July 2, 2015 – Merrickville Lock Wall to Smith Falls top of lock 31 – 14.5 nm traveled

Please forgive me for the next few blogs.  I am writing a diary, ships log, cumulative mileage/mooring spread sheet, trip financial spread sheet as well as the blog and got behind.  Therefore the next few blogs are copies of my trip diary until I get caught up so I can write a separate blog again.

We planned to leave the Merrickville wall in time to arrive at Kilmarnock Lock (24) prior to the 0900 hrs. opening. As I assessed the situation I realized this would not be an easy task. A strong wind was blowing us against the wall. There was a boat immediately behind me and a concrete spillway to the power station immediately ahead of me. Sea To See walks to starboard when backing and we had a starboard tie. All of these combined would make leaving the mooring a challenge. I put fenders spaced along the starboard bow with one directly behind the bow. We then walked the boat forward as far as we could and I had Vicki manage a spring line from the bow of the boat to a cleat on the wall about 10’ toward the stern. I slowly powered the boat forward until the spring line was taut and then, with the wheel hard to starboard powered forward springing the bow in and the stern out. After I got the best angle with the stern off the dock without the bow striking the wall I turned the wheel hard to port and backed rapidly while Vicki freed the spring line from the wall cleat. This put Sea To See along side the boat on our stern but with enough clearance that I could slip the transmission into forward and by accelerating the engine get enough forward motion to clear this boat and we were on our way. With a sense of relief I should say.

The trip up the canal through Kilmarnock Lock, Edmonds Lock (25), Old Slys Locks (26 & 27) and Smith Falls Lock (29A) was beautiful and all went like clock work. We were alone through all of these locks.

At the Smith Falls Lock the lock master told us he was going to fill the lock more rapidly than usual so we would just have time to get through the Abbot Street Swing Bridge. This bridge only opens at five specific times during the day until after 1:00 PM and one of these times was 11:00 AM. We got into the Smith Falls lock at 10:45 AM so it was going to be close.   We pulled out of the lock and powered the short distance (0.4 nm) as fast as we could. The bridge started to open as we approached and another boat pulled off of the wall and went through just ahead of us and into Lock 31. We locked through together and because of the size of the other boat we had to switch to the port side of the lock instead of our usual starboard side.

We found space on the wall at the top of the lock at 1115 hrs. This pleased us as this is what we were aiming for without any guarantee it would not be full. We wanted to moor there because we still had not been able to do full provisioning after the Dow’s Lake break and this stop had a large grocery store, Walmart, Canadian Tire, McDonald, Tim Hortons and any number of other useful stores.

DSC05761

Our new favorite store!

We spent the afternoon running to all of these stores and felt we were able to bring the stores on the boat to the state needed in all regards. Oil for an oil change and small additions on occasion, food, ice for the Yeti, a table for the cockpit, etc. All in all it was a very productive day.

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