We made it to Kingston on the 4th of July, marking our completion of the Rideau Canal and reaching one of our first milestones. We left the Rideau and reentered the St. Lawrence River when we passed under the lift bridge on the LaSalle Causeway at 1300. We plan to stay in Kingston for a few days and then head west into Lake Ontario, our first great lake.
By our count we've passed through 56 locks since leaving Rouses Point, NY, just over two weeks ago - has it really only been that long? The locks themselves are not difficult, and we've developed a system that works very well for us and the boat. However, this extreme heat has definitely added a level of difficulty. We know we've been dehydrated despite our efforts to drink water throughout the day, and it caught up with us on Wednesday as we slogged through our last several locks like a couple of sedated sloths. The lift bridge truly was a sight for sore eyes. We tied off at the Confederation Basin Marina and each promptly took a nap, one of two that afternoon.
On Monday, two days earlier, we left Smiths Falls early in the morning and began moving into the Rideau Lakes region. The weather was hot with a light (hot) breeze. I needed to get some laundry done, and due to the competing power demands of our various on-board appliances, with A/C taking priority, I was able to get the wash done but the dryer was not an option. So, I improvised. Due to the humidex (as we've heard it referred to here on many occasions), the clothes only became less damp. I snuck in a drying cycle eventually.
When moving North to South, as we have, you pass through Lower Rideau Lake first and then Upper Rideau. In between and around the lakes there are also many narrow channels, particularly when getting closer to a lock. http://www.twprideaulakes.on.ca/tourism-phototours.html This is "cottage" country, and boy are there some beautiful cottages. The lakes are dotted by many islands, large and small, and there's a huge amount of green space despite the number of cottages. It's a truly beautiful place; another right on our doorstep that we never knew existed.
On Monday night we moored at Newboro Lock. Newboro is the second smallest incorporated community in Ontario and the unlikely home of a unique and rather high-end store we'd been told to visit - Kilborn's on the Rideau. Even though there is nothing we want or need, we thought it might be fun to browse. The store is lovely with products ranging from kitchen wares to designer clothing to furniture. We walked a mile or so to reach it from the lock, just long enough to render the showers we had just taken obsolete. Our appearance by the time we got there seemed to create enough concern for the rather snooty shopkeeper that we had a tail while there - a cute little shopgirl who had probably been charged with making sure we didn't steal anything. In the words of my good friend Blackie, that's boat life.
The highlight of the Newboro stay ultimately came from a very unexpected place. When we first tied up, Dave noticed a turtle in the water near the boat. She was still there after our trip to town. As I watched her, I noticed that she was trying to find a way to get up on the dock despite the fact that it was too high for her. Thinking she might be looking for food, I tossed her a couple of small pieces of lettuce (I know I shouldn't have), but she wasn't interested. It wasn't until a while later that I noticed someone from another boat looking at something on the hill above the lock wall. It turns out that this little mother turtle had some eggs to lay, and she dug holes and deposited her eggs for hours. I've never seen anything like it and was thrilled to be a spectator. I've included a photo carousel (click to view the next photo) and a video. Please forgive the video quality - I was making sure not to step in any of the many holes she dug.
On Tuesday we continued through the central lakes region. We stopped for lunch at the Opinicon at Chaffeys Lock in Elgin, Ontario. This was another piece of local knowledge that was shared and encouraged. Lunch did not disappoint!
That day we made it as far as Upper Brewers lock. Again, the heat and humidity were slowing us down so we didn't push it. Upper Brewers did not have the charm of the other places we stayed and was our least favorite spot on the Canal, not to mention the fact that the Captain found an oil leak requiring him to spend an hour or so in the even hotter engine room that evening. True to form, he did the necessary despite the conditions. We had steak on the grill at 1100 hours. That's boat life!