Thursday, August 9, 2018

Montreal, the City of Food!

It seems that Montreal has more restaurants than local people and they are packed day and night with international tourists!  What a busy and vibrant city.  Who knew that Montreal was an island?  We arrived on Tuesday 7/31 after going through the commercial locks so our 37 mile cruising day took 6 hours.  Based on what others have reported, we had a fairly efficient locking day.  The cruising on the St. Lawrence was uneventful and took us into one of the widest parts where it spans 3 miles of width.    After getting properly tied to the dock, we set out to wander the Old Port City.  I was in search of Creperie Chez Suzette after doing some google and TripAdvisor recon to find the best restaurant for crepes.  That would be the breakfast spot for the next day!  Tired from locks, cruising and currents, we ate on the boat and just relaxed on the flybridge to watch other boats go by.  Plus there was plenty of music wafting from nearby restaurants and the Quay (pier) next to our marina to keep us entertained.


As the sun set behind the city, the lights brightened the sky.  Our marina was right in the heart of the Old Port City.  Wednesday morning was another adventure in French cuisine! 


I had crepes with ham, Brie cheese and carmelized onions, topped with real maple syrup!  I got through about a 1/3 of it and had to stop because it was so rich.  Al had crepes with eggs and bacon that was not quite so rich.  We worked off our meal with some more wandering around the old buildings in the Port and passed the Notre Dame Basilica which stands behind the Maisonneuve Monument to honor Montreal’s founding father.  



Note the overcast sky which kept the heat away thankfully!  The afternoon was a mix of time on the boat to write the previous blog post for me and more reading about upcoming cruising waterways for Al.  Then we ventured out to find the IGA and got some exercise plowing through throngs of tourists.
We had a need for pickles and fruit which called for the walk to the grocery! We ate on the boat again and waited for the Italian entry for the International Fireworks Competition of Quebec.  This is a competition between countries that occurs most Saturday and Wednesday nights in July and early August.  We were glad to make it to Montreal for the second to last fireworks display.


But we were disappointed that, despite what others told us, the viewing from our flybridge was not very good and we watched all of the explosions of lights through the lit carousel.  


The fireworks never got above the giant carousel and we also couldn’t hear the music that accompanied the display.  Lesson learned, we should have not been lazy, as we could have walked to a much better viewing area nearby.  


Thurday morning was a slow one for us.  We got our daily walk by walking along all the piers which weren’t as crowded as the city streets and gave us nice views of boats while benefiting from the breeze off the river.  Another view of our marina with a Ft. Lauderdale mega yacht on the far wall.  InSpeyered 2 is no longer the prettiest boat in the marina as we are competing with 3 mega yachts. I scheduled myself for a tour of the Notre Dame Basilica which I thoroughly enjoyed.  Al opted out. 


This is as lovely as any grand basilica in Italy or France.   


And unbeknownst to me ahead of time, there was a free concert performed on the grand organ just as the tour was ended.  Part of the tour was going up to the choir loft and seeing all the pipes of the immense organ.  Sitting in the pews of this ornate sanctuary with the massive sound of the organ was quite amazing.  Even though the sound was loud, it was soothing and clear.  Al missed out!  He spent his time napping and scoping out the best Mexican restaurant in Montreal.  He picked La Capital Tacos which of all places, was located in China town.  The tacos were edible but Mexican in China town, in French Montreal, Quebec, Really?! Might be the Captain’s last time for picking restaurants!
 So the next day’s adventure was my pick and we trekked about 3 miles to find the Atwater Market. 
   

The market was partly outdoors and partly indoors and had everything to offer from cheeses and meats to fresh produce galore!  It was actually beautiful to see all the colors.  Neither of us thought to take pictures so here is what we bought and brought back to the boat.  Plus we had a nice lunch there. 
Those strawberries were local and absolutely delicious.  The pastries were not as good as what we  had in Westport so the quest for flaky pastry is still on!  We had the return trip that we originally thought would be done by bus but Al got a burst of energy and so we walked.  But we were both exhausted by the time we made it back with our purchases.  (Not everything made it into the picture so our bags were a bit heavy!) Al found the energy to head back out one more time to buy take out poutine and smoked meat after carefully researching where to find the best and once more he was snookered and the place he picked was virtually empty, likely because there was a better choice somewhere!  But he ordered his food that is one of the things Montreal is known for and was disappointed in his greasy meal.  But really, French fries with cheese curds, covered in gravy with smoked brisket in a box, doesn’t sound even edible to me!! Maybe I’ve helped to change his palette! 
We did have a delightful petite dejeuner on Saturday morning of fresh berries, nice Greek yogurt and our pastries, soo french and soo fresh!  The clouds moved in and it lightly rained as we walked the quays which was fine by us!  When we got back to the boat, the rain picked up and it was stay put time.  So Al got to work and did engine room maintenance.  When the rain let up, I trekked out with the mission to find take out dinner for the night.  



I started in China town, thinking I would find delicious Chinese food.  There probably was some there but it was difficult to read menus in french and I was turned off by the tiny, not so pristine places.  It was fun to watch noodles being made!   Plus China town was full of young people dressed in costumes from European and Japanese comic books that were fun to watch as well.  I was told it was a convention similar to our Comicon.  
                       

Not just the ordinary kind of costumes!  I finally found our take out dinner at the old stand by, Creperie Chez Suzette and we had more authentic french quiche with salad and enjoyed more time on the flybridge watching boats go by! 


This cruise ship was on its way to NYC via the St. Lawrence to the coast of Maine, on to Boston and then the big city.  For us, we’ve had enough of a city so on we will go.  After another walk on the quays, we untied and headed out with the current behind us, pushing us along.  


We left Montreal on Sunday, 8/5 and cruised 32 miles with the current on the St. Lawrence to a quiet anchorage in the Contrecour channel.  


Here we entered the channel which is well marked and stopped between the town of Contrecour and the Isle Devant de l’Eglise or the Island in Front of the Church.  It was a hot day, so after the decks were swabbed with river water, a cool swim was just perfect! On Monday, the daily walk was on town roads and around a park in Contrecour with yet another run to the grocery. When we got back to the mother ship, we noticed weeds around the anchor chain, and this is what we found!


Al worked some magic with a boat hook and eventually the anchor chain was free from the flow of weeds and on they went with the current to wrap around some other object in their way!

 

It’s easy to see where the name of the island came from when the view from our boat has this lovely church spire front and center in the town. 


A brief storm left some clouds to create another beautiful sunset for our enjoyment.  


This was a very nice and quiet 2 night stay; an anchorage worth returning to some day. 


















Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Four Days of Big Locks

Saturday 7/28, began on the free wall at Hawkesbury.  Hard to believe with all the extra grocery stops that we actually needed some fresh fruit and veggies, so the morning walk took us across the Perley Bridge into the town of Grenville where a large IGA was just waiting for us to buy some groceries.  Hawkesbury lacked a good store.  That accomplished, we untied and cruised 11 miles to the 65’ Carillon Dam which is a busy dam most days and crazy busy on weekends.  The weather called for comfortable temps and minimal chance of rain.


But as Al says frequently, prediction is prediction, actual is actual.  Actual weather brought on a pop up storm with wind, heavy rain, and lightening just as we arrived at the lock which was closed with a red light.  That meant we had to tie to the wall at the blue line to wait for the lock to open for us.  We just missed an opening as there were boats heading down which meant we had to wait for their lockage and the one for more boats to be brought up the lock.  So we waited 1 1/2 hours for that process before we could lock through ourselves.  We should have gotten an earlier start, oh well!  As we waited more boats joined us at the wall.


Al got off the boat during the wait and took pictures of the boats coming up.  For me, waiting was a bit worrisome since it’s a different type of lock and I had time to stew.  But it turned out to be one of the easier lockages.


Nice lock workers stand on a dock inside of the lock and grab lines and tie everyone up.  We were the biggest boat and first in line, so we didn’t have another boat raft up next to us.  The French Canadians  refer to rafting as  “tying to your shoulder”.  I spent the time for the lock to lower the water chatting with, what I assumed was the lockmaster.  He was interested in our boat and hearing about looping.  So we invited him to visit with us at the end of his work day to tour the boat and get a lesson on using Active Captain.  Another new friend that we may see someday as he passes through Nashville on his looping adventure.  We exchanged contact information for future use.  

 

The boats behind us in the lock did have to tie up to each other’s “shoulders”.  But for a Saturday this was not a full lock.  


We were extremely lucky that a boat moved some to open a spot for us to tie up on the wall below the dam.   We were the last boat to find room.  No electric or water on this wall, but there were friendly people and a nice place to walk around.   


The Carillon Dam is unique with its guillotine type door on the lower side which raises above the lock to open with the use of a counter weight so a small 40hp motor is all that is needed to raise this massive door. 


The Captain enjoyed his walk around a park next to the wall where he found nice chairs for viewing the river.  I met another looper boat and chatted with them as they waited to go up in the lock.  Most loopers we’ve met are going in the opposite direction of us.



Knowing that Sunday 7/29 was not the best day to go through the very busy Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue lock, we agreed to just wake up, untie and go straight to the lock.  Breakfast was eaten on the flybridge while underway.  It was a cool morning with some clouds to give respite from the sun.  This area has pretty rolling hills and distant mountains.  It was a good day to be cruising the 26 miles to the next lock but there was plenty of Sunday boat traffic.  The wind picked up so it was difficult to tie up at the blue line to wait for an opening, but a nice man, who seemed to be a tourist at the lock, bailed me out and caught my lines.  Trying to lasso a short cleat in the wind is beyond this first mate’s skill level!  We were lucky at this lock with a short wait for it to open and spill out the numerous boats that were packed inside.  We were first in and this time did have a cruiser tie to our “shoulder” which is a new experience in a lock for us.  But the lock workers made it all very easy and the ride down was only a short drop. We were lucky again, to find plenty of space on the wall for a two night stay so we were tied up by 12:30.  The boat traffic flowed strongly all day so at times, the 2 walls in St. Anne-de-Bellevue were full with some boats rafted to each other and then spots would open up as boats moved on.  



Al enjoyed taking videos and pictures of the locking that went on all afternoon.  This town was alive with plenty of boaters and tourists watching boats pass through the lock.  We found a good place for a late lunch and then we split up for Al’s picture taking of the lock action and my walk around a quaint neighborhood.  Al’s videos of the busy locking day can be seen on his personal YouTube channel.


As the day progressed the music and people noise increased.  There were performers along the wall entertaining all and plenty of drinking toward late afternoon.  Al’s videos are full of bikini clad young women dancing on their boats as they locked through!  We had lots of people walk by our boat and take pictures of themselves in front of her.  There were loads of comments on how beautiful she looks!  We even gave 2 groups of people a tour of the inside, just because they were so interested in the different looking trawler.  It did quiet down once the lock closed and we had a quiet night.
Monday was not nearly as busy with tourists and boats but there was still a steady stream of boats locking through.  We used the time on Monday for a few boat chores and a visit to the local bibliotheque to use the wifi and printer.  The next two locks are on the mighty St. Lawrence Seaway and are big commercial locks that each cost $30 Canadian.  We paid for them online and printed our tickets to make the locking go smoothly.  BTW, one of the boat chores was checking strainers for the engines and refrigeration and they were half full of weeds, likely picked up on the Rideau.  Important chore to keep those strainers clean as the water flow to cool motors/engines is critical!   We finished our Monday with a very good seafood dinner at Pete’s Cape Cod which claimed all the seafood they served came from the Cape.  The scallops and tuna seemed Atlantic authentic! 
 Tuesday was the day to go through the two commercial St Lawrence locks and they both have to be done in one day.  There is no where to stop in between.  We had a phone number to call to check on estimated times for pleasure craft to lock through.  Their priority are the commercial ships so two, one hour windows are identified for pleasure craft but the times are frequently subject to change.  The first lock for us was the Saint Catherine Lock and the first opening was slated for 11 am.  We untied and left before breakfast to give us 3 hours for the 24 mile cruise.  We arrived 15 mins ahead of schedule and then floated around waiting for the lock to open.



An hour later, this cruise ship exited followed by 8 or 10 small cruisers and we were finally allowed to enter.  The dock for waiting was small and already had 2 boats so our waiting time was spent idling around the basin above the lock.  


These locks are very big and the first dropped us down 32’.  There is nothing on the wall to fasten to because they hand each boat two lines to play out slowly while lowering.  Even though these locks are huge, they asked us to allow another cruiser to raft to our port.  It was a bit tricky to play the bow line out for me with the pull of the other boat and the push backward from the water flow.  I managed but was a bit nervous through the process.  Al handled the stern line just fine.  We repeated this process for the second lock, St. Lambert which is 10 miles away from the first lock.  These two locks make up for the rapids that are around the south shore of Montreal.  To get around the rapids, they created the Canal de la Rive Sud so the travel between locks was via this canal.  Coming out of the canal brought us into the turbulent water of the St. Lawrence.  To get to our marina, we had to head into the current so we went from 11 mph to 4 mph and for about 2 miles it was squirrelly driving for the Captain.  


Look at the current rushing past the green buoy that is tilted from the force of the water. 


Almost to the basin for the Port d’Escale Marina where we will stay for 4 nights to explore Montreal.  
The locks are behind us for a few days of city life.  










Al’s YouTube Channel

For those of you who may be interested in seeing my amateur videos mostly covering bits of our adventures, here is a link to my personal YouTube Channel:


View at your own risk. Comments on subject matter, editing, and so forth are best kept to yourself.  If you must share anything call, text, or email me directly and I’ll consider responding. Enjoy -


Mixing It Up with Time on Anchor and Time in a Resort

After exiting the flight of 8 locks in Ottawa on Sunday 7/22, it started to rain hard and the wind, sweeping up the river, kept building.  Our planned anchorage near Duck Island was not in a protected area and it was too windy there.  So we plowed on for 31 miles on the Ottawa River to find an anchorage that had protection from the wind.  We used information that was provided by another boater we met back at Chaffeys Lock on the Rideau.  We compared his information with what we read on Active Captain and decided our stopping spot would be south of Isle Dube.  Our friends on Spray followed us for most of the trip but they chose a slightly less protected anchorage that had easy access to shore for their dogs.  A few other boats were rafted together when we arrived in our anchorage but about the time we dropped anchor, they were moving on.  So we had the area all to ourselves.  The rain slowed some but the wind stayed strong.  So our attempt to cross the river and find a town to walk using the dingy resulted in us turning back and declaring it a “stay in the boat” afternoon!


Just outside of the locks in Ottawa, we passed the Ottawa Falls.  The rain was just beginning.


This was our cozy spot between 2 islands that were angled just perfectly to block the wind so the water around us was only rippling.  


As the rain moved on and the sky cleared we had a lovely sky at sunset.  It was a productive afternoon of blogging to get caught up on our adventures on the Rideau.  We decided to hunker in and stay in this lovely spot for 3 nights since our next stop was a scheduled reservation at the Château Montebello for Wednesday and Thursday nights.  We needed a quiet break from all that city living in Ottawa! On Monday morning, Spray cruised by us to say goodbye for now, since they were moving on and it will be unlikely that our paths will cross. After some more work on the blog while Al spent time reading about the Saguenay River,  we took Victory Lap across the Ottawa River to get some exercise by walking the town of Wendover.  I have learned that I have developed an addiction to grocery stores so if I pass one, I feel compelled to go in and buy things that are getting low in the larder.  So before going back to the mothership, I popped into le marche (in this part of Ontario so close to Quebec, everything is in French) found some needed crackers and sandwich ham and felt accomplished!  Monday afternoon was just more blogging time on the flybridge and some deck cleaning with water from the river.  The boat was fairly muddy from all the time in locks!  Al split his time with a rejuvenating nap and more reading.  On the way to Wendover we noticed a pathway on the island to our north but we couldn’t find a way to bring the dingy in and access the path.  So on Tuesday, we decided to be more adventurous and found a spot to pull in to tie up for a different kind of walk.


Victory Lap was pulled up on a mud and weed mix of land and since I had on sandles that could get wet, I stepped off the boat into the water and pulled her the rest of the way in.  


Al took on the job of walking through weeds (armed with bug spray on our ankles!) to tie her to a sturdy tree.  


And onward we walked for a bit over an hour.  It was a comfortable temperature and we had a gentle breeze so, except for some annoying flies, we enjoyed a nice brisk walk.


Through the weeds, we could see InSpeyered 2 sitting quietly in the anchorage.  


This path was a maintained bike and walking trail, equipped with dandy outhouses along the way.  Al made a grand effort to keep the holding tank on the boat as empty as possible by enjoying the availability of other bathroom facilities! The rest of Tuesday was spent blogging and planning the next part of our journey.  Al created a great map to scale of the Canadian waters we have cruised and still need to cruise to help in planning our timing for the next several weeks.  


The engineer brain has spent considerable time on this yet to be finished map!  We had some more rain, but who cares when we’re quietly swinging on an anchor!  So Wednesday, 7/25 we pulled the anchor and our lovely new chain was as clean as it’s ever been after 3 nights sitting on the bottom of the river.  The anchor only needed a short spray and off we went the 11 easy miles to Le Château Montebello in a persistent rain.  We were plenty soaked from tying up but the warm air made it comfortable.  


InSpeyered 2 is once again content to be tied to a good dock with electric and water as she was admired by folks walking the docks.  She stands out up here in Canada because most large and small boats are cruisers and not stately trawlers with teak rails.  


Montebello is quite a full service resort and we had access to all its amenities.  It also is very close to the little town of Montebello.  So on our first day there with raincoats on and umbrellas at the ready, we each took walks on our own.  I wanted a longer walk despite the rain and chose to walk to town.  Of course I had to check out the cheese and chocolate shops and the inevitable grocery store, where once again, a few items were purchased.  Al checked out the spa and made an appointment for his first ever “Men’s Executive Pedicure” which he enjoyed thoroughly on Thursday morning.   Also on Thursday morning, I indulged in “room service”, ordering crepes swimming in maple butter to enjoy on our flybridge.  Pleasant morning for us both!


The rain stopped and the sun came out, so Thursday was a lovely day.  The grounds around Montebello are well kept and there are multiple trails through the woods for walking, biking and cross country skiing in the winter.  They were great for our walks.  My walk took me back into town to check out a restaurant recommended by the marina staff.  The menu of Cafe Entre Amis had a great menu so I found the captain and we went back and got 2 bags full of take out food to be consumed later for dinner.  Yum, savory crepes!  This French food is devine!  


Later in the afternoon we relaxed at the pool and sat in lounge chairs looking over the river.  Doesn’t get any better than that!  Dinner was so scrumptious that, before untying on Friday, we took a long walk on the paths and ended our walk in town at our new favorite restaurant.  More crepes for me smothered in Nutella and real maple syrup.  Gotta keep walking to balance the eating!  


Montebello, seen from the river as we departed around noon on Friday.  We cruised the Ottawa River another 18 miles to visit the town of Hawkesbury, as they have a well rated town wall that is free to use.  


No electric here but InSpeyered 2 is all charged from the marina stay so this place worked well.  Al did the usual resting and reading while I took advantage of being in a town with a nail spa and got a much needed (and much cheaper the the Men’s Executive) pedicure.  Minor mistake though, Al suggested I take cash just in case but I was so intent on getting to the nail place on time, that I forgot to grab some cash.  I didn’t read the cash only sign in French on the door and was thoroughly embarrassed when it was time to pay and my Visa wouldn’t be accepted.  Some luck helped, since there was a nearby bank and Al actually answered his phone on the second ring so he could text the pin for the credit card to me.  Quick trip to the bank and I returned to the salon to pay with a red face!  


We were treated to a pretty sky from our wall tie up and had a quiet night.  Tomorrow we go through the 65’ Carillon Lock that the cruising guides suggest avoiding on summer weekends; opps tomorrow is Saturday! Guess we’ll take our chances!    






  



Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Exploring Ottawa and Leaving the Rideau Waterway

Ottawa is Canada’s National Capital.  I didn’t know that until recently.  Queen Victoria named Ottawa as the capital and apparently it created quite a controversy since it was not quite the thriving town as a few other cities and was initially a trading post.  The Ottawa River played a large part in that trading business.  But now Ottawa is a beautiful and friendly city with spectacular architecture and lots of things to see.  So on Thursday 7/19 we untied at Black Rapids and made our way the short  trip of 9 miles and 4 locks.  But we had 2 obstacles that day, one was a double lock that we had to wait for and the other was a low bridge that wouldn’t raise during heavy traffic times in the morning, around lunch time and in the evening.  Because we walked the Greenbelt trail and took our time in leaving, the lock wait pushed us too late to catch the bridge opening before lunch.  So we cruised achingly slowly to time our arrival with the bridge opening.  And of course, car traffic was heavy so we waited an extra 20 mins or so for the bridge to finally raise.  That put us in Ottawa mid afternoon.

No more Rideau River, it was almost all canal travel into the city.  This is our first glimpse of the stunning Parliament building.  We felt lucky to find a spot easily along the city wall managed by Parks Canada but all of the 50 Amp pedestals were taken and the 30 Amp plugs were each spaced 20’ apart.  That is too far for our splitter and we don’t own a 30 Amp extension cord.  So we toughed it out the first night without power and did fine as the night air cooled.


The wall is next to a very busy road and local construction made for a noisy place to tie up.  But there are no marinas in the area and this is where we stayed put. Our first afternoon was hot and muggy but we walked to the flight of 8 locks to see what we will be dealing with as we leave this city.  


This view looking down made my stomach flop around on and off all weekend!  These 8 locks are all original and run manually by a small army of mostly young people.  Lots of tourists visit the locks to watch the spectacle of boats locking up or down.  Thurday, was our day to explore a bit so we went to Byward Market which is an area with outdoor and indoor stalls of prepared food, produce, pastries and lots of touristy things to buy.  It included areas where street performers entertained for tips.  We chose a tiny place that made Thai food and bought our dinner.  We made a point to be back to the boat by 5:30ish because a local guy volunteers as the harbor host and he planned to stop by on his bicycle trip home from work.  So Thurday evening we shared some wine with our new friend Daryl Banke who gave us good information about navigating the city.  Friday morning we didn’t do our usual sitting around, we got going to get a good spot to watch the 10AM Changing of the Guards in front of the Parliament.  Every time we ventured out, we also made it a point to stop at the Fairmont Château Laurier which had a lovely restroom off the grand lobby that was accessible to the public!  That also meant passing by the flight of 8 which again, made my stomach do a flip.  



Another hot day for these poor men and women in winter garb performing the ceremony for the Changing of the Guards.  Of course this is just a ritual as there are no real guards protecting the Parliament building any longer but there are plenty of police around.  This ceremony included the guards marching in with a marching band and was quite a spectacle but it was a long event.


  We stayed for the whole thing despite the heat and then made it back to the Byward Market to get Beaver Tails for a late breakfast.  They are basically fried dough with cinnamon sugar but are a specialty of the city.  And apparently even President Obama made it a point to stop at the stand to buy a Beaver Tail during a visit in 2009.  Hot and sticky, we hoofed it back to the boat and rested a bit.  Then we decided we wanted power for air conditioning so we found a marine chandlery a ways away and caught a bus to go and find a 30 Amp extension cord.  We kinda took what ever bus was at the stop and the driver said he’d get us close to the right address.  But in hindsight we should have waited for the proper bus that went a much more direct route.  It was a long bus ride with too many stops!  At least we were in air conditioning for the trip.  We bought our cord, found the right bus and were back at the boat late afternoon.  Only to find other boats had come in and plugged in to the pedestals around us and we were left with only one available.  Mission foiled for us for Friday!  


Later that evening we went back to Parliament Hill to watch Fortissimo, which is a military music performance that included the members of the Ceremonial Guard, the massed pipes and drums of the Canadian Armed Forces and the US Army Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps. It was standing room only and at times difficult to see but the music was very good.  Our pictures were poor because we were so far away from the performance. Two tired loopers then went back to the boat for more rest.  Al caught his second wind and made a third trip back to Parliament Hill to watch the light show on the Parliament building.  First Mate, me stayed in the boat and missed a major spectacle.  


Al caught a beautiful sunset over the locks on his way to Parliament Hill.   


Al really enjoyed the beautiful show of lights.  


This was the finale and very poignant to see.  


Saturday, 7/21 was Al’s day to plan as it was his 66th Birthday!  His first choice was finding breakfast at a patisserie in Byward Market. Then we walked down by the locks, crossed over the lower gate and walked across the Ottawa River via the Alexandra Bridge to Mosaiculture Gatineau. It is a collection of sculptures covered in felt wrapped potting soil with tiny plants imbedded.  These pictures tell the story of the stunning sculptures. If you tap on the pictures you can see more detail of all the plants involved.






After a couple of hours meandering around all the sculptures and enjoying popsicles made from delicious gelato (salted carmel for me and strawberry for the birthday boy) we retraced our steps across the Alexandra Bridge and snapped a picture of Parliament hill on the right and our favorite bathroom stop at Château Lauier on the left.   

 

We walked through a park on the way and found this statue of one of our favorite historical figures.


   Captain Al and Colonel John By would have become good friends if they lived in the same era!  By the time we got back to the boat, we were thrilled to find that boats had moved and we had two power pedestals to use and spent some time putting our new extension cord to good use.  Happy Birthday Al, electricity for air conditioning tonight, the warmest one so far! With the boat cooled off,  we were able to get the salt off via showers and clean up for a nice birthday dinner.  Per Captain’s orders, we walked back to Byward Market to find LaPointe, a fresh seafood restaurant and we both had very good fish dinners.  It was a good day for Al.  We agreed to set an alarm for Sunday to move the boat forward to the blue line early, to be ready to lock down the flight of 8 locks. I especially wanted to be first in line to guarantee a starboard tie which is the side we are most efficient at handling.  We expected to have to wait for boats locking up.  Two days prior there were 19 boats on the lower line by the opening at 9AM, waiting to lock up.  They had priority based on numbers so all 19 boats locked up, using 3 locking chambers which took about 3 hours. The 3 boats on the upper line had to wait the 3 hours before they could lock down.  This weekend started the Construction Holiday in Quebec Province when most construction stops and workers have a 2 week vacation.  We had been warned that boats would come en masse up the locks to go south on the Rideau to reach the 1000 Islands.  So we figured if Friday was so crazy, Sunday could be worse.  
  

So here we are, first in a line of only 2 boats.  Our new friends aboard Spray, Sheila and Bill from Castine, Maine are tied behind us.  They turned out to be the smart ones and only arrived close to the 9AM lock opening.  We got up at 7 to “beat the rush” which never happened.  Surprise, surprise, there were only 2 boats on the lower blue line and the lockmaster chose to lock us down first.  So by 9:15 they had the first lock ready for our two boats and off we went!  


With rain jackets on, we were ready!  Thanks to Spray for taking pictures of us in the locks.  


We were so relaxed in these locks, that the Captain had time to chat with Bill as we lowered down.


Sheila, has her camera ready to snap pictures of us.  


Why did I worry all weekend about this part of our trip?  The light rain kept a lot of tourists away so we had a quiet ride down!  Well we did have one mishap!  While leaving the first lock, one of our big black fenders on a relatively new and ridiculously expensive fender hanger,  jumped off the rail as it got caught on a cable on the wall.  The very accommodating lock workers refilled the first lock to float the fender up and they retrieved it with a long boat hook.  So we got both the fender and holder back with no damage and continued on down.  Added bonus, we only went down 7 locks because we glided through Lock 2 and into Lock 1.  And then we cruised on out to the Ottawa River with Spray following on our stern.  Goodbye big city and goodbye Rideau!