Category Archives: Sailing in the St. Lawrence

July 12th – Rimouski to Matane

The wind was in our favour this morning when we left at 5:15 am. It was very light and coming from the south west so we knew we had an easy to Matane. It was extremely uneventful – we only saw one very large beluga on the way. I made Dennis listen to the CBC (Q with Jian Ghomeshi) and it was a nice way to pass the time sailing down the St. Lawrence. Along the coast, are hundreds and hundreds of giant windmills – I’m sure they were going full bore yesterday but today, they were just moving slowly.

We made such good time that we were way too early to go into Matane – you cannot access the marina during low tide. Dennis called the harbourmaster and he told us to wait for an hour, so we went back to the commercial harbour and toured it. (Not too exciting but we had an hour to kill).
At 2:30, we arrived at the marina and tied up the boat. Then we went downtown for a good walk for an hour and a half. We debated whether or not we should take the ferry over to Baie Comeau tomorrow to see Brian Mulroney but decided against it.


We had supper and then noticed that there was a man in a while housecoat walking around outside of the hotel which was across the way. We thought he was maybe going to his car, but he just kept walking and we don’t know where he went or why he was in a robe. This was at about 5:30. Then, we checked out our boat neighbour. He was standing on his boat with a very long ladder, leaned up against the mast and was attempting to climb it! Thank goodness, he gave that up!

We went for a walk along the beach and I got a good photo of the sunset.


We returned to the boat and noticed that the neighbour had moved on to another project – this one a little more safe. He was trying to attach his sail, so of course, Dennis could not resist and is over there helping him. He speaks no French and the other guy speaks very little English but they seem to be getting along (and the ladder is safely in the man’s truck).


Speaking of French, when we were checking out the town, I pointed out the boulangerie in hopes that Dennis will ride the bike over to it and get some fresh bread or croissants for our breakfast tomorrow morning. He thought it was a place to buy negligees! I don’t know how he has been in Quebec for a whole month! 🙂

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Posted by on July 12, 2013 in Sailing in the St. Lawrence


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July 10, 11 – Rimouski

It is way too windy to leave today – gusts up to 40 km, so we are staying put. Tomorrow looks better, especially if we leave early.
Yesterday (July 10th), we checked out Rimouski. We did the grocery shopping (it is within walking distance) and then Dennis borrowed a bike from the marina so that we could go and see the museum and submarine (decommissioned from the Canadian Navy).
The Onondaga was one of the three submarines in the Canadian Navy. Since it was being “mothballed”, Rimouski bought it for $4.00 in 2006 and set it up as a tourist attraction. We toured it and used their audio devices to learn the details. It is very cramped inside. There were sometimes 70 men living on the submarine and each enlisted man was allowed 20 seconds of fresh water a day for a shower! The officers had slightly better conditions (but not much!)
Here are some pictures of the submarine. Notice that one of the bunks is right beside the torpedoes. (That bunk was reserved for the youngest guy!).





After the tour of the submarine, we checked out the Maritime museum which featured the sinking of a luxury ocean liner in 1914. 1012 people drowned. The ship, the Empress of Ireland, sunk of the coast of Rimouski (Pointe-au-Père). After the sinking of the Titanic, the shipping companies were required to have enough lifeboats for everyone one board and the crew had to practice their safety drills every morning. But, another ship hit it on the side which created a big hole that quickly filled up with water. The ship listed to one side at a 60 degree angle, so very few of the lifeboats were able to be accessed. The third class passengers were trapped down in the bottom of the boat.
This disaster is not well known because shortly after it occurred, WW1 started and the disaster was forgotten about.
The museum was excellent and the most fun part was the movie. We went into the theatre and an old film was showing on the screen. It was in black and white and very scratchy. It turned out to be filming us, with a ten second delay. Dennis, of course, waved his arms around and basically made a fool of himself, but we all had a good laugh. The real film was excellent (it was about the Empress of Ireland) and was almost interactive. At times, the theatre got quite cold with wind blowing on us to depict the passengers on deck. Then, it showed the coal furnace being stoked and the theatre suddenly glowed red and got warm. It was very well done!

After the museum, I went shopping at the mall and then not much happened after that except for the wind picking up to 35 knots an hour! So, this is why we are staying an extra day in the marina. Some boats have ventured out but most are staying put.

While in Tadoussac, Dennis bought what he thought was blueberry jam. He tried it on his toast and it turned out to be some sort of Quebec blueberry onion relish. So, if anyone comes to Quebec, there is no need to buy that!



Posted by on July 11, 2013 in Sailing in the St. Lawrence


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July 8th – 9th: Tadoussac to Rimouski

A very happy birthday to Nick who turned 25 today! Please check him out in our Rogues Gallery!

Yesterday (July 8th) we spent the day in Tadoussac. We got up early because the boat was pretty cold! So, I did the laundry and got the fleece sheets out for the bed. The floor of the boat is really cold, so you always need slippers . We keep the fruit and vegetables under the floorboards near the fridge and for the first time since we’ve had the boat, they are the perfect temperature! The water temperature in Tadoussac is 8 degrees.

A couple of funny things happened yesterday. Dennis was up early at 5:00 and wandered around. He could hear some snorting and huffing and wondered what it was. Well, he saw a big whale right in the harbour. Sadly though, he was unable to get a good picture of it but did spend some time searching the internet for pictures of killer whales and put them on his phone in order to fool me. It didn’t work.

I went for a bike ride but only lasted an hour – the hills are wicked! Plus, there really wasn’t a lot of places to go as Tadoussac is in a giant gully surrounded by steep cliffs.
We went shopping and then went to the interpretive center for whales. There, we learned all about the types of whales that are in the marine park. The guide told us that we might see belugas and that they were very curious and may come up to the boat. If that happened, we were to cut our engine so that we wouldn’t injure them.

While we were at the interpretive center, we saw a man taking a picture of his wife facing the building. Meanwhile, there was a big whale right behind them, blowing water. We had a good laugh over that!

We went out last night and heard a French band called The Travelling Fish (Les Poissons Voyageurs). They had two accordions, a guitar and a bass – they were pretty good.

We didn’t stay out late though because we knew we had to leave early today so at 5:15 am, we set out. The water was very calm and we saw quite a few whales, porpoises and seals from a distance. At around 11:15 though, we spotted a beluga off the bow, so we slowed down and noticed that it had a young one with it (the babies are grey). They were quite near the boat so Dennis put the engine in neutral and we drifted towards them. They swam towards the boat and then popped their heads up right in front of us! We got pretty excited about this and within a few minutes, another one arrived. The three of them hung out right near the back of the boat, they could have been touching the rudder or the prop. Then, they dove away for a bit but kept coming back. We then spotted another one, so we had four swimming around the boat.

Beluga and baby

Beluga and baby

The whales stayed with us for about half an hour while we drifted around. We counted seven in total – three babies and four adults. They definitely had distinctive scars on them and were very beautiful to watch. At one point, one of the babies rolled around on top of its mother a few times. We had to pull out the sail because we didn’t dare use the engine but we were drifting back towards Tadoussac. Once we started moving, the whales started leaving and we watched them swim away.

Here’s a video of the whales:

We made it to Rimouski at about 4:00 without any difficulty. The marina is very nice and everything is close by. We met up with Dale – he met Dennis while in Quebec City.

Dale - a fellow sailor whom Dennis met in Quebec City

Dale – a fellow sailor whom Dennis met in Quebec City

I went for a bike ride – Rimouski has a very nice trail along the waterfront. Tomorrow we are going to stay here and go to the museum. It has a submarine (I guess we haven’t had enough boats! 🙂

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Posted by on July 9, 2013 in Sailing in the St. Lawrence


July 7th, 8th – Saguenay to Tadoussac

Just a note for those people traveling by boat to Baie Eternité – the guide books say that there are a dozen mooring balls but we could only see five at the most. It is difficult to anchor because of the depth and the tides. However, there weren’t too many people there, so it all worked out. Now, if you take your dinghy to the dock, do not listen to the park employees as to where to tie it up. Tie it up at the back of the dock.

We left at around noon – the wind was gusting quite a bit but because we were in the river, the waves did not build. Of course, now that the wind meter works, it was a bit frightening to see the wind speed hit 36 knots! It was fine though and we managed to get a few good pictures (several of the Virgin Mary) but also one of the cliff.

We actually sailed (without the motor!) down the river. We only saw a few belugas in a group but they were quite close to the boat. We arrived at the Tadoussac Marina without incident and asked for assistance to dock (it is much easier to ask than have me jump off the boat!). The dock man helped tie us up and then proceeded to measure the length of the boat and the dinghy so we are being charged for 44 feet instead of 42 : )

We wandered around the town and had supper. I practised my French and the waitress had a good laugh but I did end up with what I ordered!

Here are a couple of pictures of the harbour and of last night’s sunset.

So, this morning, Dennis was up and about at 5:00 and heard a strange sound. It was a whale in the harbour, blowing and diving around. It was right near the boat! He got a picture of it but it looks like a black speck so I won’t upload it. That means that I have to get up super early tomorrow and whale watch!

We will check out the town some more today and probably leave for Rimouski tomorrow.

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Posted by on July 8, 2013 in Sailing in the St. Lawrence


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July 6th – Saguenay – The Virgin Mary Statue

It was my bright idea to hike up the mountain to see the Virgin Mary statue. It was erected by Charles-Napoleon Robitaille, a Quebec City merchant travelling on the frozen Saguenay River. He fell through the ice and

“imploring the Virgin Mary for help, he finally managed to pull himself out of the water. Having become very sick as a result, he again pleaded with the Holy Virgin to let him live ten more years so that he could take care of his family. Wanting to give thanks to She who saved him twice, Robitaille decided to have a statue of the Virgin erected on Cape Trinité…The statue was shipped to L’Anse-Saint-Jean on a steamer but a handling error sent the statue overboard. Fortunately, it was made of white pine and it floated. It was then towed by rowboat to the foot of Cape Trinité, a 15 km trip. Originally made from three wood blocks, it had to be cut into 14 sections before it could be hauled to the top of the cape by hand; a job that took eight days to complete.”

I can imagine that the path the top of the cape in 1881 (that is when it was erected) was probably not as nice as it is now. We had stairs and rest stops along the way and yet we were very tired once we reached the top.

Here are a few pictures of the boat from the way up.




To prove that we made it all the way there, here are a couple of pictures of us.



According to my Fitbit, the entire trek was 15000 steps or 10 km, so we were pretty tired when we got back. Of course, probably not as tired as the 100 or so people going up in the heat of the day! As we were coming down, we passed then and they kept asking how much further it was (they were still near the bottom). Anyway, if you do decide to do this hike, you should start early in the morning (we were the first and only ones on the trail).

We spent the afternoon swimming. It was so nice to cool off!


Posted by on July 6, 2013 in Sailing in the St. Lawrence


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July 5th and 6th – The Saguenay

It was another early start yesterday (4:45 am) to Taddousac. Again, it was because of the tides. We wanted to be at the mouth of the Saguenay during slack tide (so that the water is not all rushing out, creating a riptide and rapids). There was a swell on the St. Lawrence, so the first hour was not great but as we moved up the coast, the swell lessened and we had a good ride.
We spotted a grey seal, more belugas and a whale of some sort (possibly a common whale) in the entrance to Taddousac. Pretty cool!
We went past Taddousac at 9:00 am and headed up the Saguenay. The cliffs are spectacular! It really is a fjord.
Again, we saw many belugas – diving for food. It you look at the second picture, you will see two white specks – those are belugas. We are not allowed to get too close to them.



It takes quite a while to get to Eternity Bay (hence the name?) but it is well worth the trip! The scenery is amazing!



At the park, there are a few mooring balls (there used to be a dozen but now only 4) so we grabbed one and hooked on. Then we went swimming – the water was salty but a good temperature – 25 degrees, so it was good to cool off.
Today, we are staying put and will hike to the top of the cliff. We will be looking at a statue of the Virgin Mary, placed there in 1881.
More news later!

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Posted by on July 6, 2013 in Sailing in the St. Lawrence


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July 3rd, 4th – Quebec City to Cap-à-l’Aigle

We spent most of yesterday (July 3rd) getting the boat ready to leave Quebec City. Dennis had a solar panel installed. This will give us 10 amps of power which will help with about a third of our daily comsumption. We also got our MMSI number (Maritime Mobile Service Identity) so we spent a good part of the afternoon trying to program the new VHF radio so that we can get DSC (digital selective calling) and to setup the foghorn so that it will automatically work. We weren’t successful. 

I did download two different apps on my phone though – Boat Beacon($9.99) and Marine Traffic ($3.99) and these two apps work perfectly! All I did was set up the Boat Beacon app with our new MMSI number and within a couple of hours, we were visible on the AIS website. Now, we can be seen by ships and we can see them. It actually worked very well (as long as we are in cell service range).

The following picture is of us in the lock at Quebec City.

We finally left Quebec City at about 8:00 last night. We got through the lock without any problems and then tied up outside on the wall. We watched the fireworks (Quebec is celebrating the arrival of Samuel de Champlain) and then went to bed at 10:30. We set the alarm for 1:45 am (yuck!) and set off at 2:15 this morning. The guidebook says that you have to leave two hours before high tide in order to get to C’apalaigle in 9 -12 hours. 

We only saw one ship (saw it well in advance on the new app) and the GPS worked perfectly. The night was clear and there was hardly any wind so we motored along until dawn. We put our sail up (with the motor still going) and our speed was about 10 knots an hour.

Here is a picture of a cruise ship – this is along the coast at 10:30 this morning.

We actually saw some beluga whales today. At first, they were really far away and looked like whitecaps, but later on, there were some fairly close to the boat. They must have been diving for food.

The following picture is of where we are spending the night.  Our boat is near the end in the right. We had to have a sleep this afternoon – we were both really tired from having to get up at 1:45 am. Tomorrow, if weather permits, we are going to leave early (4:45) to get to Taddoussac and hopefully go up the Saguenay for a couple of days.

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Posted by on July 4, 2013 in Sailing in the St. Lawrence


Quebec – July 1st

So, it really was Moving Day in Quebec on July 1st. We celebrated by riding our bikes to Montmorency Falls on the beautiful bike path. Many, many people were out riding – there was actually traffic to deal with!

The falls are definitely worth the ride but we were glad we went early as when we left, the tour buses arrived. We parked our bikes, went inside the building and looked around to pay someone our admission. It’s free unless you want to use the cable car. So, we walked across the bridge and went quite close to the falls. Luckily it was warm day because were sprayed by the mist!

After going to see the falls, we did a bit of shopping, boat chores and then rested up for the evening entertainment – The Ghost Tours of Quebec. I would totally recommend this as the guide showed us some really interesting parts of old Quebec that we would never have found on our own. Plus, we learned about the history – it was not all “The Order of Good Cheer” by Champlain. We learned about murders, executions, ships sinking, the cholera outbreak and of course, the many ghosts that haunt Quebec. Our guide, William Black, was excellent! We ended the tour inside a dark church.

The above picture is the view of Quebec from the top at about 9:00 pm. In the far right, is the mill that shows the movie (we will watch tonight).

I am glad that we did our cycling and ghost touring yesterday because the weather has turned. There is a strong NE wind and rain is on the way. This will be a good day for groceries, laundry…

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Posted by on July 2, 2013 in Sailing in the St. Lawrence


June 30th – Quebec City

The weather has turned beautiful! Lots of sun and normal temperatures. We rode around on the bikes today. The cycling here is unreal! There are hundreds of kilometres of dedicated bike paths – so nice! Hundreds of people of all sizes, shapes and ages were cycling, roller blading, running and walking on the trails. Lots of fun (now that the weather is cooperating).

Here are some photos from around Quebec.

There is a schooner tied up outside of the marina – it had a bit of an accident in the severe east winds the other day.

We are off to watch the show on the paper mill wall – the history of Quebec. More to follow tomorrow.

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Posted by on June 30, 2013 in Sailing in the St. Lawrence


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June 29th – Quebec City

The Split Crow at Port de Quebec

The Split Crow at Port de Quebec

Dennis has had quite the time being the advance party for getting the Split Crow ready. The wind metre actually still works and he has been watching it constantly. In the Port de Quebec, the wind has been gusting to 45 knots. The new dock has broken loose so the marina crew has been working like crazy trying to secure it. There was a close call of all the boats crashing into each other…Dennis was sitting in the cockpit drinking his rum 🙂  when he noticed that one of the boats was moving. The dock had broken free so he ran over to the boat and alerted the owner who was down below and hadn’t noticed that his boat was on the move. So, he moved his boat over to another dock and then added many lines to secure it. The next day, the marina crew was out in full force adding chains, bolts and other things to ensure that the docks stayed put!

It has been VERY cold and rainy in Quebec and Dennis has warned me to bring warm clothes. People are wandering around in the their winter parkas! Yikes! So, my duffel bag is full of fleece. I guess I will not be setting any fashion trends. 🙂

I do see that the weather is improving though (Quebec City forecast).

Quebec City Forecast - June 29 - July 5

Quebec City Forecast – June 29 – July 5

We are hoping to bike over to the Montmorecny Falls – maybe on Monday when the temperature is supposed to be 27! We will take turns on Dennis’ folding bike with very small wheels. (I have a normal sized folding bike and use it a lot for groceries and sight seeing but his is brutal for going more than a five minute ride as I discovered on Pelee Island).

We should be leaving Quebec on Wednesday or Thursday morning at about 3:00 am. It will take us nine hours and we have to leave at high tide, so this will be a whole new adventure for me!

Stay tuned for more…

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Posted by on June 29, 2013 in Sailing in the St. Lawrence