June 28, 2012

June 28, 2012  Day 48                                 Total miles to date:  958.61

The view from St. Josephs
St. Josephs
Today was spent touring Montreal by bus. We took a narrated “hop on-hop off” bus that makes many stops through the city with return stops to each location every 30 minutes. We got off at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts and toured part of the museum. Next we got off at Saint Joseph’s Oratory and climbed the endless steps to the church. Once inside there were elevators and escalator that were welcomed!  The Basilica is on the 6th floor! Saint Joseph’s is located high on a hill at Mount Royal and the views of Montreal and surrounding area are spectacular. Brother Andre’, founder of the Basilica was beatified a few years ago. Our next stop was near downtown and we found a little place that featured hotdogs and poutine – a local dish that consist of French fries, soft cubed cheese, and gravy!  So we had to try it and yes, we liked it!  We hopped back on the bus and went to the Notre-Dame de Montreal Basilica. Once inside we took a 20 minute guided tour.  The two towers were built between 1841-1843, housing the great bell and the carillon with ten bells. The decorating of the interior was completed in 1880. The impressive organ has 7,000 pipes.  In addition to the main sanctuary, there is an ornate, smaller chapel.  This is a must see for anyone visiting Montreal. Our tour bus also took us past the Olympic Stadium (1976), through Chinatown, past the Ice Hockey Arena (they love their team!), the waterfront, Mount Royal Park, and more. All in all it was a very good way to see the city. 
When we were walking back to our boat we saw Sarah and Brooks on Our Time and we chatted for a while. We returned to the boat, did a few chores, and are prepared to leave Montreal early tomorrow morning (Friday).  Linda and Tom stopped by to chat since they are not leaving Montreal until Saturday.

We have to go through two large locks on the St. Lawrence Seaway tomorrow and they give preference to commercial boat traffic. Pleasure boats are locked through when it is convenient.  We may be sitting at a lock wall awaiting our turn!

Our ride today!
Museum of Fine Art
Notre-Dame of Montreal
We will not expect to have wifi again for a few days - probably until we reach Ottawa so blog postings will be delayed again.
Poutine for lunch!

June 27, 2012  Day 47                                 Total miles to date:  958.61

Waiting in the subway
Montreal was under clouds with a light drizzle/rain most of the day.  We decided, after walking around the streets in the Old Port area which is near us, that we would head down to the underground shops which are downtown.  We took the subway to get there and we only needed two trains to accomplish that! Joyce had expected the shops to be fun little boutiques, but they were mostly stores we have in the US.  Part of the shops connected to a large multi-story mall, where we eventually decided to have lunch. We left there and walked around the downtown area some more and then decided to walk back to the marina. Montreal is a large, bustling city that has a blend of historical churches, statues, and parks and its towering office buildings. They do celebrate their heritage here.  The waterfront has two marinas, a science museum, art galleries, an IMAX theatre, restaurants, shops, a tall clock tower that overlooks the harbor and a small beach area.  Circque de Soleil also performs here.

Bonsecours Market
Palais de Justice
A tribute to Queen Victoria
sits in Victoria Square

Tom and Linda (Raydiance) arrived this afternoon.  By dinner time the sun had come out and we had a very nice dinner with them at Le Senateur, a restaurant on Saint-Paul Street, the oldest street in Montreal in the Old Port area. We then took a walk through this area after dark and enjoyed the beautiful lights in the Old Port area. We walked to Notre-Dame Basilica of Montreal and will see it tomorrow on a guided tour of the city. We walked back to the Clock Tower and looked at the sand sculptures that were created during a competition. The Clock Tower sits right above our marina and it was fun to look down at our two boats under it. 
Notre-Dame Basilica
Statue in the Place d'Armes
Since we have not had wi-fi consistently, we still have more photos to post for blog entries since we arrived in Canada. We will work on those!
Tim Horton Donuts is a Canadian enterprise.
There are a few in the US and we enjoyed
 one in Dublin, Ohio when we lived there.
One of the sand sculptures
The Clock Tower at night

June 27, 2012

June 26, 2012  Day 46                                 Total miles to date:  958.61

Bill handling an aft line at the floating dock
 at the St. Ours Lock
Raydiance following us through Sorel
 entering the St. Lawrence River
We untied from the Saint Ours lock wall at 8:30 this morning under cloudy skies and immediately locked through with Raydiance. This lock was so convenient with its floating dock inside!  The lock attendant was lovely and helped Joyce pronounce some of the towns whose names are in French.  We continued up the Richelieu River to the industrial port of Sorel where we entered the St. Lawrence River. By 11:30 we entered the small ship channel, although Bill wishes we had stayed in the big ship channel! We encountered some very shallow water at one point. But, we did not go aground and that was good! Raydiance decided to anchor out and we left them and continued onto Montreal.  We had quite a current against us today and had to run at 1950 rpm in the St. Lawrence River just to maintain our 7 knots!
Entering Montreal was interesting! A Coast Guard boat came racing up behind us and checked us out – then did an abrupt turnaround! Once we passed under the Jacques Cartier Bridge we had to go from a huge swirling current down to nothing when we entered our calm marina. Bill did a great job of getting us in and docked.  Joyce taught the two dockhands the English words, “stern line” – they knew it as back line!

Entering Montreal going under the
Jacques Cartier bridge
Shortly after we got to Montreal and headed out to gather sightseeing information, it started to rain. We eventually walked back to the boat and had dinner on board. We will be here until Friday morning and hope to see as much as we can. We are docked at the Yacht Club of Montreal under the Clock Tower near the Old Port of Montreal and many things are within walking distance.
Carried Away under the Clock Tower

June 25, 2012  Day 45                                 Total miles to date:  906.91

We had planned to explore Chambly a little more this morning, but needed to plan our departure around the lock openings.  Linda and Joyce did have time to walk to the grocery store for provisions before we “unrafted” our boats at the lock wall. The locks at Chambly are a series of three locks that are entered one after the other, like stair steps. The locks are narrow and short and we were surprised they fit a sailboat in behind us!  Linda took some great pictures of us in the locks before it was their turn to lock through.
The lock hands crank the gates
by hand on the Chambly Canal!
After leaving the locks we entered the Chambly Basin then the Richelieu River and headed to the lock wall at Saint Ours, a 27 mile journey. The river is fairly narrow and is lined with small towns along the way.  Many homes have their own docks. We were quite impressed with many large church steeples along the way.

Raydiance behind us going through a narrow
 opening under this bridge with a swift current
There are cable ferry boats in two locations on the river and we managed to catch them both as they headed across the river. We had to wait for them to drop their cables that pull them across the river!  Another interesting part of our trip was the narrow bridge entrance with a strong current. The entrance is on the far west side of the bridge which was not visible until we made a turn toward it! 
We arrived at the Saint Ours Lock around 4:30 and docked on the wall right before the lock.  This is a beautiful, peaceful location with many trees, picnic tables, and walking trails that we explored. There are signs along the trail that identify the many types of trees here.  There was room for both Carried Away and Raydiance on the lock wall so we did not have to raft up today. We did get together for appetizers and shared our photos that we took.
One of the cable ferries
Docked at the St. Ours lock wall
behind Raydiance
We will leave tomorrow morning and make the long trip to Montreal where we plan to spend three days.

June 24, 2012  Day 44                                 Total miles to date:  879.61
“Today was good. Today was fun.  Tomorrow is another one.” 
                                                                      From Dr. Seuss, “One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish”

Bill and his new best friend,
 the customs agent
We are now flying the Canadian
courtesy flag
Raydiance pulled into customs ahead of us

What an amazing day we had! We left New York with Tom and Linda on Raydiance just after 7am and were soon at the Canadian Customs dock.  Everything went very smoothly and the agent even posed for pictures with us!  So we raised the Canadian flag and were shortly on our way into Canada!  
We were traveling on Quebec Day, also known as St. John Baptiste Day, and it was also a Sunday, so there were many people out enjoying their holiday.

We arrived at the marina at St. Jean and got a pump out and then proceeded to wait for a bridge opening.  Raydiance had already gone through since we were now leaving the Richelieu River and entering the narrow Chambly Canal and there was not a lot of room to wait.  After the bridge opened we then entered Lock 9.  The canal locks are small and we were happy to be the only boat in them. The dock master and assistant actually operate the gates turning a crank by hand.  They are very friendly and helpful.
The lovely Chambly Canal
gets very narrow at times!
The locks and the canal run right through the middle of the little towns and the local people waved and spoke to us as we went by them.  We felt like were in a parade of one with many onlookers!  There are many park like settings around the locks and people gather there to watch the boats.  We were amazed at the vast number of people we saw on bicycles.  The road that paralleled the canal had double bike lanes and we saw more bikes than cars. 
Bikers of all ages are everywhere
We continued down the Chambly Canal through more towns and went through five more locks, all operated by the same method.  At one of the locks we met a Canadian couple from Montreal who recognized our Looper flag because they finished the loop in 2009 on their boat, Emotions III!
One of many bridges
that opened for us!
As we exited Lock 4, our last one of the day, we were told that Raydiance was waiting for us on the wall just before Lock 3.  There was not enough space on the wall for us to tie up behind Raydiance so we rafted to them.  This Lock wall is in the heart of the lovely town of Chambly.  By car, it is only 15 minutes from Montreal, but it is 2 days by boat.  We were soon off the boat with Tom and Linda to explore Chambly.  We found a very nice restaurant and had an early dinner. We then walked to the Chambly Fort and then back to the park across the lock wall. There was a festival in the park with entertainment for children in the afternoon. 

Before returning to our boat we walked across Lock 3 and found another Looper boat, Our Time on the lock wall and chatted with them. 

Rafted with Raydiance
at the Chambly lock wall
Once back on the boat Tom and Linda joined us on our sundeck to watch the evening entertainment still going on in the park. The event culminated in lighting a large bonfire. 

Our day was not complete until we called our sweet granddaughter Ashley to wish her a Happy 10th Birthday!

We planned our trip for Monday which will take us to Saint-Ours!  We plan to do a little more exploring of Chambly before we depart.

June 23, 2012

June 23, 2012  Day 43                                 Total miles to date:  849.31

It is hard to believe we started the loop 6 weeks ago today.  We continue to enjoy each day and are constantly in awe of the beauty of this country.  We also learn something new each day and that is a good thing! 

Today was a productive boat project day – it seems that something always needs to be cleaned, fixed, adjusted, replaced, or installed!

We were happy to see Loopers Tom and Linda on Raydiance come into the marina this afternoon.  We are the only two boats from the US here at Gaines Marina in Rouses Point, NY – all others are Canadian.  They joined us for hamburgers on the grill and we planned our trip into Canada during dinner on the sundeck.  We will depart at 7am and head directly to customs. We will travel about 30 miles to Chambly tomorrow and go through nine locks.  We will likely be tied up at a wall tomorrow night so we will not be able to post the blog without wifi. 
We look forward to sharing our next adventure on the Loop with you as we travel through Canada for about six weeks! We will go to Chambly, Sorel, Montreal, Ottawa, Rideau Canal, Kingston, Trent Severn, Georgian Bay, and the North Channel before reaching into the Great Lakes.

June 22, 2012

June 22, 2012  Day 42                                 Total miles to date:  849.31

We left our quiet anchorage around 9:30 and headed back up Lake Champlain and arrived at Rouses Point, NY around 1:15.  We had calm seas and a partly cloudy sky! Gaines Marina has a friendly staff and they discount to Loopers and Boat US members!  There are many Canadian boats here.  I think I need to learn to speak French in a hurry!
Love these directions!
This sign is off the bow of our boat -
we need to learn French!
Pretty city park

Joyce spent the afternoon getting laundry done, and dealing with all the mail we had delivered here.  Bill talked to some of the Canadians for advice on travel in Canada.  One insisted we should not leave tomorrow because Canadians are celebrating a holiday, St. Jean Baptiste Day, over the weekend and the waterways get crowded.  So, we decided to at least partly take his advice and stay here one additional day.  See how flexible we are!

We walked over a half mile to Angelo’s restaurant and had a very nice meal.  We then walked back and headed into the little downtown that is home to a few cafes and shops, but sadly with many empty storefronts. On our way back to the boat we met another couple out walking and learned they were also Loopers. Kay and Chuck on Island Time had docked next to us while we were at dinner. We invited them over for drinks and had a nice visit. They are on a tighter schedule and will leave Saturday morning for Canada.

We are happy to have wifi today so we can post the blog! We have turned off our data connections on our phones and one of us feels the pain! 

Some of the photos today are from our walk to the restaurant – enjoy the small town atmosphere that Rouses Point, NY offers!  
Awesome view for the homes
on the other side of the street
Rouses Point, NY
Sailing is popular here!
One of the quaint homes facing the waterfront
Red sky at night! We have seen some beautiful sunsets!

June 21, 2012  Day 41                                 Total miles to date:  826.61

Our last day in Burlington was spent doing major grocery shopping, returning the rental car, getting fuel for the boat, and then departing for Valcour Island to anchor for the night.  It was only a two hour trip and will cut the trip on Friday in half.  We are getting prepared for our entry into Canada and wanted to have good provisions on board!  The food and fuel prices are higher in Canada.  We got fuel at the Ferry Dock Marina which was next to our marina, the Burlington Boathouse.  Diesel prices are $4.059/gallon and we needed 278 gallons. Do the math!

We had a nice ride north on Lake Champlain to our anchorage on Valcour Island which is part of New York. There were several sailboats anchored in the first cove we chose, so we moved on to the one just past it.  It is very nice and calm here!  We cooked out on the grill and then had to turn on the generator to run the air conditioner.  It was 97 in Burlington today and we are ready for some cooler weather!

Sailboats anchored nearby on Valcour Island

Tomorrow we will go to Rouses Point, NY – our last destination in the US for a while. We will enter Canada on Saturday and will go up the Chambly Canal. We expect to be in Montreal on Monday and will spend two or three days there.
We will be limited in communications due to Canadian costs and we will have to rely on wifi at marinas, etc, to be able to post the blog.  I will continue to write the blog but may have to post it in segments. We do have lots of minutes available to talk though!
Another incredible sunset

June 20, 2012

June 20, 2012  Day 40                                 Total miles to date:  812.51

After waving goodbye to Quest at 6am, we took advantage of being docked here in Burlington for a couple of days and picked up a rental car at the airport. We drove south to Shelburne and first visited the Village Cemetery where Joyce’s ggg grandfather, Josiah Keith was buried in 1859.  We found a cemetery caretaker and he directed us to the older section. In less than a minute Joyce walked directly to the gravesite! 
We then spent a few hours touring the Shelburne Museum, located on 45 acres. We could have spent two days there, but did not have enough time. It is a fascinating place and should not be missed!  From there we went to the Shelburne Vineyards, did some wine tasting, and bought some wine.

We continued south to New Haven, home of the Keith ancestors in the early to mid 1800’s.  We visited the Town Hall and bought a book on the history of New Haven. We continued driving east through the mountains and then north to Montpelier, the state capital. Bill wanted to buy maple syrup made in Vermont, so we went to Morse Farms just north of Montpelier and checked that off our list!  We found a nice family style restaurant that was recommended in nearby Berlin and had a great meal there!

We returned to the marina by 8pm and discovered another Looper boat, Our Time, was here and we visited with them briefly. We also chatted with some local people who had just come in on their boat, Quarters which they keep here at this marina.
Our drive through the mountains
We will return the rental car tomorrow after doing all the necessary grocery shopping to provision the boat!
Quest following Marc's Ark out at 6am today!
We bought locally made maple syrup here!

June 19, 2012  Day 39                                 Total miles to date:  812.51

We began the day at anchor thinking we were going to spend another day there, but our friends on Quest checked and the slip behind them was available, so we were able to dock there by lunch time. The winds had calmed enough and Bill had switched the problematic starboard shifter on the flybridge with the one on the lower helm.  Both of these caused us problems in docking the day before.
As soon as we docked, we joined Ricki and Carl (Quest) and headed for the Burlington Marketplace on Church Street. We took a free shuttle to this lovely area with restaurants and shops on a pedestrian mall. From there we took a city bus to the University Mall, had lunch, and then all four of us went to a salon and got haircuts!  We did a little more shopping and then had dinner at Splash, an outdoor restaurant at the marina. Can’t beat the view here! Burlington is a very nice city, home to the University of Vermont, and two other colleges, and with nice parks, shopping, bike paths, and friendly people!

We visited with Marc’s Ark and Muriel June, both Looper boats who are here.  They will leave with Quest on Wednesday morning.

June 18, 2012

June 18, 2012  Day 38                                 Total miles to date:  812.51

We got off to a nice start from Vergennes!  We said goodbye to John and Ria, our new Canadian friends on His Idea. We had no problem on the seven miles going back out of Otter Creek back into Lake Champlain.  We called ahead and made a reservation at the Burlington Community Boathouse Marina.  The dockmaster said it was very windy, but we did not experience any of this until we were about 30 minutes from Burlington. When we arrived at the dock, we soon realized it was not safe for us to try more than once to dock where they tried to put us. The winds were gusting too high. We also decided not to use a mooring ball but instead went out toward a protected area and anchored out.  We had hoped it would calm down enough to go back but here we are at anchor for the night! Bill actually took the dinghy back to the marina after dinner to borrow a tool from Carl, on Quest. (They had planned to leave today but stayed put because of the winds.) 
Plans on a boat always seem to be flexible and we just need to adjust. We had a nice dinner on board, and we hope for a calmer day tomorrow.
While at anchor, we enjoyed watching
this guy taking advantage of the wind
Bill heading back to Quest in the dinghy 
A beautiful sunset looking west over
Lake Champlain toward New York

June 17, 2012

June 17, 2012  Day 37                                 Total miles to date:  791.11

Just a short post tonight! Since we stayed at the Vergennes free dock again, today was spent cleaning the boat and doing boat projects. Bill worked on the stratoglass on the flybridge and Joyce cleaned the foredecks, and did other cleaning and organizing inside.  We realized we could not clean the fenders because we are using them!
We had appetizers on His Idea with John and Ria and had a very nice visit with them! They are from Vancouver and will do the loop in three separate segments.  They provided is with good information about visiting Montreal and Ottawa.    We are happy to have met them and hope to see them again along the way.

June 16, 2012  Day 36                                 Total miles to date:  791.11

We left our quiet anchorage at the Lake Champlain Mariner’s Museum and headed up the quiet, winding, and narrow Otter Creek seven miles to Vergennes. We had to share the creek with many little fishing boats out early on Saturday morning. We later learned there is a 3 day fishing tournament going on!  We finally arrived in Vergennes and traveling the seven miles practically in idle. We are tied up on a free dock wall on the creek near a waterfall. 

We took our customary walk into town (up a hill!) and had lunch at a little cafĂ©. We also visited the library and checked out their local history room since Joyce’s ancestors were here in 1810.  One interesting thing we noticed is that the secondary language signage here is all in French – not Spanish. We are getting close to Canada!

We walked back down the other side of the creek to say hello to Loopers Marc and Michele on Marc’s Ark.  We could not tie up by them because of the fishermen occupying the space!  Later in the afternoon, another Looper boat, His Idea docked in front of us. John and Ria are from Vancouver, and after buying their boat in FL, began the loop from there.  We enjoyed talking with them!
We cooked steaks on the grill and later invited some local residents onboard to see our boat. We had a very nice visit with them.  We decided to stay here on Sunday and get some cleaning done! The fenders definitely need attention after going through the locks. 
Going up Otter Creek to Vergennes
Carried Away at free wall
We are here!

Did we say we are in Vermont?

He wants to win this tournament!
Love the archtitecture of the Library!

The waterfall on Otter Creek near our dock