We had an early start to the day to catch the 7.00am bridge opening for the start of our excursion into the Rideau Canal. Our plans have changed yet again, due to the closure of the Trent-Severn Canal system because of flooding. It is not expected to open for a week. Not to lose a precious opportunity on our travels, we decided to tootle up the Rideau for a few days before we need to retrace our steps. A win-win situation!
Moving through the locks, some are flights of four locks, ran smoothly with the aid of the Parks Canada personnel. Each lock is manned by staff who help you, which is very much appreciated as locking through is a tiring procedure. When we reached Brewers Lock we were first amused, then amazed at how the Karwatha Voyager, a pleasure craft which sleeps 45 guests and has a staff of 14, fits into the locks and fits under the 22ft height bridges. I had a great chat with the manager who said it was built specifically to the measurements of the locks and uses hydraulics throughout. The bow of the ship even folds up and the chairs fold inwards! All guests remain on board – what a ride!
Bushranger waited patiently for our turn to enter the lock and ride heavenwards. The locks are all in superb condition with the locking mechanisms the same as used in the 1800s – hence the need for the Parks Canada staff to operate them.
On exiting each lock, we were greeted with beautiful scenery at every turn. And the turns can be quite acute as we negotiated skinny, twisting and ever-changing waterways: varying from river to bay to lake to gorge; passing under lift bridges, through swing bridges. Mark loved the various challenges.
And to finish the day, we are now residing at the top of a flight of four locks at Jones Falls, at a picturesque picnic area. Earlier, we had sundowners with two other boats at the bottom lock. It was a long way down, and even longer on the way up!
And as for encounters: I saw three water snakes (not happy) and one turtle!
Such is Life!