After 3 days we had our fill of the somewhat crowded busyness and decided it was time to head for the quite islands of the St. Lawrence River.  Leaving the Old Port, we headed back around the La Ronde Amusement park and into the 2 commercial locks we came through 3 days ago to get here. It's a good thing we left when we did, because the next morning the lower lock was closed and remained closed for quite some time because of a tanker spill in the system. If we had of decided to spend one more day in Old Montreal there is no telling how long we would have been held up there, possibly ruining the plans for the remainder of our vacation.

Our cruise up the St Lawrence were at cooler temperatures than our trip down the Ottawa River. On the way to the Islands which pretty much start at Brockville, we had stopovers at Craig Quay, Chrysler Park  Marina near Upper Canada Village, passing through the Beauharnois, Snell, Eisenhower, and Iroquois commercial locks.   There is one thing in the commercial locks that caught us by surprise here, we are familiar with the lock staff throwing down lines from the top of the lock for us to cleat and feed through as the water rises; At Eisenhower lock, we entered and the lock staff said number 2. We had no idea what he meant, until we got in and noticed these numbered floating hooks inside the lock wall, it was weird however that we would only get one of these hooks, we had to feed the bow line around it at midships, and the same for the stern line. It was a little difficult to keep the stern in to the wall, and the lines were rubbing up the concrete wall the whole way making our lines very dirty and their lock walls very clean. Iroquois was another anomaly, we entered the lock, they closed the doors behind us, we pulled to the lock wall, paid our fee, then they just opened the door in front of us and we left. It was no noticeable lift to this lock at all.

The current can be 3-4 knots in these areas, you can see some of the navigation buoys healing over to the force of the current, so heading upstream will have an effect on your speed and fuel economy, though not enough to warrant not going up the St. Lawrence. We lost a little time, and burned a little more fuel than usual, but nothing drastic. We will however go downstream on the St. Lawrence the next time we do this triangle just for a change.

We were in need of provisions, so before we went out for the night on one of the Brockville group islands we had to stop into the Brockville Marina to find a grocery store. This marina allows you to tie up for free, if slips are available, for up to 3 hours. This gave us plenty of time to do a little shopping on Main Street, and stock up on food and water.

Leaving Brockville Marina, it was only a few minutes before we hit the islands. We rounded Refugee Island, seeing a full dock free on the southern side, we took it. It was a beautiful spot, the water in this area was so green and clear. We spent the evening swimming, snorkeling, and watching water foul gracefully flying inches above the water.

The next day we left the Brockville Island group, and passed through a little bit of open water, to get to the next group of islands where we stayed at Grenadier Island. Grenadier is a big island with tons of park dockage around it. We decided to check out Grenadier Central since we have never been there before. There ended up being a lot of boats there that evening, and I can see why, it has a big grassy field, a beach, and docks enough for more than 20 boats give or take.

Having spent two nights without shorepower we were in dire need to charge the house battery, so we needed a marina. Next stop was Gananoque. Heading to Gan is a marvelous cruise through the 1000 Islands area. We took the Canadian Middle Channel until we entered the Gananoque Narrows. It was a very windy day; 25 knots with gusts to 40-50. I am not completely sure how I did this but I sterned into my assigned dock at Gan without mishap in this wind. It has to be the windiest time I have ever docked the boat. There were many other boats that came in that day that were not so fortunate, one teeing the finger dock on the port side and another was blown around between two docks, while yelling at dock hands.

One of our favorite islands is Camelot Island just south east of Gananoque. We like it on the mooring cans there, but it is a really busy island and we rarely ever get any spot at that island. I think the last time we were there was 8 or 9 years ago. The morning after Gan we set off to see if we could get a mooring can at that island. As we got closer we could see another boat on approach from the north just ahead of me, he took the south side, and I tried for the north side, as we rounded the island there it was, a free mooring, rarely seen by us at this island. We quickly tied up, and as we did we could see the other boat that was ahead of me round the island without a spot. A few moments later other boats came in close to us to ask if we were staying or leaving. We stayed the night and had a wonderful time. We even met up with a boater who was vacationing in the area whom we once shared a home marina with.

The 1000 Islands area really is a boaters paradise and has some of the best fresh water cruising in the world. There are docks, mooring cans, and anchorages a plenty and it would take years of constant cruising to fully explore the whole area. The water is clear and cool and the landscapes are phenomenal. If you want a good view of what the islands are like, it is a good idea to catch some of Ian Coristine's photography of the area.

Camelot was our last stay at the islands, and from there we headed to Kingston for a two day stopover to get Mary Browns Fried Chicken delivered to the boat; a tradition we started a few years ago, to eat out at some of the great restaurants in downtown Kingston, and also to get provisions for the last leg of the cruise up the Rideau River and back into the Rideau Lakes. 

Kingston Town Hall
As we entered the Rideau system there is a feeling of home that comes with it, staying at Lower Brewers, anchoring in Morton Bay, Chaffey's, and a night at Newboro, but it also has the feeling of completion, other areas we have never been have now passed under our hull. A fabulous trip around eastern Ontario, one that we will remember for many years, and was quite possibly the nicest cruise we have done yet.  We will do this triangle cruise again, but we have many more waters to explore that we have never been. Lets see what next seasons vacations holds.

Kingston Mills Lock

Lower Brewers Lock

Morton Bay

Big Bird at Chaffey's Lock
Move Over: Chaffey's Rapids II
Rapids at Chaffey's Lock
Chaffey's Rapids

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