The Wakes I Leave…

Brave Ottawa River Valley


The height of the water in the Ottawa River is monitored in several stations along the river. One of them is at Britannia. The average low level at Britannia used by the Canadian Hydrographic Service as vertical datum for the development of nautical charts of the area is of 57.9 meters. On May 7, 2017 at 9:35 AM EDT the level in Britannia reached a maximum record measured at 60.52m (2.62m or 8.60 feet above datum), 28 cm. above its historical maximum of 60.24m in May 1979 (

On August 22, 2015 I rowed a Sevylor Rio from the little beach at the end of Massey Lane off Blair Road, to Upper Duck Island where I operated QRP/portable and made the required radio contacts to successfully “qualify” it as “ON-296” for the VE-Islanders’ Canada Islands Activators program ( On that occasion, after arrival to the ramp I took a picture of the Jeep parked near the launching site with the Sevylor still inside its bag (see first picture of the composite). The level of the water at Britannia then was around 57.8 meters.

Yesterday (May 10, 2017) at 1:00 PM EDT, albeit from a different angle and from a position further removed from the shore, my friend and colleague Bob VA3QV took another picture of the same beach (see second picture of the composite). The water level at that time in Britannia was of 60.34m (2.54m above what it had been when the first picture was taken).

In spite of the nearly 2-year period between both pictures and the different vertical and horizontal angles and resulting parallax errors, the trees on the left of both pictures may have preserved enough their shape and characteristics as to permit a rough and tentative superposition of both images (see bottom picture in the composite). By the time one corrects for the different vertical angles and imagines both horizons at the same level, the Jeep becomes totally submerged, as would have been the photographer while taking the first picture.

Here is the same composite with yellow lines indicating on each picture the level of the water at the trees on May 10, 2017:

The tree seen in the distance slightly towards the right at the center of the picture marks the submerged western tip of Upper Duck Island and was used in August 2015 to support the PAR EndFedZ tribander antenna.

This blog salutes the brave individuals and communities that struggled and continue to do so against the high water levels that recently flooded parts of Canada, and in particular those in the Ottawa River Valley.