We left Montreal early to fill up the “gaz” as they say here and still make a 10AM lock opening with a gaggle of other boats transiting at the same time. Hitting that timing was important as the locks on the St Lawrence are commercially focused and the lockmasters have no problem with pleasure boaters waiting 5 to 6 hours to pass when there’s commercial traffic.
Our relatively large group and light commercial demand meant we “sped” (the term is used loosely here as there is a SIX knot speed limit over the 9 miles between locks) through the two big locks.
Between waiting, locking and transiting the whole ordeal took about 4 hours. What the heck, it was sunny and we were boatin’! There are worse things in life!
After the second lock we took a right out of the commercial zone and back into the recreational boating arena as we headed out of the St Lawrence and into the Ottawa River via yet ANOTHER lock.
We decided to stop on the free wall for the night just before the St Anne lock. Very cool little town with a great boardwalk and tons of little restaurants along the lock channel.
Today, we roared off at 11AM in hot pursuit of a group that had left at 9AM. We had our first experience rafting with French Canadians in the lock. Communication was fine as B used her Sprench and N spoke slowly and loudly! The Canadians were amazed we’d coaxed our boat 6,000 miles around the loop so far (that’s right we have officially cleared the 6,000-mile mark!).
Nothing like 25mph+ when trying to catch trawlers! We caught ‘em and passed ‘em and shared the next lift at the Carillon Lock and Dam.
At 65′, the Carillon Lock has the biggest lift in Canada (it does in one chamber the work of 8 earlier locks…yay!) and is the only lock in North America where the lock doors go up and down versus swinging open and shut. The thing is a cavern!
From the lock we headed up to Le Chateau Montebello, which happens to be in the town of Montebello; the site of Canada’s biggest annual rock festival (which we learned was underway as we came up the river). Not the kind you throw, but the kind you attend in a black t-shirt, piercings, and boots. This little town of 1,200 has 80,000 to 100,000 people in it! There were tents all over the place and lots of LOUD music.
Seems like everyone’s got a black t-shirt on and they’re listening to bands like Wu Tang Clan sing songs the extent of which are lyrics like “M…’fer, uh huh, uh huh” while prancing around on stage! Those are the ONLY lyrics! Sorry, what IS that? Oh wait, our age is showing.
OK, won’t bore you here with the travails of internet and Verizon’s definition of “unlimited” data in Canada, but suffice it to say we gotta’ post when we have Wi-Fi, or it isn’t getting done.