Rideau, Leg 4

We were awake and ready to move when the lock guys showed up at 8:30, but then I got into a conversation about the water flow management of the locks and we were not underway until 9:00AM. We managed our worst yet entry into the lock- we have been running with all our fenders on the starboard side, but this time they opened the port gate so I decided we could make a port landing- I'm not sure what went wrong, but at one point we were alomost cross-wise to the lock. And this in the lowest lift lock of the system- just 2 feet.

We ran just a mile or two to Edmonds Lock and went through in fine order. The river along here is winding and marshy but with a well marked channel

We stopped at Old Slys lock and walked over to the Hersheys Chocolate factory for a tour. An interesting self guided tour, and a big store full of all the Hersheys products, but no free samples!

We moved ahead just a mile to Smiths Falls, the center of the Rideau, and home to its headquarters operations and the Rideau Canal museum.
Originally Smiths Falls had a flight of 3 locks, but there was a major road crossing and as traffic became to heavy for a swing bridge a new lock was built in the 1970's. At that time the canal was under control of the transportation department and they wanted to tear out the old locks. At the same time the canal management was switched to The department of Indian affairs and Northern Development (don't ask me why- I just read that in a guide book). The new lock is a single step of 26 feet- the highest in the system.

It is also the least turbulent as the water is admitted through an array of holes in the lock floor instead of from a sluice in the front of the lock.

This photo is the old lock, now damed off to keep it dry. This view show the sill stones that the gate rests against when closed.

We had a brief rain shower just as we docked, but we walked to the Rideau Musuem and the shower was over when we got out.

The museum was a bit of a disappointment, just a lot of A/V displays and a couple of nice diaoramas.

After all the fine old antique villages we have seen, Smiths Falls was just a city, so after we found the library and loaded the last leg to the net, we headed out.

Just at the edge of Smiths Falls is this interesting old Railroad bridge. Note its a rolling lift- that semi-circular piece rolls along to lift the span, its not a pivot.
Out of Smiths Falls the river is again the low marshy winding river.
This is the entrance canal into Poonamalie Lock. It almost feels like the Southern Bayou country, I kept looking for alligators.
But just past Poonamalie we got into the Lower Rideau Lake and the terrain changed dramatically. The first sight was this marina with lots of 30ft or so boats. The lake opened up to wide passes, islands, and in places up to 100 ft or more deep.
This is the power boat life. I got the boat up to about 10mph at 2500 rpm. The ride was pleasant, the noise level acceptable. What you can't see in the photo is I'm wearing slippers, sititng back in a nice padded helm chair. So much for all those years sailing, with tiller in hand, out in the weather and struggling to make good 3 or 4 mph on the course.

I also became very fond of the chartplotter here. To sit back and watch the little boat icon move across the chart, right on the line, is very comforting. I found my way off the marked channel to Col Bys Island with no trouble.

Here we are, tied to the Parks dock on Col Bys Island, with the whole place to ourelves. Except for the Loons we keep hearing
This is the view from the boat out toward the next island. Sky shots never look as good in a photo, but I had to include it here.

The Rideau Canal is an amazing passage, from the busy, but beautiful city of Ottawa, with lots of historical building, miles of walking and bike paths, to the rural meandering river past farms, and suburban 'MacMansions', to the wide open lakes.

This is power boat cruising as it ought to be.