To have had a season in the midst of the Covid-19 Pandemic was a respite for those of us folks who are fortunate (or foolish) enough to enjoy spending our time near boats and sailors. My partner and I are extremely grateful to be a part of our boating community at BYC, which happens to include some very good friends. Although these friends spent much of the 2020 Spring, Summer, and Fall (thus far) socially-distanced, we did find creative ways to support and encourage one another, both near and on the water.
The lake is interesting. It is situated on the southern side of the west portion of the Island of Montreal, Quebec — and has the St. Lawrence Seaway running on the opposite shore. Although it is relatively shallow, much of it navigable, save for a few bays that are better suited to kite surfers and kayakers. Oh, and the middle was a dumping ground for the stuff they dredged out of the Seaway in the ’50s, so if one intends to navigate the lake without charts, one should expect to ground.
There are several marked channels running east/west and north/south (ish). Because Lake St. Louis is somewhat long (the overall area is @ 120 square kilometers), with prevailing easterlies running in the same direction of the long measure of the lake in summer months, we can experience some “exciting” wave action when the wind kicks up over 20kts+. It’s not uncommon to see wicked line squalls come through the valley that can flatten keelboats. However, most of the time, the lake is quite lovely. Such is the weather-life in this part of the St. Lawrence River.
Up and down the lake, there are shallow rapids at Ste. Anne de Bellevue (up) and Lachine (down), which are impassible without going sideways. For sailboats, there are three ways in or out of the lake, and they all involve locks. Seaway locks are situated at roughly either end of the lake (Great Lakes and Atlantic Ocean, respectively), and another can be used seasonally to get into the Lake of Two Mountains and Ottawa River. Because the lake is fed by two rivers, one relatively clear (the St. Lawrence) and the other somewhat silty (Ottawa River), where the two waters meet is interesting, because most days sailing you can notice the distinct colours of each as you pass through their currents.
As the boats are now mostly hauled out, and being prepared for winter storage, the lake is looking empty these days. All too soon, Lac St. Louis will be frozen over!
I thought I would post some of my photos that I believe capture just a few of the many weather moods of the lake (you’ll notice they are all quite different and interesting– at least I think so!):
My photos are available here: