Friday, August 18, Ottawa River to St. Anne de Bellevue

Friday, August 18. Ottawa River to St. Anne de Bellevue.We head out of the cut at daylight hoping to get through to the lower wall at St. Anne du Belview tonight. The weather is grey and rain can not be far away. Soon we have strong head winds and rain. To make matters worse, the wind is against the current running down the Ottawa river making steep, choppy waves. Soon we realize our dingy is a bit loose and beginning to shift in her chocks on top of the cabin. 

Craig finds us a small shallow area along the western shore that gets us mostly out of the wind and chop. Relax and Conepatus are soon at anchor in this nook and we are more comfortable. We secure the dinghy and wait about an hour – enough of a break to catch our breathes, relax, and get a bite to eat. 

In a more positive frame of mind, we decide things have settled a bit and we will head out at least to Hawkesbury where there is a free wall in a protected spot. By the time we get there, the weather has become more manageable and we keep going to Carillon Lock. This is bigger than the Rideau locks and is a big drop. Nevertheless it’s very easy as they have boats tie to a floating dock inside the lock. If there are more than can be accomodated on the float, the other boats are instructed to tie on the shoulder. (What we have always called rafed up) We are soon like sardines in a can. 

We are hesitant to proceed but come to the realization we can easily make it to St. Anne de Bellevue Lock. We arrive about 3:30 in plenty of time. There are a number of boats locking with us so the larger boats are tied up on the float inside and the rest are “tied on the shoulder” of the larger boats. We have a full lockage. 

Clearing the lock we see there are lots of boats on the wall but space enough for Relax and Conepatus. There is less space than usual, though as the wall along the town side is flooded and roped off – a reminder that Lake Ontario and the rest of the Seaway system is still over-full.

After settling in and running the generator (no power or hydro to plug into here), we around the small town and lock area. Dinner at the Snittzel House. While Craig says it’s very good, Tom and Jane who have spent some time in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland are not enthusiastic. 

Returning to the Lock, we find they are having a salsa music and dance lessons on the waterfront. Apparently the town is footing the bill in an attempt to boost tourism. The music’s not too bad and it’s fun to watch. And it only lasts until 10! Even before the music stops we are all in bed and sleep like logs after so many busy days. There is a train track and a road across the lock area but these don’t bother us at all. 

Thursday, August 17. Ottawa

Thursday, August 17. Ottawa

In the morning Tom, Jane, and Sarah walk across the bridge to Gatineau to Mosaicultures Internationales de Montreal while Craig does chores and rests his knee. 

Although we get there at opening time we find there’s a line of people ahead. This open air exhibit is free and apparently very popular. It consists of 32 tableau made by inserting live plants into wire mesh frames. There are tableaus depicting important professions (a lobsterman, a prospector, a drum dancer, a monty and his horse), various animals important to Canada (orcas, muskoxen, puffins), and ones based on first nation stories. 

Gravel paths lead the attendees pasts each exhibit allowing views from various angles. The explanitory signs are positioned so folks wishing to take pictures are not impeded by those reading the signs. Although the plants used to accomplish the tableaux are nothing special and the same ones are used over and over again, the whole effect is quite amazing. We had been told about it not long after we entered the Rideau and all agree we’re glad we made the effort to see it.

It’s now time to leave the city and return to boating life. Needing food before getting underway, we all grab burgers at the mall – remarkable good for a food court. Hurrying back to the boats we move to blue line and wait for an hour and a half. One of the drawbacks with flight locks is a complete lockage takes a long time. Here we wait for boats coming up through all the lock chambers before we can start down. 

We finally clear about 5 and blast down the Ottawa River. Anchor in Isle Dube Cut about 20 miles down the river. A boater who was waiting on the blue line with us today suggested this spot which has proven to be as nice as he said. We are protected from weather and wakes here in the roomy, quiet spot.

Looking down all the locks in the Ottawa flight locks

Kids watching the boats lock down

Wednesday, August 16 Ottawa

Wednesday, August 16 Ottawa

Another busy city day. We all walk over to the National Gallery. This is quite a large collection with a strong emphasis on Canadian art including that of the first nations. There are also paintings and sculptures of some of the best know European artists such as Degas, Picasso, Dali. Most are exhibited in such a way that you can get very close aind really examine the paint and brush strocks as well as stand back to get an overall sense of the work. Outside the building is a huge sculpture of a spider.

Tom and Jane are tired from all the walking and over stimulation of so much to see and study and head back to Relax while Craig and I grab a bite in the Rideau Center Mall. 

This is quite a large place full of high end stores many of which are familiar to us from the States. Summer sales are winding down and we pick up a few sale items at Eddie Bauer. Craig heads home while I linger and window shop.

This summer Ottawa and Montreal have been having a contest to see which can have the best fireworks displays. These extravaganzas are Wednesday and Saturday nights. The point of origin is a barge in teh Ottawa River so we wark over to the high headland overlooking the River and the flight locks.It’s quite the display! Numerous starbusts, high and low, sparkles, booms, cascades, etc. go on for almost an hour. Although the crowd is much bigger than the Parliament light show crowd, we all get good views and Craig gets some decent photos.

Tuesday, August 15. Ottawa

Tuesday, August 15. Ottawa

Although there is some traffic noise here along the wall, we were so tired last night we slept right through all of it. We’re up early as we are planning another busy city day. 

At 8:30 the 4 of us start walking toward the Canadian Museum of Nature. We arrive just before they open the doors at 9. This is Canada’s museum of natural history and is quite large. Each of the 4 main floors has 2 wings. We all head up to the top floor to investigate the Canada Goose Arctic Gallery first but soon split-up to go at our individual paces. 

The Arctic gallery is the newest permanent display and is very well done. As you might suspect, there is a lot of information about climate change and how it is affecting the land and sea as well as the animals, plants, and people. We haven’t seen any of the US museums lately but this museum seems different from the ones we remember. 

There has been a great deal of effort put into making these galleries interesting to all age groups. I see numerous groups with folks with kids of various ages, parents, and grandparents where everyone is engaged. The only downsides to all these excited people are it’s quite noisy and sometimes difficult to see a display. We all manage to move through all the exhibits but are way over loaded by the end. As with all large museums, this would be better done in smaller bites. By the time we get back to the boats we are all “done in” and opt for a quiet evening at home. 

Clam shell that fossilized into opal

Monday, August 14, Black Rapids to Ottawa

Monday, August 14.

Black Rapids to OttawaWe get ready early and head for the locks in order to be in the first down lockage. The plan is to get to mooring wall in Ottawa above the flight locks.

We plan to spend several days in Ottawa and then head down the Ottawa River. Needing to fuel we go to fill Conepatus. We stop at Dawes Lake Marina and top up with gas and water, and add ice to the cooler. The fuel dock is in a tight inside corner and is occupied by a big motor cruiser so we take water and wait. 

Once these chores are done, we motor down the canal towards downtown Ottawa. We fueled ahead of Relax and reach the Pretoria Avenue Lift Bridge in time to have the bridge tender lift the bridge before the midday rush hour “no opening” period. 

Reaching the Parks Canada wall we’re surprised to find only a few boats and plenty of room to tie up.

Our first order of business is to pick up the oven part which has been shipped to the UPS store here. Once that is securely in Craig’s pack, we stop for lunch. 

Back at the boat we find Tom and Jane have tied up and resting in their air conditioned cabin. 

Craig and I head back out to the Byway Market. The main building was the main market in this area back when most goods where transported by barges and horse draw carts. Now it is filled with restaurants, small shops, and tourist trinkets. Outside there are temporary stalls with lovely fresh fruits and vegetables. 

After a brief rest back on the boat, we head out with the Relax crew for pizza at Fiazza Fresh Fired where we enjoy our first good (actually excellent!) pizza in Canada.
Returning to the boats we pick-up our folding chairs and head over to the Parliament building for the evening light show. On our way we pass several musicians playing for “spare change” including 2 violin players, a young man in full regalia playing the bagpipes, and a very good guitarist. The guitarist is middle aged and looks down on his luck. He’s very skilled and I can’t help but wonder what happened that so derailed his life. 

At the Parliament there is a large group doing some sort of yoga in a cordoned off area. Discovering there is plenty of space beyong this mass, we get our chairs set up on the lawn and wait. 

The light show is displayed on the Parliament building with quite an elaborate set-up of lights and sound. As this July was Canada’s 150th anniversary, the show concentrates on the forming of the nation and the modern make-up of the counrty. There is much emphasis on the shared values and morales of the Canadian peoples. Tom and Jane tell us that when they were last here 4 years ago the show was very different, concenrating on the land and the animals.

Sunday, August 13, Burrit to Black Rapids

Sunday, August 13       We all walk back to the bridge hoping the morning sun will bring the waxwings out again but most seem to be feeding eslewhere. 

Departing the dock about 11am, we motor the long stretch (25 miles+) to the next locks and lock down through the Long Island flight to continue heading north. We start out passing along a shallow river with marshy borders through large, prosperous looking farms. 

Soon we are in suburbia on a sunny Sunday afternoon. Watercraft of all kinds goes zipping around us. Arriving at the Long Island flight locks we discover they are in the process of an up lockage. Long Island is a very popular spot. There are many dockage spots, wide lawn areas with picnic tables, and an anchorage favored for swimming. We wait for about 40 minutes for those boats to clear and then head into the lock. 

From Long Island it’s about 5 miles to Black Rapids. Leaving Long Island we learn there are no boats tied up at Black Rapids so we motor down the 5 miles. Soon we arrive, get tied up, and plugged in. A couple of hours later, 3 express cruisers arrive and take the remaining power spots. This area is also quite popular with city folk. There are a number of families picnicing as well as fishermen trying their luck. On the far side of the lock, the dam is spilling quite a bit of water as the effort to lower the water levels continues.