July 3, 2015 – Smith Falls (Lock 31) to Newboro (Lock 36) – 26.6 nm traveled

Morning Water at Smith Falls

Morning Water at Smith Falls

With a beautiful sunrise and absolutely still water we left the wall at 0815 headed for Poonamalie Lock about 2.3 nm up river. We arrived about 15 minutes before the opening time of 0900 so parked on the blue line and waited for the lock doors to open.   This lock opened the door to the “Big Rideau Lake” that turned out to be a very large and interesting lake with many bays, large and small, protruding off of the main lake. It would take decades to explore all of the nooks and crannies of this lake.

When we got to The Narrows Lock and Swing Bridge we found many boats milling around and parked on the blue line. This was, by far, the busiest lock we had run into on the Rideau. A larger boat pulled into the lock ahead of us and I waited for a signal to proceed but didn’t see one. Vicki went out on the deck and talked to a lock employee asking if we should proceed. He gave a kind of non-committal answer so I just continued to enter the lock not knowing if I was going to get all kinds of abuse or what. There were clearly several boats ahead of us and I assumed they were waiting to lock through. It turns out that they wanted us to pull to the front of the lock opposite the other larger boat and then they filled the back part of the lock with all of the smaller boats. They stacked at least four more boats behind us.

We proceeded through the lower portion of Upper Rideau Lake to the canal that led to Newboro Lock. In the last bend of the canal, just when the chart showed the shallowest water and just when four small boats met us heading the opposite direction the depth reading on the chart plotter disappeared. As I was busy steering I asked Vicki to climb into the electronics cupboard and wiggle the wire but I found later that I had asked her to wiggle the wrong wire so the depth readings never did come back until we were through the lock and moored. Then I was able to wiggle the right wire and all was well.

This lock too was very busy and we followed the same rules as the last lock where we were waved into the lock ahead of other waiting boats as they were smaller and then they filled in behind us. Five additional boats entered after the two larger ones were settled. When we pulled out of the lock we circled around the end of the port float and moored on the back side. As it was very shallow and the depth sounder was still not working I stayed as close to the end of the float as possible.

We spend the afternoon reading, and enjoying the sun with a light breeze. About 1600 hrs. we hiked into the town of Newboro and went to an impressive store with an incredible amount and variety of stuff. This store was Vicki’s kind of store so after surveying it I went to the ice cream shop and had a peanut butter milk shake while Vicki enjoyed browsing and eventually buying a nut grinder. We walked back and I worked on logs while Vicki prepared dinner.

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