Saturday, June 21, 2014

Dragon boats in Mooney's Bay

It's been three months since I published a blogpost here. We're now in mid-summer, June 21st, and the Ottawa rivers look totally different. This weekend the Dragon Boat Festival takes place in Mooney's Bay on the Rideau River with crowds of competitors and their supporters there, thousands of people making a noise.

From downtown, I cycled up the bike trail by the Rideau Canal to see them, returning along the Rideau River trail, a ride that only took about 40 minutes each way, and I'm not a speedy cyclist. Some of my friends from the Ottawa CFUW were paddling in the races but so many people were there, I never spotted them. Some teams were just there for a laugh; others were taking it very seriously, limbering up with team chants, arm-waving exercises, press-ups. All participants wore a uniform and life jackets. The marshalers lined them up to wait for their turn in the boats, which had dragons' heads and tails as in the Chinese tradition on this day–– Duānwǔjié (端午节). During the races a drummer in the prow of the boat beats a rhythm for the oars and a steersman or woman stands at the back. At the end of the race came the cheers and mutual congratulations, high fives.

On the bank were many tents and stalls. The results tent listed the teams that had competed so far this morning, among them some silly or witty names: Blazing Paddles, Rowdiculous, Girls on Fire, Sea of Troubles, Release the Krakens, Holy Ship, Fire Breathing Rubber Duckies and even My Arms Hurt.

Photo by CW Clark
This afternoon Chris and Chuck are flying above Mooney's bay in our Cessna so that Chuck can capture pictures of the boat races from the air.

(Added later.)  See one of these pictures on the right. Click to enlarge and you can clearly see the wakes of the dragon boats and a close finish for 1st place in this race ...

A couple more pictures created by CW Clark are attached below.

The whole of Mooney's Bay, also showing the Hog's Back Falls and canal

Dragon boats returning from a race, with the Festival site beyond

1 comment:

  1. As a cyclist this may interest you. At the top of the 3-shot panorama you can see the bend in river road, the rail line crossing over it and the river and an old 2-lane road. That's what river road used to be and it crosses the rail lines at a very acute angle. Our 70s/80s training rides went out that way and it was always "interesting" crossing the tracks on a rainy day. The track was well used in those days and crossing shiny wet rails making that angle with the road took some care.