Saturday, August 19. St Anne de Bellevue to MontrealWe push off about 8:30 and head for the St Lawrence Seaway. We don’t have far to go to Montreal and the Lachine Canal but there’s no telling how long it will take to lock through the 2 Seaway Locks. The high wind warnings for today are justified; it’s blowing 20+ as we proceed down the rather circuitous channel. Just before entering the tight channel into the Seaway, we stop for fuel, water, and ice at Kahanawake Marina.
As this is on a first nation’s area all items are tax free. We arrive at Ste. Catherine Lock about noon just as the gates are closing behind a commercial ship. There is an electronic sign saying our lockage is at 1400. At 12:30 we hear an announcement on the load speaker but do not understand. I go to the pay booth and call on the yellow phone – direct dedicated phone to lockmaster who confirms we have a green light. There are several ways to pay for the lockage; Craig downloads the app and pays online with a credit card. This worked really well as the lockman had a tablet and could see we had paid. We proceeded into the lock where 2 lock personnel dropped polypropylene lines to us. We tended these as the water dropped. Once we are at the bottom and the gate start to open, we cast off the lines and they are pulled back up.
We arrive about 2:30 at St. Lambert Lock and tie to the floating dock. Again it is tricky with stong wind about 30 degrees off the port bow and swirling currents that flow into the lock and into the spillway off to the side. There is an express boat and a small sailboat waiting here. The captain of the express boat is furious we are being made to wait so long but these locks are for commercial traffic and the ship get priority.
We finally get into the lock about 4:30. We’re hoping to get into lock #1 of the Lachine canal to stay on the wall between lock #1 and #2. Clearing St Lambert we blast on down the channel, into Montreal, through the current rips. Conepatus arrives about 5:15 and we are in luck – they have delayed the final lockage for us – they even hold it for Relax.
In order to get into this wall we have to pass under 2 low fixed bridges. Checking with the lockmaster before arriving we have been told the clearance is 14′. This can change depending on the water between the dams on the St Lawrence. We approach the bridge with antennae down and the dinghy retrival crane dismantled. Relax has taken his radar down and lowered his bimini. We both pass under with room to spare and get secured to the floating dock infront of the restaurant. There is a second floating dock at the far end of the basin but this is already full.
In the middle is the Daniel McAllister, a historic, riveted hull tug on display for the public. Although she appears to be floating in the lock, she is actually sitting in a concrete cradle. This is quite amazing to be able to tie up in yet another of Canada’s major cities, in fact we are on the edge of Montreal’s Old Port.