July 8, 2013

Day 255 – July 7, 2013: Two locks and on to Hawkesbury, Ontario

We really enjoyed Sainte Anne de Bellevue, with the many boats tightly docked, rafted and parading in the lock channel, the string of restaurants, the scores of couples and families that walked by all day long and well into the evening, and the way the women wore dresses for the occasion. It was a great atmosphere.

One surprise was watching the many people who stopped along the rail to point and stare at Great Laker. I would hear someone say, “Look at this beautiful boat,” or “This is the boat I want,” and, if I stuck my head out, they would ask me question after question about the boat. This morning a man stood at the rail and beckoned me out. He told me how much he liked the boat and asked who made it. It turned out he was in the marine business and had worked on boats all his life. As I explained Great Laker’s virtues, he exclaimed “Now this is a real boat, not some toy boat like the others here!” And then, “I just knew this had a working boat’s hull.” It was fun hearing about what he thought makes a real boat and satisfying to know that Great Laker had made the cut!

We went through the lock just before noon, packed in expertly by the lock personnel along with 11 others boats. In this area, we are finding ourselves in one of the larger boats for a change, which earned us the privilege of tying up to the floating dock in the lock with other boats rafted to us. Once inside, the lock personnel came with handheld remote terminals to collect our fee, and one woman, from a boat rafted to us, had to walk across our bow to pay. The rafting is quite fun, and everyone is friendly and seems to be in a festive mood.

Rafting in the Sainte Anne Lock
Woman paying her locking fee

While we are following the Ottawa River, each lock backs the river flow up into a substantial lake, and we entered and crossed Lac Des Deux Montagnes up to the Carillon Lock. This lock, upgraded in 1963, is unique in that it not only raises boats up 65 feet, but has a one-piece, guillotine-style gate that is lifted up over the boats as they enter/exit the south end.

As we tied up to await an opening, another boater informed us that the lock door was not working, several boats were trapped inside, and a maintenance crew had been called in from Montreal to try and fix it! Our fear of another Erie Canal experience hit us hard, and we couldn’t believe this could happen again. Fortunately after an anxious 90 minutes, we got the “all clear” to prepare to enter. What a relief, as we might not have survived another delay.

Carillon guillotine-style lock door
Door closing after we went in
View of the 65 foot lift in this lock
After the Carillon Lock, we crossed Lac Dollard des Ormeaux and found a free dock at the town of Hawkesbury, and this is our first stop in Ontario Province. Here, Anne cooked a delicious meal of lemon shrimp with spinach and couscous. It is remarkable what she can prepare here in Great Laker’s galley, and we continue to eat very well on this trip.

Great Laker at sunset on the Hawkesbury town dock

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