Thursday, August 23, 2018

Little Triangle Loop, Week #7, 4-10August018 - NEW CULTURE

      Saturday we are up making plans to go museum hopping in Old Montreal. There are a number of museums available within walking distance of the docks. We are trying to pick ones near the Old Town Harbor that we can easily walk to, and that appeal to us. Even as we leave to go to the first museum at opening, the docks are already milling with families taking advantage of the entertainment venues.


There is a huge ferris wheel, but what gets my attention is a an adult/larger children venue of ropes, swings, and ladders. It looks like a simpler version of the "American Ninja Warrior" TV series.
We eventually get to the Marguerite-Bourgeoys Museum and Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours Chapel. This "Sailors Church" was founded in 1655 by Marguerite Bourgeoys. We got there in time for the guide tour under the current church's foundations where an archaeological dig was done in the 2000s. There is also an adjacent crypt, which is nothing like I envisioned from the Indiana Jones movies. One of the main parts of this museum is a room full of miniature dioramas portraying the different parts of Marguerite's life from a little girl until on her death bed. Very detailed displays done in miniature. I also go up to the walkway between the steeples and get a great view of the harbor.

From this museum and Chapel tour we go to lunch up on Place Jacques-Cartier at a sidewalk cafe. The Place Jacques-Cartier ( a boulevard) is a pedestrian walkway filled with people, entertainers, and shops and restaurants down each side.
After lunch we go to the Chateau-Ramezay Historic Site and Museum of Montreal. This was originally built in very early 1700s as a Governor of Montreal's house when the French were in control of Canada. It was build quite opulent, with the builder boasting it was better than the territorial governor's residence. It is now a museum which tells the history of Montreal. It has a lovely colonial garden of flowers and vegetables in back.
Between the two museums our legs are worn out. We go back to SummerTime and rest up before going out to dinner. We go to a French restaurant on Rue Saint-Paul Est where I get a steak and Barbara gets her lamb. She is fond of lamb, but seldom has it in US as good lamb in grocery stores and restaurants is hard to find. I ask for a Molsens to drink, and find that the restaurant does not carry Molsens. It seems remarkable as we passed their primary brewery on our way up the river, not much more than a mile from where we sit. it was a nice evening and day.
       We did not go to a church this Sunday. There is not a Protestant church near within walking distance. The main Notre Dame Basilica is farther than we can walk also. On Google Maps, where I normally find the closest church to the boat, it appears there are no churches with Sunday services closer than a mile to SummerTime. We have our normal Sunday breakfast of biscuits, eggs, and bacon late. We decide we will walk out later to get an ice cream for lunch and walk on Rue Saint-Paul where we were not at on Saturday. It is also closed to vehicular traffic during day and evening hours in the shops and restaurants district. We get our ice cream at one of several creameries along Rue de La Commune Est. We walk to the south end of the tourist area, and go up one block to walk north on Rue Saint-Paul. This end of Saint-Paul is art, fashion, and souvenir shops.
We go in several Art shops and buy a few souvenirs in one of the souvenir shops. Barbara sees a piece of metal sculpture that is a "Fish" in an art shop, and would like to buy it, but reasons herself out of it as there is not room on the boat to carry it back.  When we get back to Jacques-Cartier, it is nearly time for dinner. We go to the sidewalk cafe there and order salads and a pizza. Still no Molsen, so I get an Italian brew. The medium pizza turns out to be a mistake for two. After the salads it is too large for us to eat, and we have to ask for a box to take it out with. Crepes are a specialty in this part of town, and we have no room left for the dessert crepes. We go back to SummerTime and retire as it is nearly dark when we get back.
       Monday finds us moving to the main dock by the office before leaving. We need a pump out, and they are thorough on how they perform one. It is also the most expensive ever, at $25 before the exchange rate. We are under way headed downstream quickly (still traveling north) on the St. Lawrence River to Sorel.
We pass numerous ships of various kinds loading and unloading as we pass out of Montreal. At one spot, two are side by side in the wide river, transferring a load between them. We see a tug pulling up to one ship and another tug en route to obviously un-berth this ship. It is a fairly easy trip down river. There is a lot of industry along the river, and a number of small towns also near the industry. We also see people recreating on the river, some swimming off their boats. It is hot and I think that they might be smart in what they are doing. We get to Sorel late afternoon and see that there is a number of ships in the anchorage there.
Sorel is an industrial town, and has several industries where it sits at the intersection of the Richelieu River with the St Lawrence Seaway. The ships are waiting in the anchorage for their chance to take on or discharge freight. As we head into the Province run marina, we are nearly run over by a wildlife sightseeing boat. Another person with the title of captain who is not so professional. He is obviously rushing to get his paying customers to dock, but he is not thinking totally about their safety by passing me in such a confined spot. We take our slip that is assigned to us. We are in the marina harbor mouth again, on the outside of the dock. I check in at the harbor office. The English here is not as good as at most of Montreal or Valleyfield. I talk to a couple of local persons, one who recognizes our AGLCA looper burgee on the bow, and quizzes me on our trip before I go back to SummerTime. As I am boarding SummerTime, the ship being un-berthed back in Montreal passes by. The ships move pretty fast when they are not in vicinity of locks on rivers. We stay aboard tonight. There are no attractions close by in this little industrial town that we want to venture out to. They have a small bio or Eco-sphere we can see near the ferry dock, but we are not interested this evening.
       It is overcast when we get up on Tuesday morning, and starts to drizzle as I return from taking the trash up to a shore receptacle. We do this nearly every day so there is nothing aboard to attract insects or other vermin. There is a neighbor on the dock with small children, and after talking to him about the Great Loop, he helps us get off.
After we pass the industrial part of Sorel, we come to the waterfront homes along the Richelieu River. They are like the waterfront homes on any other river front. Some are weekend fish camps with a dock, and others are very nice luxury homes with landscaped yards, a dock, and a nice boat at the dock. We are about 2 hours to get to the St. Ours Lock. It is part of Canada's heritage lock systems. The park like setting around it is very nice. Inside the lock there is a floating dock to tie to.
This is a first for us to have a dock in a lock. It is a "fee to use" lock, and the Parks Canada person takes our credit card with a portable card reader as the lock level is being raised. I get a printed receipt from the same portable reader. This has been the norm in Canada. Waiters come to your table with these portable credit card readers, your authorization and approval occurs on the spot, and you get a printed receipt of the transaction. Your credit card never leaves your sight. We continue on the Richelieu River after leaving the lock. I call ahead to make a dock reservation now that I know we will not be delayed by locks or other man made items. Quebec is supposed to be bi-lingual, and most persons there are, but sometimes the English is not so good. The lady who answers the phone tells me to hold when I ask about dockage for the evening, and passes me on to her manager. I apparently started to speak too fast, though being from the south I never think that I speak fast, and the man tells me "his English is not too good, slow down, or he will start speaking French". I slow down my speech and get the reservation made. The rest of our journey today will be on the Richelieu, which we are now traveling south on is more of a recreational river. There are  a few small towns along the river, but mostly it is lined with houses. There is little industry. There are a few marinas, or bait stores along the shore, and that is pretty much it for commercial and industrial sightings. The church steeples in these little towns are architectural masterpieces. Each one looks like it was constructed to be more elaborate than the next closest one.

This seemed to start as we came down the St. Lawrence after Montreal. I am thinking that in the late 1800s or early 1900s when this area was developed, that there was a small carpentry company selling elaborate steeples to churches. Later in the afternoon, as we near the Chambly Basin (a shallow lake) we pass a base for seaplanes. There is a ramp down to the rivers edge, and a number of planes on wheeled (amphibious) floats are parked up on the grass. They are various size planes, even a DeHaviland Beaver in one spot.
We cross the Chambly Basin and go straight to Chambly Marina. We take a slip for the evening. We head to a French restaurant for dinner, but despite what "Google Maps" says about being open, the place is closed for the day. We backtrack to the other side of the town to a Portuguese restaurant. We have a good meal, most of their entrees are seafood (several mussel and octopus dishes) and pass on dessert there. We passed two ice cream parlors on the way to the restaurant. We stop at one on the way back to SummerTime and get a cone each. It is good ice cream, but not in the top five. We retire early back on SummerTime, Wednesday will be a long day and start early.
      As we are preparing to get underway on Wednesday morning, another boat pulls into the marina and takes on gas. They get out a few minutes in front of us and around the sea wall to wait in line for the locks to open. We are behind them by a few minutes, rounding the sea wall to the lock waiting point at 9a.m., when the locks are supposed to open. The lock master comes down the dock and tells the waiting boats what order to go in, and collects the prepaid tickets. We are told there is not room for us on this lock up, but they will get us on the next one. Five boats enter the lock, 2 wide, and we and a large pontoon boat wait our turn for the lock. There are three locks together here. When the first 5 boats leave the first lock, two boats waiting in the Chambly canal on  the other side come down. We are now directed to enter the lock along with the pontoon boat. These are antique, or "Heritage" locks. They have wooden gates, that are operated by manual cranks. The valves to let water in and out of the locks are simple slide gates on the lock doors that also are operated with a hand crank.
Most all the persons operating these locks appear to be college students on their summer jobs with Parks Canada. We will traverse 9 locks today in about 10 miles. The first three locks are together, or flight locks, where you go directly from one to the next on your way up or down in elevation. There are 5 persons taking turns on these gates, 8 for the three locks. And there is a swing bridge on the canal side of lock #3, the only thing with electrical power other than the signal locks. Just before 11 we are out of the first three locks. It is not too far, and we encounter locks 4, 5 & 6. They are farther apart, and have a crew of 2-3 for each lock. Lock 4 is the smallest of the ones we will go through today. There is not room for the10' beam of the pontoon boat, and SummerTime's 12' beam to be side by side with fenders. We are end to end on opposite sides of the lock. Both boats nearly fill this small lock. We also have a couple of low bridges on the Chambly canal. The operators speed from one bridge to the next to have them open in time for us. The bridges are narrow. At the first bridge, boats wait to the side on the opposite side of the bridge until we pass, then they go through the bridge.
At bridge 10, we have to wait for the boats coming north. We also waited at one lock for the north bound boats, and as they got nearly to the lock, we pulled out to the starboard (right) side in a basin area, and let the incoming boats pass into the lock. When the last of the boats was by, we proceeded on our way south with the pontoon boat behind us. This is all very tedious, requiring good timing on some lock people's part, and taking the better part of a day. We clear the last of the Chambly locks and bridges about 3:30. We have made arrangements with a marina at Rouses Point in NY on Lake Champlain for a slip for tonight.
        Before we can get to our marina, just over the US/Canada border we have to clear US Customs and Border Patrol (CBP). We had tried to use the new "ROAM" app for customs while in the canal waiting on one of the bridges. It would not work without a "wifi" connection, so we called the 800 number to check in for boaters. The agent on the other end was very pleasant, but told us we could not check in via phone more than an hour before arrival. He suggested Rouses Point CBP when we crossed the border. As we traveled into Lake Champlain from the Chambly  Canal/ Richelieu River, I pondered what to do about checking in. It was clear the convenience of the "ROAM" app was not going to work. Checking in by phone takes a good signal, that did not work at Bainsville, Ontario. I decide to pull to the docks of CBP. They have a small office trailer on the point under the Highway 2 bridge which is easy to see when we cross the border a mile and a half from their position. They have alternating flashing red and blue lights. It is obvious, even from a distance, that there is some kind of law enforcement ahead. We tie-up and I go to get interviewed. They can see Barbara on the boat deck securing lines, and tell me she needs to come up also. They take our passports, and provide a stamped document to say we have re-entered the US. The whole thing took less time than our doing the "ROAM" app leaving Morrisburg, Ontario, or the call ins we have previously done coming back into the US. The office and docks on the little peninsula is what made it easy.
       I had called Barcomb's Marina about 1/2 hour before getting to customs, explaining we could not be there by 5-5:30 per my original plans. The dockmaster gave me instructions for tie-ing up when we arrived. A little after 6 we left CBP, and were at the dock by 6:15. The border, CBP, and the marina were all that close. We tied up, Barbara fixed a simple meal for the evening, and we took a well deserved rest. We had not done that many miles today, but we did 9 locks and 3 bridges. A big day for the two of us.
       We decide to stay and extra night when I check in on Thursday morning. We need to do laundry and buy some groceries to put aboard. Barcomb's has a courtesy car and I borrow the keys as there is not a laundry at the marina. The marina people give us directions to the laundromat in town. They also give us directions to a grocery store, and tell us of a deli near the laundromat. We leave the laundromat, and stop at the Dollar General we had passed. Barbara buys the staples she can from them, but no milk, and we go back to the marina to return the car. We have now had the two extremes in marina courtesy cars. The 1993 Oldsmobile in Smithville coming down the Tenn-Tom, and now this one. It was a nearly new KIA Sedona van with only 3400 miles. We eat at the bar/grill above the marina store/office. It is windy out, and we are glad we took a day to do chores. We are not to be in Burlington until Friday, and this marina is .75/ft less per night than Burlington.
       Friday we get up and make ready to leave. We go over to the "Service Docks" (4 finger piers) and take on fuel. This is the first time we have fueled since Crysler Marine Park in Morrisburg, ON. It takes 83.4 gallons for 36 hour of running time covering 241mi, and 1-1/2hr of generator time. Traveling downriver on the St Lawrence was a big help, and we only had 2 times for about 3 hours where we ran at 85-90% power. We went upriver on the Richelieu, but its current is nothing compared to the 2-3mph of the St. Lawrence. This was better than I had hoped for when we topped off the tank at Crysler Marine Park. We have been 1185 miles since leaving Hampton, VA on 23 June. We have burned 562 gallons of fuel in those miles.
      We head south on Lake Champlain to Burlington, VT. The lake has some shallow spots in this north end, and we follow the zig-zag route of the buoys. Lake Champlain is relatively calm as the winds are light. We meet a lot of power boats going north. I am assuming it is Canadians headed home after vacation. They will spend the same 5-1/2hr on the Chambly Canal that we did. Besides the locks and bridges, there is a 6mph speed limit on the canal proper. We also are seeing a number of sail boats on Lake Champlain as we get farther south where the lake is wider. They are trying to sail, but the wind is a little light for good sailing. But the wind is just about right for a good power boat cruise. There is not a lot of development on this upper part of Lake Champlain. And the views are gorgeous with mountains on both sides. We get to Burlington about 4:30 after about 41 miles.

There is a lot of traffic as we approach the harbor. There are tour boats, ferries, and then the fishing and cruising boats. After securing everything and checking in, Barbara and I take the free shuttle bus into town to find the grocery store. We get the milk we have been out of and walk back to SummerTime for the evening.
      It is good to get here on the day we had scheduled to arrive. We hurried some times to beat weather, or make up lost time for whatever reason. And there were times when we stopped to smell the roses. It has been a very good trip so far.


  1. I think this is a triangle/loop Demetria and I would have enjoyed.

  2. Your excursions are interesting. And I know you're studying up on all the places you're going to so your depiction of history is educational and fun for me. History via water. Happy sails to you.

  3. I NOTICED YOUR COMMENT regarding eating ice cream from a Dairy Queen - - "slumming it"as compared to the ice cream you've been getting at the creameries. I hope to use the phrase and use it for any time we eat ice cream.