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.