Reflections on the water are simply gorgeous.
We enjoyed amazing anchorages, some by ourselves at locks, and others in company with delightful boaters.
The Rideau Canal is a pristine waterway: shallow, narrow in places, and at times, extremely tortuous. It is comprised of canals, rivers and lakes with well-marked channels. The water lilies are just beginning to bloom and lie as thick carpet in undisturbed bays and offshoots.
It is the oldest continuously operated canal in North America. Most of the locks are operated by hand, using the same mechanisms that were in use in 1832. The locks are lessons in history, with most having lockmaster homes or blockhouses (used by soldiers to guard the waterway from the Americans) which have been turned into museums. Each lock is surrounded by beautifully manicured parks, welcoming boaters with washroom facilities and some with power on the docks.
We saw quite a few creatures: turtles, blue herons, white swans throughout, loons, Canada geese, a deer by the water’s edge, a beaver swimming for his life, and a muskrat dodging our bow. But the creature I was so excited to see was the bald-headed eagle in all its glory – a sight to behold!
And who knew that sailing the Rideau Canal, with all its magical places, would bring us to the ‘other side’? For those who like mythology – we sailed the River Styx and passed Point Charon. At one point we sailed past the Duke of Wellington’s profile, and amazingly, the Island of Man!
Close encounters today were man-made. We manoeuvred into one lock which needed a swing bridge to be swung before we could lock down. In another lock we needed the road bridge to be raised.
But perhaps the most disturbing encounter I experienced was the continual gunshots which sounded as we passed by the Joyceville correction facility. Not a pleasant sound with what has been happening in the States in recent times.
This side trip was a very welcome excursion. We were only on the Rideau Canal for five days, but they were glorious days. We have noticed there are now more boaters out enjoying the weather and summer season. We are very pleased we did not meet in the narrow, blind bends, where boats are requested to sound their horns. As an experience – priceless!
Such is Life!