National Geographic : 1970 Jul
Below we could see the rapids foaming over huge boulders, and I thought of Champlain's party lugging canoes around them. At close of day we entered a staircase of interconnected locks that would drop us 74 feet to the Richelieu's Bassin de Chambly (below). The setting sun turned its waters far below to sparkling gold. "What would happen if you pulled the wrong levers and opened all the gates at once?" Nikki Phillips, of Washington, D. C., nervously asked a lockkeeper. "You'd think you were going over Niagara Falls in a barrel," said the man. "But don't worry. I'm always careful with boats when they have pretty girls aboard." We anchored for the night in the basin and ran next morning for the St. Lawrence. Reach ing the "River of Canada" and turning up stream, we logged yet another historic mile stone.* For the first time, the cruise historian advised us, we were in the wake of Jacques Cartier. On his second voyage, in 1535, the French mariner explored as far as Montreal, then head of navigation. The St. Lawrence's fast current slowed White Mist to a crawl. It took us 12 hours to make the last 40 miles, and we did not reach our berth at Port Ste. Helene marina until after dark. We tied up in the lee of daring *See "The St. Lawrence, River Key to Canada," by Howard La Fay, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC, May 1967. EKTACHROME BYEDWINSTUARTGROSVENOR N.G.S.