2018 – Santosha’s Rideau Cruise

January 2018

Now that Christmas and New Years are past my thoughts have turned to planning Santosha’s cruise for this coming summer. I have some broad goals in mind and, if the boat performs well and the weather co-operates, then I am hoping that we can cruise extensively in Eastern Ontario and Western Quebec. I intend to take my time and linger in interesting places along the way as this may be the only summer that we cruise in this region. Our trip is set out in the following seven major segments:

Segment Origin & Destination Ports Travel Time Approx. Dates Some Of The Stops Along The Way
1 Goderich to Port Stanley 6 – 8 days June 16 – June 24 Sarnia, Windsor, Pelee Island, Erieau
2 Port Stanley to Toronto 4 – 8 days June 24 – July 2 Port Dover, Port Colborne, Oakville
3 Toronto to Kingston 5 – 7 days July 2 – July 9 Whitby, Cobourg, Presqu’ile, Trenton, Belleville, Picton
4 Kingston & The 1000 Islands 5 – 7 days July 9 – July 16 Wolfe Island, Gananoque, Thousand Islands National Park, Ivy Lea, Mallorytown
5 The Rideau System 18 – 21 days July 16 – Aug 6 Seeleys Bay, Westport, Smiths Falls, Merrickville, Kemptville, Manotick
6 Ottawa River to Montreal 7 – 10 days Aug 6 – Aug 16


South Nation River, Papineauville, Montebello, Hawkesbury, Hudson, Longueil
7 Montreal to Morrisburg 6 – 8 days Aug 16 – Aug 24 Chateauguay, Valleyfield, Lancaster, Cornwall, Long Sault, Upper Canada Village

On our cruise last summer from Jacksonville, FL to Goderich our rate of travel averaged about 50 nautical miles (NM) a day. Some days we did much better than that and on other days we only made 30 – 40 NM. Major factors that influenced our travel distance each day were: currents, waves and winds; weather; distance to our next most desired destination; and the amount of daylight available. I expect that, weather permitting, our rate of progress from Goderich to Toronto will be very good as we will have currents running in our favour on the St. Clair and Detroit Rivers. Plus, I have travelled in these waters from Goderich to Port Colborne a few times before, so there will be much less mental effort for choosing overnight stops, etc.

I am using Navionics’ Web App to help me plan all of the segments of the cruise. This free app is really easy to use over the internet through your web browser software – just set up a free account  with Navionics, fill in a few details about the boat such as: draft, cruising speed and rate of fuel consumption, then identify your starting and end points. Navionics’ software will rapidly plot a safe course for you complete with all necessary course change points and it will also indicate anticipated travel time and fuel consumption.

Navionics Web App – Using Safari Browser on a MAC

You can also save each plotted course with a unique name. Navionics will allow you to export the routes to certain brands and models of marine chart plotters. Additionally, for an annual subscription price of less than $100 you can load Navionics’ navigation program and charts onto an iPad or Android tablet and then import (download) the plotted courses for “real time” use.

Navionics Web App Plot On iPad (GPS Not Activated)

I used it on my iPad mini last year while I was travelling from Jacksonville, FL to Goderich, ON and it worked great. I also had the iPad paired up with a Bluetooth GPS device so my position and other statistics were constantly updated. As far as I am concerned the Navionics app for my iPad is worth every penny of the subscription fee!

(Please Note: I do not receive any compensation from Navionics for my comments on their software or charts – I am simply offering my experience in this post as a satisfied customer!)

Segment 1 – Goderich to Port Stanley (June 16-24)

This segment of the cruise will take 6 – 8 days and be predominately end destination oriented, with only brief stops along the way. We will leave Goderich in mid-June and our first stop will be overnight in Sarnia at the southernmost end of Lake Huron. From there we will travel to Windsor for another overnight stop. Our next destination will be Pelee Island on Lake Erie for a bit of a rest and a two-day visit.  We have never been to Pelee Island before so it’s high time we had a look around and even tour the winery!  Our next overnight stop along the way will be the marina at Erieau and then on to Port Stanley. We will spend 2 – 3 days in Port Stanley, resting a bit more and re-provisioning the ship’s stores.

Segment 2 – Port Stanley to Toronto (June 24-July 2)

This segment of the cruise will take 4-8 days and will also predominately be end destination oriented. It’s a long way from Port Stanley to the western entrance of the Welland Canal at Port Colborne, so we will make an overnight stop in Port Dover and then travel to Port Colborne the following day. We will begin our trip through the Welland Canal early in the next morning. Our rate of progress through the canal will depend upon the amount of freighter traffic as the “big boys” always take precedence over pleasure craft. Hopefully we can be through the canal by early afternoon and then make a rhumb line course across Lake Ontario to Toronto Islands. If it takes us the better part of the day to get through all the locks in the canal then we will stop overnight at a marina near the Lake Ontario entrance to the canal and head to Toronto Islands the next day. We will spend 2 – 3 days in Toronto resting, being tourists and re-provisioning the ship’s stores.

Segment 3 – Toronto to Kingston (July 2-9)

I expect that this segment of our trip will take 5 – 7 days, depending upon how many times we stop along the way. At this point on the cruise, we will begin to slow things down quite a bit. Our first stop will be at the marina in Whitby, to visit our dear old friend “Nauticat SV Ananda” and her new owners Robin and Louise. We will spend an extra day at this marina catching up with each other, trading stories of our boating adventures, etc. I expect that there may be more than one G&T consumed at this stop! From Whitby we will head to Cobourg for an overnight stay and then on to Presqu’ile Provincial Park near the entrance to the Murray Canal. In 2010 my son Steve and I spent the night moored up to the canal entrance wall. It was a beautiful spot until the sun set and then the mosquitoes descended upon us by the tens of thousands! The window screens on Ananda at that time were pretty useless so we closed all the windows and doors and put up with the stifling heat inside the boat rather than being eaten alive! This year we will try to find a better place to anchor or head to a marina nearby in Brighton. There’s also a winery in this town so we may have to extend our stay for another day and take another wintery tour! The next morning we will enter the Murray Canal and head towards Trenton, on the Bay of Quinte and then continue on to Belleville for an overnight stop. The next day we will go to Picton for our last overnight stop before arriving in Kingston.

Segment 4 – Kingston and The 1000 Islands (July 9-16)

We will spend 5 – 7 days in this area. The City of Kingston, Wolfe Island, and the 30 NM stretch of the St. Lawrence River between Kingston and east to Mallorytown is full of great places to explore with plenty of marinas and anchorages as well as boating and recreational facilities in the Thousand Islands National Park. Once we have “covered” this part of the St. Lawrence River we will head back to Kingston to re-provision the ship’s stores and get ready to head into the Rideau River and Canal system.

Segment 5 – The Rideau River and Canal System – Kingston to Ottawa (July 16-August 6)

Cruising the Rideau system has been a long-time goal of mine. We plan to take about two weeks cruising to Ottawa and then spend another week in the Ottawa area. The Rideau system begins in Kingston and passes through a series of rivers, lakes and canals on the way to Ottawa. The whole route is about 120 NM long and includes passage through 45 locks. The entire system has been designated as a National Historic Site and as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. There are dozens of small communities and towns along the route so there will be no shortage of interesting places to stop and things to see and do.

Segment 6 – The Ottawa River – Ottawa to Montreal (August 6-16)

We will enter the Ottawa River via the step locks adjacent to the Parliament Buildings. It’s about 100 NM to Longueil, Quebec, which is directly across the river from the Port of Montreal. We will take about 7-8 days to make this trip stopping at several small towns in Quebec and Ontario along the way and then stay in a marina at Longueil for a couple of days before starting to head back west on the St. Lawrence River. I stopped at the marina in Longueil in 2010 when I was en route to New Brunswick. Chris and Joan Cavanaugh joined me there. We had a great time before heading further down the river.

Segment 7 – The St. Lawrence River – Montreal to Morrisburg, ON (August 16-24)

After visiting Montreal we will head about 100 NM back “up” the St. Lawrence River towards Cornwall and Long Sault. We will take 6-8 days to cover this distance and make several stops along the way. Once we arrive in this area I will begin to look for a marina somewhere between Long Sault and Iroquois to haul Santosha out for winter storage. We will spend the next few weeks cruising in this area and will haul out around mid-September.