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Category Archives: Sailing in the St. Lawrence

July 15th – St-Anne-des-Monts

Today we stayed put at St-Anne-des-Monts. The wind was pretty strong and at times it was gusting to 40 knots, so it was a good decision, plus it is very nice here.
I went for a bike ride to Cap Chat – again, the road was along the St. Lawrence and had a very wide bike path. It was tough getting there because of the west wind but coming back was lots of fun.
The harbour master came over to our boat and asked us to move it to another spot because a 19 metre boat (60 feet) is coming in later on tonight. Since Guy LaFleur was here last week, we are hoping that it might be him. The funny part of the harbour master coming over to our boat was that he and Dennis had the exact same outfit on!

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As I said yesterday, there are many sculptures in this town so here are a few more pictures:

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We will probably head over to Mont Louis tomorrow as the weather looks good. Of course, if Guy LaFleur shows up and invites us onto his boat, we may have to stay!

 
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Posted by on July 15, 2013 in Sailing in the St. Lawrence

 

July 14th – Bastille Day – St-Anne-des-Monts

Same old story, I know… We left at 6:00 this morning to get to St-Anne-des-Monts. It was another uneventful day. We just about reached the breakwall when the wind really picked up. It only took a few minutes to get behind the the breakwall and get tied up, but I am very glad that we arrived when we did. The wind is still howling out there but we are safe inside the harbour.
If you get a chance to see these little towns on Google Earth, you should take the time to do so. The entire coast is very rugged and there are not many places to run for shelter so these little towns have build huge breakwalls to protect them from the water and wind. Take a look at this view of us entering the harbour:

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Notice the church quite a ways behind the wall.
St-Anne-des-Monts is a very pretty town. It almost looks European (or what I imagine a European town would look like) because the streets near the water are very close together and the buildings are right next to the road. As you walk to the newer part of town, it starts to resemble any other place in Canada with the Tim Hortons and IGA on the corner.

There are all sorts of sculptures around the town. At the wharf especially, there are many made of driftwood. The large white driftwood one is known as “le Drapeau blanc” (the white flag).

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Here are a couple of pictures of the church:

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Here is a picture of the town looking west:

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I am not sure if we are staying here tomorrow – I guess the wind will let us know in the morning!

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Posted by on July 14, 2013 in Sailing in the St. Lawrence

 

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July 13th – Matane

We decided to stay in Matane for the day because the town is quite nice and everything is close by. I have to say that the biking was fantastic! The town has a designated bike path that takes you to the commercial dock (the one that we toured yesterday when we were too early to go into the marina). After that, the bike path is a paved shoulder on a road that has many pretty little cottages and houses. The road is right on the St. Lawrence River and is very beautiful. I rode my bike for 15 km along the road and then it turns into the main highway. The main highway has an eight foot designated bike lane and there were many, many cyclists out and about. There were groups of keeners as well as regular people of all ages riding. I have to say that I have been more than impressed with the cycling in Quebec. Ontario is so far behind, it is sad.
Here is a picture of a cottage on the route:

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Dennis took the bike out during the afternoon and he went even further. He made it to the next town – St. Ulric.

We bought our first seafood – scallops and shrimp. We were too lazy to walk all the way to the poissoninaire (fish market) so we got our supper at the Metro Plus. They had a good selection but it turned out that we somehow bought shrimp and scallops from Thailand. Oh well, it was tasty done on the barbecue. Next time, we will pay more attention.

Nothing else happened today – just the usual – shopping, laundry. Tomorrow, we are going to St. Anne-des-Monts. Dennis keeps calling it St. Anne de Mops. 🙂

Dennis bought at Washburn travelling guitar for the boat. It is quite small but we’ve been having lots of fun with it. We’re getting ready for our debut by practising Song for the Mira, Farewell to Nova Scotia and Sonny’s Dream. We practice way out on the water, so nobody can hear us. Maybe that’s why we’ve haven’t seen any whales lately!

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Posted by on July 13, 2013 in Sailing in the St. Lawrence

 

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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.

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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.

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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).

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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!).

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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!

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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.
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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.
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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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