August 2 – 7, 2019

(Readers, please feel free to skip this paragraph as it is more for our records than of interest to you!)

August 2 – TSW Lock 12 Campbellford to Rice Lake Anchorage (33 miles & 5 locks)

August 3 – Rice Lake to Peterborough City Marina (24 miles & 1 lock)

August 5 – Peterborough Marina to Lock 22 at Nassau Mills (5 miles & 3 locks)

August 6 – Lock 22 to Lock 26 at Lakefield (5 miles & 4 locks)

August 7 – Lock 26 to Lock 31 at Buckhorn (22 miles & 3 locks)

August 8 – Lock 31 Buckhorn to Lock 32 at Bobcaygeon (18 miles & 0 locks but weather)

Miles traveled this blog: 107

Total Miles Traveled:  6567

After three days at Campbellford celebrating and preparing, we ventured into more locking challenges.  On the waterways before the Trent Severn (TSW) we had been alone in the locks or with Melody but now the traffic picked up and locking became a three but most often four boat adventure.  Thus, more difficult and time-consuming waiting for space, getting everyone in, secured and back out again safely.  Captain skill levels vary considerably!

On our first night out of Campbellford we anchored in Rice Lake.  It was a gorgeous day and the forecasts were all good so we pulled up to a beautiful spot within First Nation territory, dropped anchor and had a refreshing swim, tasty dinner, quiet evening and energizing cup of morning coffee onboard.




















Sunset complete with fire tower watching over the islands.

S8eVbd%kR86FduKPEupsugMelody, in first light.


See the ripple (center) caused by a little fish in the stillness.

3KbogiG5TJOeqIKBGnSnHQJfi05a6nTbeJtrSI0Gi+wQDaybreak, 8/3/19

The 45 locks on the TSW are really only 42 because some locks are “missing” or were decommissioned years ago.  However, I mainly want to highlight the Peterborough Lift Lock, the most spectacular so far.  We arrived a day ahead of our planned lift in order to take a tour of the lock and understand how it works, what to expect and what will be expected of us going through.   The Parks Canada people were more than accommodating to the 12 Loopers.

478reWdTSPurUzr3el0JOwApproach to Peterborough Lift Lock – only slightly intimidating!

ShFtrUGtSryqcSYVsjp8KQPeterborough Lift Lock looking up.


Peterborough Lift Lock looking down.

yigcR1XDTEK10pcAFojUhgThe shaft that carries on tubs – looking at ground level.  There is an 85′ hold in the ground that the shaft descends and raises with each lift for each tub.

IMG_1867On tour under the lift learning more than I ever cared to know about physics!

IMG_4400Jim and Dan conversing with the Lift Lock Master and tour guide.  What a great teacher!


Lucky Julie (Pilgrim) was selected to work the lock for a complete lift including p.a. announcements for the crowds.  Go Julie Go!

IMG_4399Our tour group including Misty, Encore, JADIP, Pilgrim, Melody and Namaste!

Briefly, the famous Peterborough Lift Lock was completed in 1904 at a cost of $500,000 and was an engineering marvel of the time (look for it on YouTube).  The mechanism basically consists of two tubs side-by-side, each weighing 1300 tons when filled.  One tub is always up and the other is always down balancing one another.  Boats (1-6/tub depending upon size) enter the lower tub and others enter the higher tub at the upper level.  When it is time to transition or lower one and raise the other, an extra foot of water (130 tons) is released into the upper tub allowing it to push down 65’ and raise the lower tub 65’ to the top level taking only 90 seconds.  The tubs are then fastened into place and that extra foot of water is released from what is now the lower tub.  The gates open and everyone goes happily on their way.  Actually, this type of lift is in some ways easier to manage because there is no water turbulence involved for the boaters.   An important take away was that the simplicity of design has withstood the test of time.  Any attempts to upgrade it with newer technology have ended in disappointment.


This picture is a little confusing but taken by me as we were lifting and the other tub (center bottom) was lowering.  Note the rounded grate access door and the orange life ring.

Then it was full speed ahead to complete the many locks, tying-up overnight to the rural, pristine adjacent parks with no power or facilities but an abundance of peace and quiet.  Two consecutive nights we slept to the tune of muffled but roaring waterfalls.  Have I mentioned the Loons?  We have seen and heard several but they are difficult to photograph as they prefer to dive.  However, two have responded to Jim’s Loon whistle by rearing, puffing their white chests, and spreading their wings in acknowledgement of their reputation and beauty.  Next to the Blue Heron, my favorite bird of the trip!

8gQu1X%jSXO2ZyRwa6zOXgMy best Loon photo so far!

At last the pressure of continuous locks has subsided and we find ourselves in the middle of Ontario Cottage Country, northwest of Toronto – spectacular and clearly the highlight of the Trent-Severn Waterway.  There aren’t words so I will let the photos speak for themselves.










Today our plan had been to get to Fenelon Falls but we bailed below the Bobcaygeon Lock due to the weather forecast of thunderstorms and high winds.  We grabbed a coveted, free wall with power deciding to spend the day and night.  There seems to be good shopping here too!   At first it looked like the weather might pass over but we are currently sitting in one of the heaviest downpours we have seen all summer accompanied by lightening, low visibility and high winds.  Whew, dodged that bullet. Captain Jim, thanks for the right call!  Since the winds tomorrow are predicted in the 20-33 range we will probably stay another day.

d0BvM4G9SCyjdaPXEeENVQNamaste at rest in Bobcaygeon

DDx3r4lTS9yr9eMByTEBOQIf there aren’t flowers it isn’t Canada!

Good Boat Name:  Sun Burn (on a sailboat with red canvass)

Bad Boat Name:  Cirrhosis of the River

Quote of the Day:  “We cannot force someone to hear a message they are not ready to receive, but we must never underestimate the power of planting a seed.”  _the Mankind Project

Happy Birthday to:  Joe, Judy, Libby, Kirsten,

Congratulations to:  Author Mike on his new book, Grind.  We are so very proud of you!










Kingston’s Confederation Basin to a mooring ball in Picton, Ont. (38 miles and 0 locks)

Picton to Port Trent Marina (42 miles and 0 locks)

Port Trent Marina onto the Trent Severn Waterway (TSW)  Lock #7 (8 miles and 7 locks)

TSW Lock #7 to Lock #12 and Campbellford (17 miles and 5 locks)

Miles traveled this blog: 105

Total miles traveled:  6460

Kingston was a wonderful stay with great shops, where Jim bought a new hat, I added to my pitcher collection and we had a delightful dinner at Cheze Piggy.  After three days of rest and regrouping we moved on to the small town of Picton where we picked-up (pun intended) a mooring ball at the local yacht club, toured town and enjoyed a most peaceful evening on the fly bridge after the threat of a storm that never materialized.  We declined an invitation to a dart throwing competition at the yacht club.

The boat next to us at sunset on a ball in Picton

Jim rowing Sammy back from her morning walk at the Yacht Club

A Great Blue Heron in the golden glow of sunrise.

Meeting up with Dan and Jenny Lynn on Melody going into Trenton, Ontario

This day led us into the lovely Port Trent  marina where we stayed two nights.  Great people, nice amenities and free laundry (it is the little things in life)!  The showers rank in the top 5 of those visited throughout the Loop and may end up second only to our home-port at the Harborage in Boyne City!

Port Trent City Marina – one of the best yet!  All Loopers pass here and stage for beginning the Trent Severn.

Dock-Tales at Port Trent and some people with whom we are still traveling.

We are now beginning to merge with the Loopers with whom we parted ways at Waterford on their way through the Erie Canal – a much shorter route than the Northern Triangle (Champlain, Chambly, Richelieu, St. Lawrence, Ottawa River, and Rideau) that we had just accomplished but we all then meet here at the mouth or east end of the Trent-Severn Waterway for the next leg of the trip.

Now, lest you think this adventure is all about reading True Love Magazine and eating chocolate bonbons, let me tell you about the next two days.  Not wanting to travel on the weekend with the local recreational boaters, we left the marina early on Monday morning heading to the fuel dock for diesel and a pump out and then on to Lock #1 just a mile ahead.

There is another boat on the other side of the one on the far right.  By the time we got docked there were 5 more boats waiting.

We arrived at the fuel dock only to determine that we were 6th in line. There wasn’t room to tie up so we proceeded to dance around out in the river awaiting someone’s departure.  Finally, we were waved into a much too small space next to a construction site where air hammers and suction machines where pounding and whining away at top speed and decibels.  You can see the yellow digger to the left.  The noise was beyond intolerable and Sammy had that stressed, get me out of here look on her face.  Two hours and forty minutes after leaving our slip at the marina we finally pulled away from the dock with 440 liters of diesel, a pump out and our pockets lighter by $600.   However, not before our gas tank burped some air spilling diesel all over the port side deck, the result of a too-fast fill combined with a plugged vent caused by a mud-dobber!  Even after efforts at clean up, the smell permeated our day.  But alas, we crossed under the bridge into the long-awaited Trent Severn Waterway.  Our plan was to clear 6 locks and stay at the town of Frankford meeting up with friends from the fleet of 2015 on Sum Escape.

All went well for Locks 1-5 when the wind kicked up and we learned that there wasn’t any room for us at Lock 6.  Either we would stay at Lock 5 or move on to Lock 7 where the preferred dockage was at the top of the lock so one more lock to climb.  For good or ill we moved on to the bottom of lock 7 hoping to beat some of the crowd staying at lock 6 while waving at friends Tom and Julie as we passed by.  The TSW locks are somewhat harder (higher lift, smaller space and more turbulent) than those we had encountered previously and I was having trouble holding the bow line tight around the cable.  In addition, during Lock 6 the boat-hook jammed between the windshield of the boat and the lock wall with the boat bouncing and me unable to do anything.  Jim yelled at me to “let go” which, of course, was not the issue.  Miraculously the current in the lock shifted, the wall let go of the boat and the mangled hook was set free with neither the boat nor me any the worse for wear.  At this point in the day we were exhausted and ready to stop but had to push on to complete another 8 miles (about an hour) and yet one more lock before we managed an untidy tie-up for the night some 10 hours after our showers that morning.  Oh, did I mention that the heat index was 94 and while there was power at Lock 6, not so at Lock 7?  Jenny Lynn and Dan had us for supper and we relished in their generator driven air conditioning but still slept on the Namaste in smothering heat.

Namaste docked at the top of Lock #7.  Nothing around except a rusty old railroad swing bridge that hasn’t been used in years.

We wrote it off as a less that pleasant day and hoped for a better start in the morning but not so.  We awoke to light rain predicted to last all day and while we could have stayed at Lock #7 there was absolutely nothing there so we risked moving forward.  Locks 8-10 went well.  The rain and cooler temps were actually welcomed and the visibility remained good.

Except for getting pretty wet, we easily proceeded to Locks 11 & 12 just prior to our destination of Campbellford.  We entered the huge lift lock with no problems, placed our bow and stern lines around the cables (see the black lines hanging from the top of the cement along the sides of the lock) and I walked to mid-ship to turn off the engine – a lock rule instituted to reduce the diesel fumes for health and safety.  As I did so the lock master announced over an unexpected loud speaker “hold onto your lines, we are going up,” – sounding as if he was announcing some kind of carnival ride!

Lock #11 going in.  (picture taken later on a walk as we are way too busy to shoot pics during the locking procedure)

Lock #11 from above – about a 25 foot lift.

As I moved quickly forward to get my lines around a cleat for stability, water gushed into the chamber and threw the Namaste’s bow left, away from the right side wall with me watching as the lines slid right out of my hands and the bow continuing to swing left toward the opposite wall.  This was a disaster in the making but three things were on our side:  the length of the Namaste was longer than the width of the chamber so we couldn’t get sideways or even worse rotated in the lock; the anchor kept the bow of the boat from scraping against the wall; and thirdly Captain Jim was still at the stern hanging on tightly to his line. As terrified and helpless as I felt for what seemed like an eternity the water eventually quit gushing whirlpools of water at us and as it settled, I pushed hard for several minutes to get us off the offending wall while Jim was able to pull us back snug to the appropriate wall. I got my line back around the cable and we proceeded as if nothing had happened. Dan standing on the stern of Melody, just 6 feet ahead of us watching said, and I quote, “Now that was quite a side-trip.”  Although funny now, at the time I was ready to throw in the towel or anything within my reach at anyone within hitting distance.  My arm and shoulder muscles are still sore today!  We have completed 12 of the  42 locks on the TSW with 30 to go before we get into the open water of the Georgian Bay.

A mile and a half later we were tied up to the city wall, in a peaceful park with power in the darling town of Campbellford.  It was a pay for two nights and get a third night free so we are happily staying three.

Chamber of Commerce tourist center, boat marina, and licensing bureau!


Huge Replica of the Toonie – Canadian $2 coin.


Dinner in the Park with our boating buddies, the Girvans.

Namaste docked at the Campbellford Old Mill Park.  Lovely spot!

After a good night’s sleep and a sharp talking to myself, I was back in shape enough to begin planning for Jim’s 75th birthday!  It turned out to be a wonderful day beginning with a four-mile hike to the Ranney Falls Gorge and walk across the suspension bridge, sharing a pan of pecan rolls at the Doohers Bakery, a beard trim, reading, naps, dock-tales on Melody and a fabulous dinner at Antonia’s Bistro for 12 Loopers complete with Jim’s favorite, a carrot cake.  It may be one of our most memorable Looping restaurant meals!  Happy birthday Buddy!

Sammy, what do you mean you’re not going to walk on that grate?


A couple hundred yard run just for fun!


Dock-Tales and laughs on Melody

Dinner at Antonia’s

A big birthday wish!

Good Boat Name:  Gratitude Adjustment

Quote of the Day: “Here in Canada, many of us believe we are witnessing the fall of the U.S. empire.  Would a civilized country limit health care or food assistance for the poor; leave crops rotting in the fields; destroy the educational system; target women and attempt to eliminate their reproductive rights while refusing to help resulting babies; abuse desperate immigrants; pretend to believe in Christianity while perverting and debasing its tenets; and refuse to protect the Earth from destruction.  The world is watching.”  Paul F. Hacker

Happy Birthday to Jim and Jane

Feel better soon Margaret


Let’s Redo the Rideau

July 14 – Dows Lake to Hurst’s Marina (19 miles and 7 locks)

July 15 – Hurst’s Marina to Merrickville (23 miles and 7 locks)

July 17 – Merrickville to Smith Falls (15 miles and 5 locks)

July 18 – Smith Falls to Newboro Lock (17 miles and 6+2 locks)

July 20  — Newboro to Morton Bay ( 19+6 miles and 7 locks)

July 21 — Morton Bay to Upper Brewers Lock (11 miles and 0 locks)

July 22 — Upper Brewers lock to Kingston (17 miles and 7 locks)

Miles Traveled this Blog:  121

Total Miles Traveled: 6355

As indicated by the title above, we loved traveling the Rideau (pronounce Redo)!  The entire trip from Waterford to Kingston through Champlain, Montreal, Ottawa, and the Rideau is considered a side-trip of the regular Loop route which goes from Waterford through the Erie Canal and to Kingston. This Northern Triangle Loop was a section of the route that we had anticipated as our 2015 boat buddies, Ron and Vicki on Sea to See talked about it often and fondly.  It lived up to every expectation – difficult but beautiful, remote but friendly, cold when they were there in June, 2015 but hot, hot for us in July, 2019!

p1UTsW6NS6mg40s3EvjlEAOne of the many picturesque scenes along the Rideau and yes, we had to go through that narrow passage!

 We left Dows Lake on a quiet, beautiful Monday morning with clean laundry, full water tanks, empty holding tank and cupboards & fridge full — ready to traverse the Rideau Canal.  This is yet another Canadian historic canal site operated by the Canadian Parks System the route of which (Ottawa to Kingston) has been in use since the beginning of recorded history.  During the war of 1812 Kingston (at the SE end of the canal on Lake Ontario) was an important British Naval Base and because of the hostilities between England the Americans, the British became concerned about the supply route between Kingston and Quebec and thus, the Rideau Canal was constructed.  Along the way, fortifications were built to defend the waterway against America and remnants can still be seen.  The canal was never used militarily but did support successful commerce until railroad transport became available.  Small towns and villages sprang up along the banks and particularly at the locks.  Today the Rideau is a pleasure craft highway but has maintained the rural nature and historic manual operation of 170 years ago.  It is a national treasure!  The route is 126 miles with 49 locks depending on how you count them but that is another story.

wBnV7KFjQPeENoM+hUlopwRemember these?  Christ Craft of the 1950’s.

wZezqYDARlqfk5mmhRHMjwJonathan Livingston Seagull allowing our safe passage!

TfbujRbNTaKUXkzr6qruewRements of a Shoal Tower – One of the types of fortification along the Rideau

After miles of gorgeous scenery, beautiful homes and quaint cottages, our first stop was Hurst Marina because it had a pool and the heat was blistering 90+ after 9 pm.  We swam for several hours getting our body temperatures down while the plugged-in Namaste was generating cool air for sleeping.  The only time we can run air conditioning is when we are plugged in at a dock through a big yellow cord.  This is becoming important!

3sicutCtQCCALEY22JP3wgCaptain Jim swimming in the pool.  I cannot explain how refreshing it felt that day.

Next stop was Merrickville and perhaps the most interesting of our stops along the Rideau.  It is a darling little town with a blockhouse museum and park right at the lock.  Shopping was high-end with lots of cute, unusual and yet unnecessary stuff.  I so wanted to bring home a 10’ metal giraffe sculpture but Jim said I would have to sleep with him.  Shopping and a pedicure melted away the recent stressful and hot 7 lock days.  After solving some non-urgent medical issues in the group we shared a lovely dinner and ice cream with Dan and Jenny Lynn!  We even made an early run to Nana B’s bakery for her famous butter tarts the morning we left.

s+x2vX7cQ%KDKlewidlVdAHeading to dinner in Merrickville across the lock from the Namaste.

YKHDCZqFQuK6IEfhMohzCgNanna B makes great butter tarts and beautiful flowers!

Smith Falls lock and a larger but less quaint town welcomed us.  Most importantly we encountered our first close-up Loon and Swan in route.  The Falls were lovely but even better was the Smith Falls “beach” on a 90+ degree evening.  The beach was really a laddered cement wall in a clean water basin offering us the first real lake swimming of the season.  We stayed afloat on our noodles as the raft accommodated the towns young teens:  running, jumping, screaming and splashing until almost dark — just like the old days on any lake in Michigan.

VHrQjs%5Q%yp6d0v%UzVPQOur nightly goal was to stay up long enough to hear the Loons

CUI3wqDjSs663Iq5f3SbwgSammy says “hi” but when no food appeared the Swan hissed at her and moved on.

A few more bridges and locks and we arrived at the Newboro Lock.  As you can see by our mileage above, our daily progress was slow with between 5 and 7 locks to manage with intense heat and a growing collection of boats with whom we traveled.  The more boats in a lock the longer it takes.  The more boats in the waterway the longer the waits.  We spent two nights here because we had power, thus air for  better cooking and sleeping.  We swam off this dock in the lake at the end of the lock.

+CGf4CbuTkysyKhJuDYwywPeaceful and some of the best swimming so far.  Water temps were 80 degrees F.

OgaX0ENKRs6odfGey+oIvwA homemade vessel on a three week holiday.  The captain wants to do the Loop but wife says, not on this boat!!!

Morton Bay was by far the highlight of the Rideau as far as serenity and beauty.  We arrived Saturday afternoon to lots of boats in the anchorage and everyone playing in the water.  After two attempts we got the anchor to hold, put on our suits and joined the fun.  By 8 pm all local boats were gone except Melody and Namaste as severe thunderstorm warnings had been posted.  We were concerned but felt save in our totally protected anchorage with high stone cliffs around us.  The storms never materialized and we heard Loons and saw a far off lightening show late into the evening.  The following morning was likely one of the longest and most peaceful cups of coffee we have shared in our 53 years together.  Even a little skinny dipping (no pictures)!

OrigylkQRIuF34yaG9hceAOne of the highlights of anchoring:  Sammy to shore at least 3X a day.

ndl59UloR%GlInDLR%ysZgDoes it get any more lovely than this!

GpTKmMNbTTSXut5VtD50cQAnother issue are the weeds that sometimes come up with the anchor.  It was as big and heavy as a Christmas tree but a few whacks with the machete knife and they fell away.

The following day was a short 11 miles and no locks to Upper Brewers Bay where we secured above another lock on a powered dock.  Funny story here!  The lock master asked us to move the Namaste up the dock so that a 44’ houseboat could pull into the space behind us.  Fair enough until we learned that he was having engine trouble and could only move forward at high rpms – too fast for docking. About ten men including the staff helped him out of the lock, turned 180 degrees around and cozied up to the dock behind us without hitting anything, including us.  Hear applause!  Carburetor class then ensued on a picnic table with master engineer Dan Girvan teaching the specifics of unclogging the idle and low speed carburetor jets.  Success – again, hear applause and a very grateful houseboat owner!

EZMb7f8iRGysHCxRsZHnnQAhhhhh, fresh water lake swimming!

The next morning we were first into the lock with three larger-than-us boats destined to travel together for the day.  After squeezing into 7 locks with only inches to spare on each end and between boats, a nerve weary group pulled out of the Rideau and into the St. Lawrence Seaway, waited 40 minutes for a 2’ above the water swing bridge to open and scurried for the Confederation Basin in Kingston, Ontario.  We will stay here three nights to regroup, provision, do the laundry, change the oil and manage some sight-seeing of this lovely city which hosts Queens University and three colleges.  It has finally cooled down and we love having the boat windows open and sight-seeing in the cool fresh air.

TIqfNk9sR8iSqr+zbmOKiwYet another unusual bridge as we head into Kingston.  Note the three small sailing school vessels ahead.

ESeEAdfuSnqQ%YlG9XuV7AGuess where we are?

ipKe1GFxTAKf+QYrmfthFwNobody has a prettier waterfront park than Kingston, Ontario.

Good Boat Name:  Soul Purpose

Bad Boat Name:  Sooper Pooper (now really – did I say we weren’t seeing bad names?)

Quote of the Day: fullsizeoutput_10039

Happy Birthday to:  Dawn, Lynn

Happy Baby Felix at 4 months:IMG_3896Caption:  Of course I want to go boating with Grandma and Grandpa!

Happy Super Starter Lookout Campers:IMG_3997 Nate & Leonie (lost a front tooth the first official day of camp).







“Children are the Rainbow of Life. Grandchildren are the Pot of Gold!” –unknown

July 9-14, 2019

July 9 – Rockcliffe Boathouse Marina

July 10 – Stair-Step Locks into downtown Ottawa (2 miles)

July 11 – Ottawa

July 12 – Ottawa to Dow’s Lake (3.5 miles)

July 13 Dow’s Lake

Miles traveled this blog: 5.5

Total miles traveled:  6184.5

As excited grandparents, it was a long day waiting to go to the airport to meet our 13 year old grandson, Lee’s, flight into Ottawa-YOW from DTW at 3:45 p.m.  Unfamiliar with this airport and since he was an unaccompanied minor we were determined to leave enough time for any glitches on our end.  We caught an Uber at 12:45 and arrived at the airport at 1:15 learning in route that his flight was delayed by 2 hours.  Back in our dating days we used to go to the Willow Run Airport just to watch the travelers so figured we could easily entertain ourselves.  As it turns out, YOW is a lovely and easy airport but also read that as small.  Jim wondered out-loud how many Tim Horton’s donuts he could eat in the next four hours.  Anyway, Lee arrived at 6 p.m. all smiles and ready for our adventure.

Our happy and healthy 13 year old grandson, Lee

Back at the Namaste we grilled burgers and ate homemade potato salad.  It was an absolutely gorgeous evening so the fast boats were running up and down the river creating some chop bouncing us around.  Lee looked a little askance but as the evening wore on the boat traffic reduced and the Namaste settled down at her mooring and Lee settled into the v-berth. It was early to bed as it would be a 6 am revelry.

We prepared to move the two miles to the bottom of the Ottawa 8 stair-step locks where we met Melody waiting at the blue line of the pre-lock wall.  They had been anchored for several days waiting for us. At 9:00 the Canada Parks team showed up to help us lock through.

sj0Sc9UhTtiVLeHpO+0JogA port (left) turn immediately after this bridge and we were at the famous stair-step locks of Ottawa.


The Namaste and crew awaiting entrance into Lock #1

As the morning wore on tourists gathered all along both sides of the canal and at the bridge on top!  We found them to be interested and energizing.

Checking out the locks from the top!  Let’s get this show on the road!

K206pyhORYClwgKAdnLe2gEntering Lock #1 – repeat X7.  The bow deckhand (me) grabs the black cable with a boat hook and wraps a line securely around it while the aft deckhand hopes the boat stays close enough to the wall to grab a following cable and get the line around.  Then as the water gushes into the chamber we must hold the lines keeping the boat secure in it’s place.  Melody was secured on the opposite wall with about 5′ between the two boats.  The captain’s job is to get the boat into the lock and against the wall without gouging all that beautiful wood along the cement walls.  We have certainly had our moments.

QQnB5YibRUaR34T9HARfigLearning the ropes – literally!

fullsizeoutput_ff4b“Hey Lee, how is it going back there?  I got this Grandma!”

Lee was our starboard aft deckhand and like the star that he is,  he learned the line and fender routines quickly.  Unfortunately no action shots as I was busy at the starboard bow and Captain Jim was at the helm with the two extra hands a huge bonus.  In fact, we decided that Lee just needed to stay the rest of the summer to help with the Rideau and Trent/Severn locks.   From beginning to end it took 2 hours of intense and careful maneuvering for a perfect, if hot, locking day.  Exhausted, we tied to the city wall just above the locks for days 2 and 3.

QkSJFImxSNWoyF1C7XPGnwOn the Ottawa wall – free with our Parks Canada Pass plus $10 for power.  Namaste is about halfway back.  Right in the heart of Ottawa.  Walking distance to everything and yet a quiet and serene setting!

When the work of getting the Namaste into downtown was over and we had a good rest, our time in Ottawa was then a mix of sightseeing; stops to eat and drink along the way as it was hot; multiple games of Gin and Scrabble; giving Sammy a needed bath; and finally trying to save a baby squirrel were all packed into two and a half days.


Changing of the Guard on Parliament Hill complete with bagpipe and marching bands!   Parliament building is to the right.


Keeping everyone safe.  We watched as this medic eyed a guard’s knife accidentally drop to the ground, alerted security who then retrieved it without a break in cadence.  In an unrelated instance we witnessed a man standing on the rail of the bridge at the top of the locks.  Authorities stopped all traffic, cleared the area and had him safely down in short order.

Northern Light and Sound Show on Parliament Hill highlighting Canadian History every single night at 10 p.m. from July 9 thru September 8 since 1984!!!  We were a little eager and our 8:30 arrival resulted in some lengthy lawn sitting but we learned much about the French and English influence on Canada.

The National Art Gallery of Canada!  A spectacular building and great exhibits. The building itself was most welcoming and an exhibit in itself.  See far left of the picture.

Ceiling of the National Gallery taken from the lobby.

Enjoying one of the interior gardens with Lee explaining something or another to us.  His exposure to and interest in art through Veta and Baba was delightful to experience.

Our pretty walk back to the boat along the Rideau Canal park and Locks.

Women are People Monument.  The sculpture depicting the Women’s Movement and 5 important female activists of the time.  All more than life size.


Eternal Flame War Memorial

Healthy stuff


Good stuff at the Byward Outdoor Market

An early morning coffee stop.

Fun dinner at The Grand – local pizza establishment!

Scrabble with a little red licorice mixed in.

   Oh Sammy, We know you hate this but you will smell so much better!

Baby squirrel found by Canal police.  Jim came up with a syringe to feed him a little milk.  Officer Sommers said she would care for him in her pocket until it was time to go home.

On day 4 it was time to think about moving to the Marina at Dows Lake which was close to the airport and allowed Lee a little more Namaste travel time on the Loop.  This brief but beautiful trip felt like we were in the canals of France.

There was a constant stream of bikers and walkers the five miles from Ottawa to Dows Lake.

Dow’s Lake Marina where we spent our final overnight together.  Upon arrival, we all celebrated with a long shower Chicken Parmesan cooked on the boat and a quiet evening before Lee’s 9 am departure.  As any grandparent will attest, sharing time with a precious 13 year old grandson is the best ever.  Such an adventure can also be slightly anxiety provoking that all goes well.  We were gifted with both – time and perfection!

All too soon it is time to say good-by.  Lee wasn’t having any part of spending the rest of the summer as a deck-hand and although we are sad to see him go it was such an important time for the three of us!

Good Boat Name:  I had one but cannot now remember it.  Still lots of boat names in French.

There are simply no bad boat names.  Boring maybe, but nothing too bad.

Quote of the Day:  “Any day with a grandchild in our arms, on our lap, in our home, on our mind or, even better, on our boat is a very good day!”

Happy Belated Birthday to Harlene, Jo,

Happy Anniversary on Sunday to Pat and Heather






The Northern or Triangle Looper Route Showcases the Magnificant Canadian Waterways.

July 3-8, 20019

July 3 – Montreal to St. Anne de Bellevue (34 miles & 2 locks)

July 4 – St. Anne de Bellvue to Hawksbury, Ontario (36 miles and 2 locks)

July 6 – Hawksbury to Montebello QE (18 miles)

July 8 – Montebello to Ottawa, Rockcliffe Boathouse Marina (42 miles)

Miles traveled this blog:  130

Total miles traveled:  6179

Add Ontario as second Provence

We left Montreal on a beautiful morning but with some trepidation about getting through a few more miles of quick current and two commercial locks, the first ones for which we had to pay a $30 fee each because they weren’t included in our Parks Canada Pass.  As we pulled up to the Lambert lock it was clear that a large freighter was coming through toward us and we would have to wait for him to pass. We tied up to a lock-side dock, Jim climbed the flight of stairs to inform the lockmaster that there were 5 boats ready to lock through and give our credit card #.  Apparently, you can now pay online but we hadn’t gotten the memo.  Ultimately all five boats were tied up or rafted and it was an uneventful lift.

SciCbQr0ThC9ZopuP1a54ADeparture view of Montreal.


Approaching the Lambert Lock.  See the massive freighter, the white square pilothouse in the middle of the lift, and the rest of us milling around/standing off.


Breakaway rafting to Melody in a lock.  Our AGLCA flag in the foreground.

The next lock about a mile and a half upstream, St. Catherine’s, was expecting us so all five boats lined up and entered in order.  We were rafted onto Break Away, a nice Looping couple from Tampa who plan to complete in 8 months compared to our 4+ years!  Suffice it to say that this was perhaps our most exciting lock so far but thanks to Jim’s athleticism, we were none the worse for wear.  A story to share over dinner sometime.  Don’t even have a picture, wish I had a video!

The rest of that day we crossed Lac St. Louis which is a large, shallow lake and reminded us of Lake Okeechobee (I can still spell it) in FL.  There was barely a ripple the entire day, truly Vicki water.  We arrived at the St. Anne de Bellevue lock and city wall in time for both Melody and Namaste to get the last 2 available spots.  We dinghied across what is now the end of the St. Lawrence and beginning of the Ottawa River to a restaurant for some refreshment on a blistering hot afternoon and also so that we could tie up the dinghy while we provisioned.  The town is quaint with restaurants and shops as well as a small but high-end grocery.  Most delightfully, as we were standing in line to pay, an employee suggested that they deliver the bags to our boats.  I commenced running around adding as much to the cart as time would allow – mostly drinks for these hot days.


The quaint town of St. Anne de Bellevue.  Restaurants and shops across the river.

At precisely 9 am the next morning the doors opened and we left the dock to enter the St. Ann de Bellevue Lock (the busiest in Canada) and further on the Carillon Lock (a guillotine style and the highest lift in Canada of 65 feet).  The pictures tell her story!


Waiting in line for the Carillon Lock – biggest drop/lift in Canada.


From the bottom of the Carillon Lock.  The brown dock on the right lifts with us and is the best/safest/easiest securing system of any lock we have seen.

We arrived at the Hawksbury city wall in some surprise current and were disappointed to see it was basically located along a dusty parking lot.  However, first impressions are often misleading and this turned out to be the case as it was a quiet and lovely spot complete with a stone house accommodating a museum, tourist center, café, and lovely restrooms and with an interesting art-laden park next door.  We stayed an extra day because the local people were so nice, Jenny Lynn liked their mocha latte’s but mostly because of stormy weather that really never materialized.  The rain created mud and two dirty dogs but still very worth the stop!



Coffee shop and barista Trevor at Hawksbury.  He couldn’t have been nicer or more helpful – the promise of youth!


Museum in the Hawksbury.  Also tourist center/cafe and music studio.  We were treated to a piano concert on the grand piano in residence.  Really a music lesson in progress.

Next up was Chateau Montebello and perhaps one of the most anticipated stops of the trip!  A Fairmont Resort in Quebec (north side of the river) and one of the 19 Canadian Pacific Railroad Hotels of the 1920’s and 30’s which are as lovely today as they were almost 100 years ago.  This one is reported to be the largest log building in the world.  Everything on the property is log including the small, quaint marina with showers and laundry less than 100 paces from the Namaste.  We stayed an extra day instead of moving along to anchor as planned.  It was simply two wonderful to leave.  Hours in the pool, dinner with Jenny Lynn and Dan at the Steakhouse, and long walks in the woods were highlights.


A main entrance to Montebello.  The place is massive but couldn’t get far enough away to get a picture to do it justice.  The landscaping and trees were beautiful and the building goes on forever.  Highly recommended as a summer get-away!


Lobby and restaurant of Montebello.  All set up for Sunday brunch.


Love a nice pool every now and then.

But on Monday morning it was time to move on to get to Ottawa and meet Lee.  We cast off by 7 am since we wanted to arrive in time to clean the boat and get ready for our favorite oldest grandson’s visit.  It was a perfect day on the most beautiful Ottawa River.  We are approaching the Boathouse Marina now with perhaps not my favorite dockmaster but we shall see.


Namaste from the Embassy Hill neighborhood where Jim and I walked 4.3 miles this morning.


USA Embassy – picture taken from the deck of the Namaste.


Lovely dinner at the Rockcliffe Boat House.  Another great memory!


Sunset over the beautiful Ottawa River!  Sometimes busy with recreational boat traffic but now quiet and serene.   Bedtime!

Good Boat Name:  UGOGAL on a classic 50’ Hatteras in the Montebello Marina

Quote of the Day:  A French speaking Canadian man on our dock as we were all swatting mosquitos at dusk last night, “I call them little Trumps!”  Sadly, we all laughed heartily!

Thinking about you:  Alan and Lila onboard Blue Haven who are doing a 33 hour crossing from Maine to Nova Scotia today!  They made it!!

Sammy Sayz:  Hi you guys!  All is good here onboard the Namaste.  I love the life, having smelled smells and met dogs beyond my wildest imagination.  I do hate being leashed on the flying bridge during locking and docking procedures as that wastes precious time for meeting people and perhaps getting an occasional treat.  They do not respond to my whimpering turned screaming and in fact seem rather annoyed with me.  Can you imagine?  Anyway I miss you all and look forward to returning home but life is good for now.







Our path to Montreal: Current, Cousins, and a Cosmopolitan city

June 23-July 2, 2019

June 24 – Rouse’s Point, NY on Lake Champlain to Saint-Jean, QE  (24 miles)

June 25 – lovely windy, rainy lay day on Saint-Jean’s free wall

June 26 – Through the Chambly Canal to the Chambly QE, free dock in a lovely park .25 miles from a market (30 miles)

June 27 – Through Lake Chambly to Ours Lock free dock in an even more wonderful park (37 miles)

June 28-July 2 – Up the Richelieu River to Sorel and then down the St. Lawrence Seaway on into Montreal (54 miles)

Miles traveled this blog:  145

Total miles traveled: 6005

Add Quebec as our first Canadian Provence

The weather couldn’t be more perfect.  We have had a ratio of at least 5 good days to 1 rainy or windy one for the past two months and the temperatures have been delightful – highs in the low 80s with lows in the low 60s.  Temperature predictions are in the 90s for the next ten days.  Hot summer has arrived!

We pulled out of Rouse’s Point on a beautiful Monday morning heading about two miles north to Canadian customs in Quebec. Somewhat anxious, we saw  customs ahead knowing that we must dock without assistance.  Meanwhile, a sailboat scooted past on our port side (cutting us off) and making it to the dock without using the channel.  Of note, it was a woman at the helm, makes me wonder if she ever went to kindergarten?  Anyway, due to lack of space we stood off for twenty minutes before proceeding into the beautifully maintained facility.  It was a gorgeous day, absolutely still and easy-peasy docking.

dYpi4jWFSZK4+P+PZA920wThe Namaste waiting patiently to clear Canadian customs.

Protocol is to raise a yellow quarantine flag, pass through customs and then raise the Canadian flag along with the American Flag flying on our stern for the remainder of the time we are in Canada.  Jim with his fat black notebook went ashore with hopefully the correct documentation we would need – passports, boat registration and insurance, and Sammy’s vaccination certificate.  After somberly reviewing our papers, the official asked me to come into the office for identification (this hadn’t happened on the previous two boats indicating the procedure is different for each reportee) and then simply asked us our destination (Detour, Michigan) and length of stay (we indicated September 7 padding a few days to our plan).  We have no firearms onboard accept our safety flare guns; were well under the alcohol limit and had only two fresh bananas we were prepared to eat if necessary which all turned out to be mute issues.

YluOeRczSbefSF3slLo%xgSee the fat, black notebook under Jim’s arm – everything we need for this trip!

bfEBlpbGSzen+5TcPnrK6gThe changing of the flags.

fullsizeoutput_fd70The Canadian flag flies high on the Namaste.

Feeling relieved and happy to be in Canada we proceeded to our planned destination of the free wall in Saint-Jean, Quebec.  As we traveled north and still in Lake Champlain although it felt more like a river, we were amazed at the number of boats and people using the waterway on what should be a quiet Monday morning.  As we moved along the Lake, the crowds increased dramatically and everyone was in a holiday mood.  Turns out it was Baptiste Day (birthday of John the Baptist) a holiday in Quebec.  Not unlike the American July 4th or Canada Day the French Canadian summer celebration was on, complete with hot dogs and beans for supper with Jenny Lynn, Dan and Mac and fireworks 150 yards off our bow.  I  held my hands over Sammy’s ears and she sat quietly watching the festivities – what a boat dog!  The next day it was windy and rained on and off until late afternoon so we let the bridge tender and lock master know we were staying for another day and wouldn’t need the bridge to go up nor would we be locking through.  Good thing, as the 9:00 post-holiday operation was quite a circus with high winds and lots of boats!

zJQcpNYIR1SEaGgxyRtgNAThe wonderful little town of Saint-Jean – rafting because it is Baptiste Day in Quebec!

fdLTNZJASi+dYjr6fSbIzQThe interesting white structure above is a new lift bridge over Lake Champlain at the Saint-Jean lock entering the Chambly Canal.  We have now seen lots of lift bridges but never anything like this one.  Just below it is the current bridge in green and apparently a major traffic nightmare.  It doesn’t even open during rush hours including the lunch hour.  9fo6P0dmT3iYC%PVAreGwwAnother view of the pretty new bridge as we pass under heading into the lock.

AkSi4dBERN+IFA7UT2QAnd the town turns out for the Baptiste Day festivities including some of the best fireworks we have ever seen.

0WPyCncySjSutCehtLyd+wAs soon as we cast off from Saint-Jean we were in the Chambly Canal, a National Historic Site of Canada and an absolute treasure running along the Richelieu River rapids!  There are ten bridges, eight of which are hand operated; and nine relatively small, 200 year-old, hand operated locks in this 7.5 mile stretch which took us about 6 hours to complete 6 of the 9 locks.  We were tired and the sky indicated a potential afternoon squall so we stopped in Chambly at lock #3 in a picturesque little town park with free wall and power.  While we manage well, life is always better with power (think air conditioning – did I mention it is hot; hair care appliances; microwave, etc!

rwx9xm8mtlmzeqggpq8uyq.jpgAn interesting swing bridge a a little crossroads somewhere on the Chambly.

eAeNtHPRT5KS3imQRwckuQThe Chambly Canal – now a National Historic Site of Canada but originally created as a means of opening the northern USA and Canada to the New York Market.

mK79KXfkSnSyRfnl+XJHXwThere were many more bikers than boats enjoying the Chambly Canal.  It was a picture from the past.

VmQIsnyxQrWuR0HTcP9s4wAnother manual bridge along the Chambly – definitely a one-at-a-time operation.

U5EkeTLaQQGezgnEBaLjWgNot a doll house but rather a Parks Canada Station along the Chambly at one of the many locks or bridges.  They were all different but of the same theme.

mxScQ9cGSbCpQUGqfkdlswThe manual gates and locks were operated mostly by college students working for Parks Canada during the summer.  They were an absolute delight.  Above, draining the lock.  Below opening the wooden gate.


cKcjPpWRQpO+ve7nb8Ub3gThe entire 200 year old lock operation, refurbished in 1983.

The town of Chambly offered two grocery stores, two ice cream stores and a concert across the river attended by what appeared to be the entire town of happy people.  We listened for awhile and then watched the democratic debate on Melody’s smart TV.  It’s magic!

kB9tYpxoTWOQXWzzW0ImCQThe town began to gather at 6 for an 8 o’clock concert.


This is an example of one of the many free walls along the Chambly.  Trivia:  Three of the important characteristics of a good overnight tie-up include nearby grass, trash and recycling.  Picture taken from the shadow of the Namaste.

NU%FMJDJQ%2%cT573oShvAThe Chambly town bridge and lock first thing in the morning.  They all open at nine precluding an early start.  Oh darn!

It is also important to note that at this dock we are 32 miles east of Montreal.  However, it is impossible to get there from here (no water) so we must travel 40 miles north to Sorel, make a  u-turn and travel 50 miles south on the St. Lawrence Seaway to Montreal.   Couldn’t they just. . .?  But I am getting ahead of myself here. . .

As I write this we are approximately at the red arrow above Plattsburg and 32 miles from Montreal.  However we must go north (Sorel) to go south (on the St. Lawrence Seaway) to go west (montreal)!

After we cleared the final three locks at Chambly, changing our strategy somewhat for safer entry and exit of these small locks, we entered Chambly Lake.  Highlights this day included watching seaplanes play touch-and-go and navigating the Namaste through the tiny opening under a railroad bridge with a crazy-fast following current.  Captain Jim crabbed us through a nail-biting 2 minutes or so – seemed like forever.

3I4hiP1pQn+akZ%VRFz4qAAnother Chambly lock.  These two were having so much fun working together that if they aren’t a couple now they soon will be!  (Yet another made-up story.)

GkyhmYhhSbCt8kg0g2a8ygEntering Lake Chambly from the last lock of this series.

er5hlmgotssgzwcbtwp4kg.jpgTouch-and-go right off our starboard bow.

Mcgn5mePSjmwvjz0awsvTQScary railroad bridge!  Captain Jim navigated us through the opening on the far right of the picture.  Coming up the Richeleau River we had to make a quick turn to port (left) and under the bridge in what felt like something only slightly less than raging current.  Whew!

We didn’t think dockage  could get any better when we came upon the Ours Lock and an even more perfect park but this time a rural campsite.  We stopped because once again the sky was threatening but almost more because this park was too good to pass up! We were again able to grab enough data to watch much of the second night of the debate.  I will keep my hopeful yet guarded comments to myself for now.

fullsizeoutput_fd35Ours Lock and Park.  See the blue painted stripe on the dock just ahead of our two boats?  Tying up there indicates you are ready to go through the lock right now.  We had already traversed the lock and were spending the night in this quaint and beautiful spot.  We were nose to the lock for smoother sleeping due to the current in this narrow spot.  The next morning we turned and were on our way.

EPY6yeGET9CXq8zuLcnjWgPicture taken in the late afternoon.  Looked like we were in for a squall but it never materialized.  A little light rain and that was it.

h+XPYFaWRDKJZW99QjCOlQAgain this park, bridge and lock (am I getting repetitive here?) is maintained by Parks Canada.  There were 6 or so of these cabins available to rent for $120 per night or about $85 in US dollars.  It was a week night and no one was in residence but they were preparing for a busy Canada Day weekend.

Our next and last segment into Montreal turns out to be a slow slog of about 54 miles because we were bucking a current of anywhere between 1 and 4 knots.  Now, that may not seem like much and probably isn’t to large and more powerful craft, but for us it slowed our progress from 7 to between 6 and 3 knots.  The closer we got to Montreal the faster the current and the slower the Namaste.  All along the St. Lawrence it was beautiful but we were on the continuous lookout for the “big boys” or ocean-going freighters going either direction.  Five of the six boats we encountered were coming toward us and because the river is wide and deep we easily stayed out of their way.  The sixth boat however passed us in a rather narrow section, giving us an uncomfortable however brief “waking”.  We knew he was coming but the 5 loud blasts indicating he was passing us on the starboard, was startling at such close range.

ZTieC+puSeSl3%uJoC1V1QMaking our U-turn onto the mighty Saint Lawrence Seaway.  Melody leading the way in smooth as glass waters.

Three of the six freighters we saw that day!

As we approached Montreal proper it was Friday afternoon of Canada Day weekend and the boat traffic (freighters, ferries, cruise ships, police boats, coast guard, large and small recreational boats and wave runners) along with the 4 knot current mentioned above made for an exciting entrance into the Port De Plaisance Real-Bouvier – our marina home for the long weekend and a 15 minute ferry ride across the river to the downtown or the Old Port de Montreal.

rwSNBOC8Qs2IpIJCi4vpyw3-4 knot current but if we stayed to the side of the channel we could sometimes reduce the impact.

We spent much of three wonderful days exploring the city including a Greyline Hop On, Hop Off  double-decker red bus tour.  We felt like a couple of old people but did I mention our temps were in the high 80s and much of what we wanted to see was spread throughout the city.  It was a great way to get our bearings and over two long days see as much as we possibly could.  As of this minute, the pictures of our touring Montreal have not downloaded from my phone to my computer.  The cloud functioning seems pretty random so I will add them at a later time after a good overnight wifi connection.  Finally got a wifi connection at Montebello and the download took about 10 minutes!  Here are a few of the pictures of our visit to Montreal.

ToP3qV2kQd+3nb27pPPMkQWelcome to Montreal!!

PL3CUrfpQs+MUxdneXBdmwMontreal City Skyscape from Mont Royale

Dz7fTJUmRxOX76QWSdNJWQChateau Mont Royale

Montreal from Mont Royale or the mountain originally owned by 7 families and sold to the city for about $1,000,000.  Mont Royale became Mont Real and eventually named the city Montreal.   The mountain is all park with easy to difficult hikes and bike rides, Chateaus and incredible vistas.  We spent most of a day here.

FBzC6jt1Q%G8O6noNJNL7QFlowers everywhere but this was my favorite.

eVtWig7MQjGjgIC4DZEJ0QBeautiful tribute to Leonard Cohen

S3ciKbc+SEmulmpXdI4rJwMontreal’s underground city, one incredible mall!

Vd1qKYx+RYGHzZ6iwbPopAThe famous Notre-Dame Bascillica Montreal

On the third day we went in late for dinner to the highly recommended Jardin Nelson which did not disappoint – complete with great service and two different jazz groups.  We were all tired but got more than our 10,000 steps just wandering around the Canada Day celebrating city after dinner.


L+rRkhFURKCrPM05B7NypQAnybody been to this place?

RmSkckGZSeuBzWWQluUAaQSome of the best food we have had on the Loop.

A word about the language and culture from my limited but observant perspective.  In the Provence of Quebec, French is spoken exclusively which can be intimidating until you learn that 105 languages are spoken in this multi-cultural city and almost everyone gives English a jolly good try.  Most young people speak fluently, almost natively.  At the same time, there remains a truly European/French feel to almost everything from the occasional abruptness of passers-by to the often less than perfect directions/explanations.  In other words, sometimes things feel just about 5 degrees askew and that is some of the delight.  An example:  after we were settled into the marina we began looking for the pool (did I mention it is hot?).  After several quests our answer was, “well yes, we are supposed to have a pool but we don’t and yup, supposed to have WIFI but it isn’t good meaning, we don’t.”  The restaurant, bathrooms, showers, and laundry were immaculate but a flight and a half of wooden outdoor stairs and a 300 yards away – no Americans for Disabilities Act here.  Somehow, I appreciate the casual style and my need to adjust.  Everyone has been friendly and inclusive at the marina, a brotherhood of boaters. Many were interested in our experience on the Loop.

IMG_3137Remnants of the Montreal 76 summer Olympic games.  The tall, tilty structure is holding up the dome below it – as seen at sunset from our marina across the St. Lawrence Seaway.

FRuK8e+wTnirLYYr8W6A%A An evening rainbow while in the Port de Plaisance Real Bovier Marina

A surreal part of this visit was meeting Jim’s cousin Suzanne Dugas, her husband Mike, their daughter Dawn and son-in-law Fred randomly on the streets.  On day #2 we were looking for a restaurant for late lunch or early dinner.  We peaked down and small ally to see what appeared to be a quiet and pretty restaurant.  As we approached, Suzy and her family were the only other people in the ally and thinking the exact same thing.  How did this meeting happen in a city of 1.78 million (smaller than Toronto but bigger than Quebec)?  The stars aligned and who will ever know the how or why but we shared family news/stories and generally enjoyed one another over a lingering dinner.  Mike and Suzy are on a motor home adventure to eastern Canada and the Maritime Provinces for the summer and Dawn and Fred are headed to Virginia Beach on vacation.


Fred, Suzy, Mike

xrcCuJFDQ927BU%gzqc2QA. . .and Dawn sharing dinner, stories and  laughs!

It was a wonderfully long Canadian holiday weekend and now it is time to move on.  We planned to leave on Tuesday (July 2nd) but Dan is having trouble with his starter and we do not yet have a permanent fix for our aft-cabin head so the captains rode bikes for parts, did I mention it is hot out and are feverishly trying to get everything working again!  As I write this, Melody’s starter is replaced and the Captains continue to explore the Namaste for the culprit wire or whatever to repair the electric toilet.

KqRHYlByQAGaQUmGSqvogwCaptains commiserating.  No head solution yet –  stay tuned!

ccG0EdvRR7auDV5eYOlcgwGood-by Montreal, hello to the Ottawa River!

Good Boat Name:  Pironor.  I don’t know what the word means and I was hoping for something more eloquent but according to Google it is the name of a French fabrication company.  However, “Pironor” adorns the transom of a stately, 1956, 45’ Crist-Craft.  What a gem!

Happy Birthday to:  Kaitlan, Judy

Happy Canada Day to all my favorite Canadians.

Happy Independence Day to my American family and friends.  We will especially miss Camp Lookout and the Frankfort Parade.

Note of Jim & Jo history:  Jim and I spent our delayed honeymoon in Montreal at Expo ’67 and were also here in ’87 on our way to Louisbourg, Nova Scotia and Mike’s adventure on the Pegoria.  All three visits are so memorable!

A loud shout-out of appreciation to the kind and helpful Parks Canada staff who operate the bridges, locks and care for their beautiful parks.

A small shout-out of disappointment to Verizon.  After many promises from them and at a pretty good chunk of cash from us, we have marginal reception and extremely limited data for our “beyond unlimited” plan.  After .5G of use we are “monitored” down to 3G service for the remainder of the day. This usually happens about 2 p.m.  The explanation is that data is expensive in Canada! The devices still show LTE on the screen but the response is so painfully slow that it almost doesn’t exist.    For some reason my laptop is currently on Wifi so I just may get this posted.  Again, magic!






The New York Rivers, Canals, Lakes and Locks!

June 17 – 23, 2019

June 17 – Waterford NY to Port Edwards City Dock (39 miles)

June 18 – Port Edwards to Whitehall free City Dock (22 miles)

June 19 – Whitehall entering Lake Champlain to Five Mile Point Anchorage (28 miles)

June 20 – 21  Five Mile Pointe Anchorage to Point Bay Marina, Charlotte, VT (28 miles)

June 22 & 23 – Point Bay Marina up Lake Champlain to Rouse’s Point/Gaines Marina (54 miles)

 Miles traveled this blog:  171

Total Miles traveled: 5,901

Add Vermont as our 18th and final Loop State.  VT runs the east shore of the length of Lake Champlain.

After a three day stay in Waterford with Looping boats everywhere, most of us pulled out on Monday morning after a long day of rain.   The majority of boats  headed across the Erie Canal but Melody in Sea and Namaste decided to take the “road less traveled” and headed up Lake Champlain. Our cyclist friends biking around the country took off for their next stop – Syracuse. (You can read Connie’s blog at

      Five of the six boats that would eventually fill this early morning lock on their way out the Erie Canal.

Now for a word about locking through.  Because we will be in narrow rivers and canals for awhile, this is where the man-made locks come in handy.   Locks are basically a large chamber that raises and lowers boats when the elevation of the land changes and where there would otherwise be a rapids – not an exciting sight for the average boater.

A spill dam next to the lock that indicates where the rapids would be if not for the lock.

All that separates us from the waterfall and rapids is a couple of rocks and an engine to keep us moving forward!

When we approach a lock , we wait for the lock master to prep the chamber which means to fill or empty it to the level where we currently sit.  She then opens the huge doors, we slowly maneuver on to one wall or the other and secure the boat with lines hanging down or with our own lines looped (no pun intended) around a pipe or cable.  Once all boats are secure, the water either rushes in or drains out depending upon which direction we are going.  The range for locks so far has been up or down 2 to 90 feet!  The current caused by the change in water levels  can bounce us around but by hanging on we usually manage to keep the boat parallel to the wall and out of the way of the other sometimes quite nearby boats.  When we reach the desired water level the doors open at the other end of the chamber, we push off the slimy, grimy walls and pull out in the order in which we entered.

We are secure – see me  in the green waving?!  Those are clothespins on Melody at the top of the picture.

Jim talking to one of the many friendly lock masters along the way.

That is how it goes on a perfect day.  However, any number of things can create chaos including wind, placement of boats in the chamber, inability to catch a line or cable, too much turbulence, inattention to hanging on, etc. so sometimes the picture is prettier than others.   While the locks can be difficult and not our favorite part, we surely couldn’t do this trip without them.

A word or two about the New York Canal System which is over two hundred years old and a national treasure.  This is a system consisting of four canals for a total of 524 miles:  Erie (338 miles), Champlain Canal (60 miles), Oswego Canal (24 miles), and the Cayuga-Seneca Canal (12 miles).  These mighty canals connect with rivers and lakes for over 800 miles of waterway within the state of New York requiring lots and lots of locks.  Vessels of all sizes and shapes utilize this amazing system for recreation and commerce.  In 1992 the system was reorganized, renamed, and given new life through the State’s commitment to it’s upkeep  and well-being.

Mr. Blue Heron standing inside a lock fishing for his dinner.

Thus, this blog entry is all about the canals and locks.  The beginning of the Champlain Canal was at Waterford and went to Whitehall or about 60 miles.  It was a narrow, rural, quiet passage with a total of 11 locks over two days.  As a part of  the canal system’s charm  and perhaps to encourage tourism, the little towns along the way (Waterford, Port Edwards, and Whitehall) offered a free dock which often included power and water with bathrooms and showers for a nominal fee.  We managed the locks reasonably well but were tired each night and very happy to be finished for awhile.

Reaching Whitehall and the end of the Champlain Canal.  Enjoyed a lovely day here with picnics and a delicious coffee shop lunch for $11.

Foreground is a war memorial.  Top of the picture is a castle nestled in the hills.  Unfortunately only open for tours on F, S, and S from 12-4.  We were there on a Tuesday.

Again, note the mansion above our heads and the Champlain canal where we will lock through in the morning.

Docked behind Melody in Sea at Port Edwards free dock, Sammy awaits our return from an early morning coffee planning meeting.

As we exited lock #12, we entered the beautiful Lake Champlain (109 miles long).  Sometimes resembling a river, then  widening to 9 miles and eventually narrowing back into what is called the Inland Sea with islands and beautiful anchorages.

Namaste following the faster Melody in Sea into Lake Champlain.

The first third we traveled in gorgeous weather anchoring at Five Mile Point, just past Fort Ticonderoga.  It was a good anchorage except that the shores looking like beaches were really mud sink holes.  Jim’s trips to shore with Sammy were both a physical and emotional endurance test.  Since the dinghy motor cannot be launched with the mast down the long row to shore and back became a serious chore.  But even worse was the mud that came back on Jim’s feet, legs, and shoes, Sammy’s feet and belly, the life jackets, cushions, and inside of the dinghy.  We hadn’t had this experience since the Mississippi River and it was a hot-mess.  Sammy’s usual three daily trips to shore became two very quickly.

Fort Ticonderoga protecting what was probably then a river (not a canal) in the war of 1812.

Dan rescued Jim and Sammy from the long row to shore but the mud was still sticking.

The Five Mile Point Anchorage treated us to this sunset. . .

. . .and moon-rise!

The second third of the Lake we traveled in fog and rain.  Visibility remained good enough and it was calm but we sure did get wet!  We stayed for two days at the Bay Point Marina, a lovely little marina on the VT side of the lake where we got mail delivered and where Captain Jim utilized his automotive prototype skills to reinforce a fiberglass tank.  Yay, success!  We resolved a few other important but non-essential issues like a head (toilet) switch before heading out.

The early morning was beautiful.

Then the fog moved in – can you see the layers hanging over the lake?


And finally it rained and rained and rained!

Fiberglass work!

One of the evenings treated us to this beautiful scene of the mooring field behind the Namaste in Point Bay marina.

The final third of our way up Lake Champlain began as a calm and beautiful Saturday morning but eventually a northern wind picked up and blew in our faces all the way up the lake.  It was bumpy enough to make Sammy unhappy but the sailboats were having the time of their lives running downwind.  At one point we counted at least 50 but there were probably close to 100 out there playing all day long.  By the time we reached Rouse’s Point it was blowing 15 with gusts to 30 and our usual docking maneuvers required the assistance of two strong and smart dock hands.

Here’s blogging to ya. . .  You can also see our mast and radar lowered over the aft deck to keep it safe from low bridges.

Remembering the original Namaste with nostalgia.

At times Lake Champlain reminds us of our Lake Charlevoix (long and narrow) but with beautiful mountains off in the distance on each shore. This is the first time we have been in clean/fresh water since we left Lake Michigan almost four years ago.  We may have a short season up here in the north but we sure have the prettiest water.

Goals on Sunday were to massively provision, meaning buying everything we can store before going into Quebec, Canada.  However, liquor quantities are limited and fresh fruits and vegetables are not allowed.  We shall see how this goes.  Once again, the laundry situation is in dire need so on one of the hottest days yet of the summer so far, we will be sitting in the laundromat watching the clothes dry!  We also need to obtain a Canadian Flag as ours was ruined in the Namaste flood. Jim is whipping lines – repairing the chafe on the outer casing of some mooring lines – and all is well.

As we go through customs tomorrow morning (about a mile from here) and enter French speaking Quebec, Canada we are excited and a little anxious as there are 9 locks to manage on the Chambly.  From there it is to Montreal for Canada Day weekend and on to Ottawa.  I am not sure how the cell and wifi coverage will be so communication may be delayed but hoping for the best with Verizon!

Good boat name:  Summer Sleden

Bad Boat name:  As we approach Quebec most of the boat names are in French so who knows?

Happy birthday to:  Marty, Jenny Lynn