Tuesday, June 23, 2015

June 15 - 23, 2015 ::: Rouses Point, into Canada, the Richelieu (Chambly Canal, Saint Ours Canal) St. Lawrence, Montreal



Three good days at Rouses Point Gaines Marina (NY) and SONATA was underway again for points North.  After departing the marina we passed under the Vermont Bridge and into Canada.  First stop was the Canadian Customs building where we were greeted by two agents.  A few routine questions, presented the USCG title documents to the agents, and we had our clearance to proceed.  The Canadian courtesy flag was raised and North we continued.


First Canadian bridge was a railroad bridge; three whistles and a quick opening and passage.  Shortly thereafter a nest with two eagles on our starboard beam wished us well and North we proceeded through the Chambly Canal and Bridge 12.

Through a swing bridge and a brief tie-up on the lock wall  while we waited for a Southbound trawler to exit Lock 9, we then entered the lock and prepared our lines

SONATA secured in the lock, a short wait for the lock to drain and take us down, exit out of the lock into the channel and then through a field of buoys. Which way do we go!  Something apparently sank here and the channel was narrowed by buoys so SONATA could safely transit and continue the Chambly Canal.

A different type of bridge to pass under, into the channel again, a glance to the right to see the rapids that we are avoiding (could not go through) by going through the canal, what is believed to be the narrowest part of the canal (some 23 feet wide, the Cul de sac), then another stop to let two southbound boats to pass as they come out of the lock.

The locking procedure is rather simple.  The lock doors are closed, the chamber filled, SONATA enters . . . then the drain doors are opened, Bonnie is examined (?!?), the doors are opened and we exit,  then look back at the Locks 1-2-3 that we just stepped down to complete the Chambly Locks.

The first night in Chambly we had a wonderful dinner in town just near the dock.  The next day was to be very windy so we decided to stay put and wait until the winds calmed.  The morning of the 19th a Sea Ray and a sail boat were to share the locks southbound . . . a tight squeeze.  SONATA moved down the canal to the Saint Ours Lock and another overnight on the lock wall. 


SONATA departed Saint Ours Lock at about 0500 so that we could get to Montreal at a reasonable time.  Our initial speed with the current behind us was over 9.7 kts . . . on one occasion got as high as 10.1 kts (which was great fun for us as we normally travel at 8 kts).. our slowest speed was some 2.5 as we were 3/10 of a mile from the marina.  We passed ocean shipping, calm waters, church steeples and around 1300 arrived in Montreal and tied up to the North wall just beside the dockmaster's office at Port d' Escale Marina .  A  great day on the water  and nice trip.

Sunday evening ... oops, not Sunday evening, Monday morning at about 0100 in the rain, with everyone tired ... Brandi and Taylor arrived by taxi from the Montreal airport.  May the welcome begin . . . after some sleep! (this is Brandi here...as you can see, we were happy to have our picture taken in the rain and after an especially challenging cab ride where the driver COULD NOT find our destination!!  Way to go MOM!!!)

St Joseph's Oratory
Rue de St Paul
Olympic Park
We have had a wonderful time in Montreal.  We have eaten at Papillon, at Chez Suzette for "S'mores" crepes, some beavertails, ice cream, bicycle rides (and walks) to Atwater ("a long dang way, 19,580 steps"); and when we returned to SONATA we were surprised to see the vessel moored just across from us.

BAZINGA  is a 100 foot long yacht that, for the last several years, has been berthed at Ocean Marine in Portsmouth, near SONATA.  As we returned from a Grey Line tour of Montreal we walked past the vessel and met the owners John and Helen Wilson from Chicago.  BAZINGA had traveled from Ocean Marine to Nova Scotia and from the mouth of the St. Lawrence to Montreal.  The Wilsons are on their way home to Chicago. BAZINGA and SONATA will depart Montreal together in the a.m. for the Lambert Lock and the St. Catherine Lock. BAZINGA will then continue down the St. Lawrence to Lake Ontario, Lake Erie, Lake Huron, Lake Michigan to Chicago . . . SONATA will follow a separate route to the Saint Anne de Bellevue Lock, the Ottawa River, Ottawa, the Rideau Canal, the Trent-Severn Canal . . . then to Chicago through the Georgian Bay, North Channel, Lake Huron, and Lake Michigan.

Monday, June 15, 2015

June 6 - 14, 2015 ::: Mechanicville, NY to Ft. Edward to Whitehall to Chipman Point to Burlington to Rouses Point,NY


The New York Canal System has provided docking in Mechanicville, Fort Edward, and Whitehall.  Each location is downtown and provides a place to dock with power and water.  SONATA enjoyed all three starting first with Mechanicville.  Here we docked behind the Canal System tug WATERFORD . . . which was unoccupied while we were present, however, a nearby Mechanicville elementary school class came down for a tour and presentation on the waterway.

 Locking through usually is not a problem.  We place a large orange fender ball near the stern and another just forward of amidships to keep SONATA off the lock wall.  In the curve toward the bow we place two smaller fenders to keep the forward portion of SONATA from touching the wall as we lie alongside the wall for the water movement in the lock.

 After leaving a lock you can look back to the lock and usually see a dam that is operated along with the lock, and, the level of water that you have just stepped down.

 On the Champlain Canal the bridge clearance, distance between the water and the bottom of the bridge . . . is some places is only 17 feet.  SONATA's air draft, height, is about 16 feet.  When passing under the bridges it can take your breath away . . . looks like you are, for sure, going to hit the bridge.

 The entrance to the Lock as we approach.

Along the canal there are water-gates in place to stem the flow of water as may be required . . . they too are up about . . . 17 feet.

 We enjoyed two days at the Fort Edward docks.  The only problem was the rain of cotton-wood puffs that covered the grass . . . and SONATA.

We attended the Sunday morning church service at the Village Baptist Church which was less than a block away from SONATA's location.  A very enjoyable service, the organ was played at the beginning of the service and at the end.  Either the organ or the piano was used as the backup instrument for the hymns that we sang from the hymnal book.  A fine sermon along with communion; a terrific beginning to the day.

Outside the church we had discovered that Fort Edward was where Solomon Northup (movie 12 Years a Slave) lived before he went to Saratoga, NY and accepted an offer to go to Washington, DC to perform with his violin (Solomon was kidnapped and sold into slavery in Washington). 


Charlie rode his bike to the Old Fort House (the Sherwood House), Bonnie walked.  A beautiful cool day.  The Old Fort House was constructed from the buildings at the abandoned Fort Edwards.  It was reported that George Washington had lunch there . . . and on the second floor Solomon was a tenant, one bedroom, with his wife and family . . . before his trip to Saratoga.

 SONATA is inside the gates of Lock C9, Champlain Canals.  Below is one of the paper charts that were used as we navigated the canal system. 

Out of Lock C9 SONATA continues on toward its next stop.  This is part of the canal system, and, the waterway is narrow.

 The clouds and the mountains come right down to the water.  Beautiful scenery that a photograph cannot capture.

Our approach to Chipman Point Marina and dockage for two nights....a very pleasant location 

 Just north of Chipman Point we had a good view of Fort Ticonderoga from the South as we proceeded toward the Champlain Bridge shown below.

We enjoyed a great day cruising Lake Champlain and arrived at Burlington, VT in the early afternoon.  Burlington is a vibrant lakeside city that offers year round activities.  Bonnie enjoyed walking along Church Street Marketplace with its shops, cafes and buskers displaying their talents. 
Charlie and his brother John, who joined us for the weekend, spent their time on the some 14 miles of bikepaths in the area.
The Discover Jazz Festival was in full swing and we had bands playing day and night.

It's Saturday morning and everyone comes out to shop at the Farmer's Market.  There is so much variety, so many different wares, ethnic foods, and fabulous fresh fruits and vegetables.  Does not get much better than this!  Great breads and pastries.  YUM!!

A beautiful sunset to celebrate the end of our visit to this memorable city which has become one of our favorites. 
Departing, we pass the Burlington Boathouse Marina and head to Rouses Point, NY, our last stop in the US before going through Canadian customs and into Canada.