The next day was Monday and we started to settle in to what would become our regular week-day on the Rideau pattern – we would wake up in time to arrive at the next lock right when it opened (at 8am), travel as far as our morning meetings would allow, and then set up for the day of working (either on a lock wall or on anchor). With no specific date that we wanted to complete the Rideau, we were not in a rush and planned to spend at least a few weeks making our way through the 45 locks.
What we really came to appreciate throughout the canal is that the grounds for each lock were treated like a park – with beautifully maintained grounds, often picnic tables etc. This was so much more picturesque than the lock walls/grounds in the Trent-Severn.
We spent the week in this pattern of morning locks and setting up for the night on lock walls. After work, I took the opportunity to take a few runs along the canal, sometimes running between or past locks that we had traversed earlier in the day!
As I mentioned in the last post, we have discovered that the Rideau canal is EXTREMELY weedy. The entire canal is pretty shallow – mostly controlled to around 6ft with weeds growing up to the surface of the water. This presents a challenge to us as we have several things on the boat that intake water from around us (the engines, the generator, and the A/C). All of these systems have strainers that capture particulates as they suck in the water, but if you suck up some weed, that can immidiately gum up in the strainer and then prevent any water from entering the system – which results in overheating and blowing at best an impeller and it just goes down hill from there. So, we have to be pretty careful with use of the engines as we leave lock walls (where the weed grows the tallest), and we are being more careful than usual with our power management since we want to avoid using the generator as much as possible. As a result we basically haven’t been turning on our A/C, even during the humidity and heat of the summer!
On Friday we arrived at Smith Falls – a destination of sorts. We actually managed to snag a spot on the wall that had power, so were able to run the A/C for the afternoon -a luxury!!
After work, we ventured into town for Happy Hour and dinner with Russ and Jax. The town turned out to be pretty small with not much to do, so we decided instead to head to Perth, which had been recommended by some people we had met with on a lock wall earlier in the week.
Perth is actually a side-trip off the Rideau, up a small river that is not navigable by our big boats, but doable by dinghy.
We pulled up to the lock wall on Saturday and dropped our dinghy. Russ and Jax joined us and we ventured through 2 locks and up the river. We enjoyed a lovely afternoon with a visit to a Brewery, a fun game of mini-golf (I scored a hole in one!!) and dinner at a German restaurant. The last lock down was early in the evening, and we knew we were going to miss it, so we took our time and enjoyed a dinghy ride back down the river at sunset and left the dinghy tied up at the top of the lock to retrieve it in the morning, which I ended up doing solo!