WE ARE HOME
13 August 2015
Sorry for the long delay in posting this. The trip home was exciting and fun. When we arrived home we had a world of busy work and then family activities. After that it was boat work with repairs etc. Here is the full story from "Jim's perseective from the Bridge/Bilge"
“The Kite Chasers”
Thirty Six Days Away from the Club.
Well it’s not quite “Two Years Before the Mast” but it had a nice ring to it!
Jim & Dede McGuire and their new to them Grand Banks 42 got underway on June 2nd to make a “Kite Loop” of the US and Canadian Canals. Maybe this should be called the “Kite Chasers”. The trip began after a fairly extensive refit of M/V Hope that included Scott Main replacing shafts and cutlass bearings, the Fiberglass Dermatologist Mike helping us do a complete “bottom job” and Jim rebuilding the raw water and engine circulating pumps on the two John Deere Tractor engines aptly named (Faith and Charity). With the tanks full of fuel and water and the dingy “De-Spare” hoisted on her new davits we were off on a 3 month cruise around New York, Canada and Vermont. Our intended trip will take us down Long Island Sound, then up the Hudson River to Troy NY. At Troy we would enter the NY Canal system consisting of Erie Canal and then the Oswego Canal to Lake Ontario. After we cross that great lake to Kingston Canada we will enter the Rideau Canal that will take us to Ottawa the top tip of out kite shaped cruise. From Ottawa to Montreal and Sorel where we begin the journey down the lower right side toward the tail of our kite where we will head south on the Richelieu River and Chambly Canal to Lake Champlain, and back into the New York Canal system from White Hall to Troy and the Hudson river to NY City a left turn and we are headed back home via LI sound.
That was the plan and we are well into that at this time. There is so much we could talk about-engine loosing oil pressure and 21 quarts of oil into the catch pan, three-foot standing waves with a following sea and tornado warning in the Hudson River and blinding rain in Troy NY. But that is incidental to the real fun part of the journey the Erie Canal. Traveling by water in the ‘old barge canal’ or “Gov. Clinton’s Ditch” (no relationship to present cast of characters) that linked the east and the west in the year of 1812 before the railroads and the highway system was a journey through time. It eliminated the need for portage of goods across land and provided an all water route to the great lakes and the great west. Several up-grades over the centuries created the present day Erie Canal. The cities that flourished with the canal trade fell into disrepair when the railroads and highways surpassed them cargo trade are today beginning a rebirth as historical ‘tourist’ attractions. Waterford, the beginning of the Erie Canal with its Flight of five locking chambers raised us 160 some feet above the Hudson and started our canal experience. I won’t belabor the details of all the glorious little hamlets that are coming alive again along the way but one stands our to us as representative of many. The little town of Canajoharie where we stayed at the free town dock with electricity was a real surprise. It was the home of Beechnut Food Company—Gum, Baby Food and other products in years gone by. In the days of the Canals Glory the company flourished and was the towns major employer. Competition, changing consumer demands and transportation systems led to the closing of the several acre company production facilities. The massive un-employment devastated the town however people were able to relocate or travel to new employment so it did not become a ghost town.
The owner of Beechnut products collected art and his heirs built a art gallery for the public to view the Winslow, and Gilbert Stewart, Grand Ma Moses etc. original works. I never thought I’d see an original Stewart painting of George Washington!!
As interesting and historic as the Erie Canal and the Oswego Canals are as they combine to link the Hudson River to Lake Ontario the real surprise comes in Kingston Canada. We had early on thought we would go up the St Lawrence River –through the Thousand Islands then to Montreal etc. We fell into some information about a historic 1820’s canal built by the British Government out of fear that the United States after the War of 1812 would attempt to colonize all of North America –“Canada” The Rideau Canal was built to connect Kingston to Ottawa and then to Montreal thus allowing Britain with an all water route to the interior with out the dangers associated of the shared (USA and Canada) waters of the St Lawrence River.
Col. John By of the Royal Engineers was tasked with building a “Slack Water Canal” connecting Kingston to the Ottawa River. It was a monumental project that involved creating 120 miles of linked lakes and canals. The genius of this system is the building of dams to create lakes to raise the water level of both sides of the watershed created by the Canadian Shield (Precambrian rock that divides Canada Eastern). The rock proved impenetrable to picks shovels and TNT combined with malaria that killed thousands of workers digging in dense forest, swamps. Col. By devised ways to raise the water levels on both sides of the 6 mile wide Isthmus along the top of the ledge and reduced the digging to only a mile or so of canal. The 50 locks and dams the he built still stand today as originally built with limestone and timber. The original manually operated gates for each lock are still open by hand by summer staff (students) of Park Canada. Each lock station has a rest area, restroom and dockage with electricity available at many of them. One season pass for Locks and one for Dockage and you never need a marina. ($9.20 ‘) Each lock is operated by wonderful group of ‘kids’ that work the stations. We enjoyed each and every lock and have so many photos and fond memories we will share forever.
It is now July 6, 2015 and we have left the last Flight of 8 locks of the Rideau in Ottawa and are half way to Montreal. The Ottawa River is wide but shallow and not well buoyed –we follow the ‘magenta’ line and watch the Fathometer –some times searching for the deep water. We are looking at the calendar and unfortunately do have some family commitments at the end of July so we cannot tarry. We will probably dock outside of the city at St Anne de-Bellevue and take a bus in for a quick ‘look see’ at Montreal and then be off to start the Canal trip down the Richelieu River and Chambly Canal to Lake Champlain, where we will lay over for a week to come home by rental car!
See our trip at WWW.SAILBLOGS.COM/MEMBER/LADYLADY
50 Days away From The Club
July 26, 2015 The Kite Chasers Part Two --50 days
As some members have probably noted HOPE is back in her slip on B dock. Well we had a slight change of plans. As we looked at the schedule and the reality of the time to be back for just too many activities the last week of July and in August we realized we’d have to hurry along. We opted to head out from St Anne de-Bellevue across Lake St-Louis and into the St. Lawrence River and into the two locks on the St Lawrence Seaway. The Seaway canal bypasses the rapids that are right before Montreal. To get to Montreal we would have to make a U-turn after the Seaway Locks, up the current for a couple of miles to reach back to the city. We decided to just pass through the locks and head on down stream to Sorel. The locks on the St Lawrence Seaway aren’t the same as the canals we have been traveling. These are real BEASTS! When we first started the locks in the Rideau, the chambers seemed big (100’ by 30’ wide with a typical lift of 20 or so). In the St Lawrence, they are BIG (1000 thousand feet long and 300 feet wide and the drop was 30-50 feet). Does that ever make you feel small on a 42-foot boat! The lock attendants were just as friendly as we had experienced all the way up through NY and Canada. At the St Catharine lock, we chatted with the attendant before we started our decent. He mentioned that the next two weeks were big vacations weeks in Canada (Construction Day) and that the waterways would become very crowded with boaters from Quebec ---jokingly called the ‘Quebec-Navy’. I guess we would be finding a bit more of a crowd at the marinas heading up to Sorel and then down the St. Ours/Richelieu/Chambly Canals. We arrived early in the day at Sorel and took our bikes off for a ride around the town. There was a festival going on…”Festival de la gibelotte de Sorel-Tracy” with sidewalk food tents and all sorts of other vendors on the main street. Except for the language barrier, we felt right at home and enjoyed ‘shopping’ the booths. We did meet a young man that was studying languages in college and he became our unofficial tour guide.
We got underway early in the morning on Saturday and we were correct about the crowd. The traffic on the upper portion of the Richelieu River was like that we have only experienced in some of the Florida ICW—cigarette boats, jet skies, and all sorts of big wave making pleasure craft contributing to a less than pleasant ride. There are many small towns along the river that are noted for great chefs and restaurants but docking there was imposable with the boat wakes rocking and rolling ‘everything’ that floated. The docks looked like Norton’s in a strong Nor’ Easter! When we got to the first lock at St-Ours, a very rural setting, we thought that from here on things would quiet down. We were wrong… the traffic and wakes continued until to just a few miles outside the lake at Chambly and the Chambly Lock. We tied up there for the evening and enjoyed a nice little town where everyone spoke French but were willing to try to cross communicate. There were two ice cream shops and a chocolatier—all the basic food groups! Things did quiet down nicely on the canals from there on and we had an enjoyable day’s ride all the way to the US border.
We crossed out of Canada late Friday afternoon into the U.S. at Rouses Point and found clearing US Customs and Border Control to be extremely easy—perhaps having pre paid for the crossing cost on line ($29.00) and having Dept. of Homeland Security ID’s (retired USCG) helped a bit!
My wife Dede had not felt well for several days and we needed some medical advice. The owners of the Gaines Marina made phone calls to their doctor and loaned us their car to go make an office visit. The visit went well and we obtained a prescription that cured the problem. We met truly fantastic people along the way!!
The regulations for clean water on Lake Champlain are some of the strictest in the country. We always abide by the law and do not pump black water overboard; we have our 75-gallon holding tank pumped whenever there is an opportunity. New York and Vermont Enforcement on the Lake require that the ‘hoses be disconnected on both ends from any fitting capable of black water discharge overboard.’ I have some rigid PVC plumbing, which precludes doing this without hacksawing the pipe out! When we inquired about how the holding tank regulations were actually applied, the people at Gaines Marina told us that they are really enforced as written---but you can take your chances with being boarded! We were too far around the loop to turn back, and to not cross the lake so we removed all the valve handles with all of them in the closed position. Locked the “Y” for the Electro-Scan to holding tank position – and prayed that we’d not incur a $350.00 fine per head if we got boarded. We also decided not to dilly dally as we made out passage south. The result of the ‘discharge laws’ was that we did not get to visit Lake Champlain as we had hoped. Our idea of leaving the boat in the lake for a week when we went home was thus out the window. We surely could not leave the boat there for a week to come home for a family event. We would have to get down into the Hudson River and find a marina there. We did stop once over night in a secluded anchorage (there are a lot of them to chose from) and we also stopped at Ft Ticonderoga. We had to dingy ashore at Fort Tye but that was the only time we really had to use the dink.
The Champlain Canal (one of the NY State Canal System canals) starts at the southern end of Lake Champlain, at the foot of the Adirondack Mountains, and continues south for 60 miles to Troy NY and the Hudson River. We stopped at the beginning of the canal at the city of Whitehall on a Saturday for fuel and pump out. A small fleet of the “QE Navy” caught up to us and after letting them go first into the lock, we tied to the city wall. Unfortunately the 6 “QE Navy boats”, being first out of the lock, tied to the city’s free wall and occupied all the of the wall section with the free utilities. I asked if there was any way we could get some electricity but the language barrier proved insurmountable. We were up wind so I was hesitant to run my generator –but I did!!!!
The museum in Whitehall commemorates the of the beginnings (birth place) of the U.S. Navy in 1776 under the command of Rhode Island’s own Benedict Arnold… a must see! The history of his defense of the Hudson River and victories at the battle of Saratoga were very interesting. You will have a different opinion of General Benedict Arnold if you visit here. (Yes he was still a traitor to the US but his actions probably did more to win the war than cost us any losses)!
Once we started down the canal after our Whitehall visit we switched into “get home mode” and began pushing our days a little longer to get back for our family activities the end of July. We were in the next lock #8 (there is no 9) all by ourselves at 8am. We were ahead of the “QE Navy” and the lockmaster commented that he heard they were coming!! And would slow the parade down so we could find dockage all along the way first!! That’s not very nice but much appreciated. We made good time running through the 8 remaining locks on the Champlain. We completed the canal, passed through Federal Lock at Troy NY and had plenty of room at the Troy complimentary dock with electricity. We had a night in Troy New York and visited St Paul’s Church to give thanks and see the most spectacular collection of Tiffany Glass windows!! The Tiffany Company was at the time of the churches re-modeling in the interior decorating business and they did the entire church in a glorious fashion. The only other place that even comes close is St Augustine FL at Flagger College’s Dinning Hall (glassed by Tiffany)!
The Hudson River on its north end is very pretty (much like the Connecticut River) in the summer and in my mind’s eye I could imagine how beautiful this trip would be in the fall with colorful foliage (we just might do it)! We spent one more night on the Hudson in a little town called ‘Croton on the Hudson’ at Half-moon Bay Marina about 30 miles outside of NY City. We realized that as we got closer to NY City the price for dockage was creeping up and up and leaving the boat was going to become much more expensive than we initially expected. The plan changed again and now was to get going early to make the tide/currents on the Hudson, be at the Battery at just before high water and catch the flow up the East River to Hell Gate near the end of the flood there. This would put us into Connecticut and simplify, as well as cut the cost, of leaving HOPE and going home.
On the way down the river my ‘AIS’ informed me that we were following the tug ‘Mr. Jim.’ I couldn’t let the name similarities pass me by so I called the tug’s captain and had a ‘name’ discussion! I told him I was going to follow him to let him run lineman backer/blocker for us to get through NY city ferry traffic. Although I did know about the Harlem River, I had not really considered running thru it on the north side of Manhattan Island until Capt. Jim mentioned it as an alternative. He informed me (local knowledge) that the only bridge we needed to clear was the 5 foot Spuyten- Duyvil’ railroad swing bridge on the Hudson end of the river. If you called him by the correct name he’d pay attention to you and perhaps give you an opening! If we got through that 5’ clearance the rest were 22’ + clearance (we only need 19’9”) The NY Bridge tender at Spuyten-Duyvil (Spitten-Devil) was very accommodating and gave us an opening between trains at 9am -as long as we hurried through. This short cut saved us about three hours of NY City boat traffic and got us right to Hell Gate at the time of 4 knot Flood into Long Island Sound. It was a 13-knot sleigh ride for Hope! A long ride in familiar territory and we arrived back at our dock at EGYC the next morning after a layover in Duck Island cove/breakwater.
We have traveled for about 50 days and covered 1200 miles, in 4 States, two Canadian Provinces, the Iroquois, Mohawk, Hudson, St Lawrence, Ottawa, Rideau, Richelieu, Chambly, and Champlain Rivers, over a hundred locks, small and HUGE, ascended and descended almost 200’ and burned about 1000 gallons of diesel fuel and put 200 hours on the engines. It was a trip of a lifetime. I could go on for hours discussing this trip but in summary “it was what only your minds eye can imagine what a trip across ‘Golden Pond’ should be”
Will I have a sighting of “Champ”?
15 July 2015 | Rouses Point USA
Dede -Cold Front Came Through Last Night
From Dede's Perspective:
Will I have a sighting of "Champ"?
It feels good to be back in US waters...using my cell phone, US dollars and speaking English!!
We spent another day tucked into Gaines Marina, Rouses Point. Upon awaking this morning, the wind was blowing 20-30 knots, boats were "rocking and rolling" in the marina, white caps visible on the lake...and projections for the day didn't improve! Also, I had been having a medical issue for a week, and it finally needed some attention. This marina...Gaines Marina...promotes itself as a "full service marina," and they certainly are!! The owner made arrangements for me to go to the local medical center, and his wife loaned us her car!! I got seen, appropriate medicines ordered, and already feel better so...
Underway tomorrow to start our tour of Lake Champlain! Lake Champlain is a unique and fascinating body of water. Bounded by the Green Mountains to the east and the Adirondack Mountains to the west, it has both the intimate character of an alpine lake and the vigor of a great body of water. The waters are clear and deep; there are secluded anchorages and magnificent mountain views! Over the last 11,000 years the lake has been the passing of Native Americans, explorers, settlers, swift raiding parties and slow moving armies, industrious shipwrights, man o'war sailors, diplomats, merchants, philosophers, canal boat captains, presidents, and many others who in some way or another made their mark on our present day world. To the region's original inhabitants, the lake was an essential means of transportation. The first Europeans used the lake as a route into the new continent, and the lake was named for Samuel de Champlain, who discovered it in 1609. Naval battles with worldwide consequences were fought here in the colonial period. The 1800s saw the emergence of the lake as a major factor in the region's economic growth.
Lake Champlain is 109 miles long; in some portions over 9 miles wide. Most of the places are deep to the shoreline, and there are places where the lake is over 200 feet deep. There are many islands and bays to anchor in peace and quiet, and many cities, towns and villages to explore! As Jim and I began to chart our course over the next few weeks, we became overwhelmed with the "what to do" and "where to go"! It is analogous to our cruise in the Chesapeake 2-years ago...we could have spent a year just exploring, and we have the same feeling about Lake Champlain. Even if we had the time to stay and explore all, the cold weather would not allow it. So, our cruising the Lake will be destination-oriented...and maybe...just maybe...we'll plan to come back next summer to cruise slowly, the whole lake!
So...tomorrow we turn on our engines and head for Valcour Island, where Benedict Arnold took his American fleet to intercept the British fleet, which was intending to attack Ticonderoga!
And on the way, I will look for "Champ," Lake Champlain's resident "monster" (by all accounts, a friendly monster), and is said to frolic in the lake. Here-to-for reliable witnesses report occasional sightings every year! Who knows...maybe I will be one!!
Getting Better at Driving
13 July 2015
Peek from Jim
This has been a lot of fun for me(Capt. JIM) I am enjoying the learning curve of boat maneuvering. The Chambly canal is very narrow and the locks are much smaller than others we have been through. THere about 100' feet long and 28' feet wide. You can't get two bigger boats in there "side by each" So you wind up over lapped agh the bow and stern. Lots of fenders and good line work by Dede. The Trip down to Chambly Locks on the Richelieu River portion was disappointing to us--much too much traffic with YaHo's drive like
dodgem-jrs in the amusement park. The little towns would have been fun -but the docks were just too rough,. The bottom half the Chambly piece has been quiet and rural but 30 feet wide stay in the middle and don't even think about turning around.
Did we really zoom past Montreal at 12 1/2knots?
12 July 2015
From Dede's Perspective:
Upon leaving Saint-Anne-de-Bellevue, we entered the Lac St Louis to the St Lawrence Seaway. The Seaway locks have many guidelines and rules to follow AND are much more intimidating than the other locks we have traversed.
Each lock on the Seaway has floating pleasure craft docks at their entrance. The docks are equipped with telephones. You must tie up your boat, exit up the stairs and phone "someone" to let them know you want to lock through. There is a machine similar to a "pay for parking," in which you need to pay by credit card (cash costs more $$). Our passes were $30 each; the commercial vessels are upwards of $2000 in each lock! Commercial ships have the right of way (and there are many); consequently, pleasure craft have to wait to pass through the locks. Wait time can be as long as 3-4 hours. The Seaway operates 24/7.The bridge to enter has flashing lights...amber flashing means the bridge operator has seen you; green means to move forward. The locks are huge...realize they lock tugboats, barges and freighters through the Seaway. The locks are about 1000 feet long and 60 feet wide!!
The St. Catherine and St. Lambert Locks dropped us about 50 feet. We were fortunate...only waited for each less than an hour. In the second lock, we were the ONLY vessel...pretty onerous when you realize they filled this HUGE chamber with water just for us!! I enjoyed chatting with the attendants!!
Upon exiting the second lock, we headed to Montreal. We normally cruise at 6-7knots...the current picked us up, and we were cruising at 12 ½ knots...like a sleigh ride!! We made a decision to NOT stop in Montreal...we have visited "Old Montreal" by foot before...done the "Tommy Tourist" thing... and decided to stick to those small towns and villages we have never seen.
25 miles downstream of Montreal is the pretty village of Contrecoeur. We tied to a public dock, in front of a prominent cathedral. Too small to spend the night, but NOT to small to enjoy their pastry shops, of which there were many!!
Onward to Sorel, approximately 38 nm downriver from Montreal and situated at the mouth of the Richelieu River. Sorel is the 4th oldest city in Quebec, formed in 1642. It was built as a fort in defense against the Iroquois Indians by Charles Montmagny, the 1st governor of New France. It is in Sorel that the 1st Christmas tree made its' appearance in North America, after the visit the of Prince William Henry, the Duke of Gloucester, in 1787. It became a clearinghouse for the steady stream of refugees. Sorel is a commercial port, something that became very apparent when we turned the corner and saw the tall grain elevators, foundries and other industrial plants with mountains of raw material such as coal and scrap iron in heaps along the waterfront. Once we securely got into a lovely marina, we got our bikes and toured this lovely city. We happen to be there for their "Festival de la gibelotter de Sorel-Tracey" (I will let you interpret it!! Lol!). We met a wonderful young student, who seemed to attach himself to us. He spoke fluent French (of course), English and was reading a book on "How to Learn Spanish!" He loved interpreting for us, and enjoyed spending time with Jim!! He was continuing his studies in foreign languages at college, and he assured us he would stay in touch via e-mail!
We left Sorel on Saturday morning, and headed down the next part of our journey...the Richelieu Canal. This canal runs from the US/Canadian border on Lake Champlain about 68 nm to Sorel. Technically, the Richelieu Canal is made up of the Richelieu River, Saint-Oars Lock, Chambly Canal and the Headwaters of the Richelieu River on Lake Champlain. To simplify matters, the entire stretch is commonly referred to as the Richelieu Canal and/or the Chambly Canal.
Leaving on a weekend day was the WRONG move!! The Canadians boating season is about 8-weeks, and this was the first good weekend!! We felt like we were driving in Boston, during rush hour, going the wrong way!! The boats are, for all practical purposes, very fast motorboats, jet skies and any/all kind of fast watercraft! There are NO speed limits and NO concern for slowing down when passing another boat! There were several little towns along the way that we wanted to visit but, between the wakes knocking our boat around (at a dock) and unmarked shoals, we forwent visiting the towns along the Richelieu Canal by water (maybe we will try a trip by car!!).
After a long day on the Richelieu Canal, we entered and tied up in the Chambly Canal Basin. At the end of the 18th century, many merchants from Lower Canada and Vermont petitioned the government to canalize the Richelieu River so as to allow uninterrupted waterway communications between the St. Lawrence, the Richelieu and Lake Champlain. Canal construction began in 1831; however, financial problems, cholera epidemic and the rebellion of the Patriots combined to temporarily interrupt the project. The canal did not open until 1843. The Chambly Canal, located between Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu and Chambly, enables boats to negotiate a rise of 79 feet over a distance of 10 miles. It comprises several swing, slide and lift bridges. Its stair locks are unique in Quebec. At Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, lock no 9 is the only one equipped with a hydraulic mechanism, and controls the water level of the entire canal. The lock chambers are much more narrow than others we have locked thru, and we did "gently" hit (a minor scratch in his varnished teak rail!!) another boat!!
We are securely tied to the wall after lock no. 9, in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu.
Ever Heard of Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue?
10 July 2015
From Dede's Perspective:
Once we exited the Ottawa Staircase Locks, we spent 2-days cruising the Ottawa River. The difficult, cascade filled route once taken by Samuel de Champlain is now a busy waterway through two provinces: Quebec on the north, and Ontario on the south. The Ottawa River has clearly marked channels, many mid-river islands, some shoal areas and two locks.
We, much to our dismay (and no apparent damage), discovered one of the many shoal areas!!!! The captain got us back on track, and as we saw a storm brewing on our radar, quickly found an anchorage for the night in the South Nation River, south of a place called Parker Island. We let out 100 feet of chain, prepared a second anchor "just in case" (the captain is ALWAYS safety conscious) and off we went to bed. The rain came down in torrents and the wind howled, and kept me up a good portion of the night. However, my trusty captain removed all his hearing devices and had a sound night's sleep!!
Off we went the next day, early, to continue up the Ottawa River through two more locks. A buoyed channel lead north to Papineaville, a small French Canadian village. Famous Le Chateau Montebello, the estate of Louis Joseph Papineau, a leading figure in Canada's history, lay just below. Papineau chose this area to build his manor house and set up his seigneury estate. The main theme is "log cabin" , but taken to new heights. The Log Chateau was built in 1930. It was sold to Canadian Pacific Railroad and used as a sportsmen's club. Needing additional space, the private club built additional space, and the structure is now recognized as the largest log cabin in the world!
We continued several more miles until we came to the Carillon Lock. It was built between 1960 and 1963. The lock itself drops vessels 65 vertical feet...the second greatest drop in North America. We tied up to a floating dock inside the lock chamber on the north wall. Once inside, the view from our boat was pretty formidable as we were lowered down and looked up!! (See photo above) The gate on the lower side of the lock is lifted over the entrance, and we pass under to exit the lock. The only other lock I have encountered where the gate is lifted is on the Erie Canal.
At Pointe Fortune (not sure regarding the origin of the name but the houses on the shore are monstrous!!), the province of Ontario ends and both banks lie in Quebec. The area is called the "Lake of Two Mountains" (again, not sure why...I did not see any mountains!!) and is a popular boating area. There is frequent ferry traffic all along this route.
Four miles down the lake we came to the Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue Lock. Again, a floating dock inside the lock made locking easier. What a wonderful little community by the same name. I would have never found it on the charts and/or in the cruising books...but so glad it is here! After locking, we tied up on the wall (abutting the promenade so everyone could talk to us about our cruise...lol) and stayed for the night. A lovely dinner at a restaurant along the wall (we do eat out a lot!!), and finished with ice cream at the local establishment!! This lovely little town offers restaurants, grocery hardware store as well as quaint tourist shops!!
During the latter part of this day of our journey, Jim and I both experienced the "fragrance" of diesel fuel!! Jim checked the engines prior to entering the Sainte- Anne-de-Bellevue Lock, and found fuel spilled into the starboard engine pan. We turned off the engine, and we "limped' into Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue village on the port engine!!!! Once the engine cooled off, Jim spent 2 ½ hours repairing/replacing a small leaking rubber fuel line from the fuel pump to the engine! Thank goodness Jim has a skill set to do such repairs while underway...and thank goodness Jim has outfitted our boat to be an extension of "West Marine" with all the necessary replacement parts. Isn't there a book called, "This Old Boat..."?
09 July 2015 | Ottawa, Canada
From Dede's Perspective:
Am I really sitting on our boat in the middle of Canada's capital?
A beautiful ride down the rest of the Rideau Canal...through Long Island Locks, Black Rapids Locks, Hogs Back Lock and Hartwell Locks. As the canal rounded Dows Lake, we were presented with the most spectacular view of the Parliament House, sitting majestically up on Parliament Hill...the seat of government for all of Canada!! What a thrill. Maybe it is analogous to anchoring in the Potomac, viewing all of history!
Nestled at the junction of three picturesque rivers, Ottawa is considered one of the world's most beautiful capitals. The city borders the province of Quebec, creating a dynamic cultural milieu in which both French and English cultures are deeply rooted. The result is a truly cosmopolitan experience-a North American city with a distinctly European charm and flair!
The seat of Canada's federal government, Ottawa is a major center for the visual and performing arts. Yet the city retains the accessibility, atmosphere and charm of a smaller center...rich in open green spaces with a myriad of flower gardens and parks. Walking and bike trails are abundant!
Jim and I spent one evening walking around the outside of the government buildings and encircling the city, absorbing its' splendor and architecture. We were fortunate to speak with one of the finest...one of the local RCMP (Royal Canadian Mounted Police).... who was a wealth of knowledge as to how to prioritize our visit!
The Changing of the Guard at the Parliament House was first on our list...rich in all its' regalia and splendor...an experience NOT to be missed. We had a wonderful viewing spot...thanks again to the informative RCMP! The ceremony is really one of tradition with the band, bagpipes and uniformed soldiers with their 10lb fur hats!!
The library in the Parliament House is, again NOT to be missed. Even the Canal and Lock Attendants encouraged us to take the tour. It was MAGNIFICENT!! Such history, beauty and tradition, with the Queen's influence all around!! (A tidbit: the Commons Chamber is the color green...it is believed the green represents original meetings in England being held on the lawns!) The library was the only part of the original Parliament House that did not burn down during the fire of 1926...the reason being the doors were closed!!
Changing of the Guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier was somber...complete with bagpipes!
Jim spent a day taking his bike to and touring the Canadian War Museum...he was impressed but surprised at the graphic displays! I, however, chose to go to the Open Air Market, known to be the largest in North America!! Wonderful experience, although I did not help the economy with many purchases! I then took a 2-hour tour of the city...remarkable history and sites! (A tidbit: the world renown tulip festival originated when the Princess of the Netherlands was visiting Ottawa, and went into labor with her 3rd child. Birth of royalty, to remain royalty, must occur on soil of the Netherlands. Since the princess delivered a little girl...to follow in the princess's footsteps...Canada designated her suite of birth as a sovereign nation under the Netherlands! 100,000 tulip bulbs were given to Ottawa as a thank you!)
The restaurants were abundant. (A tidbit: you can eat breakfast, lunch and dinner in a different restaurant every day for 3-months...and those were the ones within walking distance!!) We tried as many restaurants as time would allow...ate all our meals out while in Ottawa...yum!!
I would have loved to spend many more days in Ottawa, but that seems to be my mantra throughout this most incredible cruising journey! Hence, we needed to continue on...
We left Ottawa by locking down the infamous "Ottawa Staircase Locks"...a flight of 8-locks (79-foot total vertical drop)...sometimes called the Giant's Staircase. It cuts through the city and lowers boats to the Ottawa River (good-by Rideau Canal!). The descent took 1 1/2hours. There is NO stopping once you start these locks!! A little wind tunnel caught us on the 1st lock...we ended up being blown over and tying up on the port side rather than my well-planned starboard tie up (I am the deck hand during the locking!!)...Thank goodness for the prompt response of my captain and 6-lock attendants who assisted us to have a soft landing on the port side!!
We exited the locks, into the wide Ottawa River and headed for Quebec...