June 30, 2015 – Hurst Marina to Aylings Marina (Rideau Canal) – 22.7 nautical miles traveled

Our campfire gathering lasted until almost 2300 hours so we slept in a little. We were still underway by 0840. It was a beautiful trip through more winding, shallow and at times very narrow water. The morning was sunny and warm but it started to cloud up by noon and we finally got a few sprinkles in the early afternoon.

This day we traveled 22.7 nautical miles and traversed locks 17-20 (Burrits Rapids, Lower Nicholson, Upper Nicholson and Clowes). The trip was well worth it for the scenery and the challenge of navigating the very narrow channel. At places the river was quite wide but all was very shallow except the marked channel. At times this channel was no more than 50’ wide so it required close attention.

Rideau River

Rideau River

Because tomorrow is Canada Day and it is a big celebration we expected the lock walls at Merrickville to be chockablock. With that expectation Vicki called ahead to make arrangements for us to go to Aylings Marina at the foot of the next set of locks. When we arrived we found that the spillway for the dam to the north of the locks directed the water right across the entrance to the marina. The current was screaming past that area. It seemed fool hardy to try to dock a boat under those conditions but looking across the current stream it didn’t seem so bad in the marina so we made our way angling across the current with pretty good rpm on the engine and, lo and behold, when we broke through it was calm and we were able to easily maneuver into our assigned finger pier.

Aylings is an old marina with a shipyard area where they have specialized in wooden boats over the years. It was interesting to walk around and see all of the wooden boats and talk to the marina manager about wooden boat issues. This was particularly useful to me since Sea To See is a 1970 woody classic.

We walked into town and found a medium sized grocery store and the LCBO to continue the task of replentishing our larder. Then it was back to Aylings for Chart Hour and about an hour long conversation with the Marina Manager about his operation and wooden boat repair. About dusk we were hungry so went into the town of Merrickville to The Goose and Gridiron for dinner. After being seated in the dining room we discovered they also had a bar area where you could eat and the Woman’s World Cup semifinal game between the USA and Germany was on in there. We moved so we could enjoy the game (USA 2 – Germany 0).

We returned to the marina to have desert of cake and ice cream aboard “Dollinger” where the great mosquito hunt took place. Somehow a bunch of mosquitos had found their way in when we entered the boat with Brad and they were relentless. By now it was 2200 hrs. and time to hit the bunk.

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