‘Spontaneous’: well that definitely captures my time filming Episode Three. If there was ever an afternoon to be dubbed the ULTIMATE ‘Unrehearsed Day’, this would certainly be it.
Sticking to the plan of having no plan, I booked our oTENTik’s at Beverages Locks and excitedly arrived not even 24 hours later. The Parks Canada website had called the oTENTik’s a “cross between a tent and a rustic cabin” offering a “unique blend of homey comfort and a taste of outdoor adventure”. Sounds like the perfect combination right? And yet, I still did not expect the luxury, functionality and simple beautiful of the site we arrived at. I was in awe.
We had wanted to get an early start to the day of filming, so staying over the night before seemed like the practical thing to do. Little did we know that we would be treated to an incredible sunset, enjoy a fresh souvlaki dinner from a chip truck down the road or sit around the campfire regaling stories and laughing into the night under the full moon.
The only real plan we had made was to meet the Lock Master in the morning (rumour had it he was a friendly guy) and ask him to guide us to the first stop on our journey… breakfast. Turns out, Ian (the ‘talk master’ as his colleagues fondly refer to him as) was extremely knowledgeable about the waterways, their history and the current landscape that influenced them. Our conversations were so interesting that we would wait for his return when he ran off to crank open the lock for yet another smiling face travelling down the Tay River, into Rideau Lake, and off to their beautiful day in the sun.
During one of these instances, I started up a conversation with one of the boaters waiting to pass through the locks. Am I ever glad I did! He had the most epic stories to share of his travels and outlook on life.
“The secret to happiness is to just slow down,” he told me, “just slow… things… down.”
And that’s where it began. You wouldn’t believe the crazy stories we heard; like the story of Dennis, his wife and their cat, who had been sailing for 3 weeks already and still had two glorious weeks ahead of them. Or the belly laugh-inducing stories from the Lock 33 workers, who reminisced of the nudist boaters who would barely cover up while approaching the lock systems only to toss their clothes off again immediately after passing through. I even felt a tinge of jealously towards the family that was headed to their secret island for an afternoon picnic.
Before we knew it, the day was coming to an end and we hadn’t even left the lock station.
Who could’ve ever expected that?