I arrived at the top of Sainte-Catherine Lock this evening and anchored here for the night. Samantha and Sarah are coming tomorrow for a short visit and we’ll go through two seaway locks to get to the port downtown, and stay at the bottom of the Lachine Canal for a day or two.
There’s a bit more going on around here. Currents and ships. It feels like a seaway. It’s a contrast to the kicked back Rideau and Ottawa River
After sitting out bad weather for a couple of days I came through Carrilon Lock. They gave me some grief over being solo, but let me through. I knew of that policy for the Chambly Canal but hadn’t realized it’s a provincial rule.
I had hoped to spot some birds at the bird sanctuary just down the river, but saw only three terns and three geese while passing.
After that it was fun to come south under route 40 and then 20. I spent last night at Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue. After a couple of nice meals ashore I headed down to Lac Saint-Louie today.
While I was finishing this post a big bulk carrier came out of the lock behind me. I like watching these guys.
I’m anchored here just above the Carrillon Lock. Beautiful evening. The shoreline here is part of Voyageur Provincial Park.
Yesterday I came down the locks from Ottawa and cruised down the river to just above Cumberland. A sailing acquaintance has a home on the water there, and I anchored in front and had a nice visit. Stayed the night there.
Today was a relaxed cruise down to Hawksbury for a nice dinner, then here.
I looked for birds today, testing my earlier hypotheses about being inside vs outside. Didn’t see any. I hope I see something alive in the St Lawrence. It’s distressing.
Today is St Jean Baptiste day, and is a Quebec holiday. Lots of day trippers on the water. Great but for the big motoryachts that cruise up from behind at maximum wake speed and pass as close as they can. It’s a bit rude.
I’ve got a few things to do on the boat, and may hang here tomorrow. Next segment is down through the lock and to the seaway locks in Montreal, where I have a reservation for Wednesday.
I thought I’d capture my experience and impressions of this segment that I’m finishing, the Rideau Canal.
This is my third trip up from Kingston. I first did it 4 years ago, then again in June of last year. I’m not tired of it yet.
My favourite section is still the area between Brewer’s Mills and Newboro. The geography is spectacular in places, particularly Whitefish Lake. You can see pics from last year’s blog. It’s clean and empty, with lots of nooks and crannies to explore. If I were a swimmer I’d spend more time there. But there’s a severe dearth of takeout, which kept me going through there this year.
Last year I was struck immediately by the poor water quality below Smith’s Falls. It’s farm country. The whole river from there down seems pretty dead this year. No bugs, very few birds or other critters.
Last year I saw quite a few birds of prey, particularly in the southern section. I didn’t see any this year. That’s probably a function of driving from the pilothouse. My field of view is much narrower.
Escapade is an excellent boat for locking. Last year when the boat was new to me I came down the Trent Severn, and I was working at controlling the boat without relying on the thrusters and just figuring out where the corners were.
This year I’ve embraced the thrusters. If you’ve got them, use them. I rewired over the winter to provide lots of power, and have confidence in using them. Now when entering or exiting the locks I keep the rudder centered and use the engine and thruster controls only, and can easily stick my head out the door to see down or aft. It really does work. The biggest challenge is getting on and off the boat when entering going downbound. The top of the lock is only a couple of inches above the water level, and my midship freeboard is probably four feet. It’s a big step up or down.
Going into an empty lock is a joy. I step out of the pilothouse door and can easily walk fore and aft. I go aft first, make fast there, then can bump the thruster if needed on my way by to get the forward line.
I anchored here Saturday evening and haven’t moved. It was rainy for a couple of days, and there is food not too far away by dinghy. Also pharmacies, so I was able to book my second COVID shot for tomorrow. This is a quiet spot with parkland on all sides.
Things are opening up. Travel to Quebec opened up today, and New Brunswick will be opening in days. Off we go! I expected this, but it’s all happening faster than expected.
Miles says he’s joining me in Montreal on July 2, so I’ll be making my way there over the next two weeks. He’s up for the Chambly Canal side trip, which is definitely on my list.
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.
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:
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…
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
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.
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.