On Tuesday June 5th we left Mallets Bay, VT at 0700, topped off our fuel at Gaines Marina near Rouses Point, NY, and easily cleared customs a short time later. The agents did not come aboard and only asked if we carried weapons or tobacco. Piece of cake!
We arrived at the entrance of the Chambly Canal at Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu in plenty of time for the 1:30 p.m. lockage. They are currently doing 2 lockages a day until summer officially arrives. These locks are tiny! The ladies running the operation carefully arranged 4 of us, a 40’ boat, a 35’ boat, our 27’ boat and a pontoon boat into the chamber. The fifth boat had to wait another day to get through. The locks are about 24’ wide and 100’ long. The operators crank the gates open and closed by hand after handing each boat 2 lines to hang on to.
|Discussing the lockage procedure with the lady in charge|
Locks 9 and 8 were about 10 miles apart, and the speed limit throughout the entire canal is 6.2 mph. The canal is very narrow, and we stayed in single file all the way. The pontoon left us after the first lock and the rest of us continued.
|We were second in line, and these two followed us in and out of the locks.|
The lock tenders drove the route, stopping to open several 3’ high bridges along the way. What a hoot!
|These locks are small!|
Locks 7, 6, 5 and 4 were close together, a few tenths of a mile between each. Another set of lock tenders took over, driving golf cart-like vehicles between the locks. All spoke excellent English and were very helpful.
|The waterway is extremely narrow|
Locks 3, 2 and 1 were really crazy! Each one opened directly into the next one, like stairs. Amazing 19th century technology, considering these locks are operating just as they were in the 1840’s.
|Each lock has a little house like this one.|
We finished the lockages around 5:15 and tied up to the wall just outside lock 1. There was no power, but we didn’t need any. We purchased both a lock pass and a mooring pass for the season before we started our trip, rather than paying for each event separately.
|Looking back at the gates of lock 1|
|View from the top of the locks 1-2-3 and the Bassin Chambly|
|Mark at Fort Chambly|