St. Ours Lock, St. Ours, Quebec to Yacht Club De Montreal, Montreal, Canada — June 21, 2014

01-Leaving-St-Ours Lock-With-Lock-On-Left-And-Dam-On-Right

01-Leaving-St-Ours Lock-With-Lock-On-Left-And-Dam-On-Right

02-Church-On-West-Shore-Of-Richilieu-River-South-Of-Sorel

02-Church-On-West-Shore-Of-Richelieu-River-South-Of-Sorel

03-West-Shore-Of-Richilieu-River-South-of-Sorel

03-West-Shore-Of-Richelieu-River-South-of-Sorel

04-Salties-In-Sorel Quebec

04-Salties-In-Sorel Quebec

05-Salties-On-The-St-Lawrence

05-Salties-On-The-St-Lawrence

06-Approaching-Montreal-From-The-East-On-The-St-Lawrence-Seaway

06-Approaching-Montreal-From-The-East-On-The-St-Lawrence-Seaway

07-Approaching-Montreal-From-The-East-On-The-St-Lawrence-Seaway

07-Approaching-Montreal-From-The-East-On-The-St-Lawrence-Seaway

08-Approaching-Montreal-From-The-East-On-The-St-Lawrence-Seaway

08-Approaching-Montreal-From-The-East-On-The-St-Lawrence-Seaway

09-Yacht-Club-De-Montreal-Looking-Southwest

09-Yacht-Club-De-Montreal-Looking-Southwest

10-Yacht-Club-De-Montreal-Looking-Northeast

10-Yacht-Club-De-Montreal-Looking-Northeast

11-Looking-Toward-Southwest-End-Of-marina

11-Looking-Toward-Southwest-End-Of-marina

12-Some-Of-The-Cars-In-The-Marina-Lot -- 2014 Corvette and Circa 1970 Ford GT

12-Some-Of-The-Cars-In-The-Marina-Lot — 2014 Corvette and Circa 1970 Ford GT

13-Building-In-Old-Montreal

13-Building-In-Old-Montreal

14-Building-In-Old-Montreal

14-Building-In-Old-Montreal

We got our normal start today, around 8:00.  The Richelieu River is emptying into the St Lawrence so we are getting a push from the current.  When we get to the St Lawrence we will be fighting the current to Montreal.

The weather was initially clear when Candy went for her 1st walk but the clouds rolled in.  You could see that it was clear some distance south of us but we were headed north. The Richelieu River in this section has many homes and cottages along the way.  We stayed at the Lock in St Ours but that is only 12 miles to Sorel on the St. Lawrence.  The wind was still out of the north but not too much of a factor. There were some fisherman on the river but it was an early Saturday morning for most folks and the sky was gray.

When we passed thru Sorel there were two Salties (ocean going ships) that were parked on the river.  Although there was plenty of room to pass between them it looked a little intimidating with these huge ships on either side. When we turned left into the St Lawrence, there were 5 Salties anchored in the river.  This part of the St. Lawrence that we traveled today was about 3 miles wide with lots of islands and several secondary channels besides the main shipping channel.  For the most part we followed the shipping channel to Montreal. I stayed to the edge of the channel to try and minimize the impact of the current as much as possible.  In the center portion of the channel the current was between 4 and 5 mph.  The current was about 1.5 mph less at the edge of the channel.

There was a fair amount of traffic on the St Lawrence and it kept getting heavier as we got closer to Montreal.  After about an hour and a half on the St Lawrence I looked at the charts and realized that we were only 4.5 miles from where we started the day even though we had traveled about 25 miles.

The boaters around the Montreal area are really crazy.  I am not sure if they have a law here that says that while you are underway you cannot have people on the front deck.  There were whole families on the front deck of 30’ cruisers and the waves were about 2’ and coming in a lot of different directions from the various boat wakes.

As we approached the marina we passed the cutoff for the locks that we will take in a few days.  The current increased as we proceeded and at it maximum I showed our speed thru the water about 9 mph more that our ground speed.  It was a challenge to control the boat and keep moving in a straight line.

The marina is pretty interesting because it is in the Port of Old Montreal. It is in an old Freighter Bay along the river bank.  It is right next to the “Old Montreal section of the City.  The old stone buildings are really something.  Some of the old streets are still cobble stone and very uneven.  We watched the cars on the streets and they do not need speed control on the old cobblestone, it is built in.

Lots of people and tour groups in Old Montreal.  All of them are armed with cameras and all seem to be taking the same pictures. Lenore and I had dinner at a restaurant in Old Montreal and we were able to watch the people on the street.

Marina De Chambly, Chambly, Quebec to St. Ours Lock, St. Ours, Quebec– June 20, 2014

01-Marina-De-Chambly-On-Left-And-Locks-1-2-3-On-RIght

01-Marina-De-Chambly-On-Left-And-Locks-1-2-3-On-RIght

02-Chambly-Quebec-Shoreline

02-Chambly-Quebec-Shoreline

03-Chambly-Quebec-Shoreline

03-Chambly-Quebec-Shoreline

04-Chambly-Quebec-Shoreline

04-Chambly-Quebec-Shoreline

05-Church-Along-The-Richilieu-River-West-Shore

05-Church-Along-The-Richilieu-River-West-Shore

06-Another-Church-Along-The-Richilieu-River-West-Shore

06-Another-Church-Along-The-Richilieu-River-West-Shore

07 Houses along the West Bank Of The Richilieu River

08-House-Along-The-Richilieu-River

08-House-Along-The-Richilieu-River

09-Cable-Ferry-On-Richilieu-River

09-Cable-Ferry-On-Richilieu-River

10-St-Ours-Lock Sign

10-St-Ours-Lock Sign

11-Champ-III-At-St-Ours-Lock Dock

11-Champ-III-At-St-Ours-Lock Dock

12-Shoreline-Near-St-Ours-Dam

12-Shoreline-Near-St-Ours-Dam

It was pretty windy this morning.  The sun was out and the sky was clear but the wind was blowin.  The boat behind us had already moved to the lock wall for the Chambly Lock to head South.  They had stopped by last night to chat after they saw we were from St. Clair. They had a SeaRay (40’ +/-) Sport Fisherman that had MC numbers covered mostly with tape and fresh Vermont numbers hanging from the bow rail. They had purchased the boat somewhere in the St Clair Flats and were bringing it back home to Lake Champlain.  They took this route to avoid the bridges in the Erie Canal and he said the mileage was about the same.  It was also interesting to note there was another SeaRay in the marina that was from St Clair Shores.  What are the chances of 3 boats from Michigan in an out of the way Quebec marina on the same day.

We started up the Richelieu River and it is a pretty nice river with lots of homes along the way and some of them are really nice custom homes. There are many undeveloped areas but a lot of boats along the shore and we passed 2 cable ferries on the river.  The car ferry uses the cable to pull itself across the river.  I guess they do not need a real skilled captain for that service.

There were probably more clouds than sun as the morning went on.  We called the marina in Sorel that we wanted to stay at to make a reservation.  They said they did not have room for us.  I looked over the chart book and we called another marina about 8 miles south of Sorel on the Richelieu River.  I had to leave a message and we were never called back. We decided to stay on the lock wall at the Saint Ours Lock and go to Montreal tomorrow.  Montreal is going to be a fairly long day because there is a strong current in the St. Lawrence River and we have about 42 miles against the current.

The Lock where we are staying has very nice grounds.  They have put information kiosks all over the place to explain the history behind the lock.  This lock was opened in the early 1800’s to connect the St Lawrence with the Hudson River and eventually New York.  They had built a house for the Superintendent to stay in and quarters for the support crew.  There were maintenance buildings and a horse barn for the horses that originally pulled the barges thru the canal.  Many of the buildings did not survive until today but the history is pretty interesting.

Gaines Marina, Rouses Point, NY to Marina De Chambly, Chambly, Quebec — June 19, 2014

01-Leaving-Rouses-Point-Gaines-Marina

01-Leaving-Rouses-Point-Gaines-Marina

02-Leaving-Rouses-Point-Gaines-Marina

02-Leaving-Rouses-Point-Gaines-Marina

03-Fort-Montgomery-At-Rouses-Point-New-York

03-Fort-Montgomery-At-Rouses-Point-New-York

04-Fort-Montgomery-At-Rouses-Point-New-York

04-Fort-Montgomery-At-Rouses-Point-New-York

05-Chambly-Canal-Welcoming-Sign

05-Chambly-Canal-Welcoming-Sign

06 Chambly Canal On Richilieu River

07-Chambly-Canal-Information-North-Is-Right

07-Chambly-Canal-Information-North-Is-Right

08-Top-Of-Locks-3-2-1

08-Top-Of-Locks-3-2-1

09-Marina-De-Chambly-In-Foreground-And-Chambly-Lake-Behind-Looking-North

09-Marina-De-Chambly-In-Foreground-And-Chambly-Lake-Behind-Looking-North

10-Marina-De-Chambly-In-Foreground-And-Chambly-Lake-Behind-Looking-Northeast

10-Marina-De-Chambly-In-Foreground-And-Chambly-Lake-Behind-Looking-Northeast

Nice sunny morning today.  The wind was not quite as strong but still out of the northwest.  It was OK because were off Lake Champlain and on the Richelieu River. We left a little after 8:00 and headed north.  I knew once we got into the Chambly Canal it would be calm.  The river winds north and is fairly wide along the way maybe ½ mile, or a little more, across.  The channel is marked well but it is a little hard to get used to the Canadian channel markers.  They are about 6” in diameter and maybe 5’ tall.  They have a wide base at the water but the thin top makes it hard to pick them up at any distance over ½ mile, even with the binoculars.

We stopped at the Canadian Customs Station and that was a breeze.  We had all our papers together and they never even looked at Candy’s vaccination papers.  After about 5 minutes they said we could go and there was not even a report number which I thought was strange.  They made sure they had my boat number written down.

We had quite a few fishermen on the water and a couple of power boats headed south that were on plane.  We saw a Canadian Coast Guard boat.  It had a small crane on the front and I think it might have been a buoy tender.

All the chatter on the VHF radio was in French so we were at a disadvantage because we did not know what they were saying.

We arrived at the entrance to the Chambly Canal about 11:15 and found out that the next start of the lockage would be at 12:30.  This is a closed system. once you start to transit the canal you need to finish because there are no marinas or places to really tie up for the night along the way.

The Chambly Canal is about 18 miles long with 9 locks and probably 8 swing bridges. The first 2 locks take you up and the last 7 bring you down.  The locks are all the same size and it was a tight fit for our group. Most of the locks are at the north end.  About 2 miles from the outlet there are 3 locks that are close together, maybe 300’ apart. The last 3 locks are all together with one lock exiting into the next lock. The Chambly Canal runs right next to the Richelieu River.  In some places there is only a hundred feet of separation or so.  Many places are like running thru a subdivision with lots of homes.

The Chambly Canal is entertainment for the local residents.  There is a bike/walking path for its entire length at each of the locks the spectators can come up next to the lock and talk to the boaters. Separation is maybe 5’. Lots of people and they are pretty interested in what is going on and ask questions about where you are going and where you have come from. We were at a disadvantage in that we did not speak French

We were with two other boats for our trip thru the canal. One boat was a 36’ sailboat and a 26’ powerboat.  The sailboat was carrying his mast on deck so it hung over both front and back and we had our dingy hanging off the back.  The powerboat had a dingy strapped to the swim platform so we were all longer than out normal length would indicate.  The locks are not very wide, maybe about 30’.  They had us behind the sailboat in the first lock and told us that for the remaining locks we would be placed behind the powerboat and that sis work much better.

It was a long day and we were fortunate that right next to the last lock is Marina De Chambly.  My phone had no service during the whole time we were in Canada so I hailed them on the VHF when we were getting ready to exit the last lock.  Nice little marina on a large basin of water probably 2 miles in diameter.  People were very nice and they had a menu for a local restaurant that delivers and the menu was all in French.  It is a good thing they had pictures and that it was a chicken shack type place.  The women who answered the phone was able to speak some English and they delivered about 20 minutes after the call, great service.

We are on tomorrow to Sorel.  It is located on the St. Lawrence Seaway.