August 27 – 29, 2021
These posts may lag even more than usual as Verizon is not being very cooperative when roaming, plus we have data limits. One of the things we did not fully sort in our rush to get to Canada was communications while here, so they are spotty. sometimes But, they will get posted as possible!
Fast Canada Planning
We have made it to Canada! A bit of a tricky process with lots of confusion. To get in, we knew we needed vaccinations and proof thereof. We knew we needed a PCR COVID test administered and confirmed negative within 72 hours, no more, before arrival in Canada. Where to get the COVID test? Can we do a free one or do we have to pay $250 each at the airport for the rapid results. We are cheap!How do we check into Canada? No car, so Uber, bus or walking around Burlington to accomplish all this. At least Burlington is the best place for us to accomplish this and only a half days boat journey from the Canadian boarder. But, can we really get back across the border to the US once in Canada?
Jim and Julia were the king and queen of tackling where, how and when. We found a local State sponsored testing site that is free and within walking distance. In talking with them, it seemed as if we had a good chance of getting our results in time. We get our tests, the first Covid test for Jim and I. Not nearly as disgusting as folks have said. Maybe the type of test…. ? 24 hours later, Jim has his results. Negative. Yeah! But where are Julia and mine??? Next morning, we are now 48 hours in, we still don’t have our results. We are getting nervous that we’ll have to get tested at the airport.
Off to Plattsburg, NY across Lake Champlain we go to visit the 1812 Museum How much do you know about that war? I like to call the Revolutionary War gaining our independence and the War of 1812 proving it. We also wanted to get closer to the border as we knew we’d have limited time to get in once we had our test results. If Julia and my tests don’t show, we’ll get new tests if possible in Plattsburg or head back to Burlington Airport. Jim calls the State Health Department. I tell you, these Vermonters are really friendly. So nice to Jim on the phone and they know we are traveling so they find Julia and my results and get them mailed to us. Really? That is above and beyond. We have our test by Friday morning and head to Canada.
Crossing into Canada
We have pre-filled out our “CanPass” info on a phone so we cruise past the border station; no need to stop. All we have to do is call to check in. We call. They take our info as we’ve not pre-filled. Call drops. Call again, the woman asks where we are. She tells us we must go to the border station and call her back. We turn around and dock at the border station. We call. The border guard comes out. We tell the guard we are on the phone. She goes inside. We are providing the info the the phone agent. The Border guard becomes very concerned that we’ve not come in so rousts us into the station. Are we headed back to the US???? We chat, answer lost of questions, provide them all the info already in our CanPass pre-filled application, subject ourselves to a boat-search while we wait on dock, and we are on our way. WE are legally in Canada!
Am interesting side story on entering. Somewhere around 2003 or so, the original owner took the boat the Canada in British Columbia. The Canadian Border Patrol still has that record under the original boat name Kiapoko. They thought that was the name of our boat based upon the boat ID (like a VIN number on a car). It’s updated now..
We’ve made it to Canada!
Back on the path north now and to our anchorage for the night off I’l aux Noix. Turns out there are not lots of boats our size in the Richelieu River and this set of Canada locks. Thus, the draft on our boat is too deep ffor many of the marinas. AND the marinas are packed as all the Canadian boats that want to go to the US can’t. Canada has opened for US pleasure boat traffic (on August 9th), but the US has not reciprocated.
The next day after getting the log off our anchor (it was quite heavy trying to pull the anchor), and then the potting clay stuck to it, we are headed to Saint Jean, the largest town on the route from Lake Champlain to the Saint Lawrence River. For those of you looking for the route on a map, go from the top of Lake Champlain following the Richelieu River toward Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu in Quebec. From there, enter the Chambly Canal which heads to the town of Chambly following the Richelieu River (which has rapids and is too shallow). This is a historic canal was proposed in 1785 but not completed until 1843 to complete the connection from the Saint Lawrence to Lake Champlain. Well almost, the Saint Ours lock was not completed until a few years later.
I know it is hard to see this route on a map. It took us a long time to find it. From Chambly, you reenter the Richelieu River until you reach the Saint Ours Lock (the final lock, sometimes called Lock 10) and proceed to Sorel-Tracy on the Saint Lawrence River. You have to zoom WAY in on Google to see this route. The Chamly locks are 32 feet wide. We are 17 ½ feet wide. Cozy.
Saint Jean is a nice town with free public docks right in downtown. Like everywhere else, lots of businesses are permanently closed but there is still a nice sense of town here. We meet several boaters, one with a homemade trawler (same style of boat as ours) in the local marina and others on smaller boats who have boated in the the afternoon, evening or night for dinner. Most of the boats are much smaller, runabouts or pontoons with full canvas.
Tomorrow we are off to Chambly, 6 locks along the way plus a fun bridge (or more?)
We are enjoying seeing this part of Canada. So amazing that you don’t have to get far across the border before the whole feel of the place is different.