Chambly, QC to Montreal

We stayed an extra day in St. Jean to wait out wind and rain. When we departed we immediately descended the three locks, all in a row, bound for Chambly, QC, just a 12-mile run. Chambly is another quaint, well-kept town on the Richelieu. We stayed two nights on the public wall, again choosing to wait for better weather which, it turned out, was a wise choice. Then, it was 30 miles to the St. Ours lock where we stayed on the wall below the lock. Here, there is nothing. It is very rural. Now, all this might sound unexciting but the cruising down the Richelieu is idyllic with mile-after-mile of pretty countryside with all manner of big and small homes lining the banks in many places. It is all very relaxing. The pictures represent some of what we saw along the way. Mind you, the canal is very narrow in places as you will see in the pictures. A few old bridges now removed had abutments that were only as wide as two-car garage which gave us no more than 10 feet of clearance on each side. Much care taken there.

After St. Ours it was just twelve more miles downriver to the St. Lawrence River which was another quiet cruise until we turned southwest up the river heading toward Montreal. We bucked a 25 MPH headwind and a 1.5 MPH current which made for a slower trip to a small marina on a side channel in a small town called Contrecouer. We tied up with the help of five local guys which was very much welcomed because of the wind and fast current. Unfortunately, a sailboat tied up close behind us leaving very little clearance fore and aft for our morning departure. We were concerned about the swift lateral current pushing us into the boat behind us and the wind pinning us against the dock. As it turned out it was no problem at all getting away. The captain has learned a few things along the way and guessed correctly as to what maneuvers to employ. The run up to Montreal was uneventful except for a too-close (275 feet) passage of a 500-foot tanker going in the opposite direction. As we passed her stern we got sucked into the prop wash from the big boat. It  turned us 90 degrees in just moments. What a surprise. We passed the next big boat, which came by soon after, at about 600 feet. That worked much better. The pictures are of those two boats.

As said, the run to Montreal was largely unremarkable but the last one-mile was indeed. The approach to the Old Port of Montreal is fraught with wild currents and swift opposing current. Sailboats are almost all unable to get to the Old Port because their engines are not strong enough to overcome the current. A normal cruise engine RPM for us is 1,650 which, in calm water drives our boat about 9.3 MPH. To get through to Montreal we had to go to 1,800 RPM which gave us 2.8 MPH.  Plus, we were through to port and starboard constantly as we drove through the strong eddies. This turbulence is caused by the swift rapids the converge with the channel to the Old Port. As soon as one reaches the point separately the two water courses, the current literally disappears and it becomes like a small lake, a very welcome relief to a short, but daunting passage.

We have included lots of pictures with this posting most of which are not labelled but we think it will give a good idea of some what we encountered along the way.

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