The Route South

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Ottawa, Montreal and the Chambly Canal

Thursday July 19, 2012 – Friday July 20, 2012
Our niece Melinda is coming for a long weekend, flying in today from Clearwater and we are excited.  We have been busy scoping out what and where we can go play tourist.  After a false start, the airline came through and she was able to make her connections.  Thursday night we went to the light show at Parliament, a fabulous, fascinating program projected on the exterior of the main Parliament building.  It doesn’t get dark until almost 10 PM so the show didn’t start until then and ran until almost 11 PM.  We were tired out by the time we walked back to the boat.
On Friday we went back to Parliament for the Changing of the Guard.  This ceremony happens promptly at 10 AM every day of the year.  So after breakfast out, we went back up to Parliament Hill and sure enough, at the stroke of 10 AM the first of the Guards set foot on the parade ground.  Talk about military precision!  We went back to Byward Market for some final shopping, scoring even more cheese as well as some meat for the grill tonight.  At 1430 we moved off the wall and down to the blue line so we could lock down the famous (or infamous?) flight of eight locks.  These locks are one right after the other, like going down stairs.  It normally takes two hours to do and we wanted to get through today so we didn’t have to waste time in the morning.  Our plan was to lock through then go down the river four or five miles and anchor.  However, when we arrived at the blue line they were locking several boats in the opposite direction and it was 1650 before it was our turn to go down.  I replaced the broken anchor light while Melinda went exploring for an hour.  We got the express ride down so it took less than an hour and a half and the lockmaster gave us permission to use the Blue Line so at 1820 we were tied up for the night.
3.9 hours - .5 NM

Parliament Building, Ottawa

The Changing of the Guard - Parliament Hill - Ottawa

Cindy and Melinda.  Where are their hands?

Fortunately, Cindy speaks French with her hands!  Buying provisions at Byward Market - Ottawa

Al Fresco dining at Byward Market - Ottawa

Waiting at the top of the flight of eight locks - Ottawa

The Rideau is a Canadian Heritage site and a popular tourist stop.

Plenty of onlookers.

Finally through!

Saturday July 21, 2012
We had to be off the Blue Line before the locks opened so we were away by 0700.  We had a pleasant, no-lock cruise down the Ottawa River to Chateau Montebello, purported to be the worlds largest log structure.  Quite Impressive.  Lunch was deferred until later so we could eat at the resort.
35.6 NM

Chateau Montebello
A nice place for lunch!

Interior views - Chateau Montebello

Interior views - Chateau Montebello

Interior views - Chateau Montebello

Dining room - Chateau Montebello
There are both indoor and outdoor pools.
There is an underground passageway between the hotel and the indoor pool for wintertime use.

Sunday July 22, 2012 – Tuesday July 24, 2012
By 0645 we have rejoined the Ottawa River.  Since we have some locks to do today we need an early start.  At 1025 we arrived at Carillon Lock, a 65 ft. drop with a HUGE guillotine door.  The grumpy lockmaster has a bad reputation for yelling instructions in French – we are in Québec now – and between the three of us we know, well, no useable French.  But our fears were without merit.  Maybe it was his day off or maybe they sent him to charm school, but we were given instructions in English and our locking through was simple and easy.  We entered the lock at 1045 and popped out the other side at 1125, 65’ closer to sea level.  The lock gates were open and waiting at 1435 we arrived at Sainte Anne de Bellvue.  We locked through at 1500 and tied up at the lock wall.  Watching boats go through the locks is a spectator sport on Sunday afternoon at this delightful suburb of Montreal and it was common to start a conversation with the spectators.  One such fellow asked where Belleair, our port of hail, was located.  When we told him it was near Tampa he replied “my nephew moved to Tampa to play hockey”!  Further discussion revealed that his nephew is Martin St. Louie, one of the Lightning stars.  Marty played on the Lightning’s winning Stanley Cup  team.  Sainte Anne de Bellvue will be our home for the next few days while we visit Montreal.  Monday we took the bus and the subway into downtown.  After grabbing a bite of lunch we walked around old Montreal area but it was hot and after a few hours we reversed course, taking the subway and then the bus back to Sainte Anne de Bellvue.  Sadly, this is where Melinda will leave us and fly back to Clearwater.  Tuesday morning we put he in a cab for the airport, her visit was over too quickly.
48 NM

Way down in the bottom of Carillon Lock.

The huge guillotine door at the bottom of the lock.

Watching boats is a popular Sunday afternoon pastime - Sainte Anne de Bellevue lock.

Town wall at Sainte Anne de Bellevue.

Wednesday July 25, 2012
Early start today – we are away from the wall before 0700.  Today we go to play with the big boys in the St. Lawrence Seaway.  We have two locks to do in the St. Lawrence and these are big…big enough for ocean-going shipping.  At 0845 we enter the Canal de la Rive Sud, the canal that routes us around the rapids near Montreal.  An hour later Sainte Catherine lock is in sight and we have to wait twenty minutes for an up-bound ship to clear the lock before we lock down 36’ with another pleasure boat.  It was just over an hour’s run to the St. Lambert lock where we waited fifteen minutes for a ship to lock through.  Once in the lock it only took fifteen minutes to lock down and we were on our way out of the Canal de la Rive Sud and into the St. Lawrence River.  A hard turn to port will take you to the old port of Montreal, but we chose to go right, heading down the St. Lawrence to Sorel.  The current is kind to us on this large river and we arrive at Sorel at 1640 where we leave the big river and begin heading south on the Richelieu River.  Two hours later we arrive at the lock at Ste. Ours, where it only takes fifteen minutes to lock through.  After locking through we tied to the wall for the night – a 12 hour day!
79 NM
Ocean-going ship - St. Lawrence Seaway.

Ships have first priority in the locks.

One ship waiting as we leave the lock.

Thursday July 26, 2012
Ste. Ours is a beautiful spot and we were in no hurry to leave.  I walked around the island park before we left at 0930.  As is our practice, we lunched under way, passing Mont Sainte-Hilaire.  We arrived at the Chambly Canal at Lock #1 at 1350.  There are three locks in a flight and by 1445 we had locked through all three and tied up to the wall in the pool above the lock.  We wandered around the little town of Chambly, figuring out where to have dinner.
27 NM

Church with Mont Sainte-Hilaire in background.
Friday July 27, 2012
The Chambly Canal has a totally different look and feel to it.  Different from the Erie and different from the Rideau.  It is much smaller, more intimate.  But it still has plenty of locks!  Each lock takes 10-15 minutes.  The logbook shows that we locked through #4 thru #9 between 0855 and 1022.  When we arrived at Bridge #10 at 1150 the bridge tender told us that she was closed for lunch and that we should tie up and she would call us when her lunch break was over!  Closed for Lunch?!  So we ate too.  Finally at 1230 she opened the bridge and off we went.  At 1300 we approached our last Canadian lock, #9.  Ten minutes later we were through.  Shortly after 1600 we were back in the USA.  At 1635 we cleared US Customs at Old Rouses Point.  Clearing in took only a few minutes and we were on our way, anchoring for the night at Windmill Point, at the north end of Lake Champlain.
33 NM

Flower boxes at the lock - Chambly Canal.

Chambly Canal with Richelieu River alongside.

Pretty village on the Richelieu.