Rideau Canal, leg 3

Awake to another sunny, but windy day. Still out of the East, and cool. We made breakfast in the boat and were underway about 9:00AM. As usual the lockmaster called ahead to our next lock to tell them we were on the way.

We continue to be impressed by the thoughtfull and friendly lock keepers. We have talked to many of them, and they all say they love the job, and enjoy talking to the people. We have met mostly full time employees, but we understand that lots of college students get summer jobs here, as the season gets busy. They take care of everything around their lock- lawn mowing, repairs, even servicing the damns to maintain water levels.

We were asked to tie up after we passed through Upper Nicholsons Lock to allow passage of 'the cruise ship'. We clearly wanted to see that!
I have been thinking that I'd like to make a model of a lock, and this one seemed like a nice subject. In addition to the lock it has a swing brdge that passes directly over the lock.

Bonnie helped the lockkeeper, Daryl Upton, push the swing open. A totally manual job, no winches, gears or levers. The bridge rides on a central pivot, and has 4 supporting rollers, not to carry the load, but to stabilize the span while its swinging.

There was a good strong breeze today, so it took more effort to stop the swing of the bridge.

We talked to Daryl about the slow traffic at this time of year. He expressed the view that this time of year all he sees are "the newly-weds and nearly-deads", but by the middle of June he will be hustling over 100 boats a day through the locks.

Here comes the cruise ship. This boat was specifically designed to fit the Rideau locks, with NO wasted space. The bow section pivots up to shorten the overall length to fit the maximum boat into the lock.
The Kawartha Voyager makes frequent trips on the Rideau and the Trent-Severn waterway. It carries 45 pasengers and 12 crew. The trips are all 5 day cruises, and are arranged so you ride the boat one-way, then get a bus ride back to where you started.

It looks like a great way to see these waterways, and judging by the plate of baked treats the cook handed to the lock keepers, the food sure looks good.

We spent quite a while watching all the lock activity, then moved ahead to Merrickville. We passed through their 3 locks and tied up just above the lock.

Right beside the dock is a camp ground, and they sell showers for $3. Our boat has a shower, but you would have to very small to use it, so getting a nice hot shower was a real treat.

We then walked around town. Merrikville is an old town, it was founded as a mill before the Rideau was built. There are a lot of old stone buildings, now it seems most are restaurants or gift shops.

We had a nice lunch in the Pub in the background of this photo, and won a Carlsborg radio from a promotional ticket that came with the beer.

This is the town library, and the place I was able to make my first internet connection and post the leg 1 and 2 pages.

After getting the web update, and reading some e-mail, we headed out for the next lock, about 8 miles away. We knew we would be to late to make it through, but the lock keepers called ahead and asked them to leave the wshrooms open for us. This is the kind of friendly and thoughtfull service we find everywhere.

We arived at Kilmarnock Lock about 4:45. Just about the worst case for travel, as the locks close at this time of year at 4:30. So, now I'm learning about the cruising life I was hoping to have. Nothing to do but wait until tomorrow. So, we took a walk to the damn, Bonnie took a short nap while I read some of tomorrows cruising guides. Then a woman and several of her sons showed up to fish, so we talked to them a while.

Ive been sitting and writing these web pages for a while, a nice classical radio station playing. I could get used to the cruising life.