Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Week 3 in Review - Part 1 - From Quebec to Gaspe'

July1st, Canada Day, we left Quebec riding the 4-7kt current downriver.

more riverside scenery
We made one attempt to anchor in late afternoon, but the anchor just clanked across the rocks.  So once again we had to go to a marina.  There are very few in the area, and even fewer with enough depth "profondeur" for our 6.5ft draft.  The Port de Refuge at Cap de l'Aigle at the bend was our refuge.  74 miles covered.

As always, the young marina staff give us a nice welcome and we're glad to make their brief acquaintance.  Most speak some English, but not all.

 I (Kathi) speak French, but I have a really hard time understanding others on the phone and especially on the radio.  So I always have to ask them to repeat themselves, and sometimes they just resort to English, in good humor.    The radio weather is a real challenge to understand, but if you have the patience, eventually they broadcast in English.  The CBC radio here is in French, so I listen a lot to "exercise" my ears.  It's working..

Speaking of VHF, it's Quebec Coast Guard radio here, not Canada....

Meanwhile, Bill's gotten the HF radio working again.  He replaced the cable between the modem and radio, so he can get the gribs, which are interesting to compare to Canadian Meteo forecasts.

Meanwhile, back to our voyage.  July 2nd 

We arrived at the famous Saguenay River and fjord.  It resembles the mountainous passages of BC.  We found a fine little anchorage tucked into a really small bay.  40 miles covered today.  All night the chain grated over the bottom as the current and wind pushed around.  We'd been in salt water for several days now, so the tidal zone was covered with seaweed.





It rained hard overnight so the waterfalls were gushing.  In contrast to the past few weeks, the depths are great here.  At the foot of one waterfall, it's 250+ ft deep.

The next morning we motored up the river to see the Beluga whales, and we didn't have to go far.
They are bright white and easy to spot as they feed along the shores. There are few boats, just 2-3 whale watch boats.


In preparation for crossing the now very broad St Lawrence river to the south shore, we anchored near the mouth of the Saguenay at Tadoussac.  What a night, it was really windy and the current churns and splashed roughly around the boat all night.  Oh, and the chain rattles as it drags around as well.   We lay awake until 3am wondering if the boat was secure.  In the morning, Bill found we were only 24ft from where we dropped the hook.

July 3rd, we set off early to cross the St Lawrence, sighting beluga and pilot whales feeding at the confluence of the 2 rivers.  It was sunny with high overcast, with a wind forecast of 20-25kts SW.  Perfect!

Our timing for the tide was perfect and we briefly  saw 7 kts of current on top of our 7 kt boat speed as we passed this buoy at the mouth of the Saguenay river.  (Bill's Sigma telephone lens died a painful death right after this shot was taken).  Eventually, we were barreling along at 8-10kts over the bottom with a reefed main and small jib.  As we approached our destination, turning behind a high point Anse a' L'Orignal at the Parc du Bic, the wind accelerated to 32kts!  Dang!  We dropped the main and returned to the river, winds went back to the 20s and we motored to the marina at Rimouski.... again.
58 miles covered from Tadoussac to Rimouski.

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