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.
A 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!
Entering 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.
Learning the ropes – literally!
“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.
On 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.
Good stuff at the Byward Outdoor Market
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
I really enjoy your updates. It is so great that you take time with grandchildren on this special trip! It’s an experience they won’t forget. Thanks for sharing the lock stories. We did the Panama Canal last year on a cruise ship. The lock concept is amazing!! Hope to see you back in the hood in the near future!
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