Remembering one more adventure
One of my favorite boat adventures was a trip we took with my 32 foot cruiser, the Samuel Clyde. Six of us set off, towing the boat to Kingston, Ontario where we launched. We had arranged to meet three other boats, so that we were a flotilla of four power boats. After cocktails at Chez Piggy and dinner in a Greek restaurant, we slept aboard. The next morning we were under way by 8:30 am in order to get to the big lock before it closed for the afternoon.
We were traveling on the Rideau Canal, an old waterway which Canada has restored for recreational and tourist use. Originally, it was transportation for the British during the Revolution, as it gave them access to the St. Lawrence and to Lake Ontario.
Each lock on the canal has a mini museum with facts about the canal in the old days. Since the locks are hand-operated, it takes some time to get through, so you can leave someone on board and passengers can disembark to visit the museums. There are stairs to take you up or down to your new boat level when the boat exits the lock. The canal speed is 10 km/h, (6 mph), but there are many places where it crosses lakes and you can turn up the speed. We arrived on time at Jones Falls which has four locks to get to the top. Several boats are in the lock at once and someone has to be aware and fend off if the water gets too roily.
At about 5 p.m. we arrived at our destination, the Opinicon Resort at Chaffee’s Lock. Most of us stayed in the hotel or in the cabins, but one boatload stayed on board. The mosquitos after dark convinced them we had made the better choice.
On Day two, the Opinicon packed a sumptuous picnic and we went farther up the Rideau to Westport where the women could shop. That made their day. We picnicked on an island in a lake and then returned to the Opinicon for their family style meal that night. The food was delicious.
It was now time to retrace our steps to Kingston. At one lock, the Samuel Clyde got hung up on the lock wall and the lockmaster had to raise the water again to get us off. Luckily, since everyone in the lock was involved with boats, there were no complaints.
We decided to spend a couple of days in the charming city of Kingston when we returned. We went no further than the waterfront and there was plenty of entertainment there. There were jugglers, balloon venders, etc. The restaurants were within walking distance and so was a great ice cream shop.
The city hall was open for tours and faced the harbor, but eventually, we had to pull the Samuel Clyde and head back to Skaneateles. This was all before it became difficult to cross the border and we breezed through without even an inspection.
We had many other adventures on the Samuel Clyde. We took it to Maine and navigated around Northeast Harbor. We also spent some time on the St. Lawrence in the Thousand Islands. Nowadays, we cruise on Skaneateles Lake. We are too old to get it ready for an extended cruise.
My friends, this is my last column. Without the ducks and my dogs I find it difficult to find subjects to write about. I appreciate all the kind words so many of you have said about my writings, and I thank you all for your faithful readership. It has been fun, but it is now time to close. From time to time, if I find a subject of interest to all of us, I may write an article or two. For now, however, it is goodbye. I hope you all have a great spring and summer and many more.