Wednesday, July 01, 2015

June 24 - 30, 2015 ::: Montreal to Ottawa


After checking with the Saint Lambert Lock and determining that the lock preferred recreational vessels report for a lock through at 1000, SONATA planned its departure for 0830. Au Revoir, Montreal! Departing the marina we were, for about .3 miles, about to retrace our arrival track, however, this time the current of the Saint Lawrence was in our favor.  Approaching the Jacques-Cartier Bridge we took the green buoys on our starboard side and the GPS shows us making some 12.1 knots through the water ... we got as high as 12.5 knots before turning toward the St. Lambert Lock.

Arriving at the lock we discovered the bulk carrier BRANT inside the lock.  The lock does not communicate with recreational boats by radio, only by loud-speaker.  On the loud speaker it was announced there would be a 15 minute delay, all should/could buy tickets, and the biggest of our lot should enter the lock first.  While we waited DOLLINGER joined SONATA in the waiting area; the dock for ticket purchasing was occupied by BAZINGA, BELLA TULIA and LIANO.  Once BRANT cleared the lock we received a “green light” and the five boats proceeded to enter the lock.
BAZINGA secured her port side first, then BELLA TULIA secured astern of BAZINGA with LIANO alongside to her starboard.  SONATA secured astern of BELLA TULIA and DOLLINGER secured to our starboard side.  Charlie worked the bow of SONATA, Taylor had the stern ... both were using the “ski-rope” lines thrown by the lock-hands to keep the two vessels alongside the lock wall. 
A relatively quick lock through, departed the lock at 1025, all of us were out and on our way to the St. Catherine lock passing the low pressure gas container ship MARIA DESCAGNES.  This was a good sign for it would indicate that the next lock would be ready for us to enter, which we did about 1145, exiting at 1210, after following the same procedure as taken in the Lambert Lock.  SONATA never obtained a ticket to enter the locks (that is another story for another time) we paid $30 Canadian dollars cash in each lock as fees for SONATA’s passage.


After St. Catherine we began to go separate ways.  The two Canadian vessels “put-the-pedal-to-the-metal” and were out of sight soon, BAZINGA had to recover its bow-sunning-pad after it blew off in the wind; and then passed us with a great and “unpleasant wake” . . . to turn off the rapids course and continue on the St. Lawrence toward Lake Ontario.  DOLLINGER and SONATA followed a circuitous course across the Lachine Rapids on the way to our over-night stop. We had wind, current, and, sail boats to contend with.  First one crossed in front, from SONATA’s starboard to port, followed by another want passing the bow in the opposite direction . . . and we had them coming directly at us.  Arrival at the Canal-de-Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue, although crowded, developed into a very pleasant evening.  DOLLINGER and SONATA went through the lock then moored on the lock wall; SONATA on the wall, DOLLINGER on our port side.  We all got together and went to dinner at the Chateau Thai.  After dinner DOLLINGER left our side for space on the dock wall had cleared; the weekend boaters had all gone home.

SONATA was up by 0600 and preparing to be underway by 0800.  It was not going to be a rough day!  The sea, the waterway, the Ottawa River we were taking was a dead flat calm.  SONATA’s wake was the only movement on the water that morning on the way to the Canal-de-Carillon . . . the lock we call the “guillotine”.  Once inside the lock and secured to the floating dock, we were taken up some 65 feet and released at 1130 . . . not a hair was harmed on anyone’s neck.



Halfway between Montreal and Ottawa is Le-Chateau-Montebello.  This structure, part of the Fairmont chain, was completed in 1930 and is considered the world’s largest log structure.  The red cedar timbers were shipped across Canada from British Columbia by rail with the 204 room Chateau being completed in some three months by some 3,500 workers.  The Chateau offers several restaurants, a swimming pool, hot tubs, tennis horseback riding, golf, bicycles, a full spa, and a marina.  Above is shown an arrival view, tables ready for dinner, an entrance, the lawn and ladies on the lawn.  DOLLINGER arrived as we departed for dinner.


Departing the Chateau marina we say good-bye to a continuing piece of history.  On the way to Ottawa we come back to the present as we slow to pass two ferry boats, one headed to our right, the other to our left, as we proceeded down the center of the Ottawa River. Brandi and Taylor took advantage of the cloudless day and sunned on the stern. 

Our first sight of Ottawa, one of Canada’s truly beautiful cities . . . Ottawa became the capital of Canada in 1857.  The Province of Ontario is on the left side of the Ottawa River and Le-Provence-de-Quebec is on the right side.  We are back where they speak English 
...Yay!  We get a great view of the back of Parliament Hill. The “Flight of Eight Locks” with the Chateau-Laurier-Fairmont Hotel presents an awesome sight and creates a little anxiety as we anticipate our journey through these locks.


The Flight of Eight Locks marks the beginning of the Rideau Canal for SONATA.  The canal, which we will travel over the next week, consists of 47 locks connecting rivers and lakes together from Ottawa to Kingston. There are two more locks on the Tay Canal which is within the Rideau system.  The locks were commissioned in 1827 and completed in 1832.  The original purpose was a route that was protected from the earlier 1812 threat of the Americans.  By the time the locks were completed the relationship between America and Canada had much improved and with new locks on the St. Lawrence between Lake Ontario and Montreal, the need for the system was reduced.  The system is now used by pleasure-boaters, cottagers and tourists.  The highest lift in the system is at Smith Falls, some 26 feet.

For our first full day in Ottawa we started with a Grey Line Bus Tour of the Ottawa area.  The tour started at the Parliament building where the grounds are being prepared for celebration of Canada Day, July 1st.  The second building is a office building of government workers that support the operation of parliament; the tour guide called it the “day care center.”  The tour continued into the Rockcliffe east side of Ottawa to the Prime Minister’s house.  On the way back from that area we passed the discharge falls of the Rideau River into the Ottawa River.  Finally, a picture of one of the many beautiful churches in the Ottawa area.
We got off the tour just before the last stop . . . to have lunch in the “Market Place”.  There are more than 400 restaurants in the area, one per day and you cannot see them all in a year.  We enjoyed a great lunch and then just across the street were the . . . beavertails . . . to be revisited often.



The next morning we went to the parliament grounds to observe the Ceremonial Change of the Guard.  With the band playing the Guard marched up the hill, onto the parade grounds in front of the Parliament Building and then returned to their barracks which are located just a few blocks from where Sonata is berthed. 

At the War Memorial near the Parliament Building the change of the guard was observed.  The new guardsmen approached, changed, and then departed.  Felt like we were at the tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington.

Just before Taylor and Brandi departed we were interrupted by police motorcycles and cars . . . the torch bearer who is part of the relay that is carrying the torch flame to Toronto for the Pan Am Games this summer. It was sure nice of them to come right by SONATA and pose! 
It is time for Brandi and Taylor to leave us and return home.  We have had a great visit with them.  Our cruising days were fantastic and we have seen some beautiful sights and eaten some really good food . . . 
Now, about those Beavertails (native to Ottawa)...They are flat (shape of Beavertail)fried pastry with butter and then the topping of your choice..Nutella and banana, S'mores, maple butter (Canadian of course), Nutella and Reese's pieces, cinnamon, etc.. they are 
extremely habit forming!  YUM!