Boating in Canada Archive

Trent-Severn & Rideau Waterways Trip (2000)

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This log is about two couples, Peter and Mary Lou, and Don and Nancy, who took their two boats from Lagoon City Marina in Lake Simcoe to Kemptville on the Rideau River during the summer of 2000. The trip took two weeks, covered  632 kilometers, and 73 locks on the Trent and Rideau Canal systems.

TOP RANK owned by Peter and Mary Lou is a 25 foot 1991 Doral Prestancia with a single 5.7 liter Mercruiser V8 engine.

REEL LIFE owned by Don and Nancy is a 27 foot 1991 Doral Prestancia with twin 4.3 liter Mercruiser V6 engines. This trip log was written by Don and Nancy.

The plan was to travel leisurely 4-5 hours per day and allow two weeks for the complete trip. We also allowed for an extra day on Stoney Lake and a two day stop in Kingston including a night at the Holiday Inn. (to celebrate the halfway point) We also took two cars down to Kemptville as we planned on having the boats trucked back to Lagoon City.

Both boats were equipped with GPS receivers connected to laptop computers giving our exact position at any time, plus back up copies of all the charts for both canal systems.

DAY ONE LAGOON CITY TO BOLSOVER   DAILY  23 km  TOTAL  23 km
FRIDAY JULY 21
LOCKS Five   
COST - $184.00

Our trip began around 11:00 am when we left home in Milton and headed up the 400 highway to Lagoon City on Lake Simcoe. There was a strong wind blowing from the west so there was a sense of urgency to get on and off the lake. We spent a lot of time trying to figure out where to put all the food and clothes required for the trip. Finally left Lagoon City at 4:10 pm for the trip south to Gamebridge and the entrance to the Trent canal. With the winds hitting us broadside with four to five foot waves it was not a very comfortable trip because of all the rolling. Nancy got the lifejackets out of storage which is a sign she is uncomfortable with the situation although she wasn't saying anything except for concern for Top Rank.

Arrived at Gambridge about 4:45 pm where we enjoyed the calm waters of the canal. Met a man off a 36 foot trawler that was staying overnight rather than facing the waves on Lake Simcoe! Maybe the waves were larger than we estimated. After purchasing a season's pass from the lockmaster at Gamebridge we moved quickly through the five locks to Bolsover as there was no oncoming traffic and the locks were opened waiting for us. It had been over a year since we had gone through any locks so we were all a little rusty. In one lock we got sideways going in because our stern was too far from the side of the lock when Nancy on the bow grabbed the bow hose. Also when we were leaving the same lock Top Rank got tangled sideways so we were glad to leave that lock behind us. With seventy locks in front of us we figured we would regain our skills eventually. Weather began to improve and by the time we reached the lock at Bolsover we had some sunshine again, although it was chilly. We arrived at Sunset Cove around 7:45 pm and enjoyed hamburgers cooked on Top Rank's portable barbecue in the dark. It was very nice outside with no wind and lots of stars in a clear sky.

Everyone was relaxed and happy to be on our way plus glad to have Lake Simcoe behind us.

(The waves now were five to six feet [[Display Title]">convert length] high when we told our story!) We re-organized the equipment in the boat until lights out at 11:30 pm.

Sunset Cove Marina

The is a nice little spot for transient boaters just west of Bolsover and five locks from Lake Simcoe. The service is great and the gas prices were 82.9 cents per liter compared to Lagoon City at 86.9 cents per liter the week before. Pumpouts are also available. Restrooms are small but have a private shower. The lighting could be better in the washrooms. A boater's lounge is also available and a barbecue but it needed some cleanup before use and you had to use your own propane. Generally a good place to stay overnight.

Daily Hints ( or what did we learn not to do today! )

1 - Take it extra slowly into the locks especially if not in practice.
2 - You cannot expect any help entering locks going upstream.
3 - The wind inside an empty lock is blowing opposite to direction the flag is blowing up top.\
4 - Big lakes can have big waves.

Costs for the day

Season's Pass $184.00 $7.00 per foot, good for both Trent and Severn systems


DAY TWO BOLSOVER TO BOBCAYGEON   DAILY   61 km  TOTAL   84 km
SATURDAY JULY 22 - LOCKS Four
COST - $169.77

DAY  began at 6:00 am when Don got up and had a shower. Nancy figured out a way to zero the trip meter on the GPS so we will now have accurate daily mileage. (in kilometers actually) Used the early hours to do a general cleanup inside and outside the boat. The spiders had been quite active during the past two weeks at Lagoon City so the front deck was a mess of little black spots. The morning started out quite gray, which turned out to be fog that lifted around 8:30 am, but then turned cloudy as we left Sunset Cove around 10:00 am. This was an indication of how unsettled the day would become. Before leaving we filled our gas tanks to correct an imbalance from the fill at Lagoon City while Top Rank got gas and a pump out.

We had a peaceful slow trip to Kirkfield but in Canal Lake Top Rank picked up some weeds and for a while looked like they had engine problems. This raised the stress level for a half hour or so until it was determined it was weeds only. We planed across Balsam Lake to avoid a big rain cloud which we could see at the north end of the lake but it caught us just as we arrived at Rosedale. We were well prepared for the rain and it did not amount to much as we missed the main part of the storm. The weather was warm but very unsettled with fast moving clouds. The trip through Cameron Lake was uneventful except we were a bit confused about the entrance to Fenelon Falls channel. Top Rank stopped before entering the channel and asked if we would lead the way. We consulted the charts, the computer, the wind, and warily made our way into what we hoped was the correct channel. It was. Entering the upstream side of Fenelon Falls a small houseboat pulled out right in front of us without warning causing us to stop in the middle of the channel which was full of parked boats on both sides. After a large cruise boat and our friendly house boat went in the lock we followed without mishap.

We were now going downstream and found it much easier going into the locks when entering from the upstream side because the staff were able to help with the process. Just as we were leaving the lock and trying to find a spot to park (so we could get an ice cream cone) the sky opened up with a vengence. We decided not to stop as there was only one available spot and continued down the channel. While trying to close up the boat top from the rain and dodging upbound traffic we came to Sturgeon Lake to find it totally obscured by the storm. We estimated the storm would be short-lived so we made a U turn and went back into the channel until the storm abated. Using the Fugawi moving map software and the charts we then proceeded to Bobcaygeon with no problems. The Fugawi had been reporting us travelling on land most of the day because the canals were so narrow but it worked well getting to Bobcaygeon. We locked through and pulled into Gordon Yacht Harbour for the night. The location of the covered slip was in shallow water and Don felt a bump as we were moving to our spot but a check of the props and skegs showed no damage. Our fingers are crossed for tomorrow when we find out if all is well down below. After securing ourselves and hooking up our power cords we walked into Bobcaygeon to see the town and bought some items at the drug store. After an hour siesta and a drink we headed back into town for supper at "For a Halibut" restaurant. We had no reservations and had to wait 45 minutes to sit down.

Nancy, Mary Lou, and Peter walked around the town while Don enjoyed sitting on a lawn chair outside a local bakery and meeting some local senior residents. The food was very good, even Nancy's prime rib at a fish house. We called it an early night as we all were a bit tired and a little sun burned.

Gordon Yacht Harbour

Nice spot just below the locks at Bobcaygeon but is surrounded  by lots of shallow water so you need to follow instructions carefully. We had a covered slip which was appreciated after the storms today. Located right in town so walking to stores is easy. Nice locked washrooms with two private showers. Gas and pumpouts also available. No restaurant as advertised in the guide book.

Daily Hints ( or what we will not do again! )

1 - If you are in doubt put your outdrive up.
2 - Do not assume guide books are correct. Call first.
3 - When in doubt let the other boat go first.
4 - Do not rely on computer aids 100%, use common sense, and charts.

Costs for today

Sunset Cove $27.60 Overnight docking Gasoline at Sunset Cove $83.28 82.9 cents / litre Gordon Yacht $28.89 Overnight docking Bobcaygeon Pharmacy $20.55 Miscellaneous items For the Halibut $30.00 Dinner


DAY THREE BOBCAYGEON TO STONEY LAKE  DAILY   47 km  TOTAL   131 km SUNDAY JULY 23 LOCKS -  Three
COST - $40.00

Today was what boating is all about. Awoke to a beautiful clear morning around 7:00 am (getting later each day) although it was a little cool. We had better enjoy the temperature while we can because three hot days are coming in the forecast. Took some nice pictures at Gordon's then as we prepared to leave two people came over to inquire about our boat as they were in the market for a similar one. Of course a boater likes nothing better than to talk about his boat so our leaving was delayed a bit.  They eventually helped us out of the slip and we gingerly picked our way out to the channel without any mishaps around 10:00 am. No effect from yesterday's bump on the way in, thank goodness. It was a perfect day for travelling as the temperature was in the low 20s [21 Celsius is about 70F] with a mix of sun and cloud so it was not too hot in the locks. Ran into the 48 foot Trojan we met at Sunset Cove again but they were going all the way to Peterborough tonight. No mishaps in the locks as we are all getting pretty good at our responsibilities. There was no waiting at most locks so we sailed right through and got to Viamede Resort about 2:15 pm. They had added some new finger docks so we were docked right next to the shore side by side. Went for a swim in their pool after settling in. Had a great dinner on our barbecues at the end of the dock except Peter accidently spilled most of the mushrooms. After supper we sat on the shore, finished our wine, and watched six house boats arrive. Had a nice talk with a fellow from Caruthers in Orillia who was returning from Rice Lake. He thought Rice Lake was terrible and Peterborough wasn't much better.

They were heading for Reach Harbour on Lower Buckhorn tomorrow. A great day ended with a walk around the resort including sitting at the beach in the lounges. We saw and heard a small boat running across the lake after dark and remarked he better know where he is going when we heard a big crash and the motor ran at full speed for a minute before shutting down.

Nancy and Mary Lou reported the apparent accident to the resort front desk.

Viamede Resort

This was the most expensive place to stay on our trip but it was worth it with access to all the resort's facilities including a nice swimming pool. Showers and restrooms for the boaters are separate and located in the games room about fifty yards from the new docks. You also receive a ten dollar credit for a meal in the dinning room. The docks are the type with sliding cleats and are complete with water and 30 amp hydro. There is no gas or pump-out facilities.  

Daily Hints

1 - People love to talk about their boats and pets. 2 - Do not drive in the dark no matter how well you know the waters. 3 - When going downstream enlist the aid of the helpful lock staff to tie up.

Cost for today

Viamede Resort   $40.00 Overnight docking & resort facilities


DAY FOUR STONEY LAKE DAILY   0 km  TOTAL   131 km
MONDAY JULY 24 LOCKS -  None
COST - $40.00

Today was another beautiful day weather wise. It was in the mid twenties [21 Celsius is about 70F] with a mix of cloud and sun. We had to keep the top up for shade. The complete day was spent at Viamede Resort. We planned to stay here as a rest day and have dinner in their restaurant but it was only a buffet that evening so we just barbecued on the dock. It was nice because the eating area on the dock is next to Top Rank so it is very convenient to set up the barbecue and eat right there. In the morning Don installed the new stereo on Reel Life so we were then able to listen to CDs rather than just the radio. Pete installed the inverter in their boat and washed and waxed it so it was a restful but productive day. Nancy slept in then figured out how to make scrambled eggs in the microwave. She also got caught up on some reading during the day. We went swimming in their pool around noon to avoid the hotel crowd. During the afternoon we showed our boat to a couple that was in the market for a boat like ours. After supper we went to check out the Casino Night in the games room but it wasn't very interesting so we watched the stars from the next dock and saw some satellites. We had planned this day off and it was productive and relaxing.

Daily Hints

1 - Boat electrical systems are mysterious. Double check before connecting any new device. 2 - Boats stay cleaner when travelling than in their covered slips. 3 - There are a lot of rocks in Stoney Lake so travel with care and with charts.

Costs for today

Viamede Resort $40.00 Overnight docking and resort facilities


DAY FIVE STONEY LAKE TO PETERBOROUGH DAILY 38 km  TOTAL   169 km TUESDAY JULY 25 LOCKS -  Eight COST - $113.37

Another beautiful day at Viamede Resort began at 6:15 when Don re-installed the new stereo system so the 12 volt outlet would work. It also cured the problem of the stereo running all the time. In case I haven't mentioned it our normal routine each nice morning is to dry off all the dew on the camper top then take it down and store it for the day leaving only the top up for shade. This is a real pain but has to be done. Don usually does this while Nancy is making breakfast and cleaning up below decks. We left a few minutes before Top Rank at 9:00 am because we wanted to test out the new stereo in the middle of the lake where we would not bother anyone. It really puts out a nice loud sound and does not overpower the existing speakers so we enjoyed playing some rock and roll music on the CD while planing down Clear Lake.  Top Rank took a good bump getting into Young's Point lock but damage was minimal. We stopped at the town dock at Lakefield and went shopping downtown which was a two kilometer walk in total including a nice walk back from town beside the river. The public dock at Lakefield was very nice with new docks, attendants, free dockage, and clean washrooms. After Lakefield things went downhill as we passed through seven other locks to arrive at Peterborough at 4:45 pm. This was a very tiring, hot run that seemed to take forever.

Although we all sat in the shade and had a good talk at one of the locks, I don't understand how we got so tired when most of the time we were just sitting. It must be the sun because we were all looking for any kind of shade by days end. At Peterborough we had to switch slips as our designated one was occupied, then had to run our power cord to another slip because ours had only a 15 amp receptacle. Helped relay a radio call to the office from a couple of fifty foot cruisers for a promise of a cold beer which never materialized. After a short rest period we then walked another couple of kilometers to have dinner at a Pizza place then an early night.    

Peterborough Town Marina

This overnight stop is in the middle of the downtown area of Peterborough which is convenient but not very scenic. It does have gas and pump-out facilities but they were not open at 8:30 am when we left the next morning. The docks were fine but only have 30 amp service on alternating slips with 15 amp service. We expected to be able to use the pool facilities at the nearby Holiday Inn but this privilege was no longer available. Private showers and washrooms were available but were a bit worse for wear. This is the only reasonable place to stop between Stoney Lake and Campbellford.

Daily Hints

1 - Make reservations, if at all possible, before entering the harbour.

Costs for today

Ear rings $18.00 Nancy lost one stud in Viamede Pool
Beer Store  $9.75 Necessary supplies on hot days
Jim's Pizzeria $27.04 Dinner on Tuesday
Lakefield Pharmacy  $4.65 Newspaper, misc. items
Shoppers Drug Mart $23.87 Suntan lotion, munchies, notebook
Lakefield Food Mart $19.56 Fruits and vegetables
Canadian Flag $10.50 Replacement Canadian flag
Peterborough Marina $31.78 Overnight dockage


DAY SIX PETERBOROUGH TO CAMPBELLFORD DAILY   96 km  TOTAL   262 km
WEDNESDAY JULY 26 LOCKS -  Seven
COST - $289.14

Awoke to another nice day although some clouds were present. There was a lot of dew on the front deck but surprisingly none on the windows at all. This made the first task of the day, taking down the top, a lot easier. Don got up and had a shower at 6:30 am followed shortly by Nancy. Reel Life was below half a tank of gas so we tried to get some at the dock at 8:00 am but no one showed by 8:30 am so we left and went on to Scotts Mills locks. After clearing the lock we had a great run down the Otonabee River and across Rice Lake, which looked much nicer than our last visit when it was covered with green algae. Today it was very calm and we just sailed across it at 45 km/hr. I had the boat running at minimum RPMs on plane because I was getting worried about fuel but was determined to make it to Campbellford and the low gas prices at MacMillians. Stopped at Hastings at a nice spot just below the locks and went for a walk into town. Mary Lou showed us where her family used to live and owned a couple of hotels in town. They went food shopping while we went to the hardware store looking for a 12 volt multi port adapter for our cell phone and computer needs. We arrived at Hastings about 10:45 and left about 12:15 pm when the weather looked like it was deteriorating. It clouded up with big puffy clouds but did not cause any problems except providing some much needed shade. We got smart at this point and started going for the side of the lock which was in the shade. Met two other boats from Washago who would share locks with us all the way to Campbellford. Made reservations at Campbellford Inn but when we saw how exposed it was we decided to stay at the Old Mill Park right in town. A concert for some senior citizens took place right in the park which provided some nice background music. Peter & Mary Lou went to the nearby Canadian Tire and Tim Hortons while we puttered around the boat. Cooked a delicious steak dinner on the barbecue but found the propane tank mount cross-threaded so glued on a nut and strapped our bottle onto Top Rank for the next day. Had a quiet evening reading and doing the log. Also tried to connect to the Internet via the cell phone but still would not work.

Campbellford Old Mill Park

This location is right in the middle of town but compared to Peterborough is much more scenic because it is in the middle of a park. The boats are tied up against the river wall so there is a wake problem until after supper when things quiet down. Lowest gas prices on the Trent system are available right across the river. A locked "boaters only" washroom with two showers was well maintained.

Daily Hints

1 -There are not many picnic tables at the Old Mill Park so plan ahead.
2 - The washrooms are on the downstream side of the park.
3 - You are very exposed to wakes at Campbellford so adjust your fenders carefully.
4 - Plan to arrive in Campbellford with an empty gas tank.

Costs for Today

B&C Variety in Campbellford $6.47 Milk and juice
Gasoline $237.80 72.9 cents/litre. Last fill was back in Bolsover!
Pumpout $10.00 At MacMillans in Campbellford (with fill)
Hastings Home Hardware $13.20 Coffee filters and 12 volt adapter
Campbellford Old Mill Park $21.67 Overnight docking

 

DAY SEVEN CAMPBELLFORD TO TRENTON DAILY 96 km TOTAL 262 km
THURSDAY JULY 27 LOCKS - Twelve
COST - $31.39

This morning started out very gray but it turned out to be fog and soon lifted. We arranged for Top Rank to meet us at the first lock at 8:00 am so we could get a good start to the longest day yet with twelve locks between us and Trenton. When we got there we found out it did not open until 8:30 am and the water was too high and going over the lock doors so we had to wait until 9:10 am before we were finally were able to begin our day. As it was, water was still pouring over the top of the gates when we were in the lock. After a couple of more locks we were in open water and able to cruise again. All was going well until we had a radio call from Top Rank, who was leading by a couple of minutes, to say they were having engine problems. They could only travel at idling speed so we soon caught up to them and then followed them at reduced speed to the next lock at Glen Ross. By this time Top Rank was barely able to make headway so a local repair man was called to come to the lock. Our thoughts of dread, and an end to the trip, were quickly put to rest as it turned out to be only a stripped prop which was quickly replaced. After this we moved quickly through the remaining locks as all were waiting for us. We arrived in Trenton at 5:00 pm, tired, but not worn out like the day we arrived in Peterborough. Our stop for the night was at Fraser Park located in the middle of downtown Trenton where we cooked a delicious meal of spaghetti with wine overlooking the harbour. We had now completed the first phase in our grand voyage including 312 kilometers and 40 locks!

Frasier Park

This turned out to be a very nice spot although it was a busy spot. The slips are open to wave action but was not a problem over night. The washrooms were functional and private. Picnic tables were scarce but the view of the harbour was terrific.

Daily Hints

1 - Carry a spare prop, nut, and lock washer, with the proper wrench.
2 - Do not travel alone if you have an option.
3 - Make sure your marine radio is in working order.

Costs for Today

Trenton Marina $28.89 Overnight docking
Trenton Marina $2.50 Ice cream cone


DAY EIGHT TRENTON TO KINGSTON LOCKS DAILY   182 km  TOTAL   444 km
FRIDAY JULY 28 -  Locks None
COST - $98.30

Today started at 6:00 am for Reel Life when Don got up to have a morning shower and walked to the top of the bridge to take some photographs. The morning started out very clear but a blanket of fog moved in so our departure was delayed until 9:30 am. This happened to be the exact time which Peter had selected for our departure time the previous evening so we wondered what kind of connections he had. Just out from Trenton we got confused as to where we were so stopped to find ourselves on the charts before proceeding. The Fugawi software helped us pinpoint our location because the buoys were confusing. From that point on we cranked up the engines and planed right through to Picton. If I haven't mentioned it before when I say we travelled slowly it was at 12-15 km/hour and on plane at 45-50 km/hour.

We went into Picton Bay and visited this pleasant little community followed by lunch on board travelling at reduced speed. At one point we came across a boat fender floating in the water so we scooped it up and now have one extra. We then planed into Kingston arriving about 2:00 pm. After cleaning up the boat we checked into the Holiday Inn and went for a swim.

Dinner was at the Lone Star Caf‚ followed by a little walk then back to the hotel for some quiet time. The downtown area was full of people just enjoying themselves on the long weekend. There was also another concert in the park plus one under Peter and Mary Lou's room. Everyone complained about the rocking sensation this evening from being on the bouncing boat so we are all looking forward to the stay overnight in the hotel.  

Confederation Park

This is a big marina which caters to the transient boater. Lots of things to do but there is no gas or pump out at the marina. The marina staff was very helpful after we radioed them on channel 68.

Daily Hints

1 - Make sure your fenders are well secured before a high speed run.
2 - If you are not sure where you are stop and figure it out, do not keep running.
3 - If you can avoid fog, do it. Too many things can go wrong with poor visibility.

Cost for today

Lone Star Caf‚ $26.80 Dinner
Confederation Basin $71.50 Overnight dockage (two nights)


DAY NINE KINGSTON DAILY   33 km  TOTAL   477 km
JULY 29 LOCKS -  None
SATURDAY COST - $498.58

Today was a relaxing day as there were no deadlines or locks to worry about. The two couples did their own thing today but got together for supper and an early evening because we plan to start up the Rideau early tomorrow. We slept in until 9:30 this morning then went for breakfast at the hotel restaurant. After checking out we cleaned up the boat and rearranged a lot of things because we were having guests. We also went shopping and had some pictures developed in 30 minutes. It was very hot and humid with large crowds of people everywhere. This was a very busy area. We went upstream to Rideau Marine and picked up two of Nancy's relatives near their condo. We then went further upstream and visited Kingston Mills which will be our first stop tomorrow. Our next stop was back past Kingston and around Cedar Island which is the beginning of the Thousand Islands. It looked very pretty but all the docks were full of boats including some rafting. A quick run across the Kingston waterfront was followed by a return to Rideau Marina. Before returning to Confederation basin we filled up at Rideau Marine at 86.9 c/litre. The wind was starting to come up and some serious clouds developed after we returned but nothing serious resulted.

Top Rank went to Kingston Marina, which was only five minutes from where we got gas, and filled up for 82.9 c/litre! We then had dinner at Stoney's Restaurant and retired to our boats.

Nancy and I walked the pier and saw some distant lightning flashes. The forecast was for poor weather for the next four days so we hoped they were wrong.

Daily Hints

1 - A night off the boat, after nine days on the boat, is a great break.

2 - Gasoline prices vary more dramatically than on land. Ask other boaters for the best spots.

Cost for today

Rideau Marina $217.00 Gasoline
Rideau Marine $30.20 Prop wrench (see hint #1 on day seven)
Upper Deck $18.40 Fender hanger replacement
Photo Tech $17.54 Film developing for one hour
Stoney's Restaurant $41.07 Dinner in Kingston
Holiday Inn $174.37 Night and breakfast at Holiday Inn


DAY TEN KINGSTON TO DAILY UPPER BREWERS  28 km  TOTAL   505 km
SUNDAY JULY 30 LOCKS -  Seven
COST - $19.15

Arrived at Kingston Mills at 7:45 am and were first in line for this series of locks as we heard it could be a 2-3 hour wait if you missed the first one. The weather was calm but low overcast indicated rain was on the way. We then waited for an hour and a half as the lockmaster decided to send down one houseboat instead of taking the two of us up. By the time we started up at 9:30 am there was a full lock full of boats so things went slowly. While we waited Don tried some fishing and took some interesting photographs. The trip through these locks was very stressful as we were located at the front and the water was very turbulent and strong. Top Rank had another boat rafting up against them so had to be careful on both sides. Finally clearing Kingston Mills we had a pleasant voyage up the Cataraqui River and found it more scenic than we had expected. We had to pass two houseboats in a very narrow part of the canal and saw more cows along the river side. It reminded us of the stretch called "the ditch" near Lake Simcoe. Arrived at Upper Brewers locks at 2:00 pm at settled in for the day. The area was pretty but the water was not nice with lots of weeds and junk. We were so hot Nancy and I used the shower off the end of the boat. A big trawler soon joined us as it had lost one engine. It ran a generator that almost asphyxiated Top Rank while they were resting. When the lockmaster realized this he asked them to turn it off. After a rest to recover from the locking ordeal we had our normal "happy hour" and dinner. A short walk after dinner was curtailed by bugs so we played rummy ace then called it a day. We saw a lot of fireflies during our walk. It began raining shortly after we arrived at the lock so things were damp everywhere. The lock was very isolated so it was very dark when we had to walk along a 50 meter dock to get to the washroom. The battery in our lantern was almost gone but a little yellow patch was better the complete darkness.

Upper Brewers

This is one of the few locks on the system that had electrical power. On the upper side there is room for about six to eight boats. The area is well landscaped and there are some interesting short walks. There is no shopping in the area.

Daily Hints

1 - Make sure all your batteries are charged or new.
2 - Try not to be at the front of the lock when going upstream.
3 - The early bird does not always get the worm.

Cost for today

Rideau Canal Canada $19.15 Overnight dockage


DAY ELEVEN UPPER BREWERS TO OPINICON HOTEL DAILY   24 km  TOTAL   529 km
MONDAY JULY 31 LOCKS -  Five
COST - $78.65

We awoke to light rain so delayed our departure until 10:30 am hoping for it to stop, but it didn't so we started out with full canvas. This makes it very difficult to get up to the bow and not very pleasant even with rain gear. This area reminded us of the Glouster Pool area on the Severn system. We timed our arrival at Jones Falls perfectly as the locks were just starting to load as we showed up. Three canoes full of American high school kids joined us and provided some interesting comments about our country all the time looking for some moose.

The locks were very pretty even in the rain and we were entertained by the lockmaster playing an accordian. This series of locks had a great atmosphere and was very friendly. At the top we docked and had lunch followed by an excellent tour of the old lockmaster's fortified house. It was very hot and humid at this point so we moved onwards looking forward to the pool at the Opinicon Hotel. Today's series of locks were very similar to yesterday's but a lot less stressful and it even included a swing bridge made of wood. Arriving at the Opinicon we worked our way in to the dock carefully as the channel was not marked very clearly and we got no response on the radio. We then had to convince the dock staff our reservations were for the spots we were in, with 30 amp power, not the ones further out with 15 amp power. We then went to the pool to cool off. The hotel grounds are very scenic with lots of open spaces and very large trees. We were told the pool was one of the first ones built between Montreal and Toronto. After a rest period we had a delicious dinner of roast beef in the main dining room. The food was great, the atmosphere was nice, and the service was super. There were no lights on the dock and our battery was still flat.  A game of hearts ended a very pleasant day in spite of the dicey weather.

Opinicon Hotel

This is an old picturesque hotel situated among some large mature trees. In addition to the main lodge there are also cottages available for rent. The food was excellent. The hotel also had a grocery store with most staples. Brown's Marina was just around the corner for your boating supplies. This is the home of Dave Brown who provides helpful information on the boating newsgroups. Chaffey's lock is very pretty with room for some boats to tie up above the lock, although there is no power.

Daily Hints

1 - Don't argue with a tired, hot boater.
2 - Reservations are required for dinner at the Opinicon Hotel.
3 - See point #1 on the previous day.

Cost for today

Opinicon Hotel $24.88 Overnight dockage
Opinicon Hotel $39.68 Dinner at hotel
Opinicon Store $14.09 Juice, milk, Solarcaine


DAY TWELVE OPINICON HOTEL TO WESTPORT DAILY   19 km  TOTAL   548 km
TUESDAY AUG 1 LOCKS -  Two
COST - None

Awoke to light rain at 8:00 am. Put all our towels into the dryer as they were not drying after our showers. Lost my soap down the shower drain hole because there was no grill. Went to the office to pay the bill then visited the old store which looked right out of the 1950's. Wanted to see if I could meet Dave Brown at Brown's Marina because I see his Internet messages all the time but it was raining so we pushed on. Top Rank left before we were ready to go so they got through Chaffey lock and stayed ahead of us until Westport. They got a spot in the inner harbour while we had a slip on the outside docks which proved to be quieter. Tidied up the boat then got ready for some friends from a nearby cottage to pick us up. Went to their cottage on Devil Lake for a nice visit and swim which included a visit from a Loon. They are big birds when seen from only four inches above the water and only 20 feet away! Dinner was barbecued pork chops, home made buns, fresh beans, potato salad, and red wine. Very relaxing time. All drove back with their two dogs and met Peter and Mary Lou at the dock who had an excellent fish dinner at the Cove Restaurant in downtown Westport.

Westport Town Docks

This is a pleasant little town that caters to the boating crowd. The dockage fee is very reasonable but the washrooms are a considerable walk in the middle of town. Nearby restaurants are plentiful with good shopping within walking distance. Showers are coin operated so a shower costs 50 or 75 cents.

Daily Hints

1 - The Opinicon Hotel only accepts cash or cheques, no credit cards.
2 - Keep in touch with good friends, they are difficult to replace.

Cost for today

None


DAY THIRTEEN WESTPORT TO SMITH FALLS DAILY   45 km  TOTAL   593 km
MONDAY AUG 2 LOCKS - Three
COST - $45.35

This morning began at 6:00 am with a trip to the showers located a hundred yards up the road in the center of town. They were coin operated and required two quarters to get the job done. Bought some food at the nice IGA store then left by ourselves as Top Rank was still getting ready. It was overcast and dull with showers but the area was scenic in spite of the weather. Stopped at Narrows lock to wait for a storm to pass then with Top Rank cruised slowly up the Big Rideau Lake. We wanted to explore Colonel Bye Island but with the poor weather just continued up the lake to Rideau Ferry. We considered stopping at Rideau Ferry but the dock did not look very inviting so we anchored out in the next bay for a quick swim.

Top Rank had some difficulty coming along side in the windy conditions but the swim was very refreshing. In spite of a long rode our anchor was dragging all the time during our swim so when we decided to lift it there was a huge clump of weeds to remove. Poonamalie lock was remembered for noisy boats and a lot of deer flies. On entering the lock at Smith Falls we were surprised by a thunder storm which drenched our crews on the bow of our boats. A very close lightning strike caused the lock to shut down making us wait while it passed. We had telephoned earlier for reservations at the town docks so were not concerned about the delay. Reel Life had trouble docking at the marina because the finger docks were so low and there was no help from the staff. Then we found out there was no gasoline available in Smith Falls and we would have to go back to Rideau Ferry or try and make Merrickville. Top Rank would not be able to get to either place without some more gas so they fueled up with jerry cans from a local gas station. We barbecued on a picnic table and had a nice chicken dinner with green peppers & onions. Walked downtown for coffee at Tim Horton's and saw a midway in town.

Smith Falls Town Docks

The docks were only six inches above the water level so it made docking difficult. Showers and washrooms were shared with the local campground but were always available. Laundry facilities were also available. The downtown area was a short walk away across the river.

Only 15 amp power was provided and that was at the end of the finger dock so a long cord was necessary.

Daily Hints

1 - Be careful in narrow channels where you cannot see much sky with storms in the area.
2 - When anchoring take some bearings so you can tell if you are drifting.
3 - Do not expect to get gasoline in Smith Falls.
4 - Docking is difficult when the pier is only six inches above the water line.

Cost for today

Westport IGA $21.00 groceries
Victoria Park $18.35 Overnight dockage
Tim Horton's $6.00 Coffee and hot chocolate


DAY FOURTEEN SMITH FALLS TO MERRICKVILLE DAILY   23 km  TOTAL   616 km
THURSDAY AUG 3 LOCKS - Eight
COST - $

Prepared for a long day to either Merrickville or all the way to our destination, Kemptville. Weather was light rain but we were at the blue line waiting to go at 8:15 am. A large trawler from Kemptville got in before us and led the way for most of the day. The weather improved with more and more sunny periods although a strong wind made things interesting.

Just past the Kilmarnock lock we ran into some serious trouble when Top Rank lost their outdrive and started drifting into the weed beds. We managed to rescue them and they eventually got their engine going again only to stop in another difficult area. The strong winds and thick weed beds made us very concerned about getting both boats stranded.

After some exciting moments including a hand caught between boat and rope we stabilized the tow and proceeded at about 8 km/hour to Merrickville. Top Rank was very stable at that speed but wandered all over the place when we went slower. Because of the strong wind we were unable to tie them alongside our boat for fear of ending up in the weeds. Coming down the narrow approach to the lock we found a large cruise ship covering all of the blue line and half the channel width.

After trying unsuccessfully to get Top Rank into shore we had to cast them adrift to save our own boat from the strong wind. They drifted down to the lock doors and were helped to the other side by some friendly spectators. After a two hour wait a mechanic from Ayling & Associates came to see the boat and suggested they try to go through the locks and into his marina at the bottom of the lock. This was accomplished without problem so we decide to dock there for the night.

Without major surgery the cause of the engine problem could not be determined so Peter and Mary Lou decided to have their boat picked up in Merrickville and repaired back at our home port. We were only 18 kilometers from our destination in Kemptville so our son drove down and took us back to his place for a swim and dinner. We then said goodbye to our friends who drove back to Toronto that evening. We stayed at Kemptville overnight and planned to drive to Merrickville the next day and bring our boat back to Kemptville.

Merrickville

Although we did not stay overnight at Merrickville it was a nice little town with numerous interesting shops. We did not realize the significance of the buoys at the channel entrance until we docked at the lock and saw another waterway with finger docks and power adjacent to the main lock area. There is an excellent restaurant located right at the main intersection in town. A blockhouse is also available for viewing.

Daily Hints

1 - When assisting another boat remember to put the safety of your boat first.
2 - In rough water or high medium speed, tow the other boat.
3 - In calm conditions or slow speeds, tie the boats together and drive them as one boat.
4 - Travel with another boat for mutual security.

Cost for today

Aylings Marina $23.11 Overnight Dockage


DAY FIFTEEN MERRICKVILLE TO KEMPTVILLE DAILY   16 km  TOTAL   632 km
FRIDAY AUG 4 LOCKS - Four
COST - $

Today was a beautiful sunny day with the temperature in the low twenties [21 Celsius is about 70F]. We drove our car back to Merrickville and left it there while we brought the boat back. We had a very peaceful slow trip with four other boats through the final four locks. Saw a herd of cattle in the water near Clowes lock. Found Burritts Rapids lock to be very pretty with an area to stay overnight below the locks. There was also a nice walking path which was being well used as we passed through. We arrived at our destination around 1:30 pm and had our son tow us into his place which is in a shallow bay. After congratulating ourselves on the completion of our trip we returned to Merrickville for our car.

Daily Hints

1 - To enjoy these canals you should plan to travel slowly and take time to enjoy the area.
2 - There are some massive weed beds in this area so keep to the marked channel.

Costs for today

Ayling & Associates $115.00 gasoline (tank half full at Kemptville)
Ayling & Associates $15.00 pumpout


FINAL THOUGHTS

This was a long voyage but an interesting one. The weather was great during the first week but it did hamper our activities during the Rideau portion of the trip. Our boats were picked up from Merrickville and Kemptville about a week later and arrived safely back at Lagoon City.

The cost to truck the boats back was less than the cost of fuel to get us there so we would recommend this method of completing a long trip.

SUMMARY OF COSTS

DAY LOCK PASS DOCKAGE HOLIDAY INN GAS DINING OUT FOOD MISC PUMP OUT TOWING DAILY TOTAL
0   283.47 100.00   383.47
1184.0027.60       211.60
2 28.89 83.2830.00 20.55  162.72
3 40.00       40.00
4 40.00       40.00
5 31.78  27.0429.3157.02  145.15
6 21.67 237.80  19.6710.00 289.14
7 28.89  2.50    31.39
8 35.75  26.80    62.55
9 35.75174.37217.0041.07 66.14  534.33
10 19.15       19.15
11 24.88  39.68 14.09  78.65
12 0.00       0.00
13 18.35  6.0021.00   45.35
14 23.11       23.11
15   115.00   15.00610.00740.00
TOTAL184.00375.82174.37936.55173.09150.31177.4725.00610.002806.61
AVERAGE DOCKAGE26.84 141.74(Half tank left)      
ACTUAL COST GAS USED794.82         

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