June 27, 2012

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.