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Sunday, July 2, 2023

Saint Jean to Chambly, wall (w/ power)

Our adventure started last night, in Saint Jean, when we were low-ish on power so Russ ran the generator. It stopped after 45 minutes of running, no where near the "we have enough power" mark. Already dark (this was around 9:30) Russ believed the weeds around us were clogging the water intake, so it overheated. When that happens typically the impellor is finished, so Russ dug through the spare parts... and discovered he didn't have a spare impellor. We have a number of engine impellors, but none for the generator. Thankfully, David did (we have the same brand as them), and Russ replaced it. Still in weeds we decided not to try again, and hope we make it through the night without adding more power.

The start of the Chambly Locks
Needless to say, I didn't sleep well...

But we woke with 35% of our batteries capacity (the LOWEST we can go is 20%). We immediately moved the boat across the channel where there were no weeds, around 5:30 am, and started the gennie. Which worked great -- all powered up.

Highwind squeezes into the first lock
The Chambly Lock system runs from 9 am to 5 pm. Where ever you get to in that time is where you are staying. If you're staying over night you want to check in to the lockmaster so they know when you want to pass and where you plan to go. All the lockmasters (and bridge masters) talk to each other to help plan traffic. For example, Highwind and inQuest are much bigger boats. We can barely fit into a lock together (they are very small). The channels are equally small. So if we're headed down and a similar boat is heading up, they know where we can pass each other safely, and time that meet up.

Hanging out, waiting to get locked down.
You can see there's maybe 6 inches between us.
Our goal was to get Chambly, and stay at the top of Lock 3. We entered the first lock (Lock 12, since we're counting down) around 9 am. Once Highwind got secured they needed us to go slow, because they weren't sure we could both fit. We barely did (by 1 foot), and that, we were told, was how we'd go down all the locks.

Highwind is 18 feet wide. The locks are 23 feet wide, and 120 feet long. Some of the bridges seemed narrower still. We followed Highwind all day, which was encouraging -- if they made it we would! Even so, when it was our turn we slowed down, because man, that's skinny!

If you zoom it you can see the next 3 locks
ahead of us. We're cascading to Lake Chambly
Once through the Chambly lock we had a 1 hour and 16 minute cruise to Lock 11 -- there was a speed limit, 5.4 knots or 10 kph. inQuest wasn't 2 miles out when we heard a strange noise. (We're getting good at identifying "something's wrong" by sound.) Sure enough our port engine was overheated. I shut it off and traveled on one while Russ tried to determine the problem. 

Let me tell you, these boats are barely steerable with 1 engine. In a skinny, twisty channel, this was more excitement than we wanted. We got to the first raised bridge. swishing like a caught fish on a line, squeaked through. 

Russ guessed the seacock for the port engine got knocked closed while he messed with the generator. He suggested we try the engine (because neither of us felt comfortable without it in this situation). If it cooled quickly, that was the issue. If not, we'll keep it off and only turn it on to steer in when we need it. Thankfully, it turned over and we watched the temp plummet.

After a bit of a stressing day we all went beer  
tasting. The brewery here had a mega-sampler
4 oz pours of 20 beers!
The rest of the day went without any technical difficulties.

From Lock 11 to Lock 3 (Chambly) they cascade down in our direction, one right after the other. You can see the locks ahead of you. We're basically climbing down a hill by boat. Each lock had several people working it, all ready to hand you lines and get you settled, and all of them knew who we were and where we were going. With the exception of being held for traffic shuffling, it went very smoothly.

We arrived in Chambly in time for much needed naps!

A popular stop, there are a bunch of boats rafted here,
including us!

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