We departed Ottawa on a hot, humid and cloudy day, following Nancy and Gary aboard Summer-Lyn. The canal quickly leaves the city behind, becoming more residential, then farm land, and finally more water and trees.
Leaving Ottawa and fun graffiti along the way
Canals and locks make for slow going, and we only went 22 miles before stopping at Hurst Marina, in Manotick, Ontario. We were grateful that this is a full service marina, as our bow thruster decided to stop working that day in the locks. Not fun. It appeared that the thruster battery needed to be charged, so we did that overnight and were on on way the next day.
Hurst Marina and friendly locals tending to the gardens at the lock…a frequent sight!
Our run to Merrickville was only 24 miles, and we were fortunate to grab one of the last spots on their free wall in “The Pond”, across the park from the lock. Unfortunately, Summer-Lyn ran aground shortly before the lock in Merrickville, after being distracted by a group of loons, and turned into a marina to look for help.
Nancy holding tight in the Merrickville Lock
We loved the adorable town of Merrickville, with its old stone buildings, colorful gardens and adorable shops. We enjoyed wandering around town and had a quiet evening on board with a spectacular sunset.
Great antique store with toy cars of all sizes, china, glassware and more
Gotta love a store with all of these Santas!!
The Lock and Pond in Merrickville
Still water Sunset reflection
Leaving Merrickville, and a family of Loons
When we left Merrickville, we intended to spend a day or two on the hook, but the winds were kicking up, and severe thunderstorms were predicted for the afternoon, so we decided to tuck into Rideau Ferry Marina. They fortunately had a slip, as the slip owner just vacated it to start the Loop! We were welcomed by a great dock crew, who gave it their all to help get us settled in the wind and figure out an electrical problem. Hats off to the ladies of Rideau Ferry Marina! While it was very windy, hot, humid and cloudy, the storms never materialized.
Rideau Ferry Marina Views
Rideau Ferry turned into a two night stop, as the winds persisted, and it was good to have someplace to provision and get some things done. Our Canadian neighbors embraced us, inviting us to join them for evening docktails, morning coffee, and a trip into lovely Perth and the grocery store! Many thanks most especially to Barry & Diann!
Diann & Barry, and Perth, Ontario
Rideau Ferry is where the canal begins to open up to a series of lakes, all connected by spectacular, narrow cuts through rocks, dense forests and adorable, extremely private cottages (we witnessed a gentleman getting out of his outdoor shower. Yup. Not so private with our passing!). This is the area of the Rideau everyone talks about, with good reason. It’s just spectacular!
Rideau Canal from Rideau Ferry to Chaffey’s Lock
Scenes around Chaffey’s Lock
Once again, when we left in the morning, our plan was to spend the night at anchor. After some lock chit chat with the crew of Confetti and the lock hands shortly before, we were convinced to spend the night on the wall at Chaffey’s Lock #37. It was a beautiful day, with light winds, perfect for exploring after we arrived at noon.
There’s a cute little museum in the old Lock Master’s house, and the old mill is now an art gallery.
Lockmaster’s House Museum and the Old Mill Art Gallery
The big attraction to this remote area is The Opinicon Hotel, a recently renovated and re-opened resort and marina. It’s a beautiful spot, with two good restaurants (one a pub, the other a bit fancier, same menu except for specials), an amazing ice cream parlor (incredible strawberries and cream in a home made waffle cone, a little bit of heaven!), and spectacular gardens!
The Opinicon Resort & Marina
Our goal on the 22nd was to reach Confederation Basin in Kingston, Ontario, which was 31 miles away. While that distance is normally very doable, adding 8 locks to the equation slows the trip considerably. The trip was also slowed down due to narrow channels and the need to go slowly following other boats from lock to lock. The good news? It was a gorgeous trip!
Rock cliffs, cows, cranes, kayaks and canoes along the Rideau Canal
The Kingston Mills Locks (#47, 48, 49) are the last set of locks on the Rideau (a flight of three), and we had to wait at the wall for about an hour, as there was a bit of a jam up at the lock. Since we were the last to arrive, we were elected to wait! We were in no hurry, as the Kingston LaSalle Bridge just before Kingston closes for a dinner break, and reopens at 5:30 pm, so we knew we would be waiting when we got to Kingston anyway.
Kingston Mills Lock…the last for a week or so!
We finally got settled in Kingston at 6:15 pm. We had left at 8:30 am, traveled 31.5 miles and went through 10 locks. We were exhausted, but did take the time for a short walk around the waterfront before collapsing for the night!
Kingston, Ontario Waterfront
We explored Kingston a bit during our stay, but focused mostly on provisioning, and getting some errands done. We were far from the hub of the marina, so we enjoyed some amazing views.
Kingston Harbor views from Misty
Oh, and have we mentioned BUTTER TARTS? It’s a thing in Ontario, and we’ve felt obligated to sample as many as possible! They’re small tarts filled as a pecan pie would be (plain or with nuts), and are best when you warm them a bit. Pretty delicious!
On the 24th, we are off to the Thousand Islands, and back to the U.S.A for a bit! This has been a destination on our bucket list for a long time, so we’re very excited. And, while the waters there are still high, everything is now open for boaters.
So, long, Kingston, and for now, Canada 🇨🇦!