Our Summer Cruise 2016

May 16 - 22
May 23 - 29
May 30 - Jun 5
Jun 6 - 12
Jun 13 - 19
Jun 20 - 26
Jun 27 - Jul 3
Jul 4 - 10
Jul 11 -17
Jul 18 - 24
Jul 25 - 31
Aug 1 - 7
Aug 8 - 14
Aug 15 -21
Aug 22 - 28
Aug 29 - Sep 4
Sep 5 - 11
Sep 12 - 18
Sep 19 - 25


Monday, June 27

Gloomy overcast day but we had jobs to do that took us most of the day. Did a big grocery shop by bus at the Papaineau Metro Supermarket. Washed the boat and cleaned inside. As usual, it rained right after drying the boat off and continued to rain on and off for the rest of the day. Spent a long time trying to get information out of Walker Bay on the dinghy with no success - very frustrating to try to deal with them.

Tuesday, June 28

Rained on and off again all day. Quite miserable out there but did a few jobs to get ready to leave tomorrow, had a relaxing day. Watched some TV and am glad we have missed much of the current political scene in the US.

Wednesday, June 29

Montreal to Trois Rivieres - 68nm

Cool with an overcast sky this morning as we left La Ronde at around 10:00 am after saying "Au revoir!" to Joanna, the marina manager, and her husband. In the two weeks we have been in Montreal, we can honestly say it has been one of our best places to visit, ranking up there with Barcelona.

Our departure was very gloomy as we passed through the industrial port area of Montreal with strong currents in our favor.

Boat traffic was the heaviest to date with half a dozen freighters, even two at once.

We Have to Squeeze between the Green Buoy and Them

We are used to them by now and give them as much room as we can. Worse than the freighters are the tug boats around Montreal which cause a huge wake as they rush to a freighter, I guess time is money!

Throwing A 4' Wake at Us

The only thing you can do with them is change course quickly to cross at right angles to their wake and hang on.

Going to Assist Sparto Leave the Dock - We'll See Them Later

The gloom soon turned to rain and fog and then torrential rain and fog with freighters looming out of the gloom ahead. The slightly darker blob near the center of the horizon is a freighter about 1/2 mile away.

Thank Goodness for Radar and AIS!

As the sky brightened a very little, we saw an AIS icon appear on the shore at it started moving across the channel. Thinking it was likely a ferry we backed off a little and the icon turned to wards us and was doing 18kts - , no ferry this! Its speed kept increasing to 20, 25, 30, 35, and 40 kts, maybe a low flying plane. It soon appeared in sight and it was certainly no boat!

The Canadian Coast Guard Mamilossa

It was a Canadian Coast Guard Hovercraft (Hover Work BHT-150 Air Cushioned Vehicle if you want to technically correct) from the Hovercraft Base at Trois-Rivières. The hovercraft is the newest in the CCG's fleet and their first "new" one, custom ordered. The primary mission of Mamilossa is Search and Rescue along coastlines in the Quebec Region. It is 95' long with a 45' beam and tops out at 50 kts (4500 hp of Cat V-12 diesels). We saw 42 kts on radar, but they were probably saving fuel today. I bet that is a good posting to get!

Not to be outdone, soon we were at Sorel and another boat was venturing out from the shore this was a ferry crossing just when we had decided to pass by its stern another ferry took off from the opposite shore (thinks .....this is one of Dean's worst nightmares) leaving us nowhere to go except stop!


The last part of the trip today was meant to be a quiet crossing of Lac St. Pierre, about 17 nm with a very narrow channel. Not to be, as the wind had been blowing out of the SW for a couple of days and had built 3' waves about 2 seconds apart. Quite a rough ride across the Lac. As we were about 2/3 of the way across, "Sparto" of the picture earlier showed up on AIS and radar running at 14 kts, gaining rapidly on us. Luckily there was a small notch ahead in the channel where we could run outside the green buoys to give a little more space.

Close Enough for Us - Somebody Give This Guy a Coat of Paint

As soon as he passed us, he began slowing as he approached the bridge at Trois Rivieres and was soon down to 4 kts in the center of the channel - what the heck...

A small boat rushed out at high speed, coming alongside an a figure boarded the ship. We concluded it must have been a changeover of pilots although we saw no-one leave. Every foreign flagged vessel transiting the St. Lawrence Seaway must have a pilot on board who is responsible for the ship's navigation. Not wanting to get too close in case he moved off to port or starboard, we hung back and slowly gained on him.

Finally, after about 30 minutes, "Sparto" slowly gathered speed, the small boat took off for the shore and we were moving again. Just a few minutes later we made the turn into the river on the north side near the marina and found an anchorage just past the beach in 8' of water. We were the only boat anchored here in the gloom and drizzle. That will change tomorrow, Canada Day.

The sky relented enough later in the evening to give us a very acceptable end to the day.....


Thursday, June 30

Sunny morning but only 58 deg F when I was wide awake at 5:30 am. nothing for it but to make some coffee and read for a while. Promptly fell asleep and didn't wake up until 7:30. We decided to stay here for the day, relax and work on the blog for a while.

The local canoe/kayak club was out training early with single and double kayaks and canoes with their coaches. a very fast group!

A Serious Work Out

They were wise to get out early as the boats started to arrive to get the best spots staked out for the upcoming holiday weekend. By noon, boats were lining up along the beach next to the swimming area, PWC were buzzing up and down the river, skiers and wake boarders were flying along with 200 hp Mastercrafts and the water was quite rough. By late afternoon it had hit 83 and there was a good breeze. There were at least 20 good sized boats anchored offshore with us, all bouncing around. it was quite entertaining watching the boats come and go with a lot of inept anchoring attempts. There was even a cute little 18' tug.


A Little Busier Than Yesterday

Very few freighters passed by the river mouth today, adding to the waves at the anchorage. This one was quite colorful....


We thought we might be in for a partying night as we headed to bed at dusk in preparation for an early departure tomorrow, but either people were quiet or we slept soundly.

Friday, July 1

Canada Day

Up very early - 4:30am to celebrate Canada Day and our grandson, Cormac's 3rd birthday.

The Birthday Boy!!

Canada Day or Fête du Canada here is the national day of Canada, now a federal statutory holiday. It celebrates the anniversary of the July 1, 1867 enactment of the Constitution Act of 1867 (then called the British North America Act of 1867), which united the three separate colonies of Canada, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick into a single dominion within the British Empire called Canada. Originally called Dominion Day or Le Jour de la Confédération, the holiday was renamed in 1982, the year the Canada Act was passed. Canada Day celebrations take place throughout Canada, and are also held throughout the world by Canadians living abroad.

The real reason we woke at such an ungodly hour was tide - not the liquid one washes clothes with, but the tide as in Brighton Beach when we walked miles as kids to get to the edge of the sea. At Trois Rivieres, it is subject to a very minor tide of about 6 inches and they typically get two high tides and two low tides in a 24 hour period.

This is not much more than we get on Lake Michigan which does actually have very small tides of a few inches. Any large body of water experiences tides as a result of the gravitational pull of the sun and moon.

Trois Rivieres to Quebec City - 68 nm

Our next destination of Quebec City has large tides of up to 20 feet from low to high water marks. So, in the 60-odd nm from Trois Rivieres there is a large mass of water moving up or downstream at various speeds at any one time. When the natural flow of the St. Lawrence to the sea is also factored in, the currents can be in your favor or against you. Since the current can be up to five knots (over 6mph), one has to plan a departure to take advantage of the current otherwise a lot of diesel is consumed with little progress. The times of the low and high tides move forward each day - around 50 minutes each day which adds a complication. Ideally, we needed to arrive at Quebec City an hour after low tide, either at 12:15pm or 1:15 am tomorrow. Our choice to meet this timetable was really limited to leaving at 5:00 am - (or travelling a big part of the way in the dark when we should be asleep). Wings and Tug'n were not so fortunate as they had to leave Trois Rivieres at 3:00 am several days before (the low tide at QC was earlier than today).

Most of the boats here when we went to bed had departed at some point so we didn't have to thread our way out of a tangle of anchors and we were soon pointed in the right direction on the St. Lawrence River (named by Jacques Cartier in 1535 when he entered the now Gulf of St. Lawrence on the feast day of Saint Lawrence).

Worth Getting up at 4:30?

We were soon seeing a couple of knot increase in our normal cruising speed - this was good! It did mean that the freighters were coming towards us much quicker like the Federal Katsura below that we passed in a narrow channel.

It is amazing to us that a ship this big running at 14 knots pushing up a ten or twelve foot wave at its bow can leave so little wake for us to cross. The tug boats, a tenth of their size, have a white foamy bow wave stretching thirty feet each side and leave a huge wake behind. It's all a question of hull design and the use of the bulbous addition on the bows of the big ships.

While making our way, we normally keep a check on boats out beyond our AIS receiver range using an app on our iPad and we spotted a boat called "Mirto" a couple of miles behind us. Clicking on the icon of "Mirto", its photo came up showing it was a 37 Nordic Tug like ours. We called them on the VHF and chatted for a while with John and Laurie, the owners, and agreed to meet up in Quebec City.

By this time, the St. Lawrence had become wider than previously and we were in farm country with many silos lining the shores.

Also, every few miles, spires on churches in the small villages appeared over the tree tops. The French clergy immigrants were great church builders and often spent much of their funds erecting large churches in relatively small villages and towns. Very picturesque! The English and Scottish, not to be outdone, built their own Anglican and Presbyterian churches in competition and it was not unusual for a small town to have several churches of differing denominations.

One of Many

As we continued, the effects of the outgoing tide or "ebb" flow became stronger and, by the time we reached the Richelieu Rapids, we were averaging four knots above our normal cruising speed and rpms, running at over 12 knots. In the narrowest parts of the Rapids we hit 13 knots, flying along, very cool!

This is a Big Buoy!

From this point on, we had the strongest part of the ebb tide and Judy kept telling me to slow down as we would get to Quebec City too early. We were down to rpms for 6 knots at one point but still doing 11 knots over the ground!! Couldn't slow much more as the steering gets affected too much by the current.

One of the Many Freighters We Saw Today

We have seen this ship a number of times since Kingston. It looks empty here as it's riding so high and must be anchored waiting for a cargo.

Approaching Quebec City, the landscape on either side of the river started to rise as we could see the Laurentian Mountains to the north.


All too soon our free high speed ride was over as we shot under the Quebec Bridge and the new bridge next to it to see Quebec City. The older bridge still holds the world record for the longest cantilever bridge span in the world at 1800 ft. Until they built the Ambassador Bridge in Detroit in 1929, it was the longest span in the world. During construction, on August 29, 1907, the south arm of the bridge and part of the center section collapsed into the River with the death of 75 workers, many of them Mohawk steel erectors. The Bridge was unable to support its own weight! Work did not resume until 1916, when a new, stronger design was developed but on September 11, 1916 as the center span was being lifted into place, the hoisting equipment failed as earlier predicted by an engineer and the section plunged to the riverbed where it lies today. 13 steelworkers were killed making this bridge the most costliest to human life ever.


Some good did come out of these engineering failures and the tragedies with Professor John Galbraith, then dean of the Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering at the University of Toronto and others, forming what are now recognized as organizations of Professional Engineers, who set rules for ethics, character, academics and engineering experience.

Québec City is the capital of the province of Quebec and has a population of around 800,000 in its metropolitan area, making it Canada's tenth-largest city but Quebec's second-largest city after Montreal.

The narrowing of the Saint Lawrence River near city's promontory, Cap-Diamant , and Lévis, on the opposite bank, provided the name given to the city, Kébec, an Algonquin word meaning "where the river narrows". It was founded in 1608 by Samuel de Champlain and is one of the oldest cities in North America. The ramparts surrounding Old Quebec (Vieux-Québec) are the only fortified city walls remaining in the Americas north of Mexico, and were declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1985 as the 'Historic District of Old Québec'.

A portion of the city, as well as most of the Old Quebec area, is built on a plateau sometimes called the promontory of Quebec. Because of this feature, the central and oldest area of the city is sometimes divided into upper and lower town. On the eastern end of the hill, upper Town lies on the top of Cape Diamond. The Plains of Abraham are located near the edge of the promontory, on which high stone walls have been integrated during colonial days. The lower town is located on the eastern foot of this plateau. It has been a working class area for most of its history unlike uptown, which for the most part, quickly became a place of choice for the local middle-class and bourgeoisie.

We stayed at the Yacht Club of Quebec, about 3 miles west of the city as we hoped to be able to get a temporary fix made for the dinghy at the nearby boat yard. The Club, founded in 1862 is one of the oldest in Canada and has around 350 members with a marina of 316 slips. They only have limited transient dockage and we were assigned a good spot on a long floating dock. Since the tidal range here can be up to 19', we are in a basin surrounded by a rock breakwall with just a narrow opening to the river. At high tide, the water is within 4' of the top and 24' below it at low tide. Sometimes we will get a view of the river but for the most part we will have a rock view. They have a very nice two story clubhouse with a restaurant, two bars and a pool. Rates are reasonable and they give you the third night free which makes it even better.

After getting sorted out, we dropped the bikes down for the first time this year, pumped the tires up and headed into Quebec City (QC from now on). QC has over 450km of bike trails and one of the main ones runs 50km along the St. Lawrence so we were able to have a short ride in to the old part of QC without touching any of the traffic. Weather was fine and as it was a holiday they path was busy with all types of cyclist, runners, walkers and roller bladers - some serious bikers at 20+ mph!

At the Old Port, where Wings and Tug'n stayed, we dropped by to see if Lee and Barb on Encore (a 37) were there and we met them just coming back from their grocery shopping. We spent a couple of hours with them talking NTs, boating, and Maine where they have spent a lot of their summers aboard their sailboat. Seems like there is too much to see in Maine next year! Mirto (another 37) that was ahead of us today, was docked nearby so we went over to meet John and Laurie and spent another couple of hours chatting with them before their guests arrived. We will no doubt meet up with them again as they will be leaving before us.

Saturday, July 2

A cooler day today with rain on and off (Encore stayed an extra night) so we hung around on the boat after enjoying a very good late breakfast at the YC. The weather cleared late in the afternoon and we could sit outside and catch up with our books. We walked over to the boat yard to check it out and saw a 26' Nordic Tug on the other side of the marina. Need to go over there sometime!

Watched "Bridge of Spies" with on the Tom Hanks - a very good movie.

Sunday, June 3

The good weather returned so we were off to QC. A little complicated with a walk of about 1 1/2 miles and the No. 1 bus into the city to drop us at the Ferry Terminal by the Old City. Luckily our OPUS card we bought in Montreal can be used here on the buses but we needed to add money. From the river level, the Old City towers above you.

The Chateau Frontenac Dominates the Old City

Time was getting on and we had a busy day planned so we strolled quickly through the lower part of the Old City and took the funicular railway to the Place D'Armes in front of the Chateau Frontenac Hotel, built in 1893 by the Canadian Pacific Railroad as one of their luxury hotels. It stands on the site of the former Chateau Haldimand which was the residence of the colonial governors of Lower Canada and Quebec.

Part of the Old Fortification of the Lower Old City

(Lost until found during excavations in the 1970s and now restored)

The Funicular - Saved a Lot of Steps

At the Place, we bought our tickets for the on/off Red Bus Tour of QC and searched for a place to add money to our OPUS card. As we followed directions to the tobacconist's, we were at the side of Notre Dame of Quebec Cathedral where a crowd was gathering. Checking it out, we saw the Archbishop of QC outside with a lot of well-dressed men and women and the Police Pipe Band of QC.

Obviously, Mass had just ended. A local gave us the scoop. This was the Mass to celebrate the 408th birthday of QC and there would be a procession of the Mayor and other dignitaries to the Place d'Armes where wreathes would then be laid at the foot of the Champlain Statue. From here the Band and the procession of dignitaries would return to the Town Hall where the 22nd Regiment of Guards would have their formal annual ceremony requesting permission from the Mayor to carry load rifles inside the city limits.

To the sound of the "Scott's Porage Oats" song (actually" Scotland, The Brave") we tacked on to the back of the procession and headed for the Place to watch the wreath laying and listen to the speech given by the Mayor, M.Régis Labeaume.


Jacques Champlain


As promised the 22nd Regiment of the Guards with their Regimental Mascot, a gold horned goat, Batisse, marched to the Town Hall from their nearby barracks to receive the Mayor's permission.

The ceremony lasted a while before the Guards went through various drills, an inspection by the Mayor, and their band played "Oh, Canada" with the crowd joining in - in French. We both agree that the Canadians have a very good national Anthem and we were so lucky to have just stumbled on this once a year event.

Good to Carry for Another Year!

After loading our bus pass on to our Opus card we joined the line for the Red Bus. If we had been smarter, we would have done this another day as QC was just heaving with tourists like us. It took nearly an hour of waiting in high 80 deg. temperatures and there was a near riot as a large group of about 30 people jumped the line as the bus pulled up. Chaos ensued but eventually order was restored and we got our seats on the upper level. While not up to the level of other Red Bus tours we have done, it did give us a good idea of the city's layout as we went through the Old City, the new city, the Plains of Abraham (now a park at the top of the cliff along the St. Lawrence) , and saw some of the key places we would want to see again. As it was a holiday weekend, traffic was stop-and-go and our 1 1/2 hr. ride was nearly 3, as we crept a car length at a time.

The Impressive Chateau

Notre Dame of Quebec Cathedral

Saint Roche Church

One of Many Murals Decorating QC

QC Restoration Project

QC's unique architectural feature is its metal roofs. Originally tin (and copper for the wealthy), many roofs are very ornate with the third storey dormer windows encased in sheet metal. More modern buildings use galvanized sheeting to maintain this feature. The buildings sparkle in the direct sun and have a golden glow as the sun drops.

One of the Gateways Through the Original City Wall

Our Bus ride over, we were famished and found a cafe in this small square and enjoyed very good pizzas. Just to our left everybody was taking photographs or having their photographs taken. When we left, we saw why - an assembly of suspended, painted dinghies extended down the road.


A great intro to QC today and we will be back before we leave!

Trekked back by bus and foot to the YC and decided to check out the NT 26. The owners, Jacques and Sylvie were on board so we spent some time chatting about Nordic Tugs and our trip and agreed to meet up later.

Hey Dean! - Another Nice Example of A Wooden Dinghy on an NT




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Aug 1 - 7
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