Saturday, June 30, 2012

We arrived in Ottawa, Ontario on Thursday afternoon.  Ottawa is the Capitol of Canada and Canada Day is Sunday, July 1.  We won't be staying for the holiday since we are moored on the Rideau Canal which runs through the center of town.  It's a great location central to everything.  A big display of fireworks is planned for Sunday night as the grand finale.  Striper is terrified of them so we plan to leave Ottawa and return Tuesday to rent a car and pick up Betsy and the cherubs.  Internet connectivity is spotty at best.  I'll try to recap.

As I write this early Saturday morning, our friend telephoned to say there are 170,000 people without power in South Jersey due to a major storm last night with hurricane force winds.  We've reached the family and everyone is okay.  Ralph is reading the Atlantic City Press on line which was posted at 2:00 AM Saturday.

Back to Ottawa.  We arrived at the foot of the Ottawa Flight of Eight, a/k/a the By Locks.  This is a series of 8 locks linked together.  We arrived at the lock at 3:30 and tied up.  We were scheduled for the last ascension of the day (which takes 90 minutes)  north into the Rideau Canal scheduled for 4:00 PM.   We walked to the top and were chatting with our friends on "Crow's Nest" when Ralph noticed a large bridge that we'd need to go under.  He asked the lockmaster the bridge height -- 24' -- not good, we are 27' with the mast and antennas.  We raced down the hill and started taking the mast down at 3:50.  The first lock opened for us at 4:07 -- taking off the boom and taking down the mast in 17 minutes is a record for us -- it usually takes at least 1/2 hour. 

The ascension was quite interesting but very tiring and it was 90 degrees.  We had lots of discussions with people all along the lock walls with questions about us and the boat and the locks.  Here are some pix:

A view of the Flight of Eight Locks from the bridge, Ottawa, Canada
Entering Lock 1 Flight of Eight Locks
Locks are hand cranked
Inside the lock
Hooray!   Entering Lock 8 -- it's 90 degrees --whew!!
The fixed 24' bridge leading to the Rideau Canal in the center of Ottawa

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Tonight's back yard, Hawkesbury, Quebec, Canada
 This morning was chilly and misting rain as we went through the Ste. Anne de Bellevue Lock with two other Looper boats.  We crossed the Lake of Two Mountains and entered the Carillon Lock -- Canada's largest at a 65' vertical height and were raised 65'  and entered Lac Dollard des Ormeaux.  Both locks had floating docks inside which are very helpful in locking through.  We tie the boat to the dock and everything raises together -- no fending off lock walls.  We had intermittent strong wind gusts and rain most of the day but by the time we got to Hawkesbury, today's destination, the sun came out.  

We're tied up at the Hawkesbury free town dock which includes free electricity and wifi.  We took a walk into town and bought some cold cuts and a baguette at a little market, coffee and pastries at a Tim Horton's.  These are convenience stores located all over Canada and in some parts of the US.  Tim Horton was a famous Canadian hockey player and started this chain of businesses -- said to have the best coffee in Canada.  I think the captain thinks this could be true.  

On the way home, Ralph has Striper's leash in one hand and his coffee in the other and I have the bag of food in one hand and the umbrella in the other.  I decided to change hands and accidentally broke the baguette in half and it rolled right out of the bag onto the street -- well, major highway -- I scooped it right up off the street and said to Ralph "We're eating it anyway!"  And we did -- had it for dinner with Tim Horton's apple turnovers for dessert.  Both were delicious... 

Here are a few photos from today:

Inside Ste. Anne de Bellevue Lock
Ste. Anne de Bellevue Lock w/2 other boats
Waiting to enter Carillon Lock
Inside Carillon Lock -- largest lock in Canada -- 65'
We're tied to a floating dock which raises along with our boat
A view of the water level beyond lock door
A Harley Shop!!
Downtown Hawkesbury, Quebec
A historic home, downtown Hawkesbury
Carillon Lockmaster's historic home, now a museum

A walk to Scotia Bank, Haweksbury,  Quebec

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Ste. Anne de Bellevue Residence
"Wenhni" and "Sunny"  Goodleaf

Ste. Anne's Parish is 309 years old
Ste. Anne's Parish
Blueberries from Hammonton, NJ!
  Marche' Richelieu, the local grocery

A walk down Rue Ste. Anne
Everybody loves Striper!

We stayed an extra day in Ste. Anne de Bellevue due to rainy and windy weather.  We went grocery shopping, checked out the Ste. Anne Lock, and went to dinner at Peter's Cape Cod for fish 'n chips last night. 

Today we went to the post office and drug store, I got a haircut, Ralph went to a marine store and Marina and her two granddaughters came by to see the boat and we all went to dinner in I'li Perrot at Smoke Meat Pete's.  We've enjoyed our visit here, but we must move along tomorrow regardless of the weather.

Our neighbor, Dave, sent us this photo of our back yard as Tropical Storm Debby breezed through Cape Coral, FL two days ago. Our dock was flooded, but the water didn't rise above the bulkhead.

Our Cape Coral, FL back yard June 24 when Tropical Storm Debby brought torrential rains and flooding over our dock.

Monday, June 25, 2012

We have reached the 600 mile mark on our travels.  We started this adventure on May 23, 2012.  This trip has been a wonderful experience and we are blessed to be able to do it.

It's mostly overcast today with intermittent sun and spits of rain, but the temperature is mild and pleasant.  We walked into town to Rue St. Pierre where there is a lovely grocery store, Marche Richelieu.  It is immaculately clean, well-stocked, a friendly helpful staff, and the prices are reasonable.  I bought blueberries from Hammonton, NJ -- and they were the same price I paid for them when I bought them in NJ 6 weeks ago.  We love the crusty French bread and today I chose  pumpernickel and some nice ham for sandwiches.  I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw the meat case advertising $23, $19 and $15 for cold cuts.  Then I realized meat and cheese are sold in  kilos.  What a relief!

On our way back home, Ralph found a little breakfast place and popped in for a cup of coffee which he enjoyed, except for the price -- $2 -- he is used to paying 74 cents for a sr. coffee at the Cape Coral McDonald's.  

Most of the festivities for St. Jean Baptiste are over now -- it rained a good bit last evening and overnight and the music ended around 10 PM.  We heard distant fireworks but they weren't very loud and Striper didn't flinch -- and we didn't see any.

Here are pictures I was unable to post yesterday:

St Lambert Lock on the St. Lawrence Seaway our first commercial lock
Cote St. Catherine Lock our second commercial lock on the St. Lawrence Seaway
The Algoray -- all 225 meters X 24 meters exiting St. Catherine lock
Simon on Sedna -- returning from a single-handed voyage around the world.  He's been gone 3-1/2 years and will return to Gatineau

9 boats,including ours rafted in the Cote St. Catherine lock - St. Lawrence Seaway -- we were between Sedna, a sailboat and Blue Diamond, a Sea Ray -- only the boats on the wall hang on with the lines dropped down by the lockmaster.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

At 7:45 this morning we left Montreal heading south now on the St. Lawrence Seaway.  We experienced our first commercial lock at St. Lambert.  We had to wait about an hour for a scheduled northbound ship to come through first.  We met a family from Montreal on Blue Diamond.  They helped us tie up at the waiting dock then translated everything the lockmaster "barked" to us in French.  We also met Simon, on Sedna, a 28' sailboat that he singlehandedly sailed around the world.  He is just now returning home to Gattaneau after being away 3 years.  The three of us tied up together inside the lock, with us in the middle and Blue Diamond on the wall.  The lockmaster throws very long lines down onto the boats on the wall, who fasten them fore and aft.  If you're not the boat along the lock wall, you just hang on for the ride.

The next commercial lock, Cote St. Catherine, was about 45 minutes  away.  A huge ship was scheduled to go through first.  It was a 225 meter long tanker which was 24 meters wide -- barely passing through.   We rafted up again with the crew of Blue Diamond and Simon on the sailboat.  6 other boats joined us in the lock all rafted up behind us.  That was quite an experience. 

We continued into the Lake of Two Mountains which was full of boats today, lots of sailboats flying spinnakers, water skiers, jet skis -- everyone enjoying the St. Jean Baptiste holiday.  We arrived at our destination, St. Anne de Bellevue in the late  afternoon and miraculously tied up on the city dock near all the holiday festivities -- many tents with items for sale, food concessions and everyone was having a wonderful time.  The rain arrived around 6:00 PM and the tents folded and left the city promenade, but music began  in our "back yard" -- all different types of music and dancing and we had a front row seat. 

The internet connectivity is intermittent -- difficult to post much.  I will post the photos tomorrow morning.  We're having a wonderful time and will be staying here again tomorrow night.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Today begins the St. Jean Baptiste holiday and Montreal is bustling with all kinds of street performers. This holiday is comparable to America's July 4.  

This afternoon our friends, Merrick and Marina, came for us and drove us through Montreal's China Town then across the Victoria Bridge to the site of Expo 67 -- 

the American and French pavilions remain.  Merrick showed us the St. Lambert and St. Catherine commercial locks that we'll be going through tomorrow.  We then went to  their beautiful home and business on the Kahnawake Reservation.  Marina designed the house which is spectacular, as are her collections.  
They also showed us around their daughter's shop, Calico Cottage Quilt & Gift Shop.  Carla Goodleaf Hemlock and her husband, Babe Hemlock, are very talented.  Carla's award winning quilts and Babe's beautiful Indian cradle boards and paintings are part of the Smithsonian and MOMA collections. Their work is impeccable. 
The Kahnawake history of the Mohawk tribe in Quebec dates back seven generations as recorded by the Jesuits.  We drove through the original streets and saw the old houses along the St. Lawrence Seaway.  It was a fascinating afternoon.  We had a wonderful time and hope to catch up with them again in St. Anne de Bellevue in a day or so.  Attached are a few photos:
Entering China Town, Montreal
The American Pavilion, Expo '67
The French Pavilion, Expo '67
Merrick's Convenience Store & Gas Station
Merrick & Ralph
A few of Carla's quilting awards
Babe's beautiful cradle boards
Carla's very first quilt
Calico Cottage Quilt &  Gift Shop
Merrick & Marina's beautiful home

Friday, June 22, 2012

We awoke to 77 degrees and low humidity this morning, which was a welcome relief from the past two sweltering days.  Along with several other boaters, we  were asked by the marina manager to move our boats because the marina will be totally full for the weekend for the Jean Baptiste holiday and needed to tighten up the perimeter slips.  We were only requested to move Say Good-Bye about 100 feet forward on the same dock.  It worked out nicely for us, since now we can get television reception.  Our friends were not so fortunate and were moved to the other side of the marina which is very inconvenient.

After lunch we heard from our friends who were unable to meet us today.  Hopefully, things will work out for tomorrow.  It was a perfect day for the walking tour of Old Montreal so that's what we did.  We walked to the Basilica Notre-Dame and bought tickets for the light show this evening which told the history of the settling of Montreal and the building of the magnificent church. It was quite interesting, but is definitely a study in opulence.  The church is unbelievable.
We've enjoyed our visit to Montreal and met several new looper friends, a few of which are taking the same route we are.  We hope to catch up with them somewhere along the way.  Attached are today's pictures:

Notre-Dame Basilica
Street musicians in the square near Notre-Dame playing classical and contemporary music,They were excellent
Oh those French girls!!
Appellate Court of Montreal
Avenue of Artists branches off Jacques Cartier Place
Business district in Old Montreal
Hansom cabs are very popular
 Striper could go for a little dip!
Montreal City Hall at Jacques Cartier Place
An artist at work along Avenue of Artists