Sunday July 30, Upper Stouts Bay

Sunday July 30In the quiet of the morning, we take care of chores we had planned to do at Davis Lock. Craig runs the generator to roast coffee and heat water for the day. I work on the blog and try to catch up with the newspapers. Even though the generator is making a racket, a pair of loons come by on their fishing rounds.  

Using our electronic charts, we successfully work our way through shallow channels and anchor in Upper Stouts Bay. The dinghies are splashed into the water and motors attached. Soon we are off to make our way into Loon Lake. Like most of this area we see scattered cottages in areas accessible by ferry or road. Inbetween are areas of march, weed, and rocky coast. Seeking to get to Bedford Mills, we encounter a large osprey nest. In the vicinity there are 4 birds screeching. Apparently the 2 parents are teaching the 2 almost grown chicks to hunt and to keep clear of humans. Using our cell phones, we see we have to make it under a road bridge to reach the mill. This is a challenge as the current underneath is strong and has created a pile of sunken branches. We take a trial run and see there is a deep spot in the middle of the debris. Turning back to get some distance, we take a running start and make through this gap. Just arounf the corner we see the old mill. The stream which used to power the mill now comes under a road bridge and past the far side of the mill. We take the dinghies along the mill into the race and are swept arund into a back eddy so we can do it again! All in all it’s quite fun and the local is beautiful. The only downside is the mill is now a private home. A man moving from 1 building to another appears to be the own who is obviously less than thrilled to have strangers in his watery backyard.

Once back at tyhe boats we enjoy a swim. There is a family of loons which seems to be based near the point of Conepatus’s bow. We hear their calls and watch them teach the 2 chicks to dive and hunt.

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Saturday July 29, Davis Locks to Lower Stouts Bay

Saturday July 29We had planned to stay at Davis today and possibly tomorrow depending on when Chafey’s Lock opens. There is nowhere to go in between and they are are not letting boats tie to the bottom of Chafey’s due to current. About 10 we are told Parks Canada will put some additional logs in the dam at Chaffey’s to slow the current. This will allow a 2.5 – 3 hour window for boats to lock through. We wonder if this is partially due to pressure from the owners of the large canal cruise boat Karwatha Queen which has 48 people on board. They have been killing time coming south waiting for Chaffey’s to open. The locks folk tell us Caffey’s will be closed again after this window with no estimate of when it will re-open. As the locks beyond Chaffey’s are open through to Merrickville, we decide we should take the opportunity to move on. By eves-dropping on a conversatin with other boaters, we manage to be the first out with Tom right behind. In all, 9 boats are heading from Davis to Chaffey’s. As there is no spaces available to tie up on the wall above Chaffey’s, we head out into Indian Lake and then Clear Lake anchoring in Lower Stouts Bay on Scotts Island. We sneak into the corner where it’s nice and quiet. Further out several larger local boats raft up and settle in. Seems this is a favorate place to swim and fish.

In the evening we dine together on Relax, play a round of double 9 dominoes and then head out in the dinks for a row around the waterlily filler coves. 

Friday July 28, Jones Falls Locks

Friday July 28This AM Tom, Jane, and Sarah head out i Relax’s dinghy to hike up to Rock Dunder. Although there is an easy landing place near the entrance channel, we decide not to go that far. We find a spot below the lower cabin on the hiking trail and scramble up. Once on the well marked trail walking is easy. Along the way we encounter a number of other hikers including a young woman with her 2 daughters and an older couple practicing for a hiking trip in Kilarnay. The top if the rock in bald granite and provides wonderful views of the surrounding area. Like the tower in the Thousand Islands, it’s clear the glaciers really ground down the local area.

A bit after 2 we head to Jones Falls Flight Locks. We pass through and proceed to Davis where we are told there are spots with power available at the upper end. We tie Conepatus up on the grey line with difficulty. They are spilling lots of water through the dam to the east. The current is flowing under the dock at an angle pushing us away. When Tom comes in they direct him to a finger pier close to the dam. As he approaches they realize a pontoon boat needs to move first. It’s a small tight area with lots of current but Tom manages to get Relax in after a few heart stopping maneuvers.

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Leaving the Locks

Thursday July 27, Seely Town & Morton Bay

Thursday July 27
After 9 I call Upper Brewers and find out that the swing bridge, the Jones Falls flight locks, and Davis Lock are all open. Chaffey’s Lock is still closed. 

We pass Melody Lodge and see a loon family. The parents are out teaching the chicks to fish. As these chicks look smaller than the ones we saw near here yesterday, we suppose they are a different family.

About 11:30 we pass through the swing bridge which went back into operation yesterday. Following the heavy rains Monday it was underwater and covered with debris. We motor into Seeley’s Bay public dock. Like a number of communitties they provide free day dockage to encourage boaters to visit the businesses in the area. We take advantage of this having lunch in the local bar and restaurant, buying ice cream, getting a few groceries, and picking up wine at the LCBO. The friendly proprietor of the ice cream and gift shop tells us her family’s fixed dock in Whitefish Lake was damaged in the early high water, fixed, and then damaged again by this latest high water. They’d like to change to a floating dock but the permitting process is expensive and time-consuming. 

After stowing our provisions we motor out to the canal channel and move toward Morton Bay. This is a long, thin bay with a very narrow entrance. The 2 bouys in this entrance seem to be installed backwards but fortunately the guide books and charts show this. We easily make it through to find a lovely high-sided lake. Proceeding to the far end we find the small dock owned by Parks Canada next to the small dam. There’s a group of locals swimming and exercising their dogs. It’s fun to watch but quite noisy. Once they depart we enjoy our own quiet swim.

Conepatus & Relax

Blue HeronWatet Lilly

Seely House

Main Street Seely

The Captain

Wednesday July 26, Cranberry Lakes

Wednesday July 26We learn the canal is closed with no guess at an opening date. They need to spill a lot of water. They can figure how long that will take but do not really know if there will be more rain in the interim. Although they are asking boats to stay moored, we get permission to proceed to Cranberry and Dog Lakes. We work our way through the shallow water into Milburn Creek. In the afternoon we move around the egdes in our dinghies seeing loons, northern flickers and common terns. Later a family comes to fish from a rock cliff nearby. They are very successful!

Loon 

Loon with chick
Loon chick. Fairly young, still downy. 

Tuesday July 25, Upper Brewer Lock

Tuesday July 25They are asking boats to stay put. The weather is improving but there’s way too much water in the system. We use the time to do chores and walk around the lock area. I discover a live snake just above the waterline on the far side of the channel. A local tells me it’s a water snake. It is very sluggish but eventuall feels threatened enough to move into the water under a dock ramp. Later I see it’s back on the grass.

This a very friendly group on the dock. Many of them seem to know each other from their recent stays along the canal. The largest boat is Satisfied Frog, a looper. They invite everyone to join them for cocktails. Expecting this canal closure to last a while, the lock personnel offer to take folks in to Kingston for supplies so we have plenty of goodies for the party.

Monday, July 24, Brewer Locks…In the Rain

Monday, July 24Duriing the night there is lots of heavy rain and thunder but we pass the night in relative peace. 

About 10 AM while it’s still raining, soaked locks personnel tell us we need to move into the lock. There are logs on the dam and in the lock forebay that need to be moved. They also need to open the dam to spill the excess rain water. As the dam water will hit the wall where we are tied up, it is unsafe for us to stay here. We sit in the safety of the lock with several other boats for over an hour. All of a sudden the lock is being filled. Once we are level with the water outside the upper end, we are told they need us to move to Upper Brewers Locks where we will lock up and tie up with power. Apparently the storm has dumped a lot of water into the entire system which already has more water than it needs from spring rains and snow melt. After locking through the 2 locks at Upper Brewers we tie up on the grey line and get plug in. Although we are on the upper end, this location is also well protected. The weather continues to be very grey.