterside Grill because they were overwhelmed and not taking tables.  The only complaint about this day is the welts from the deer flies and horseflies.  Jane’s entire right hand, wrist, and forearm are swollen.  It looks pretty bad.  We’ll be glad when the bugs quit biting.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018:

It was another beautiful cloudless day around 60 degrees in the morning. We left the wall at Bobcaygeon at 0720.  It was a perfect day to be boating through the Kawartha Lakes chain.  We entered Sturgeon Lake and by 0825 were rounding Sturgeon Point enjoying the beautiful day.


By 1000 we had been through the locks at Fenelon Falls and Rosedale.  We then entered into Balsam Lake and with the lift from the Rosedale lock we were at the peak of the Trent-Severn Waterway and boating at 840 feet above sea level.  The whole area is just so beautiful.  By the time we had crossed Balsam Lake, we had caught up with our friends, Mark and Lezlie on Antonia. They were just behind four other Looper boats and we all continued in line through the narrow Trent Canal.


We rode down in the Kirkfield Lift Lock (another set of hydraulic pans) for the 48 foot drop with Antonia and then continued on to Sunset Cove Marina in Bolsover. Antonia and our boat were the only Loopers that were staying the night there.

There isn’t much there, but we could have electricity, showers, water and get a pump out of the holding tank.  The four of us got together at the picnic table on the dock for dinner.


Thursday, July 19, 2018:

I started filling our water tanks and soon Mark informed me that the water at Sunset Cove is not certified as potable. Great!  I stopped the filling and put the hoses away.  We cranked up at 1000 and I moved on over to the pump out station.  They charge $25 for a pump out.  It should be free when you pay for dockage.  While it was pumping, the owner’s dog jumped aboard hoping for a boat ride.


By 1248 we had locked down through the Bolsover, Portage, and Gamebridge Locks and were crossing Lake Simcoe on another beautiful day.  Lake Simcoe is the largest lake on the Trent-Severn Waterway and the weather can be an issue for boating here.  We had a great day with almost no waves to disturb the clear green water.

At 1500 we were in the Narrows and had the Island Princess coming at us from ahead.


I was glad to have already cleared the abandoned railroad bridge when I got his security call.  I moved over as much as I thought I safely could and let the captain know by radio that a port to port would work unless he wanted to wait for us to clear the Narrows.  It worked out fine and we docked at Port Orillia shortly after.  Docking at Port Orillia was without assistance from the staff.  To complicate the issue, they have cleats that fold down when not in use, so even when I had the boat right beside the finger pier, Jane had nothing to loop the line on.  Another boater finally came out and helped.  Boaters are good to help each other.  There are a bunch of Looper boats in the marina and Herb Seaton held docktails aboard Phanthom. There was such a large group, I’m sure I didn’t even meet everyone.  Later a group of us went out for dinner and had a disappointing experience.  But that’s not common here and the musician did come over and sing Happy Birthday to me.


Friday, July 20 – Sunday, July 22, 2018:

On Friday we took care of some housekeeping items and I got another lease done. We felt great that we’ve turned over two rentals without going home.  We went out for breakfast and later rode our bikes way over the hill to the theater and saw the Denzel Washington movie, Equalizer II.  It took about an hour to ride there but only about 20 minutes to ride back since it was downhill most of the way.  For the weekend rounds, I was able to receive the British Open on the TV via the digital antenna.  We stepped over to the Metro Grocery in the late morning and coming back we had to cross the parade for the Scottish Festival.  Lots of Scots around here.


We did some shopping, ate out at Vietnamese and Mediterranean restaurants, attended a cool church, watched the Open and the rain, got take out from Pita Pit, relaxed reading and of course planned the next legs of the cruise.

Monday, July 23, 2018:

We left the dock at 0730 under cloudy skies but almost no chance of rain. There was very little wind and Lake Couchiching was calm.  We caught up to Wine Speed and Magic waiting on the RR Swing Bridge to open at 0900.  The three of us were holding position in the narrow canal.  They had been waiting longer, but we only had to wait about ten minutes for the bridge to swing.  We had thought that we might stop at Lock 43, but we traveled with them for the bulk of the day.  By 0930 we had locked down at #42 and then we pulled Sabbatical into the fuel dock at Lauderdale Point Marina to take on diesel.  I commented on how much diesel they sell as we prefer to buy from a volume dealer to make sure we’re getting fresh fuel.  The workers on the dock said that they didn’t think they would even have enough to top us off when I mentioned that we’d probably take on around 200 gallons.  That scared me off because I surely didn’t want to empty their tank and get the dregs out of the bottom.  It wasted 20 minutes, but we had fuel enough to get to a better dealer.  On we went across Sparrow Lake and rounded the turn at McLean Bay.  The channel gets narrow there, but the landscape is gorgeous.

At 1115 we were in McDonald’s Cut and at 1207 we were the only vessel in the lock as we dropped 47 feet at Swift Rapids (Lock 43).  The lock attendant was nice to take our picture and email it to us.

By 1330 we had caught up to Magic at the Big Chute Marine Railway. Wine Speed had already gone over and was waiting in the pool on the lower side.  The Big Chute is not a lock but it does serve the purpose of getting the boats either let down or lifted up depending on which direction they’re going.  We went into the Chute with Magic. They were in front and we came in after.  We drove our boats into a submerged “railroad car” and then hovered over the straps while the attendants worked the controls for the straps to lift us out of the water.  Once both boats were secure hanging in the straps, the railroad started to move up out of the water on the tracks and over the hill and highway and then down down down into the lower water below dropping us 58 feet.  It was a crazy ride and the workers on the rig are great at working it and seem to enjoy moving the boats up and down.

By 1510 we had passed through Lock 45 at Port Severn and were set on continuing on to Bay Port Marina at Midland. Lock 45 was too small for us to lock with the other boats and they went on ahead.


The channel coming out of Port Severn was extremely narrow and crooked.  We were able to navigate it without any problem, but this is one area to keep alert.

By 1630 we arrived at the fuel dock at Bay Port Marina and got refueled and pumped out before going to our slip.  They offer a buy-two nights-get a third night free deal so we opted for that since the day had been so long, we were ready for a rest and the rain is coming.

Mural on Archer Daniels Midland flour mill in Midland, Ontario.

Later, we got the bikes out and rode over to the Boathouse Grill for dinner and ran into Herb (Phanthom) and Keith and Gail (Southern Style).  It was a fun place with a large waterfront patio and a good band.  It was a Monday night and the place was packed!

Boathouse Grill in Midland, ON.
Dragon Fly love.

Ottawa to Trenton

Monday, July 2, 2018:

We had enough of the city. Ottawa is a great city, but it is a city.  So, we untied from our spot on the wall under the bridge without waking the couple sleeping on the walkway.  We waved to Alan on Sea Jamm and Peter and Sally as we started south down the Rideau Canal.  We had to wait 20 minutes at the Pretoria Lift Bridge for the 0930 opening.  We just idled about trying to stay in place and under the shade of the fixed bridge just before it.  The wind was starting to get breezy.  The bridge opened right on time and a couple of other boats followed us through.  At 0947 we entered Dow Lake and continued on with the canal arriving at the Hartwells Locks.  We locked through with three other boats at 1025.  By 1108 we had been lifted 25 feet in the Hogs Back Lock and at noon another 10 feet at the Black Rapids Lock.  There are many locks on the Rideau Canal as we keep going higher and higher.  The locks are somewhat of a source of stress, but I realize locking with these locals in smaller boats that I’ve become a fairly competent captain and don’t really need thrusters or dual engines.  It was “South Florida” hot and humid.  I notice that at each lock the wind is picking up.  In this system, boats tie up at the blue line portion of the dock outside the lock.  The lock master notices and then comes out to give locking instructions.  When we arrived at the blue line for the flight of three locks (14, 15 and 16) we had to wait.

Since another boat had joined in ahead of us, I knew it might be an hour before we could enter the lock. I went for a swim in the basin below the dam.  That felt really great.  The lockmasters and their crew are all very nice and readily admit that their primary job is to make sure we boaters have a good experience.  Most of the locks are hand operated with antique equipment.


It was quite the engineering marvel in its time. While I was swimming an older long-haired dude came by in his small boat and introduced himself as Mark Monnet, the AGLCA local harbor host.  He was very kind to offer to run to the store and get us anything we might need.  We were out of ice, so we said that’s all we need at this point.  What a great guy to come out and find the Loopers coming by his island in the river and offer to run errands.  He came back while we were still on the blue line waiting to get into the lock.  He had been to four stores and they were all out of ice.  It is understandable since today is a holiday and it is hot as Hades.  It was fun to talk with him and he even offered to bring us some of his marijuana that he grows in his back yard!  I told him I was writing a blog and offered to leave that part out and he said I should definitely include it.


Mark Monnet with Insel aboard New Freedom.

We got our turn in the locks this time with Sea Jamm as Alan and his daughters had caught up with us.  We were through the flight of three locks and the hand crank swing bridge by 1500 and on our way to Hurst Marina.  We are looking forward to getting there because we can refill our water tanks, get a pump out, hook to electricity, and most importantly, they have a swimming pool!  At 1530 the skies turn purple and we smell the ozone and then the storm hit.  Jane was super getting the panels put back up so we’d be enclosed on the fly bridge.  Lightning and thunder and some hard rain came down, but onward we trudged.  The storm ended before we arrived at Hurst Marina at 1600.  It’s not fancy, but the pool felt great and they even have a hot tub.  We enjoyed the pool and the hot tub. Sea Jamm pulled in too.  Later Joe and Rhonda on Band Wagon showed up and docked next to us.  Jane and I went to the restaurant next door, Swan on Rideau, and dined on their vegi burgers.  It was a comfortable spot and we stayed another day doing laundry and boat chores tending to some of the varnishing and bright work.

Wednesday, July 4, 2018:

We got the dock boys to give us a pump out of the holding tank and then eased out of the marina at 0900. By 1220 we had made it through the lock at Burritt’s Rapids and tied to the wall.  They have electric available here, but the 30 amp failed to keep even just our air conditioner running.  The lock staff had the electricians out working on the problem.  I asked the lock master if generator operation was allowed.  She said of course, no problem.  So given the heat wave and humidity, we were worn out from the heat and battling the deer flies, so we cranked the gen-set and put on the A/C for a nap.  Later we got a little grief from a lady on another boat that had been sitting in a chair nearby.  She wanted to know if we planned on running our generator all night and said it was noisy.  Uh, it’s not at all, really, but we took her feelings into consideration and turned it off and went over to Lock 17 Restaurant and set up camp in their air conditioned bar.  I brought my computer and we used their wifi to complete some work on the blog.  We stayed for a several hours and enjoyed the friendly waitress and had a pizza for dinner.  This place also has a coin operated shower that I later came back and tried out.  It was awesome.

Thursday, July 5, 2018:

By 0900 I had received a refund for the $9.80 electric charge and we left the wall headed for Smiths Falls. There was a construction project underway at the swing bridge that was supposed to be finished in April, but they’re still working on it.  We arrived at the swing bridge at 0920 and the lock master said earlier that the contractor would be ready to let us through, but that wasn’t the case.  The workers said it would be a delay of half an hour.  By 1010 we they moved the temporary pontoon walk bridge and we went through.  We continued onward locking through locks 18, 19, 20, and the triple lock of 21, 22 and 23 at Merrickville.

Manual Swing Bridge. The guys just gave it a shove and it swung open.

By 1357 we were through lock 24 at Kilmarnock and we pressed on locking at Edmonds and finally going through the doubles of 26 and 27 at Old Sly’s Lock. We were worn out with all the locking in this extreme heat.  I thought we left this weather in Florida!  Jane’s personal journal records that we were sunburned, tired, cranky and bitchy.  I can’t disagree.  We finally docked at Victoria Park in Smiths Falls and the electric worked so we were ecstatic to have air conditioning again. We biked over to the post office to mail some things and then on to the public “beach” (it’s a wall with a ladder to get into the river) for a cool-off swim.  It was very refreshing.  I think it hit 97 degrees here today.

Friday, July 6, 2018:

It was very windy and I was very unsure about leaving. I’d be just as happy to stay here at the dock and enjoy the town for another day avoiding locking in the heat and the dangers of putting our boat into the locks in windy conditions.  It was cooler and the wind helped with that.  Finally, I decided that I could manage the breezy conditions and we backed out of the slip at 1100 and by 1130 we were done with lock 31 (upper Smiths Falls).  By noon we were through the Poonamalie Lock number 32 and into the open lake relishing in a much cooler day than the oppressive heat of the last week.  It was very windy but with waves of only about one foot.  The lake was beautiful, enhanced by the numerous rocky islands and outcroppings.  I really loved the granite boulders and cliffs and the evergreens.  There were many idyllic lake cottages, some built out over the water.  We went past a small cable ferry too.

At 1335 we were negotiating the Narrows and by 1445 we had cleared the Narrows Lock. At this point we were boating on the Upper Rideau Lake and it seemed like we were on top of the mountain.  The sky was more expansive and indeed we were at the highest point on the Rideau Canal system.  We had been raised 275 feet above the Ottawa River and were now boating in waters 408 feet above sea level.  In places it is marshy and at others it is like boating in a mountain stream.


We would have liked to have made it to the anchorage in Morton’s Bay, but the time required for locking wouldn’t allow for that.  We locked through at Newboro beginning our descent at 1530 and by the time we got through one more lock at Chaffey’s we were spent and tied to the wall at Davis Lock at 1655 for the night.  There was electric available, but we didn’t need the air conditioner in the perfect weather.


Saturday, July 7, 2018:

We’ve another perfect day in store with temperature in the 70’s, partly cloudy and a good breeze. We were ready to enter the lock when the staff arrived at 0900.  They were on their game and twenty minutes later we were on our way.  By 1120 we had gotten through Locks 39, 40, 41, and 42.  The bridge tender at the Brass Point Swing Bridge was ready for us and opened without prodding so we didn’t skip a beat.  This part of the Rideau has been the most enjoyable section of the journey so far.  We realized that locking in the cooler weather is easier, less exhausting and there’s a lot less barking at each other.  It actually became enjoyable.  Meeting the staff and chatting a few minutes each time was interesting.  They are all so nice.  By 1600 we had completed Locks 46 through 49 and at 1700 we docked into slip H23 (even though it was windy and the slip was in a somewhat difficult location).  Six jovial young dockhands were there to take lines from Jane as we eased in with caution.

Joe from Band Wagon came over to invite us to docktails aboard Wine Speed with Mike and Cindy and the Captain and Dorothy from Magic.  Kingston appears to be a happening spot for the weekend with the Busker’s Rendezvous going on.  Buskers are street performers and they have some really good acts with several going on at the same time.  We all walked over to Casa Dominico for a good meal.  Jane and I made good use of the marina showers before bed and they were really great.

Sunday, July 8, 2018:

We biked up to the First Baptist Church. It was evident right off that we had ventured into another dwindling congregation occupying a beautiful historic structure.  That is so sad.  After church we kept on a few more blocks to the Metro Grocery.  It’s ok, but it ain’t no Publix.  We stocked up and made it back to the boat and then walked over to enjoy the buskers’ shows.  They were great entertainment, but always with a pitch for the passing of the hat.  Buskers have to eat too.

Docktails were in the boaters lounge at the marina office. We only got asked to keep it down once.  That’s pretty good for this group.


Jane and I went and enjoyed the “waterfront” deck dining at the Indian Restaurant.  Good food but the waterfront was a long reach.

Monday, July 9, 2018:

We slept a little late to leave with the others at 0730, but we got off the dock at 0745 with a slight breeze but without help and trailed the other three boats out into the North Channel of Lake Ontario. Wine Speed, Band Wagon and Magic are all headed for Trenton and we are up for the 71 mile day unless we get tired and elect to anchor along the way.  There is a cloudless sky and 72 degrees as we make our way behind Amherst Island.  The wind picked up as we moved along and around midday it was about 20 mph.  We kept plugging along and docked in slip E15 at Trent Port Marina at 1640.  Trent Port Marina is by far the nicest marina we have stayed in.  The entire facility is only a few years old and it is very, very well run.  Washrooms are spotless as is the entire place.  Here, as in Kingston, each washroom is a full bath, but these are brand new top of the line.  Landscaping is beautiful and they even have a “Help Yourself” herb garden.  Our group of 8 met on the patio for docktails and a rousing game of Cards Against Humanity.  We then moseyed over to Tomosso’s for dinner.  (Somewhat of a pattern going on here).

Bows of Sabbatical, Magic, Wine Speed and Band Wagon at Trent Port Marina.


Montreal to Ottawa

Friday, June 22 to Monday, June 25, 2018:

We borrowed the courtesy van from the Yacht Club and drove to Pierre Trudeau Airport. Our youngest son, Scott landed just before we found a parking spot and we gathered him up and returned to MYC and introduced him to Sabbatical.  We enjoyed having him with us and we all enjoyed discovering Montreal for several days.  We did lots and lots of walking and biking.  We even biked while he ran.  We couldn’t keep up with him.  It is a very hilly city.  We ate in a bunch of vegan restaurants and there are plenty to choose from.  We visited the Notre Dame Basilica, biked and hiked up Mount Royal, went for a dinghy ride, and had docktails with the other Loopers that were also staying at MYC.  On Sunday we even went to church.  We lucked out and the church service we visited was in English.  There was a lot going on in Montreal because they were celebrating Québec Day.  They had a great many parties and street closings and concerts.  Some got rained out, but it was all good.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018:

We departed the Yacht Club of Montreal at 1000 with Scott aboard. Once we got out of the yacht club’s basin and downstream with the current of the St. Lawrence it was a wild ride of eddies and swirling rushing flows making it difficult to steer as we were whisked along.  Soon the GPS showed us at 15.2 miles per hour.  That’s almost twice our normal cruising speed!  We rounded the north end of Ile St. Helene and by 1105 we had locked through the St. Lambert Lock.  It was great having Scott with us to give an extra hand with lines in the locks.  We arrived at the St. Catherine Lock an hour later and had to wait on a ship.  It wasn’t as bad as last time and we locked through the 40 foot lift by 1325.  At some point, a transmission in French came across on the marine radio.  I picked up the mic and replied, “Oui, oui, bon jour, Monsieur.  Jaunte Plume a re’ la tet.  Croissant, alouet, merci beaucoux, soup de jour.”  Ok, I wasn’t pressing the mic button, but we all had a good laugh.  That’s the extent of my French.  Arrival at the Royal St. Lawrence Yacht Club was uneventful and we eased into our assigned slip without a hitch.  The Royal St. Lawrence Yacht Club was formed in 1888 and has quite a storied history with famous members including two members of the Molson Beer family as former commodores.  Our slip was two down from Dutchess which was formerly owned by the Molson Family and a beauty of a boat built in 1937.  The three of us enjoyed “health drinks” while hanging out at the pool.  Later we got an Uber and dined at a nearby Italian Restaurant outside on the patio.


Wednesday, June 27, 2018:

We said farewells and put Scott in an Uber for the airport which was only about ten minutes away. It was sure good to have him for a few days.

We refilled with fresh water and moved over to the pump out dock. A club member helped us so we wouldn’t have to pay.  By 1205 we were on our way in Lak St. Louis.  By 1355 we had made it through the Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue.  This is our first lock of the Parks Canada system and the locking here was easy with a floating dock inside the lock with an attendant to assist.  They sell ice and we bought some.


We exited into Deux-Montagnes Lake and headed for the next lock at Carillon Canal.  The Carillon lock has a guillotine gate assisted by a 200 ton counterweight and the water lift is 65 feet.  It was a most pleasant and interesting locking experience and we enjoyed talking with the nice college girl who has the great summer job of working the lock.

We exited the lock by 1755 and only went a few more miles.  We anchored in 11 feet near Marina Camping Chatham.  The mud bottom provided excellent holding.  We grilled veggies and enjoyed being alone on anchor again.

Thursday, June 28, 2018:

We don’t really have a set plan on where to stop next, but we’ll just see how far we get and when we feel like stopping. We cranked the engine at 0915 and by 0930 we had it up and the mud washed off and put away.  The boat is a getting a little nasty with a bunch more dead bugs and some filth coming from the lockings.  We stopped at Golden Anchor Marina and took on 205 gallons of fuel at 1.40 per liter.  That worked out to $3.95 per gallon after the charge was adjusted for the exchange rate.  We had paid a higher price in Florida back in January.  We continued on after refueling.  At 1130 we drove off the charted area detailed on our Garmin GPS chip.  We still had Navionics on the iPad and my phone.  It would be hard to get lost along here anyway.  At 1345 we docked at Chateau Montebello.  It has a lot of history and is reportedly the largest log structure in North America.  Currently run as a hotel and resort by the Fairmont group.  It would make quite the destination wedding location.  It reminded me of the Grove Park Inn in Asheville, NC.  Jane said it reminded her of the large wooden hotel in Bellaire, Florida, near Clearwater.  We changed into appropriate dress and ventured in for a late lunch.  I thought that it is a great thing that they offer a courtesy dock for no charge for any boaters that want to stop and eat or just walk around and look at this incredible structure.


After lunch and some walking about, we continued on upriver and anchored in between Parker and Clarence Islands.  It was very quiet and peaceful.  We knew that we should watch for the rising full moon and since the clouds had cleared, we had some discussion about where exactly it would come up.  Jane was closest to picking the right spot and as we were in debate about it, we realized, “Whoa!  There it is!”  We loved being there together, in the river basking in the moonlight.

Friday, June 29, 2018:

We were off anchor by 0800 in slightly foggy conditions, but an otherwise beautiful day. Jane drove for a time while I piddled around the boat redressing lines and such.  At 0930 we had to dodge the ferries.  The chart said that they operate on a cable system, but I doubt that’s right.  What a hazard to navigation that would be.  By 1130 we were passing Rideau Falls in Ottawa and at 1142 we arrived at the famed stair-step locks of the Rideau Canal System.  This historical flight of eight locks is one right after the other raising boats up 79 feet to the canal level to bypass the Rideau Falls.  The locks are located right between the Canadian Parliament Building and the Chateau Laurier Hotel in downtown Ottawa.  The locks are still operated manually.  Most all the lock workers are college students working for the summer.

We treaded water for a bit as there was no room on the Blue Line dock and then we rafted up to a cruiser of a nice Canadian Family.  The SS Nonnie was already on the blue line.  We met the Australian couple aboard and they are doing the Great Loop too.  Soon New Freedom arrived and we tried to have them raft to us, but it was too much weight for the smaller cruiser, so we had them move up to raft with SS Nonnie.  There was a wait for our group to get into the locks with some boats on the way up and others waiting to come down.  Finally, our turn came and we entered the first lock at 1340 and by 1530 we exited lock eight.  This was a boating ballet of four boats moving one at a time into the lock, grabbing cables, shutting down engines, lock gates closing, water rushing in floating all vessels up, engines cranking, boats moving in the same order one at a time into the next lock, grabbing cables, etc. etc. over and over through the 8 steps.  All the while hundreds of tourists are watching, many asking questions and gawking at the process.  “What?  You guys are really from Florida?  How did you get here?  Where are you going?”  It might have been more fun if the day hadn’t heated up so much and if we’d had a little less wind to deal with.  We endured no scrapes and impressed the other boaters and the lock workers when they learned that Sabbatical is a single screw boat without thrusters.  Just past the top of the locks we docked under the shade of the MacKenzie King Bridge at 1535.


IMG_2868 (2)

During a walk to the Farm Boy grocery store in the nearby Rideau Center Mall we stumbled on a Chipotle Grill. I pointed out that we shouldn’t grocery shop on an empty stomach, so we pigged out first.  We got the shopping done and returned with our stock refreshed.  Lots of boats were tied to the walls of the canal on both sides.  The city is full of tourists of every description in town for Canada Day on July first.  Some of the Loopers gathered on our bow since it was in the shade.  We had Kevin and Sandy from Koastal Karma, Peter and Sally from SS Nonnie and Kip and Insel from New Freedom.  It was a busy but fun day.  The hot weather has followed us here from Florida.  We saw some interesting animals in Ottawa.  We saw black squirells, chipmunks, bunnys, and even a ground hog came out to beg for handouts.


Saturday, June 30, 2018:

About 0730 six trolls came along the walkway and sat down next to our boat. They were just young people up to not much good.  A couple on skate boards, one on a bike and the others just on foot.  They just got out their marijuana and a bong and commenced to get high.  I was sitting right in the cabin just feet from them.  I thought about shooing them along, but I want to do my part to promote better relations between Americans and Canadians, so I just let them be.  Maybe it is their bridge and they do this daily.  Shortly, one of the boys takes a big hit and vomits on the sidewalk during a coughing spasm.  When they finally moved along, I went out and picked up their litter and hosed down the puke with my wash-down hose and pressure wand.  You’re welcome, Ottawa.

It was very warm but we walked about a mile and half to the farmers market. It was pretty simple, but we got a loaf of bread and some kale.  The best part was discovering the Green Door Restaurant right on the corner.  They offer a vegan buffet so we waited for them to open and then enjoyed the incredible smorgasbord.  After we returned to the boat, we walked over to the parliament building, but were too late to visit as they had reached the maximum number for the day.  Since it was so hot, we opted to walk around in the mall and found a good sale in the Eddie Bauer store.  When we returned the boat ahead had left, so we hand-pulled our boat on up into that spot.  We’d still have no electrical connection, but it was more in the shade escaping the late afternoon sun.  We walked on down the canal to join 11 other Looper couples for docktails in the park by where some of them were tied.  Man, it was hot!  I was happy for a cold shower later.

Sunday, July 1, 2018 (Canada Day):

We had to run the generator for some air conditioning so we could sleep. The heat wave is oppressive.  Midmorning we ventured out on the bikes for the Canadian History Museum.  We were stopped at the blocked off streets along the way and got a front row view of the band and the Governor General inspecting the Guard.


We did make it over the Alexandra Pont Bridge to the museum which was a good thing to do on such a hot day.  The museum was free for the day and there were lots and lots of other people taking advantage of the same thing since it was 95 outside.  We got to see a really cool movie about a 2017 voyage of the Northwest Passage by the ice breaker C-3.

Later, we hosted the same group for docktails again plus with Joe and Rhonda from Band Wagon.  After everyone left, we enjoyed the fireworks over the river from our fly bridge.  It was a great display lasting about 45 minutes.


Brockville to Montreal

618 Leaving Brockville
Sherry took this just after we left the marina at Brockville. The mast is down for upcoming low bridges.

Monday, June 18, 2018:

We left the Brockville dock at 0755 backing into the narrow fairway until I met the intersecting fairway that served the double row of slips. Three or four turns of up and back and I had her spun around to exit the marina.  Thrusters are for sissies.  We were on our way to Crysler Park.  We had some rain earlier and expected more in the afternoon, but it was sunny for the time.   We should get up to the marina at Crysler Park by 13:40.  By 0850 we were hitting 9.5 miles per hour merrily sliding along with the abundant current of the Saint Lawrence River.  Clouds began to close in but the current still was pushing and at 0940 we were making 12 mph over ground.  We arrived at the Iroquois Lock and found out that the online payment did not get to the right place and we had to cough up another $30.  Must remember to seek a refund.  At 1210, under cloudy skies, we glided through the marina entrance docked ourselves into a slip.  It’s a remote place without the amenities of any other commercial development around.  We’re fine with just dining aboard and moving on again in the morning.  The rain continued and got a little worse.  After it let off some, we moseyed over to the bathrooms for showers after watching the cruise line come in.  It looks like the size of boat that might have about 20 couples on board.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018:

We slipped out of Crysler Park Marina at 0945 headed for Valleyfield. It is 54.6 miles down-river (Northeast) on the Saint Lawrence and we will have to negotiate two locks, the Eisenhower and the Snell.  These are United States locks.  The skies are fully of puffy clouds and there’s a snap in the air with the temp at 62 degrees.  Jane found the floating bollard in the Eisenhower Lock a breeze as we were lowered and continued on at 1145.  We had another nice locking experience at the Snell Lock with a bunch of ex-navy guys handling the operation.  At 1247 we zipped along at the break-neck speed of 13.3 mph!  Without help from marina staff, and in spite of a firm breeze, we docked like pros into slip number 1207 at Marina Valleyfield around 1630.   When we checked in, it was obvious that we are in the land of the Francophones. It’s like being in a foreign country.  Ok, well, it is a foreign country.  By the marina, Valleyfield is preparing grandstands for the hydrofoil races.  I was glad to find out they won’t be running first thing in the morning.  We got organized and then set out with the trusty grocery cart for the hike to the SAQ (must be French for adult beverage store) and the Metro Grocery.  They were together in a plaza just over a mile away and the day had heated up.  I was thankful for the air conditioning when we arrived.  We stocked up and took a different route back through a residential section of modest homes and apartments.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018:

We took our sweet time getting ready to leave. I added a quart of oil during the engine checks and I refilled our fresh water tanks.  After careful consideration of the brisk wind and the proximity of the nearby wall at the end of the fairway, we backed out sans dockhand at 1130. I had my hands full bringing her around to port quickly in a three point turn before the breeze got us against the end wall.  It was accomplished without contact, super-goosing in forward, but not without some nervousness.  Jane gave me high praise on the handling.  At 1153 we were back in the St Lawrence and arrived at the Pont de Valleyfield (lift bridge) at 1210.  The next opening would be at 1300, so we took turns “treading water” and reading.  We passed through the Pont de Valleyfield at 1313 and arrived early at 1340 for the 1400 opening of the Pont de Saint Louis.  There is not as much traffic here and the tender opened early for us at 1345.  At 1420 we were tied to the pleasure craft dock at the Beauharnois Lock (#4) waiting for a “beeg sheep” to lock through.  By 1512 it was moving out of the lock, but these guys move so slowly that we couldn’t enter the lock for another 15 minutes.  The Canadian guys assisting in the lock were very helpful and fun to talk with.  I found out the ships are paying between $30,000 and $100,000 per lock compared to our fee of $30.  And that is really only $23 when you consider the exchange rate right now.  We exited lock 4 and by 1610 had made it through Lock 3 and entered Lak de Saint Louis with a view of Montreal in the background.  We found anchorage near the Kahnewake Marina in eight feet of water and settled in for the night at 1733. The evening lasted for quite a while as the sun seemed like it wasn’t ready to set. We enjoyed our spot from the fly bridge until after dark.

Thursday, June 21, 2018:

The good news – bad news of the anchorage was that it was good holding in mud but that mud came up with the chain and anchor and I had to get out the wash-down hose to keep the gooey stuff off the deck. We were underway at 1045 bound for the Yacht Club of Montreal under sunny skies in 60 degrees.  It is only 21 miles so we expected to arrive mid-day.  Alas, it was not to be.  The commercial traffic having priority over pleasure craft contributed to a long and slow day.  We arrived at Saint Catherine Lock at 1142 and bought tickets for the passage for both it and St. Lambert Lock.  These are both run by the St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation which is contracted to the Canadian government.  They do an excellent job, but the lock masters do not reply to marine radio when hailed.  We had to tie up at the floating dock provided for pleasure craft and then go up to the phone booth to buy tickets from the vending machine (it does take credit cards) and then pick up the receiver from the phone in the yellow box to ask for lockage down.  I was informed that there would be a delay before we could enter the lock due to commercial vessel already in the lock.  We sat at the dock reading.  At 1215 we heard over the loudspeaker system to get ready to proceed for lockage.  That was a false alarm and meant for four recreational boats that were up-bound.  At 1245 we were back at the dock after being waved off and hollered at by the workers.  I returned to the yellow box phone for further information.  The lockmaster was very friendly and understood our confusion.  He said that after they recreational boats come out, there would be one container ship locking down and then it would be our turn.  The small boats came out and there was no ship in view.  At this point, I’m getting antsy, but know there is nothing I can do.  Finally at 1320 the ship comes into view.  It is very slow.  At 1440 I called again for an update only to learn that there is another ship coming.  These guys move in and out of the locks with all the rapidity of snails.  It’s amazing anything ever gets anywhere.  Finally, at 1634 we were let down (literally) 40 feet and coming out of the St. Catherine Lock.  Five hours for one lock and another to go and I began to wonder if we would arrive at the YCM before they closed.  Jane put in a call and learned that they would be there with staff until 9:00 PM.  At 1745 we were waiting at the St. Lambert Lock with two ships ahead of us and a private vessel coming up.  The drop down was 18 feet and we were out by 1925 and headed for the short run north before turning back sharp around the north point of Ile St. Helene.  This put us going against the full force of the St. Lawrence.  It was running at four and a half knots so that cut our speed to less than half.  The locals that rafted with us on as we were locked down had advised that we keep as close to the island as depth would allow avoiding the swiftest current.  It got shallow nearer the bridge and from that point I made a beeline for the entrance to the Yacht Club.  When we got there, I looked back at the cookie crumb trail on my GPS and realized that it was no beeline.  The track would best be described as serpentine.  A 4 ½ knot current is pretty much raging.  The young and capable dockhand, Lambert, was there to help with our lines when we finally secured at 2015.   YCM is an excellent facility and we did laundry and showered (they even provide towels here!) before turning in.