Our destination next after Valcour Island was Gaine’s Marina in Rouse’s Point which is about one-half mile south of the Canadian border. Our plan was to have stayed two nights to get piles of laundry done at the local laundromat. As will happen on the water, the weather intervened and we had to stay four nights waiting for the too-heavy winds to subside. Rouse’s Point is a pleasant, well-kept town but is small and has few services. Still, the marina management was terrific and we enjoyed staying there.
On June 16th, we left for the crossing into Canada. Two miles north we tied up at the Canadian border checkpoint. A very nice guard helped to tie us up. She took our passports and boat documentation inside to record our entry and stamped our passports. The guard did not choose to inspect the boat. No matter as we did not have any firearms aboard – the guard asked – and we were hardly over the legal limit for bringing in alcoholic beverages.
From the checkpoint it was a very pleasant 23-mile run up to St. Jean. The lake narrows and gets more shallow but never was lack of depth a concern. The water was flat and the sun was out. We noticed that the homes along the water were much more modest in Canada than anywhere on the Hudson River or the U.S. side of Lake Champlain except for several homes we encountered – see the pictures – as we approached St. Jean. We moored on the wall just short of Bridge 12 on the Chambly Canal. The first lock is about ¼ north.
St. Jean-sur-Richelieu is a very nice small city. It was a Friday so, in the evening, the streets were filled with folks visiting the many, very good local restaurants. We chose a well-recommended fish and Chips place a ten-minute walk from our mooring. The restaurant was packed. Although we do not speak French and the locals always speak French, we were welcomed. Our server was an English speaker although some are not. Plus, neighboring diners were happy to help. Beer choices were few but a young man recommended the Rickard’s Red Ale. It turned out to be a very nice production beer, malty with a good balance of sweetness and hop bitterness, far better than the American microbrewers’ overly-hopped pseudo India Pale Ales. Anyway, the feel id the city is very European with many folks on bicycles and we enjoyed our first day in St. Jean very much.
Gloria and I took a walk this morning (Saturday) and came across a farmer’s market. We bought two very nice tomato plants for $10, one beefsteak, one cherry tomato. They need some fertilizer but we are hopeful that they will grow nicely. The tomatoes will add to our modest garden of two types of mint (mojitos, mint juleps) and two types of basil.