On Lake Champlain with Captain John

On Lake Champlain with Captain John

MISE À DAY

Like many Quebecers, I have fond childhood memories of my family camping vacation in Missisquoi Bay, the Quebec part of Lake Champlain.  

I went back to explore the lake by boat, with Aventures Lac Champlain. Aboard his comfortable pontoon, John Sauro takes two to 10 passengers for a commented and private tour. 

Pontoon

We left from the marina of Venise-en-Québec. I was with a couple of friends from Laval, Mariève Désilets and Alejandro Amado, accompanied by their one-year-old son Adriano.

Commented and private, the tour aboard a comfortable pontoon covers a distance of 30 kilometers.

Along the west shore and passing through Saint-Georges-de-Clarenceville, pass small chalets reminiscent of the beginnings of vacationing on the shores of Missisquoi Bay. You can also see beautiful and large second homes that were erected following the arrival of municipal services.

Stops

Here and there, Captain John stops the pontoon to talk to us. Among other things, he says that the name of the lake was given by Samuel de Champlain himself when he mapped it in 1612.  

John Sauro, a nature and history enthusiast, brings us exploring.

Nearly 200 kilometers long, including 8 kilometers in Quebec, he points out, the lake is fed by 11 rivers, including the Rivière aux Brochets, on this side of the border. 

The view carries far. Captain John tells us what we see on the horizon. In Quebec: the Brome (Bromont), Pinacle and Sutton mountains. In Vermont: Jay Peak, Stowe and Mount Mansfield, the highest in the state. 

Along the border

Beacons on which terns were perched mark the border with the United States. On the Vermont side, you can see the Missisquoi Natural Wildlife refuge, a protected natural site. 

Captain John points out that the Lake Champlain Valley, including cliffs, forests and marshes, is home to up to 300 species of birds. The only place in the world where there are more, he says, is in the Amazon!

A great blue heron near the Brochets River.

Along the route, there is also talk of the presence of the Abenakis and Iroquois before the arrival of the Europeans, of the Champlain Sea that preceded the formation of the lake, or of the Malibu-style chalets perched on the cliffs of Saint-Armand. 

A tour with Captain John is like watching a documentary, with the pleasure of being on the water.  

LAKE CHAMPLAIN ADVENTURES 

  • Commented tour: 30 kilometers
  • Duration: one hour and forty-five at two o'clock
  •  Passengers: two to 10 forming a single group
  •  Rates: from $200 to $380 per group (depending on the number of passengers)
  • Reservations required
  • www.aventureslacchamplain.com

 

OTHER IDEAS FOR OUTINGS 

Also in Venise-en-Québec 

In Missisquoi Bay, OLAC rents paddle boards, kayaks and pedal boats. Some Friday and Saturday evenings, outings are organized, kayaks and boards being illuminated. It's magical. 

www.locationpaddleboard.com

Le Sentier des Cimes 

Near Mont-Tremblant, this new attraction for all is distinguished by its treetop walkway. The highest point remains the panoramic tower 40 meters high, the equivalent of 12 floors. 

www.sentierdescimes.ca/laurentides

Alain Demers is the author of the book Rediscovering Quebec: 101 destinations, published by Les éditions du Journal.