July 6, 2013

Day 254 – July 6, 2013: Lake St. Louis, the Ottawa River, and Sainte Anne de Bellevue

To get to the Ottawa River, you must pass through the St. Lambert and St. Catherine Locks on the St. Lawrence River and cross Lake St. Louis. These locks are large, raise boats a total of 47 feet, and priority is given to ocean-going freighters. Pleasure boats are locked through separately in groups, and we gathered at the St. Lambert at 9:00 AM along with 10 other boats to go through both locks in succession. We were required to pay a locking fee, using an ATM-like machine on the docks, before each lock.

Anne returning from paying a locking fee
Flight of boats entering the lock
The lock workers directed the boats into position with the largest going in first and holding onto ropes along the walls. Smaller boats raft (tie up) alongside these boats, and sailboats enter last, also rafting together. This is the first lock on the trip where we were required to raft, and it can be a bit challenging and risky, as boats that raft are depending on others to keep them in place.

Boats rafting off in the lock
Sailboat racing on Lake St. Louis
Just after lunch we exited the St. Catherine Lock into the St. Lawrence River and Lake St. Louis. Being Saturday, there were dozens of sailboats racing in the lake requiring some careful navigation. We entered the Ottawa River, arrived at our destination in Sainte Anne de Bellevue, Quebec, and although it was crowded, were lucky to find a spot on the entry wall of the Sainte Anne Lock. The atmosphere here reminded us of the Grand Haven waterfront during the Coast Guard Festival, with families, young couples and lots of ice cream.

Great Laker on the lock wall
Boats trying to find space on the walls
Hundreds of people strolling the lock walls

As the evening cooled us down, we joined others walking the lock walls and also enjoyed some ice cream.  

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