July 12, Wednesday, Chambly, Quebec, heading to the St Lawrence River
We are now in Chambly Quebec, the temperature has been around 66 degrees today, and we have been seeing many families and friends picnicking in various parks in town. I think these are hardy people! We had our fleeces on and they are in shirt sleeves. I’m impressed.
The trip on the Chambly Canal was pretty special. We went through lock #9 right away, after waiting for a pedestrian & bicycle bridge to be raised. There were 4-5 more very low bridges but the lock keepers had told us how fast to go, and as long as we kept to that speed the bridges were raised pretty soon after we arrived. The Canal is narrow with a bike path on one side and roads or houses on the other. The Richelieu river can be seen on our right as well.
The locks were built in the mid-1800’s and are still opened and closed by hand cranking various wheels. The lock doors are wood, 6-8 inches thick and beautiful. When we go through these locks I am up on the bow, grabbing the first rope from the lock tender and pulling the boat to the side of the lock. Once I’ve got my rope and we are far enough in, Dirk turns off the engines and grabs a stern rope. We wave at bystanders as we travel through the locks, many who are on bikes.
The last mile of the trip was amazing. There were 3 locks in a row with just a small area between them, and then around a corner, 3 more in a row in a staircase – exiting one lock put us into the next lock. Did I mention the locks were small? Maybe 18′ wide and 75 feet long? We are 40 feet and they also squeezed in a sailboat and small boat. With the wind blowing in the last 3 locks it was hard to pull ropes tight enough so that we wouldn’t bump the sailboat Dirk had to help me at one point.
After getting settled at a Canada Parc dock right after the last lock (and buying a pass to stay on Canadian lock walls the rest of the summer (about $400 Canadian), we went for a walk and visited Fort Chambly where we learned about the French Canadian early history in the area. I had to be patient and wait for my turn to hear some recordings in English since most visitors are speak French of course. Fortunately most signage in the fort was in both languages. We spent more than an hour there, also looked at featured photos by local artists and then roamed the main thoroughfare of this lovely town. Although we thought about eating out we were too tired for that so went back to the boat and ate, read, and blogged.