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Tag Archives: St. Lawrence

July 21st – Percé Rock, L’Anse-à-Beaufils

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Well! Percé Rock is as impressive as all the guidebooks say, so if you are in the area, you should definitely go and see it!
We set out this morning from Gaspé at 7:00 and had a very nice, lazy sail for a couple of hours. There was not nearly as much wind as predicted, so it was quite calm. We turned the corner and could soon see Percé Rock from a long way away. It took an hour or so to come up to it. Pretty cool!

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Here is a website with some excellent pictures.
http://www.travelet.com/2009/05/discovering-the-wonders-of-perce-rock-canada/

After we passed the rock, we headed toward L’Anse-à-Beaufils. Suddenly, we were in some turbulent water and had a few good smashes around, but this quickly subsided and we made it safely to the entrance of the harbour.
The marina was not answering the radio, so we weren’t sure where to go. We could see this man waving and asking us a question. We had no idea what he was saying. Dennis finally figured out that he was asking us how deep the boat was. Another man from across the harbour called back to him and said that it was probably five feet. (We learned all this later as the conversation took place in French!)
We made a very dramatic entry onto the dock – the wind had picked up considerably and Dennis had a hard time controlling the boat. We now have a lovely scratch along the left side (which matches with the scratch on the right side that I did last year). At any rate, we managed to tie the boat up without any other damage.

I rode by bike back to Percé to see the town (along the very nice paved shoulder) and the rock from up close. The town looks like a lot of fun so we are going back tomorrow to check it out. Very touristy but there looks like there is a lot to do.

Here is of picture of Percé Rock from land:

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This is a picture looking in the opposite direction of Percé Rock – it is also very beautiful.

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Here is a picture of the area right across from the marina – this is where we had supper.

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On the way back, we spotted Dennis’ dreamboat, complete with a hole… 🙂

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For those who are planning on traveling here by boat, you should bring cash to pay for many of the marinas as quite a few don’t have debit machines. Also, if you’re planning on loading up with groceries, don’t go to Percé – it is geared for tourists. Gaspé has two good grocery stores within walking distance.

More info to follow tomorrow. We are going to go to Île Bonaventure via a tour boat and check out the thousands of birds that nest there.

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Posted by on July 21, 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 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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July 6th – Saguenay – The Virgin Mary Statue

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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.

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

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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!

 
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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.

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

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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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