- - Christmas Eve in Ottawa
- – - In St Catharines
- - Skating on the Rink of Dreams
- - Kathryn's Quilt Projects
- - Hike to Huron Lookout
- – - In Vieux Quebec
- - Early Skiing
- - Skating Starts
- - End of the Biking Season
- - Vesper's Haulout
- - Last Sail of 2019
- - Hike to Renaud Cabin
- - Autumn Sailing
- - In Toronto
- – - In St Catharines
- – - Crystal Bay Overnight on Vesper
- - Hiking to Lake Fortune
- - Two Years Together!
- - Painting Expedition
- - Hiking to Western Cabin
- - Hiking to the Ramparts Lookout
- - Hiking the Luskville Falls Trail
- - Summer Biking
- – - Sailing Up River
- – - Our Engagement Cruise
- - Summer Sailing
- - Sailors on Vesper
- - First Sail of 2019 on Vesper
- - Launching Joya II
- - Working on Vesper
- - One Year of Cohabitation
- - Captain Kathryn
- - Vesper Launched
- - At The Canadian Tulip Festival
- – - Heather, Carolyn, Mike & Leo in Ottawa
- - Sandbagging at Nepean Sailing Club
- – - Trip to St Catharines and Toronto
- - Biking Season Begins
- - Rebuilding B & X Docks at Nepean Sailing Club
- - Last Skate on The Rink of Dreams
- – - Kathryn in Thunder Bay
- - Quick Trip to Montreal
- - Rebuilding B & C Docks at Nepean Sailing Club
- - The Last Skate on the Rideau Canal for this Year
- - Wildlife
- - Skating for Transportation
- - Skiing to Shilly Shally Cabin in Gatineau Park
- - Skiing to Keogan Cabin in Gatineau Park
- - Snowshoeing in Andrew Haydon Park
- - Snowshoeing in the Greenbelt
- - Skiing to Renaud Cabin in Gatineau Park
- - Skiing in Gatineau Park
- - Skating the Rideau Canal
- - Skiing Restarts
- - Skating in the New Year
Click to enlarge photos, hover for caption
Christmas Eve in Ottawa
Back in Ottawa from St Catharines we had Christmas Eve at our house.
In St Catharines
Just before Christmas we did a trip to St Catharines to see Kathryn's family. Her kids met us in Toronto and we went southwest from there, before all returning to Ottawa.
I even got a video of Leo bouncing in his Jolly Jumper.
Skating on the Rink of Dreams
The Rink of Dreams at Ottawa City Hall opened a week ago and we were out night skating on it this evening. It's one of Kathryn's favourite things!
On 13 December 2019 we skated the Rink of Dreams at night again and shot a video.
Kathryn's Quilt Projects
Kathryn recently finished some quilts she had been working on this year. One is a quilt she finished that other quilters had worked on as a Canada 150 project for Ronald McDonald House. Nationally quilters made 1,000 donation quilts for this cause.
Kathryn also made a set of sofa cushion covers for her daughter's house.
Hike to Huron Lookout
This is one of our favourite times of year to hike in Gatineau Park. Skiing hasn't started, due to insufficient snow, so very few people are up on the escarpment, but the parkways are closed to cars and the place is amazingly quiet. We had lunch at the 100 year old ski cabin, Shilly Shally, where another hiker had kindly already got the fire in the woodstove going before we arrived. After lunch we hiked on to Huron Cabin and the Huron Lookout, before returning, for a total of 10.6 km walked.
I shot a video of a winter stream in the park.
In Vieux Quebec
In November we did a short trip to Quebec City by train. The old city was beautiful under a blanket of new snow. We went to the old city, the Petit Champlain district, Avenue Cartier and Le Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec.
I shot a video of ships on the Saint Lawrence River, too.
I have never seen skiing down in the city in November before, but we had 15 cm of snow last night and so, after the shovelling was all done, we went and blazed out ski tracks. It turned out to be hard work, as there was a water layer under the snow that iced up our skis repeatedly.
The snow didn't last, as temperatures warmed up and within a week or so it was all gone and winter was postponed a bit longer.
With sailing and cycling done for the year it was time to start ice skating, so we got our skates sharpened and hit the ice!
End of the Biking Season
I biked to the sailing club and this trip marked the end of the biking season, with 2 cm of snow arriving the next day. We biked 2974 km this year.
Today was Vesper's day to leave to the water. It was a remarkable sailing season, with more time spend on board than in past years.
Last Sail of 2019
We had our last sail of the season today for one hour, in good southwest winds and a temperature of 5°C.
Despite the late start to the season as a result of the spring flooding, we completed 52 sails and a total of 179.4 hours on board Vesper.
Hike to Renaud Cabin
One of our favourite activities is to hike in Gatineau Park during that period between when the roads are closed and when the first snow falls. This time we did a hike from P19 to Renaud Cabin, a new postmodernist cabin.
We had a great sailing season, including an especially notable October, with ten days on the water during the month, all with really good winds.
On our way home from St Catharines we stopped in to see Nigel and Charlyn in Toronto and meet her new greyhound, Melvin.
In St Catharines
We did a three day trip to St Catharines to celebrate Kathryn's father's 85th birthday and saw most of her family there.
Crystal Bay Overnight on Vesper
To celebrate the warm weather at the autumnal equinox we did a sail and a night on the river on Vesper. There were just enough light winds to get us to Crystal Bay under sail in 2:06, in plenty of time to enjoy the sunset. On the way home the wind completely died and we motored part of the way home.
Hiking to Lake Fortune
With no wind for sailing we went up to Gatineau Park and did a hike from P7 at Kingsmere to Lake Fortune. Afterwards we did a bit of a walk in Wakefield, including walking across the restored covered bridge there, that was rebuilt after it was burnt by arsonists in 1984.
Two Years Together!
Today marked two years since we first met. It feels like then time has gone quickly, a sure sign that we have been having fun together. We celebrated by going sailing, the same as on our very first date.
Today we joined Cyndy on one of her painting expeditions to the Ottawa River. It was a fine day, with a temperature of 24°C and little wind, plus low humidity, just about perfect for painting.
Hiking to Western Cabin
Today we did a 5 km hike today to Western Cabin in Gatineau Park. There was a trail warning about bears, but we only saw butterflies during our hike.
Hiking to the Ramparts Lookout
We did an 8.5 km hike today to the Ramparts Lookout in Gatineau Park. This is a unique viewing spot, the only one that looks northeast from the park, across the Laurentians.
Hiking the Luskville Falls Trail
We did a new hike today that neither of us had done before, the Luskville Waterfall Trail. The trail covers 4.5 km round trip from Luskville, Quebec to the fire tower. The distance is short, but it involves a 390 m (1280 ft) vertical climb, which is mostly a "rock-hop" up a stream bed and so quite challenging, for a non-technical climb. We reached the fire tower for a picnic lunch. The tower had been built in the 1940s and was used until the 1970s. The water fall varies a lot by the season of the year and was almost completely dry, here in mid-summer.
We have done a fair amount of biking this summer, both to sailing and also other places, such as this photo, that was shot in Pine Grove. Ironically those huge pine trees were planted in 1962, so they are younger than we are! By 26 July we had covered 1384 km by bike and reached 2000 km on 28 August.
Sailing Up River
We did a three day/two night trip on Vesper. Friday afternoon we sailed and then returned to anchor just outside the NSC harbour overnight, in our position as a safety boat for the morning's Bring On The Bay swim. After the swimming event was done, we rafted up with Chuck and Gillian on Joya II for an hour. Then we headed up the river in a southwest wind. While the winds were fickle and light earlier in the day, by the time we crossed Constance Bay they became very high and gusty, hitting 30 kts and we had to beat to windward against them in challenging sailing conditions. We finally made it around buoy K15 to Buckham's Bay to complete our 18 nm leg to dock at John and Kelly's harbour at Barking Mad Cottage. We went for dinner in Arnprior with them and then slept on Vesper, on what turned into a calm night. On Sunday morning we departed early, motored into a growing northwest wind that was touching 15 kts by the time we made the K15 buoy and hoisted sail to run home. As we passed Aylmer Island, the winds were 25 kts and then increased to 30-35 kts. We were moving very fast running downwind, surfing down the building waves and hitting 6.4 kts. We dropped our mainsail at KNB and sailed in under jib alone on a beam reach, easily staying ahead of the exodus of sailboats quickly trying to get off the water by motoring. We dropped jib at the harbour mouth, motored the last few yards to our slip and were tied up just after noon. Our sailing time was just under 12 hours and we spent a total of 37 hours on Vesper over the three days. As Kathryn noted, "it was an eventful trip".
- Video: Bring On The Bay 2019
Our Engagement Cruise
We did our first overnight voyage in 2019 on Vesper, anchoring in Crystal Bay on a beautiful evening, with a gorgeous sunset. While at anchor there I proposed to Kathryn and she said "yes", so we are now officially engaged.
We had a great Canada Day sail! Today was our 12th sail of the season on Vesper. We are slowly catching up on our lost spring sailing, slowed only by lack of wind.
Sailors on Vesper
Today was our 8th sail of the season and we took our first passenger along today on Vesper. I'll add other photos as we get more people sailing.
First Sail of 2019 on Vesper
Transport Canada's restrictions on boating on the Ottawa river were lifted late on so this was our first chance to sail Vesper this year. It was a cool day, with good winds, so we sailed west and checked all the buoy locations.
The high water cost us about five weeks of sailing time and the TC river restrictions cost us another week, so the normally 29 week sailing season has been shortened by about 21%. That said, by this time last year we had only completed 7 sails of the 54 we did, so we will see how we do by season end.
Launching Joya II
This afternoon we helped launch Chuck and Gillian's Edel 820 Joya II.
Working on Vesper
With Transport Canada's restrictions on boating on the Ottawa river we are still unable to sail, so we have been working on Vesper, including doing some teak work.
One Year of Cohabitation
We marked one year of living together today! It has been fun, so it went by fast.
Kathryn completed her PCOC today and is now qualified to captain a pleasure boat!
Launch was a month late this year, due to the extensive flooding on the Ottawa River. Today the water dropped to 2.25 m over datum and were allowed to launch our boats. Vesper was the ninth club boat in the water and the first one on "E" dock. We were not able to start sailing right away, though, due to Transport Canada's restrictions on the river.
At The Canadian Tulip Festival
We went to the Canadian Tulip Festival at Commissioner's Park next to Dow's Lake, in Ottawa, with our friend, Tammy. As usual for a weekend there were huge crowds there, including a lot of tourists, even though it was neither warm nor sunny.
Heather, Carolyn, Mike & Leo in Ottawa
Heather, Carolyn, Mike & Leo were in Ottawa for a family wedding and we saw them several times, plus dog-sat Ziggie, too.
Sandbagging at Nepean Sailing Club
Ottawa had serious flooding this year, just like in . Today the water reached 2.5 m over datum and the two of us were at the sailing club filling sandbags.
We were back sandbagging again on 30 April, when the water was 2.8 m over datum. The river crested at 2.8 m on Thursday 02 May 2019 and then the level began to decline before a second crest at 2.7 m over datum on 14 May 2019.
Trip to St Catherines and Toronto
For Easter we did a trip to the St Catharines area to visit Kathryn's family and then stopped in Toronto to see my brother and his girlfriend on the way home.
Biking Season Begins
With the last snowfall hopefully behind us and the ice slowly melting, we got our first biking of the spring in on a +11°C day in mid-April.
Rebuilding B & X Docks
In April we continued work on the docks at Nepean Sailing Club, rebuilding the dock system, with B & X docks the focus for today. We were just two of the volunteers who worked on the two docks. It was much warmer than on past work days, reaching +6°C during our Saturday morning shift.
Last Skate on The Rink of Dreams
With warm weather on the way for the weekend we did one last outdoor skate on the Rink of Dreams for this winter.
Kathryn in Thunder Bay
Kathryn made a week-long trip to Thunder Bay to see her new grandson, Leo, as well as see Carolyn, Mike and also Heather, who had flown in from Vancouver, too.
Quick Trip to Montreal
Today we went to Montreal for Sunday brunch with Matt, Katia and Blake who is now seven and a half weeks old.
Rebuilding B & C Docks
This year the Nepean Sailing Club continued with its work rebuilding the dock system, with B & C docks. We were two of the volunteers who worked on the two docks, in cool temperatures and high windchills, just like last year!
The Last Skate on the Rideau Canal for this Year
Today was our last skate on the canal for this year, on the last day that it was open for skating. The surface conditions were good when we started out, but were getting soft by the time we finished our end-to-end run today, with the temperature at -1°C under bright sunshine. We had lunch on the canal including BeaverTails.
We have seen a lot of wildlife while out snowshoeing this winter, including many birds, river otters and quite a number of coyotes. We spotted this eastern coyote (canis latrans) on one snowshoe expedition.
Skating for Transportation
This evening I had a meeting downtown, so I decided to take the train to Carleton University and skate the 7 km to downtown on the Rideau Canal. I have done lots of skating for recreation in the past, but this was the first time I had skated as a means of transportation. It took 33 minutes to get downtown, which at that time of day may have been quicker than driving a car.
Skiing to Shilly Shally Cabin in Gatineau Park
For Valentine's Day we decided to ski Gatineau Park again, this time to Shilly Shally cabin for lunch. After skiing we went to Les Saisons in Old Chelsea for hot chocolate and then the sailing club for some dinner, before going to an NCC Urbanism Lab downtown in the evening, entitled Reuse and Renewal: Designing Futures for Historic Places. It was a pretty good Valentine's Day!
Skiing to Keogan Cabin in Gatineau Park
Today we had quite good skiing conditions and so we skied to Keogan cabin for lunch, including some distance south in the hills on trail 1, the Ridge Road Trail. The total distance we skied was about 13 km.
Snowshoeing Andrew Haydon Park
We did another snowshoe trek today, in deep snow and high windchills in Andrew Haydon Park.
Snowshoeing in the Greenbelt
We did our first snowshoe trip today, working with deep snow under a layer of ice. It was a good workout.
Skiing to Renaud Cabin in Gatineau Park
Today we had excellent ski conditions and so we travelled to the north end of the park, to ski to the new Renaud cabin, built in about 2017. This replaced a much older cabin on the same site. Total distance was 19.0 km skied.
Skiing in Gatineau Park
We did our first ski in Gatineau park this winter today. The conditions were really quite good, with a temperature of about -5°C and no wind at all. The snow was deep enough and nicely groomed by the NCC crews. We skied from parking lot P16 up the Eardley Escarpment to the Champlain Lookout and then back to Huron cabin, where we found a fire blazing away in the wood stove, the place nice and warm for a lunch break. From there we skied back to P16, before heading home.
We also made a video:
Skating the Rideau Canal
The conditions were good today, with the whole canal finally open and the temperature at -9°C and a -13 windchill, so we skated the whole canal end-to-end and even stopped to share a BeaverTail.
We also shot a video:
We haven't been XC skiing in the last two months due to poor conditions. We had a repetitive pattern of snow, rain, thaw, freeze for much of the December and into January, but winter seems to have at last returned and with it the chance to ski.
Skating in the New Year
2019 started off with a freezing rain storm and poor conditions for outdoor activities, so we started our year with lingonberry sundaes and then indoor ice skating. We have done lots of skating so far this winter, this was our 14th skate!