We had one of our loveliest days on July 14 traveling along the Chambly Canal and through a series of nine locks.
The Chambly Canal runs 10 miles downstream along the Richelieu River connecting the towns of St. Jean de Richelieu and Chambly. Each lock is very small – only 21 feet wide and 100 feet long. We traveled on a Tuesday and the river was very quiet so we never had to share a lock with another boat.
At each approach to a lock, we were greeting by friendly lockkeepers and beautiful flowers lining the park-like settings. It was most interesting to see that each lock is still operated by hand cranks. Once we were secured in the lock, the lockkeeper turned the crank to open the gates and again to close them when we were through. We talked with many friendly and curious people as we passed through the locks.
We did have one small mishap. Though the day was sunny and clear, it was quite windy. As we approached one of these narrow locks, our boat was blown sideways and our stern bumper rail nicked the bulkhead of the lock. The lockkeeper was required to complete an incident report though the damage to our boat and their bulkhead was minimal. Fortunately, no real harm was done and we continued on our merry way!
The last locks were different in that they were in quick succession, like a staircase of three locks. We entered the first, tied up to the side of the lock, turned off the engine, the lock drained, we left the lock and immediately motored about 20 feet to the next one and repeated the process two more times. As soon as we exited the third one, we entered the Chambly Basin, a beautiful round bay at the top of the canal.
We stayed at Marina de Chambly for two nights as our friends, Steve and Cathy were flying in from Sacramento and we planned to spend some time in Montreal just 45 minutes away by car.
The marina was adjacent to the last lock and the cute little town of Chambly was around the corner. Once again, the Canadians take great pride in their gardens. The flowers were just spectacular!
We spent some time shopping and re-provisioning the boat for our guests’ arrival.
Steve and Cathy arrived late that evening and we prepared for making the most of our next day in Montreal.