Kemptville

I’m anchored here in Kemptville creek.  Quiet spot away from homes and cottages. No lights in sight.

I took these pictures as I was returning from a burrito run earlier.  There are lots of good takeout choices not far away by dinghy.

Today was nice, very relaxed and fine weather.  I left Merrickville mid day, driven mostly by an empty water tank.  Filled up at Pirate’s Cove marine just north of here.

It’s very weedy and dead feeling around here.  This area is in a drought, and although water levels seem normal there may be less flow than usual.  I dunno.  I thought the same thing last year, but it seems worse this year.

I’m now in a long pool that goes basically to the outskirts of Ottawa. Weather looks perfect for the next few days.

I’m not taking many pictures as I’ve done this trip before. But I grabbed my phone when I saw the seaplanes. It’s mostly narrow canals coming down from Lower Rideau Lake until the Rideau River broadens here.

Fuel Economy

After more than 2,000 km traveled in Escapade I’ve tallied fuel consumption. I’m happy with the results. Regular readers will recognize that this is important to me. Not just for cost reasons, but also to try to do more with less fossil fuel.

For reference, I tracked fuel consumption carefully on Mazurka, and for my loop trip my overall economy was 4.4 USMPG. Backing out generator use takes it to about 4.7 mpg.

I could easily have burned twice as much fuel or more. At a fast cruise in Mazurka mpg was 2 mpg or less. But I was committed to economy, and had a boat that performed pretty well across a range of speeds. Mostly I went slow, with an average speed of about 6.5 knots.

Escapade is a much larger boat than Muzurka. It’s twice the weight. But it has a smaller more modern motor than Mazurka, and more importantly has a longer waterline. It’s all about hull speed.

Here are some gatherings:

USMPG: 4.9

Average speed: 7.0 knots

That’s great. I fully expect to get 5+ mpg in my extended travels. Better than my last boat.

I won’t boast about how much fuel I burned heating the boat last winter. But I kind of wanted to try the brute force approach. If I do a repeat I’ll do more winterizing and insulating…

Merrickville

I like this stop. There is a nice old Downtown district at the lock.

We’ve just gone through a few days of heat warnings, with temps around 32/20C. I was hanging out at anchor for those days. Boat is great, cool and airy. I suspect the bright white paint and tinted windows help. I also turned off the boiler, and turn it on only when I want hot water.

I had no trouble with cooking under battery power using small appliances, and am less convinced of the need for A/C. Still haven’t hooked up the generator and not missing it.

I’ve given more thought to heading west instead of east, and am going to stick with my original plan. Basically I’m now holding on the Rideau for a few weeks until I can get my second vaccine dose, and assuming that the provincial travel restrictions will be lowered as the summer progresses.

Will be heading down towards Ottawa in the next few days, but not in a rush

In the Marsh

Sunset in the marsh

Regular readers will know I like these settings. I’m anchored here just upstream from Smiths Falls. Nice spot with marsh on all sides. The frog calls are loud enough to hear over Saturday Night Blues.

I’ve been noodling along. Not much fine dining – I had my hopes up when a fellow traveler assured me that the Opinicon was doing takeout, but on arrival we found they require 24 hour advance booking. Check first!

On that note, I’m seriously considering abandoning my trip east. It’s quite clear that current COVID restrictions in Quebec, NB and NS do not allow me to travel there. I had imagined a quick summer opening, but I’m not getting the sense that’s going to happen. I’ll get to Ottawa and make a final decision. So I may get a meal on the return trip.

The alternative is not all bad – head up the Trent Severn, and then to the North Channel. When the US opens head south from Chicago. Join the Loopers.

It feels a lot like 2020, except for the hope that travel restrictions will get lighter in the foreseeable future.

Things have been very quiet on the waterway. Very little local or through traffic.

Not many pics as this is my third return trip. See last year’s blog entries for the same trip.

Boat is great, very easy to maneuver in locks. I had some issues with fuses and breaker going in my thruster battery system when I first got going this year, but have that sorted and now use bow and stern thruster without hesitation.

Thousand Islands

Samantha, Sarah and later Mallory joined me for a few days of noodling around the area. We visited a few islands, spent a few nights at anchor, ate takeout a couple of times. The usual. Nice weather, cool but sunny. Samantha and Sarah did some point to point biking and I picked them up. Fun.

They left early this morning from Gananoque, and I cruised up to Kingston and into the Rideau Canal. I’m now stopped for the day at the top of Upper Brewers.

I’m in no rush. Got lots of food and fuel. I like Beveridge and the Tay Canal. Will stop there for a bit and do some cleaning. They have water. There is a paste of bugs on most exterior surfaces.

Weather looks great, getting warmer. Windy today, but the wind didn’t bother me. Easier going up than down in a breeze, but also I’m getting increasingly comfortable with handling the boat. The thrusters make it easy, and I step straight out to the deck from the wheel.

These pics were taken between Gananoque and Brockville.

Today’s trip from Gananoque to Upper Brewers. This section of the Rideau is not particularly great. Shallow, muddy and weedy.

Kingston

I’m anchored in Collins Bay just west of Kingston. Left Toronto Monday about 5:00 PM and got in here at noon Tuesday. Lovely trip, about 140 nm.

A front has just passed through, and I’ll head east tomorrow. Meeting family in Ganaoque Friday.

All systems are working well. Still have some work to do to get ready for big water, but can putter away at that on the Rideau. I still haven’t commissioned the generator – I need some fuel fittings – but am quite comfortable without it. This weekend will be a test to see how cooking on 12v goes.

I’m struck by how comfortable the boat is. I did a similar trip on Mazurka a few years ago and stayed on the flybridge most of the way. It’s much more civilized in the pilot house.

Why this boat?

My journalist friend Rob was out for a harbour cruise with me this weekend  and he asked me why I chose this boat.  I started to answer, but realized it was long and complicated. Later Sarah remarked on how nimble and maneuverable the boat is.  So, back story…

My first job was as a tender operator at Bedford Basin Yacht Club.  I started when I was 12 years old and worked at it through my teens.  Most likely the youngest and possibly the oldest on record.  Best summer job ever.  If you need further explanation, think water taxi, taking passengers back and forth from their moored boats.

I was driving outboard powered boats.  A bit later in life as I roamed the world a bit, I found a few clubs and harbours used the Crosby Launch and I fell in love with those boats.  Tough, stable, maneuverable. 

Crosby Launch

A bit later, the first big power boat I ever dreamed of owning was a Willard 30.  This was about 1991 when I came across one in the great lakes.

Willard 30

I really had the Willard as a benchmark boat when I bought Mazurka. 

Escapade started out life as a super sized Crosby Launch.  That’s what attracted me.  it was built to navy specs as a tender. So I was confident that the design and build were to my liking, and confident that I would enjoy maneuvering in close quarters, which is important to me.

Beyond that, Escapade met the criteria outlined in an earlier post.

This also might help to explain the opening photo in this post.

I should say that I’m exceedingly happy with my choice.

Off the Dock

I’m underway. Left Marina Quay West this afternoon after the rain stopped and am now anchored in Outer Harbour.

I think I mentioned earlier that I was getting an AIS transponder. For now it’s always on when underway, so I’m very easy to track. My MMSI is 316038777.

I’m in the area for a few days for provisioning and family visits, then off to Kingston next week. Rideau Canal opens the 28th, and I have family visiting aboard next weekend in the Thousand Islands. Weather looks pretty benign for the trip down the lake. Will have to go outside Prince Edward County as I think the Murray Canal doesn’t open until the 28th.

These four pictures were taken from tonight’s stop in the Toronto Islands. Beautiful here.