Archive for » July, 2008 «

July 14th, 2008 | Author:

From Saint-Paul to Saint-Jean it is only about 10 miles. 10 lazy miles in clear, but crisp weather. We approach hoping to find dockage at the City Dock. Yes, Braveheart (whose owners hail from Indio in the winter) and another Looper boat, High Spirits. We squeeze in behind them and go to look for the lock. We want to make sure that we have all of the right information about the Parc Locks and fees.

I was very impressed with the friendliness of the locks men the New York Canal system through Champlain Locks; but these people are Parc Rangers and they want you to have a good time and be safe. They believe you are on vacation. I also think it is Canada’s way of employing more people. In NY, the people that run the locks are with a union. Perhaps the Parc Rangers are unionized, but there are 2 at this small lock. At the NY locks, one person and he only pushes buttons. We had to hold on to dirty lines or tie to bollards. I like this better. There are clean lines hanging down for you to hold on to. All we will do is approach, grab hold of lines, drop, and leave when the gates open.

We are buying a season pass for both the lock systems in Ontario and Quebec and also a mooring pass. This pass will let us tie up at lock walls during the day or overnight for free. Free that is after paying $9.80 a foot. But, we figure if we use it 10 times that is only $45 a night and there isn’t anything that cheap around.

Tonight we will go into town and have a simple meal. I like hearing French being spoken. I also like knowing that most of the people speak enough English to help us. This town is cute. It is in much better shape than the northern towns of NY that seem to be dying. Where we are there are many restaurants and taverns. We are wondering if it will be noisy tonight; it was suggested that we go through the lock and tie on the other side, but we wanted to wait until tomorrow.

Category: Cruising, Quebec  | Comments off
July 13th, 2008 | Author:

No sleep for either of us last night. We have so loved Deep Bay. Few boats. Easy walk on beautiful trails. Great protection from the wind – save from one direction. When wind blows from this dreaded direction, it rivals Santa Ana’s in California. Previously in the trip we were warned about the nasty NORTH wind. But here on Lake Champlain, it is the sinister SOUTH. And blow she did.

It was gentle when we went to bed. Perhaps 8 mph. But she then picked up her fury. 8 not enough? Take 10 – 12 – okay 20; are you sleeping? Then she threw in gusts up to 30 mph. The sound of wind blowing is unnerving. But SOUTH does not like to be alone. She brought her friends SWELLS and CHOPS. They danced all night. We poor little boats in the bay were at her mercy. We jumped when she said to and we swung when we had to.

We have learned that being tied to a dock or mooring ball can cause us, the inhabitants, (generally known as sailors) to feel secure. In a storm there is no difference. But then dawn comes. There are places to go to. We know SOUTH is a bully when we are tied. If we stand up to her, will she back down? Will she break enough so that we can drop the line and leave our safety behind?

No, but we power out. We can call the shots now. The ride seems calmer; 4 foot waves coming towards us, but we can go through them. And then, around a corner, better. Between an island and the mainland, better still.

And thus began our trip out of Lake Champlain and into Canada! At the Customs Dock, the agent watches us; the wind wants us away from the dock; the agent wants us there; again we are tested. Neither gives help. But we have become strong in the face of adversity. We tie up; Kelley jumps off and almost back on.

We are now tied to a dock off the main channel of the Richeleu River at Marina Gossell. Do not, I repeat, do not got to the Marina Lighthouse, the people are rude and not helpful. They did refund our money for the night when we explained that we would not fit where they had wanted to put us. SOUTH was howling; the spot was narrow; there was no protection. But, here we are, hot cup of tea, a piece of chocolate, rain is falling, but SOUTH, where is she? She is whimpering a bit. Bullies are like that. You just have to show them who is boss!

Category: Cruising, New York, Quebec  | Comments off