We were up by 0600 hours but knew we had until at least 0900 before we could begin locking so I wrote on logs and Vicki waited until the Manneken Pis was open so she could get some coffee and baked goods. No kidding, just across the street from where the boat was moored was an upscale coffee shop named Manneken Pis with little graphics of jus that.
Just before 0900 Vickie of Parcs Canada arrived at our boat to tell us about the locking and bridging for the day. It turns out she was the same pleasant voice we had heard on the radio yesterday telling us we were too late for the day and would need to stay on the lock dock until tomorrow. Today she carefully outlined how the locking procedure and the bridge openings would take place. Essentially she would open the first lock and six bridges by jumping in her car and getting ahead of us. Then she would pass off the operation to two teams who would leap frog each other in running the next eight locks and opening the remaining bridge.
She said she was ready to go so I went to fire up the engine to find the battery bank dead. It is the refrigerator that is sucking the power from the batteries and it had been running off the batteries for about 20 hours in upper 70 degree weather. I called her on channel 68 to tell her it would be a few minutes before I could get the engine started as I had to start the generator and charge the batteries a little before I could get the Lehman to turn over. She said that was fine as they had just discovered they had a hydraulic problem with the lock gate and couldn’t get it open but that it was being worked on so shouldn’t be too long.
In about 10 minutes gate and boat were both functional so we were off. These locks are much smaller than those on the NY Champlain Waterway and as we were the only boat locking through it was a piece of cake. The lock people gave us their ropes to hang on to and told us we would keep the same ropes through all nine locks and then return them at the end of the Chambly Waterway.
Speed on the Chambly Canal is limited to 10 km/hr. or about 6.2 statute miles per hour. We ran at this speed and when we got to bridges and locks they were open and waiting for us. We were the only boat going through today based on all indications. It all went seamlessly and we were impressed with the level of attention we got and the friendliness of the lock attendants. We got through the whole system in three hours and it is supposed to take at least four.
The only hiccup was that they had told us we must shut the engine down while in the locks. I did this at lock 8 and the battery was still so weak it would not start the engine. I ask if I could keep the engine running through the rest of the locks and they said yes. I turned off all electronics and the refrigerator in hopes that the remaining time in the locks would charge things up enough to be operating normally at the end of the locks so I could use the chart plotter and auto pilot again. I think the auto pilot sucks up quite a bit of power too.
We kept running down the Richelieu River and were getting almost a knot of boost from river current. It was a nice day and we were enjoying the scenery so we just kept going until we reached Saint Antoine sur Richelieu where we found a great low public wall that was nearly out of the current. We tied here and spent the afternoon sitting on our deck chairs in the cockpit sunning and enjoying life. The wind had picked up from the SW to a steady 15 mph that made the 80 weather very comfortable. In late afternoon a few people came down to the town wall and asked us questions about our trip. Vicki made a nice dinner of cube steak, fried onions, mushrooms and asparagus. The night was very quiet as the wind died down and the boat did not have any motion. We opened the stateroom hatch and put the screen in it to cool the space down from its starting temperature in the 80s.