July 30, 2013

July 30, 2013 Day 69  St. Lawrence River
Sainte Anne des Monts Marina
Sainte Anne des Monts, Quebec, Canada

What a long day of travel!  We left Rimouski at 6:20 in the fog and it did not lift until almost noon.  It started raining at 10:00 and it stopped at noon also.  We traveled under radar and AIS and our fog horn went off every few minutes.  At noon we finally had a visual on Outbound and Esmeralda!  Shortly after that we spotted a large minke whale, so that made our day.

Richard, Shannon, Joyce, Lisa, and Ron
One of many sculptures ariund the area!
At 6:00 we arrived at Sainte Anne des Monts and tied up at their dock. We are not connected to power or water. It is pretty rustic but inexpensive and the people are very friendly.  There are some fun sculptures of driftwood in the park next to the marina.

 Another beautiful church in town
We went to a great seafood restaurant near the marina and although we had a long wait it was worth it.  The fish was fresh – we had turbot and it was excellent.  We enjoyed having dinner with Lisa, Ron, Shannon, and Richard.

We will travel at least 55 miles tomorrow and maybe longer, so we will leave at 6:30 again. 

We have more photos to post but do not have time this evening. Will try to get them up tomorrow,

July 29, 2013

July 29, 2013 Day 68  St. Lawrence River
Rimouski Marina
Rimouski, Quebec, Canada

Today was another stay in port day. Fortunately our mail arrived though! Today was a cold, rainy day so we were happy to be here. We did have to untie and go over to the fuel dock this afternoon to refuel the boat (in liters not gallons!)  We also got some laundry and other boat chores done.

Lisa and Joyce got together this morning and shared whale pictures and have determined the large whale that was jumping was a fin whale as suspected.  We put some of Lisa’s whale pictures on our blog. 

Carried Away on the Saguenay Fjord
(Thanks to Lisa on Outbound for the picture taken on July 25)
There are many gray seals on the St. Lawrence River also!
(Thanks to Lisa for sharing the picture.).
Tomorrow we will go with Outbound and Esmeralda to Sainte-Anne-des-Monts which is about 80 miles east of here on the St. Lawrence River.  It will be a very long travel day, and if we have fog and/or rain, that will add to the challenge.  We may go to a marina or to an anchorage – we are not sure yet, but we are departing Rimouski at 6:30 am!

July 28, 2013

July 28, 2013 Day 67  St. Lawrence River
Rimouski Marina
Rimouski, Quebec, Canada

Today was a stay in port day. We have to wait for our mail and we would not have ventured out today in this wind anyway.  Our friends on Esmeralda arrived this afternoon and had a very rough ride on the St Lawrence.

We walked to the shopping center with Lisa and Ron and did grocery shopping and also picked up oil for the boat.  We had so much we had to take a taxi back to the marina.  As we head further east there will be fewer places to provision, so we take advantage of the ones we have.
This is the same fin whale we saw on July 27 -
Lisa on Outbound, our boating buddies took this photo
Same fin whale breaching. Thanks to Lisa for the picture!
We had a light dinner on board, did some reading and we are still going through our pictures!  We plan to spend tomorrow here in Rimouski also. This is a very friendly marina and it is a good stop on our trip.

July 27, 2013

July 27, 2013 Day 66  St. Lawrence River
Rimouski Marina
Rimouski, Quebec, Canada

We got a late start to our morning by sleeping until 7:30!  We made our way over to the marina for their breakfast special by 9:00.  By this time we had already decided that we would stay here another day. However, as we were leaving the restaurant, Ron and Lisa arrived.  Ron and Bill checked out the weather forecast one more time, and all of a sudden plans for the day changed! We were leaving!  Lisa and Joyce just looked at each other and cancelled their ideas for the day! Within 20 minutes we were underway and headed east into the St. Lawrence River in the fog. We took the lead since we have AIS and could identify the tour boats, etc.  We had over 50 miles to travel today.

Whale jumping!  We think this is a fin back, the 2nd largest animal.
He makes quite a splash!
We spotted several beluga whales immediately. They are really beautiful and are frequently seen in the St. Lawrence River.  The fog lifted about 1½ hours later and we enjoyed the sunny day.  We spotted four whale watching boats and headed toward them. We saw a whale spouting water and splashing and think it is a long finned pilot whale.  Later while we were underway, we spotted a larger whale splashing and diving and think it is a finback whale. We are studying our photos and comparing them to fact sheets.
One of many belugas
We continued on our way and saw more belugas! The sea was fairly calm although we had 3’ rollers for a while. We arrived at the town of Rimouski and docked at the marina about 6:20 pm. Rimouski is a larger town (45,000) and we will provision tomorrow. We are waiting on our mail to arrive and may have to stay here until at least Monday.  Bill also has repairs to work on tomorrow. Our inverter is not working.  When we plugged in yesterday we had a reverse polarity and it may have been the culprit.  What next?

We will post photos tomorrow! 

July 26, 2013 Day 65  Junction of the Saguenay & St. Lawrence Rivers
Tadoussac Marina
Tadoussac, Quebec, Canada

We left our anchorage at Anse St. Jean at 8:15 this morning and went back down the Saguenay River to the lovely little town of Tadoussac. We saw a few more beluga whales along the way. We arrived at the marina around 10:45 and had to anchor until a slip became available.  Outbound rafted to us. The boats in the marina generally leave when the tide is right – about an hour after low tide. We finally docked at 1:45 and were happy to get in. The wind started picking up in the late afternoon and all boats were rocking.

Hotel Tadoussac
One of the oldest churches in Canada
Bill is getting ideas!
We took a walk around the small town of Tadoussac with Lisa and stopped in several of the shops. We also stopped at the Whale Watching Interpretation Center but decided to tour it tomorrow.  Tadoussac is a whale watching destination and there are many people here joining the boat tours on the St. Lawrence River.

We had dinner with Ron and Lisa at the marina’s restaurant. We enjoyed the fish and chips and the great view of the harbor.  We will probably stay here for the weekend if the weather forecast is right for high winds. 

Carried Away at the Saguenay Marina

July 25, 2013 Day 64  Saguenay River
At anchor near Anse St. Jean Marina
Saguenay River, Quebec, Canada

What a beautiful sunny day on the water!  We left Cap De L’Aigle at 8:30 with Outbound and within 30 minutes spotted the first of many beluga whales on the St. Lawrence River.  They tend to stay in pods and are so easy to spot from a distance as they are pure white.  They reminded us of dolphins breaching near the surface of the water.  There were lots of belugas near the Point Au Saumon Lighthouse which we passed at 9:30.  We also saw minke whales.
Two belugas
Point Au Saumon Lighthouse
We made excellent time this morning having the current with us, and although we throttled back to less than 1000 rpm, shut down one engine, we were still going 11.1 mph!

We reached the mouth of the Saguenay River at 12:45 which is the location of the town of Tadoussac.  The marina does not take reservations and since they were full, we decided to go up and explore the Saguenay River which is a beautiful fjord.  We went about 30 miles up to Baie Eternite’ which is an incredible site.  We had hoped to pick up a mooring ball but they were all taken so we backtracked about eight miles with Outbound to Anse St. Jean and anchored out at 5:35 by the marina (which was also full).  Our friends, Richard and Shannon on Esmeralda are also anchored here. Can you tell this is peak season here?  There are so many tourist boats out taking people whale watching, and there were tons of sailboats out today also!
Saguenay River - Fjord
Baie Eternite'
We cooked dinner on the grill and relaxed the rest of the evening.  We were tired after our nine hour day. We will try to go to the marina at Tadoussac tomorrow if there are openings.

July 24, 2013

July 24, 2013 Day 63  St. Lawrence River
Cap De L’Aigle Marina
Cap De L’Aigle, Quebec, Canada

Bill walked over to see Ron at 7:30 this morning for final plans on departure. He came back shortly with the news we were not leaving today after all. The winds near Tadoussac were forecast too strong, and the wind against tide can cause some huge waves.  Besides, we had a heavy fog this morning and then it rained for a while in mid morning.

So, we took advantage of the time off and cleaned the boat. Joyce vacuumed and mopped floors and Bill repaired an antenna connection.  Lisa came over to visit in the morning and we had a good time chatting over coffee.  Bill hiked up the hill to see the residential part of the town nearest the marina.

Love the view from the back of our boat! 
This afternoon, Shannon and Richard arrived on Esmeralda and we invited them to dinner along with Ron and Lisa. We had a great time sharing boating stories!  We will all go to Tadoussac tomorrow and spend at least one day there.  Time to see the whales!

July 23, 2013

July 23, 2013 Day 62  St. Lawrence River
Cap De L’Aigle Marina
Cap De L’Aigle, Quebec, Canada

Five o’clock this morning came early but that is when we departed Quebec City behind our friends on Outbound, heading east on the St. Lawrence River. We had a good ride today as the river was calm, and the partly cloudy sky never developed into anything worse.  After the first couple of hours we had the current with us and at one point we were flying at 18 mph! That was at our normal 1300 rpm which usually gives us 8 mph!  We felt sorry for the boats going west against that current.

We enjoyed the coastline with mountains to the north providing a pretty backdrop.  We could see a few ski slopes and they did not look like they were for beginners! We also passed a large waterfall about an hour east of Quebec City – very impressive.  It is taller than Niagara Falls.

We arrived at the marina before 1:00 and got secured into our slip for the night.  After all the sightseeing we did in Quebec City, we were content to just to read and rest on the boat this afternoon.   (A visit into town would also require transportation!)   There is a 15 foot tide here and depending on low or high we can or cannot see over the breakwall!

We had dinner on board and then made plans with Ron and Lisa for our departure tomorrow to Tadoussac. It is located on the banks of the Saguenay Fjord and the St. Lawrence River and is known as a whale watching destination.  There are many types of whales (at least 12) that we could see: beluga, minke, blue, humpback, and more – we don’t care which ones – we just want to see (and photograph) them!   
The waterfall!

Beautiful mountains along the St. Lawrence River

July 22, 2013

July 22, 2013 Day 61  St. Lawrence River
Port of Quebec Marina
Quebec City, Quebec, Canada

I hope to post this early tonight while we still have wifi.  We are moving out of our slip at the marina and go through the lock. Then we will tie up to the wall on the other side.  We need to depart at 5am tomorrow so we have to be on the “other side”!

We have had a full day in Quebec City again. We took the “hop-on/hop-off” bus tour and also walked much of the way up more hills!  We went to the Citadel, Parliament, past many churches, more historic streets with shops and restaurants, back to the Frontenac, etc.  We are impressed with the cleanliness, the feeling of safety, and the beauty of this town. We enjoyed all the street entertainment as well. We do not recall seeing a single policeman!  Although Joyce used a taxi yesterday, they are not “hovering around”.  We have also found this to be a very friendly city and although we do not speak  French, many of the local people do, and that has been very helpful.

Quebec City celebrated its 400th anniversary in 2008 - just a year younger than our Jamestown, VA! The meaning of Quebec is "where the river narrows" and the St. Lawrence does get narrow here!

When we got off the bus, we stopped at the market (le marche’) one more time and came back with wine, fresh vegetables, and a blueberry-raspberry pie!  We decided to have dinner on board and then have Ron and Lisa over to share dessert. 

We will get pictures posted soon!

July 21, 2013

July 21, 2013 Day 60  St. Lawrence River
Port of Quebec Marina
Quebec City, Quebec, Canada

We did not eat here but what a cute name!
Lisa was right – we do love this city!  The architecture, the cafes and restaurants with outdoor seating, shops with flower boxes in the windows, cobblestone streets, the hills, monuments, parks, narrow winding streets filled with shops and restaurants, the view of the water – all of it is quaint, charming and very European.  

One of many quaint streets

This morning we were asked by the marina staff to move our boat to a larger slip, so we relocated!  We should have been put in a longer slip to begin with, but at least they came and helped us and it all worked out for the best. Then Bill had to finish some boat projects, so Joyce decided to take on the grocery provisioning herself.  This meant calling a taxi but it was worth it to get food back on the boat!  We were running out of things!  Besides, she loved being greeted twice in the store, “Bonjour, madame”!

More of this street!
After lunch we set out on foot to tour the lower and upper city.  This took us up the hill to the Chateau Frontenac, the beautiful hotel that commands the view from many points. We walked along the narrow and very popular “Rue de Petit Champlain”, with its many boutiques, cafes, and restaurants.  We enjoyed the ambiance of this beautiful city. We climbed and descended many hilly streets!
A view of the Hotel Frontenac

A beautiful view from top of the hill
Back down the cobblestone strret
Carried Away docked at the Port of Quebec Marina
We had dinner at an outdoor cafĂ© and then walked back to the marina. We stopped and chatted with Ron and Lisa and made plans to depart late tomorrow afternoon. We will leave the marina and then spend the night on a wall on the other side of the lock. This will enable us to leave very early Tuesday morning.  But, first we will take a tour by bus tomorrow morning and see more of Quebec City!

July 20, 2013

July 20, 2013 Day 59  St. Lawrence River
Port of Quebec Marina
Quebec City, Quebec, Canada

Getting to Quebec City is a calculation of time, tide, and speed.  We left at 6:00 this morning to arrive in Quebec City one hour after low tide (1:30 pm).  To enter the Port of Quebec Marina, you have to go through a lock because there is a 15 foot tide outside the basin.  Once we were inside the marina, we are fine – no tide!  But timing is everything.  We had a good trip and we had the current with us for much of the way, flying along at 11 mph!

We had not expected to see an eagle sitting on a boulder
in the middle of the St. Lawrence River!
The lock itself has floating docks on both sides, which is really convenient.  However, there are no lock attendants to help you tie up! We were fortunate the people in front of us were on a sailboat and caught our lines in the lock. 

Ron and Lisa on Outbound were waiting for us when we arrived at the marina.  We will travel with them through the remainder of the Down East Loop.

Le Marche'
This afternoon we walked to a nearby farmers’ market, a marche’, which is all indoors and is open daily.  They sold everything from fresh meat, cheese, pastries, fruit, vegetables, wine, bread, jams, etc. We bought a baguette to accompany our pasta dinner, and tomato for salad, and a bag of mini beignets!  It started to rain before we got back so we did not venture out again today. Of course the evening was bright and sunny but we were tired from our early morning and just relaxed after dinner.  There was a free performance by Cirque de Soleil and we were too tired to go to it!

We picked up several brochures full of sightseeing information, so tomorrow we will venture out and see as much as we can and take one of the guided tours.  Lisa assures us we are going to love it here!

July 19, 2013

July 19, 2013 Day 58  St. Lawrence River
Trois Rivieres Marina
Trois Rivieres, Quebec, Canada
Staying put today was the right decision as we faced heavy winds, rain, and thunderstorms all day and this evening.   We got more work done on the boat – it seems there are always tasks regardless of how much we accomplish.

Fortunately the nearby paper mill has not been a problem as the winds usually blow the other way. The pulp and paper industries have been here for many years. Trois Rivieres is the regional capital of Quebec’s Maurice region, but without transportation, we have not been able to see the city itself.

Tomorrow we will go to Quebec City!


July 18, 2013

July 18, 2013 Day 57  St. Lawrence River
Trois Rivieres Marina
Trois Rivieres, Quebec, Canada

Just a very brief posting today - this was a day to stay in port and get more chores done. The marina is not within walking distance to any shopping.  We did a variety of things including mending lines, cleaning, organizing, arranging for the next mail delivery, and laundry. 

We see all kinds of boats -
this one was just leaving the marina for an outing!
As of dinner time, we have had a change of plans.  We were going to go to Quebec City tomorrow but are not excited about the weather forecast for high winds, rain, etc. so we will stay here another day.
Depth perception is important here - this container ship went past
just outside the breakwater at the marina - and we are just inside it!

We will try again on Saturday!

July 17, 2013

July 17, 2013 Day 56  St. Lawrence River
Trois Rivieres Marina
Trois Rivieres, Quebec, Canada

When we saw clouds at 7:00 this morning we quickly checked the weather forecast.  With a squall watch on the horizon we left our anchorage in thirty minutes!  We had a nice ride on the St. Lawrence River and for much of the trip we were on the wide lake part, called Lac St. Pierre.  We beat the storm by arriving in Trois Rivieres at 10:45. It was windy but we were happy to be secure!   We have laundry, boat chores, and many things that require wifi, so we will stay here two days.
There are many of these structures in the river
that are used as ice breakers!
We were also happy to know that our friends, Ron and Lisa on Outbound are here.  We met them last year in Canada and we will do the Down East Loop with them.  They will go to Quebec City a day before us and we will meet them there on Friday. We will all leave on Tuesday to continue the journey!
We had lunch at the little grille here at the marina. Dinner was onboard during a big thunderstorm.  So far we are lucky to find that most of the people speak English although French is their native language.  We are also trying to keep track of meters, liters, and centigrade!  26 degrees Centigrade is not cold!

The calm after the storm
We have the blog mostly posted but we are working on photos – the internet connection is slow, but at least we have it!

July 16, 2013 Day 55  St. Lawrence River
At anchor
Near I’le de Grace, Quebec, Canada

Many houses lined both sides sides of the Richelieu River
as we left St. Ours
We departed St. Ours when we entered the lock with four other boats shortly after 9:00 and tied up to their floating dock. We wish all locks had floating docks!

A typical site in Sorel
We entered the Richelieu River and had a calm side toward Sorel. The river is lined with houses much of the way. We had to wait briefly for another cable ferry crossing. We arrived in Sorel at 11:00 and entered the St. Lawrence River. It is hard to miss with its industrial ports, grain elevators, and large ships.  This time we headed east so we are now in new territory for the first time on this cruise! (Last year we went west to go to Montreal.)
This Nature boat passed us while we were anchored
We soon anchored west of I’le de Grace, an inlet off the river accessed by passing many rental cottages.  We enjoyed a peaceful afternoon with a nice breeze.  Several people were fishing nearby in their smaller boats. Joyce spent much of the day resting to try and heal her sore back.  Bill changed the oil in the generator and did some reading. Sometimes it is just good to do nothing but enjoy the scenery!
There were lots of rental cottages on the inlet off the river

We cooked porkchops on the grill to go with our roasted potatoes and salad and had dinner on the sundeck. Tomorrow we will go to a marina in Trois Rivieres.



July 15, 2013 Day 54  St. Ours Canal
St. Ours Lock Wall
St. Ours, Quebec, Canada

Nine o’clock came all too soon and our travels with Irish Attitude, Journey, and Harmony came to an end when they entered the lock to continue their Great Loop.  It was a sad goodbye, but we will see them again someday.

Joyce spent most of the day resting, reading, and trying to stay cool. Bill did some boat chores and then mostly chart plotting.  You can imagine our surprise late this afternoon when we saw a sailboat approaching our lock wall with its crew yelling “Carried Away!”  It was our Looper friends Cindy & Mike on Aurora, that we spent 17 days with in Kingston, NY. Right behind them were Kent & Jane on Carina, Loopers we met at Shady Harbor Marina! More Loopers arrived after that and the lower and upper lock walls were filled.  One couple, Julie & Stu on Meander arrived and we discovered they are doing the Down East Loop, so we enjoyed chatting with them.
It was another extremely hot day and we decided to have chicken salad and fruit for dinner, and not cook out tonight.  We will leave in the morning when the lock opens and either anchor out or go to a marina.  Our goal is to be in Quebec City by Friday.

July 14, 2013 Day 53  Chambly Canal
St. Ours Lock Wall
St. Ours, Quebec, Canada

We spent this morning with our Looper friends mostly relaxing in our canvas chairs under shade trees.  We all hoped to be able to stay on the wall another night, but we were advised by mid-morning that we may have to move.  After lunch we got the word that we would need to move (we did not have to go since we had only been there one night, but we wanted to stay with our friends). 

So at 2:00 pm we entered the flight of three locks that lowered us into the basin of the Richelieu River.  We had 30 miles to travel, and it is hard to describe the scene…every imaginable boater in the area seemed to be out enjoying this Sunday afternoon. Many were pulling kids on tubes and most were going fast. We felt like we were in a roller derby, constantly dodging boats!  We made this same part of the trip last year, but on a Monday.  What a difference a day makes!! We did enjoy the beautiful church spires that we saw along the way. 

Many churches had two spires and all were beautiful
Take this narrow rr bridge opening, add strong current, and oncoming speed boats
and you have yourself a Sunday afternoon!
We arrived at the St. Ours Lock wall at 6pm and our friends helped us tie up for the night.  We sat and visited until 7:30 and then we all went back to our boats to have dinner. We put chicken on the grill and had fresh asparagus, cantaloupe with blueberries which made a good, light meal.

We will stay here on this wall another night and will have to say goodbye to everyone in the morning when they head to Montreal. We have been with this group for a few weeks and it has been a pleasure to travel with them.  We have wonderful memories! As always, we hope to see them again on the waterways.

July 13, 2013 Day 52  Chambly Canal
Chambly Lock Wall
Chambly, Quebec, Canada

At 8:45 we called the Lockmaster and told him we were ready to depart.  Since the lock was behind us and it did not open until 9:00, no one was immediately behind us.  We enjoyed our quiet ride along the canal waving to people who were either walking or riding their bikes on the path that parallels the canal.  The Richelieu River also parallels the Canal and it is a lovely, quaint site.
We needed to transit five locks today. The locks are very small but we were able to fit in with one other boat behind us.  The lock attendants hand crank the gates to open and close them.  We also had several 3’or 4’ bridges that needed to open for us. 

The narrow Chambly Canal

Biking is very popular here for all ages
Between the first and second lock, our starboard engine stalled and Bill could not get it restarted, so here we go!  We had to enter these locks on the port engine only. Fortunately it was not windy!  The lockmasters were helpful in getting us in and secured, and we did okay.  Bill assumed the problem was air in the line and confirmed it when we got to Chambly.

Our Looper friends were all waiting for us when we got to Chambly and helped us tie up to the lock wall. It was so good to have them there for us! They had been to the Farmers Market and brought back blueberries for us! The lock wall is in a very nice park like setting adjacent to the town. 

Shortly after we arrived Joyce, Margi, and Janet walked to the grocery store which is only a block away. We grilled out tonight and shared side dishes.  We always have good food!  Afterward we walked a few short blocks with Janet and Bob to rhe ice cream store and treated ourselves to dessert.