Ottawa River

Since I’ve never traveled the Ottawa River I thought I’d take a cruise down from Ottawa as far as I could, which is the Carrillon Lock near Hawksbury ON. Normally the lock provides passage through to meet up with the St Lawrence River near Montreal, but it is closed this season.

Not much to report. I locked down yesterday and headed down the river. Got to the lock at dusk. My plan had been to spend the night there. I thought I had read that there was an open visitors centre. But the floating docks weren’t out and there were a bunch of folks fishing who had jumped the fence, so I turned around. Had a beautiful moonlit cruise back up the river until about 0100 when I stopped and anchored.

Sunset on the Ottawa River

It was relentlessly clear and sunny yesterday, and despite lots of sunscreen and trying to stay in the shade I was pretty scorched by the end of the day. This morning when I got up I couldn’t face another day outside under the sun and so cruised back up to Ottawa staying inside with the AC on. Made the last lock up and am now back on the canal.

Tomorrow I head back down the canal towards Kingston. Meeting Gavin and Emerson in Smith’s Falls, and they’re going to go down to Kingston with me.

Ottawa

I pulled it to downtown mid-afternoon, and to my delight there was a prime spot open with power. It was hot and sticky so I spent most of the remainder of the day inside with the AC blasting.

Highlights for me on the trip down were excursions up the Tay Canal to Perth and the Kemptville Creek to Kemptville. Both involved waterfront patio dining. Spent one night in the remote marsh on the Tay, I basically ran into the mud between two beaver lodges.

Sunset in the marsh

The locks here are all parks. They’re all lovely, and most are operated as they were 100 years ago. I was quite taken with the swing bridges, some of which were swung by the locktenders completely manually. I took this video of the bridge being closed behind me.

I’m going to hang here for a couple of days. The weather has been perfect for a month, but it’s forecast to be hot this week, and I’m quite happy to escape the sun and heat for a while.

After that? I’m going to head down the Ottawa River, but it’s going to be a return trip. I learned a few days ago that the Carrillon Lock is closed for the season. Should have checked earlier. So there is no passage through to Montreal.

That’s OK. I’m really enjoying the travel. But I’ve pretty much abandoned the idea of going east from Montreal anyway. That’s a trip I’d like to take, but not this year, and probably not in Mazurka.

So now my plan is to do a return trip down the Ottawa to the closed lock, then back through the Rideau to Kingston, then back to the Trent Severn. All good.

On the Rideau

I like the signage!

After I stopped Susan off a week ago Sarah and Samantha visited for the weekend. I then spent a couple of days hanging in the islands around Gananoque. It was hot. Spent one day inside with the AC on.

Wednesday the lower locks on the Rideau opened, so on Thursday I headed for Kingston. I had been debating going down the St Lawrence, but the Rideau was my first choice.

The trip to Kingston wasn’t entirely uneventful. It was windy, but I wasn’t really bothered until a few miles from Kingston where things open up. It was getting a bit bouncy, so I stopped and dropped the dinghy into the water. My davits are for flat water only.

Just after passing Milton Island I looked back and saw the dinghy drifting behind me. The ring on the front had failed. My fault for attaching the line to it.

After chasing it down and getting a line onto the hull eye, I went to get underway and found that the throttle didn’t work at either station. Idle speed only, which was barely enough to keep me pointed into the waves. And after twice stopping and rolling around while futzing with the dinghy I had enough of the waves.

At this point I was very close to the island, which is a Parks Canada site with a nice sheltered dock, so I idled into the lee and got docked. A quick check of the cables showed that the nuts holding the linkage had come loose, so was able to fix that, but I had another problem. I had left a length of line in the dinghy, super strong dyneema that I used for the lifting harness. That had streamed out the drain hole of the dinghy, and was now wrapped on my prop… Guess it got sucked in when I was in reverse when docking.

At that point I gave up for the day. It was cool and windy. Cooked dinner and watched a big beaver climb out on the bank about 30m away. Later that evening I had a raccoon come aboard and get into a bag of garbage in the cockpit. I’m not used to that. I noticed the screen on the forward hatch torn the next day, and I think that was racoon work as well.

Friday morning I woke to a pair of maintenance workers who were there to close the dock as the island is apparently closed. So as they put up fencing I put on my mask and dove down to unwrap the line. The workers offered me a knife a couple of times, but I wanted to clear it.

Regular readers will know that I have a general aversion to being in the water. It wasn’t easy to go in. But once I was in and under the boat it wasn’t hard. I really should try to swim regularly.

Friday I stopped in Kingston and stocked up on groceries, then spent the night at the bottom of the first lock.

Saturday I stopped at Newboro and had a nice meal about a ten minute walk away.

Today I headed to Perth, had dinner out there, and am now here in the swamp on the Tay River for the night.

Sunset on the Tay River

I’m now at the highest point in the system. The lakes below Newboro are beautiful and not overly developed. Lots of wilderness.

Thousand Islands

My sister Susan joined me in Kingston a week ago, and hopped off in Brockville five days later. We had beautiful calm weather the entire time, and both enjoyed exploring and bird watching. It was her first time aboard Mazurka.

Here’s her account and a small selection of her photos.

I am writing this in downtown Toronto on Saturday afternoon, having spent most of last week cruising the Thousand Islands area with my big brother, Jeff, on Mazurka.  It was a great experience for a myriad of reasons.  The weather and scenery were spectacular.  Due to the late start to the tourist season, there were very few boats; the places we stopped were quiet and mostly uninhabited.  Despite seeing a swimming snake (eek) on day 2, I jumped in the water to paddle around every day after that, as Jeff found (princess) me places where the water was crystal clear to the bottom.   Jeff even got in the water once! 

I loved the relaxed pace and freedom to noodle around, as the only agenda was to explore what caught our fancy.  This included staying overnight in quiet inlets to watch and listen to wildlife, seeing amazing sunrises, checking out marinas, circumnavigating Boldt castle, and finding the best waterfront restaurants along the way. 

Now don’t get me wrong, that was all great, but best of all was hanging out with Jeff in his element.  It takes a lot of knowledge and experience to safely maneuver through the St. Lawrence, and Jeff made it look easy.   Like many siblings we occasionally bicker, but we are close.  I have friends who have difficult familial relationships so I know what we have is not that common.  This week reminded me again how much I cherish and appreciate our relationship.  It probably helped that I stopped working halfway through when my office internet got cut off when we got close to the US.  Lol. #boatlife    

Bay of Quinte

Last time I wrote I was heading up the Trent Severn.  Mostly this was because I had time on my hands and it was open. 

I met Miles and Brad at Campbellford, and we had a three day cruise up to the top of the Peterborough Lift Lock and back.

Brad playing in the dinghy

We had nice weather, and they seemed to enjoy themselves.  After spending a couple of days in Campbellford letting some stormy wether pass and doing some delayed cleaning and maintenance I left there yesterday morning and came back down the canal and into the Bay of Quinte.

Today after stopping in Belleville for more cheap fuel I nipped into Napanee and had a late lunch at the riverview restaurant there.  Today is their first day open since COVID-19 hit.

I’m now anchored here near Adolphustown.  Tomorrow I run down to Kingston to meet Suey who is joining me for a week or so.  I’m hoping the Rideau Canal will open soon.  Guess we’ll noodle around the Thousand Islands while we wait. 

Glen Ross

That’s a panorama picture. Trying out fancy phone features.

Yesterday I got through the Murray Canal, and picked up a season pass for the Parks Canada systems.  Poked my nose into Trenton, but the fuel dock was closed, so continued down to Belleville, where I fueled up for a very reasonable $.699/l.  Then noodled down to Deseronto, turned around and went back to Trenton and spent the night at Trent Severn Lock 1.

My basic plan has been to head east rather than north.  But the Rideau Canal is not yet open, nor are the St Lawrence Seaway locks. The Trent Severn us open to Orillia, so that’s a nice side trip, if nothing else.  Or I can head into Georgian Bay at some point. No bad options.

Yesterday’s weather was decent but unsettled. At one point a vicious wind squall came through. No rain but winds went from 5-35 knots very suddenly. Glad I wasn’t sailing.  As it was I lost my hat while hanging onto the bimini.  Went back for it.

Rainbow

Today I traveled through the first six locks with another boat, Steve and Jane on their new-to-them Sundancer 310.  Locktenders say there have been six boats through so far.  Don’t know whether that includes us or not.  The locks are open from 10-3:30 and a problem with one lock caused a delay of a couple of hours.   I stopped for the night at Glen Ross lock. Nice spot.

Tomorrow Miles and Brad are coming for a couple of days. Will meet them in Campbellford.

Today was the first warm day I’ve had. Here are some pics coming up today.

Murray Canal

Didn’t go far today. It was cool and grey when I got up, so I stayed put with the heat on until mid afternoon before getting underway. Poked my nose into the local yacht club, where they’re launching this weekend. Then into the Murray Canal. Tied up at the Brighton Bridge until it opens in the morning.

I’ve got a satellite tracker, and will try to figure out how to share. Here’s my path over the last two days.

So Long Toronto

I left Marina Quay West at 0530 today and am now happily anchored here just off Presqu’ile Provincial Park. 85 nm took about 11 hours, just straight down the lake. Nice day when the sun was out but still pretty chilly out on the lake.

Sunning myself

I’m roaming. No fixed address for the next four months. I had originally planned to head out the St Lawrence, but am increasingly thinking of staying in Ontario. The heritage canals opened today, though not fully, so that’s where I’m headed.

Boat is good, no surprises. I still have lots of items on the to-do list but nothing that can’t wait or be done underway.

Miles and Brad are coming this weekend for two days so I’ll need to be somewhere interesting by then. Stay tuned.

Spring!

The weather hasn’t been great here, and so I stayed in winter mode until a few days ago, when I finally took the cover off.

My winter dockage was up on May 1, but since all marinas have been locked down most folks didn’t have anywhere to go, so we’ve all sort of been in limbo. As of this week clubs and marinas are allowed to open, and seem to be doing so slowly.

I found a replacement dinghy on Kijiji. Don’t know if I mentioned here, but I gave away my old Avon RIB 310. It was pretty far gone. I was thinking of buying a new one but came across a used Zeppelin 300 aluminum bottom. Just what I had in mind.

I was especially happy when my outboard started up today. I had dunked it thoroughly last September and hadn’t run it since, just put lots of oil in the cylinders and put it away. Hard to kill those two stroke outboards!

There are a few other maintenance items to tick off, and at some point I want to haul and swap props and reduction gears, but am planning to give up my slip here and get underway at the end of the month. Heading east, with the hope that the Rideau Canal or the St Lawrence Seaway opens in June. Staying flexible.

Tin Lizzie will stay on the trailer for the foreseeable future. I have a replacement rudder in Indiana that I can’t go fetch, and the boat needs to go in the shop for a new stern tube. Hopefully we’ll get out later in the summer, but it looks like no racing this year.

Hunkered down

I may have used that title before. But it’s apt.

I’m happily living aboard Mazurka in downtown Toronto. Have been here now for ten days and have been far less socially active for a long time. I like it here.

My family is safe, I believe. I raised alerts with them early on, and they all seem to be supporting one another admirably. Sarah is working in Toronto and has been delivering care packages to me.

Not sure of summer plans, but my default is to stay within a few miles of here. I have everything I need to make a great summer of that.

I’m guessing the the GLSS events I was considering will be called off. Maybe we’ll get to rip around Georgian Bay later this summer. Here’s hoping!

Thanks to all who are following. I’m good.