From St Anne, we had only a few more days with Alex. Our plan was to get as close to Ottawa as possible so that Alex would be able to catch a train back to Montreal where he would fly home. We went through a GIGANTIC lock; the entrance into the lock was a massive garage door – something we hadn’t seen before, and as you entered into the lock and tied to the floating dock inside, you could see a massive staircase on the opposite wall that would get completely submerged as we rode it up.
We dropped the anchor for the evening and because it was just about warm enough we jumped off the bow for a quick swim! (thanks Jax for the pic!)
The next day we headed to Montebello where we tied up in a marina and then walked a short distance to the “largest log cabin in Canada”, which is actually a huuuuuuge hotel. We had a lovely dinner that lasted over 3 hours as a goodbye to Alex.
For Alex’s last night, we set up on anchor just outside Ottawa. We planned to be here until Friday morning when we would pass through the 8-step lock into Ottawa city that marks the entrance of the Rideau Canal. We were treated with a dramatic sunset and a lovely meal aboard InQuest that evening and the next day Russ took Alex to land in the dinghy as we waved goodbye between our daily meetings.
We had such a wonderful time with Alex aboard!
On Thursday after work, we pulled anchor and headed over to the wall just outside the 8-lock entrance to the Rideau. Just above the locks on the top of a hill are the Parliamentary buildings of the Canadian government. The views from the river were simply stunning.
The next morning, we woke up just before the lock opened and coordinated with the lock masters for our ride up. There are 8 locks in a row, each one opening into the next. This is a huge tourist attraction, so we were literally surrounded by crowds, some of whom followed us up the entire way! We were crammed in the lock with 2 other boats and almost no room to spare – Highwind and Inquest taking up the majority of space in the lock :). As we rode, there was some kind of re-enactment band parade marching up and down the hill as we rode! As we arrived at the top of the locks, we passed under a low-ish bridge but completely forgot to take down our antennas. The tallest radio antenna (we have two) scraped along the bottom of the bridge. Luckily there was no damage other than a big lump of dirt/mung/spiderwebs that we pulled from the bridge!
We tied up on the wall of the canal, right in the heart of the city and then after finishing out our work day, we wandered into the city for some dinner with Russ and Jax.
On Saturday morning, I had booked us a walking tour of Ottawa to learn about the city and orient ourselves for the weekend. When we woke up we realized Russ and Jax and Inquest were no longer on the wall ahead of us! They had headed up the river to pump out at a marina, but then sucked up some weed into their engines (weed would become a recurring theme of the next month as we travelled the Rideau) and were stuck making some repairs! Not being able to do much to assist, David and I headed to meet the tour group. Luckily they were able to make some temporary repairs and joined us for the latter half of the tour.
In the afternoon, we walked over the bridge across the Ottawa River and visited the the Canadian Museum of History, which was actually a fascinating museum – one of the best we’ve been to in a while.
On Sunday, we cast off from the wall and went under a very low fixed bridge where we dropped the hook in Dowe’s Lake, also in central Ottawa. David and I first stopped at the marina to pump out. We had to nose-in to their tiny pump out dock, blocking most of their breezeway – ooops! We tied up with Inquest who had dropped anchor, and then dinghied to shore with the scooters and bikes and did a group trip to an escape room. Our original plan was to then Uber to Costco and then return to the boats on the dinghies. However, as we looked at timing and geography, we decided that it would be better to do a few more locks on the weekend day and then Uber to Costco from a lock wall further up the river, even closer to the Costco. At this point, we were getting used to being crammed into the locks! All the locks on the Rideau are the same size and there are 45 total on the Rideau, so we have a lot to look forward to!! Our trip to Costco was uneventful and after a much needed re-provision we settled in for a delicious salmon dinner aboard Highwind after a very long day!