Locks, Lines, and Border Crossings

Canada Travelling Video
July 24, 2018

Our trip from Gananoque to Brockville was uneventful other than passing Dark Island’s Singer Castle and hearing numerous gunshots from nearby shores. Given that Singer Castle used to be a “hunting lodge” and we were technically state-side of the St Lawrence, it seemed wholly appropriate.

We docked along the wall in Brockville’s Municipal Marina which put us alongside a public boardwalk and park, beautiful, but certainly lacking privacy. We’ve discovered that our boat draws in a lot of people: some who know the history of the Bayfield or its designer, Ted Gozzard, and some who just appreciate her many curves and are curious about the boat, or the lifestyle, or simply where or next stop will be. While John was off exploring the town (or retiring early below), I was told tales of living on houseboats as a missionary on the Nile River, asked dozens of question on what, where, and why we sailing, and offered prayers and blessings for safe passages from people with concerned and frightened eyes.

Outlandish was admittedly overshadowed though by the tall ship Black Jack who was also in harbour. Built originally as a tugboat (seriously?, its hard to imagine her as a tug) in 1904, she’s a 87 foot square rigger that was converted from tugboat to logging boat to a “pirate ship” and is now used as a training ship in the St Lawrence and Ottawa Rivers (this historical information brought to you from colourcanada.com). All I could think though besides her apparent beauty was how far more expensive she would be to dock… One week in and I definitely had money on the mind. We chose to travel the first month marina to marina as we got used to the boat and our new life demands, but it is a far more expensive way to go and one that is certainly not in our long term budget.

We did hear back from our email to our fridge’s manufacturer. They also suspected the culprit was the control module and we made arrangements to overnight the piece (thankfully still under warranty) to a friend of the family who lived in Montreal. If timing worked out, we would have the piece in our hands in just a few short days.

After we departed Brockville, we made our way to our first lock. Let me state now that other than what was written in the guidebook (which was of little help) we had zero idea what we were doing.  We pulled up to the small craft dock, paid our fee at the machine and called in to let them know we were waiting. Over an hour and a half passed before the light turned to green and we were allowed entry. Thankfully two men aboard a motor cruiser that had joined us at the dock were kind and gave us a quick run down on what to expect, and the lock employees were friendly and gave us instructions: which basically was to hold on to a rope. With so much time to wait and stress about what to expect, we were still waiting for something to happen when the doors on the other side of the lock opened and we were free to go. We had been lowered about a foot without ever noticing. Definitely anticlimactic.

We docked that night in Crysler Park marina: a quiet, out of the way spot in Morrisburg Ontario. The heat had let up momentarily with a light breeze after sundown, though the mosquitoes definitely hadn’t.  There was an out of commission pool at the marina which taunted us but they did have lots of ice and cold drinks which ended up suiting us and the fridge just fine.

Locks two and three were on the US side.  We were fortunate enough to not have to wait at all… and the guidebook was helpful in showing us the way to loop our lines around the starboard bitts in the lock. We happened to pass through the US locks on July 4th – Independence Day and in hindsight were glad that there weren’t any closures as we only realized it was the holiday after we had already transited through.

Both the Eisenhower and the Snell Locks lowered us approximately 12 metres each. It was a surprisingly quick drop, lasting only a few minutes per lock once we were checked and secured.

Since we had no wait at all at the two stateside locks, we managed to pull into Bainsville’s Creg Quay Marina, our last marina in Ontario (which seemed more like a “get away from it all” retreat centre) at about lunchtime and spent the rest of the day organizing, fixing the cabin fan (John), napping (me), and decompressing in their pool which was definitely a welcome reprieve from the heat.

Three locks down, four to go.



Michelle Kauntz
Wild Blue Yonder

Seems you've found us. I'm one half of the charming and somewhat frustrating duo that is John & Michelle. (I'm Michelle) We once had this one-day idea that we wanted to sail around the world. We made a five year plan. After ten years of talking and two years of prepping and postponing, we are finally underway. Feel free to follow us and live vicariously though our pratfalls and adventures as we take our almost-as-old-as-John Bayfield 40 Cutter Ketch out of the safety of Lake Ontario and out into the world. On a shoestring budget. With two fiercely independent people. In basically 300-ish square feet of living space and with not a heck of a lot of sailing experience (yet) ...This is going to be fun...

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