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August 10 – Beauharnois Locks

10 Aug

Before I write about today’s adventure, I would like to point out that Salaberry-de-Valleyfield (besides the long and difficult name) is a great place – one of my favourite stops. First of all, it has an incredible bike path that seems to go from community to community. It is a dedicated path so that you don’t feel like you are going to get run over by a vehicle. Secondly, it has a gigantic public swimming pool and thirdly, it has four public tennis courts. So, I am very impressed with the recreational facilities.

We checked out all the seaway websites and noticed that the backlog of boats had cleared, plus there was a mad dash out of the marina by a bunch of boaters at 7:00 this morning so we assumed that the lock had been fixed. We weren’t in a hurry though and I had a bike ride, Dennis got his haircut (plus he discovered the pastry shop) and we did a load of laundry. At noon though, we set out and our first obstacle was the bridge.

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When you arrive at a bridge, you usually call the bridgemaster on the VHF and he lets you know how long you have to wait. Not at this bridge. You just have to wait until the light turns green. So, we waited and waited and waited. After about 45 minutes of going around in circles (or whifferdales as Jim from Somewhere says), we finally got the green light.
We went through and quickly came to the next bridge but this time we didn’t even have to stop. The light turned green and away we went!

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We arrived at the Beauharnois Lock and tied up to another sailboat. I went to phone the lockmaster and to pay the $50 fee to access the locks. He said we only had a half hour wait. We talked to another couple from Montreal who gave us some tips for getting into tomorrow’s marina – the current is 6 knots (that will be interesting!).

We got to the wall and the lock hand tossed us down the lines, and then we helped another boat tie up to us. Another boat tied up to the second boat so we had three boats rafted together. They were all depending on us! Two people from the other boats came over onto our boat and helped push us off the wall. I took advantage of this and practiced speaking French to one of them who looked like d’Artagnon. He was very patient with me! (Well, what choice did he have?)
After we finished with the upper lock, we went about half a kilometre and repeated the process with the lower lock. It all went very smoothly.

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As we left the lock, the rain really started coming down and the winds started coming up (25 knots!). We crossed Lac St. Louis in some rough weather but luckily the waves did not get a chance to build too much. Poor d’Artagnon in his little boat – he was getting tossed around quite a bit!

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We are now anchored out near the canal that was built to bypass the Lachine Rapids. There are a couple of horses eating hay right near the water’s edge. It is pouring rain and I don’t know why they don’t go under a tree for shelter. Oh well… I hope I don’t see them there in the morning!

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Posted by on August 10, 2012 in Sailing in the St. Lawrence

 

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