The crew would like to welcome damoeretti98 aboard as the latest virtual crew member. You to can be a virtual crew member by following the blog.
The crew put in only one long but fast travel day last week. They left Three Rivers on Monday afternoon and arrived in Quebec where they stayed in Marina Port Quebec. The rest of the week was dedicated to shore excursions exploring the old city of Quebec.
Click on the Still Waters II Travel Map to see detailed Voyage Logs.
To see past videos, click on the link to the Still Waters II Vimeo site. The library contains videos of Still Waters II cruising America’s Great Loop.
Where is the video camera when you need it?
The Admiral watched a boater try to land on the dock with two unsuccessful attempts. She suggested the skipper go out and help the boater.
The skipper jumped right up, well maybe that part is not true, and went to see if he could assist the man dock his boat in the high winds. When the guy made his third attempt, he came towards the dock hot, put his engine in neutral as he glided towards the dock, grabbed his stern line in one hand, and with a big grin of success jumped over to the dock.
His feeling of success did not last long. As he pulled the stern line in to fasten to a cleat, he realized he forgot to fasten the other end to the boat. The big grin turned in to a look of horror as he watched his boat drift away.
He quickly ran down the dock and boarded a boat. He was able to jump across from the boat to his craft and regain control. He restarted his engines and made his fourth attempt to dock. A woman who was on board the boat the man boarded came out to see what was going on as a small crowd began to form. It is never good when you become the show while docking your boat.
On the fourth attempt, the skipper was able to get the previous stern line that was laying on the dock attached to the boat and the other end fastened to a cleat. The woman then told the skipper that the guy was one of the best mariners they had in the marina. The skipper nodded and replied that even the best people have bad days, and it looked like that guy was having a bad day.
Maurice was a boater the crew met when they arrived on Saturday. He is a Gold Looper and shared some local knowledge to help the crew make way to Quebec. Maurice handed the skipper a note that explained how to time the tide and current for the run to Quebec. Basically the note said leave Three Rivers eight hours before low tide in Quebec. He also noted that low tide for Monday would be 1937, so the best time to leave would be 1130.
The skipper thanked him for the information and then verified the data. Two other cruising guides had the same recommendation for departure. The skipper also verified the time of the low tide to be 1937.
Leaving Three Rivers
With all this good info in hand, the crew shoved off about 1110 so they could get back in the St Lawrence River by 1130. When they got in the river, the skipper set the throttle for what normally would be 7 mph. The boat was making 11-12 mph for most of the trip. At one point where the river got very narrow, the boat was surfing the current at 15 mph.
Numerous large vessels in the St Lawrence River
Check out that bow wave
Surprised by sandy cliffs along the banks
After passing under a couple of bridges, the crew got there first glimpse of the Old City.
To get to the marina, the crew would have to pass thru a lock. The lock functions to hold the marina basin at a constant level while the St Lawrence River fluctuates around 20 feet due to the daily tide changes. The crew locked thru with five other boats. The folks on the boat behind Still Waters II came up and asked how they got the boat to Quebec from Ft Myers. The crew always likes to answer this type of question. The locals were surprised with the answer.
View from inside the lock
While waiting for the lock gates to open, the skipper had also called the marina on the VHF radio. Luckily the dock attendant could speak English and informed the skipper that he was assigned slip H1. One really cool feature of the lock is a marina map posted on the floating dock. The skipper was able to find the slip on the map before the gates opened.
Once the gates opened, the crew made way to their slip and were happy to see a dock hand assist them on getting secured to the dock. The crew has decided to spend a week in Quebec to explore the old city.
The crew elected to walk around town and try to get a feel for the layout. They started out walking around the lower town of Old Quebec. This area is below the walled upper city. The narrow roads are cobblestoned and lined with boutiques and sidewalk cafes.
The crew climbed the stairs to get into Up Town Old Quebec. After walking around some more they stopped for lunch and snagged an outdoor table. Even had a sax player nearby serenading the airwaves with his music.
After lunch it began to rain so the crew decided to take a Red Bus Tour to broaden their look of the city and learn some of the history of the area.
The crew continued their shore excursion of old Quebec City by foot. When your city is 400 years old, founded in 1608 by Samual de Champlain, you are likely to have a few firsts.
These Quebecers also like their outdoor art, especially murals that adorn several buildings and pay homage to their history.
Champlain located his home town of Quebec on the St Lawrence River for its military advantages, narrow river and high bluffs. In fact, Quebec means ‘where the river narrows.’ Quebec is the only city still with walled fortifications in North America.
Le Chateau Frontenac (advertised as the worlds most photographed hotel) has 611 rooms and opened in 1893. The hotel dominates the skyline as it stands 260 feet tall and sits 177 feet above the river below.
There was much renovation and modernization as the locals like to call it all around town. One sign of the modernization can be seen in the roofs of many of the historic buildings. Many of these buildings have copper roofs. When the cooper roof is first laid it is, well bright and shiny cooper colored. None of the roofs around town sport the new cooper look. It takes a few years, but the shiny cooper initially turns a brown color. Many of the buildings have the brown roof look. It then takes another 2-3 decades before the roof turns the green color associated with historic buildings.
At the foot of Parliament Hill a water fountain has the place of honor inside a traffic circle. The Fontaine de Tourny was a gold medal winner at the Paris World Fair in 1855. The French gave the fountain to Quebec to commemorate their 400th birthday.
The Parliament Building was another spectacular site. Built into the structure are 24 historic figures who have had a major impact on Quebec.
So how is it that the Canadian providence of Quebec came to speak French? Inquiring minds want to know.
While researching this mystery the skipper found the answer in the Paris Treaty of 1763 which ended the French and Indian War (as it is known in North America) or the Seven Year War (as it is known in Europe).
The boundaries in the America’s between the French and British were loosely defined in the 1750’s. The French decided to build a series of forts to solidify their claim of the lands west of the Appalachian Mountains.
Fort Duquesne, at modern day Pittsburgh, got the attention of the British. The British sent a young 22 year old Lt Colonel George Washington on a scout mission to see what was going on.
In May of 1754, LT Colonel Washington accidentally ambushed a group of French soldiers and exchanged musket fire with them. When the shots stopped 10 French soldiers were dead and Lt Colonel Washington was later given credit for starting the Seven Year War.
Once war broke out and treaties were enforced, the conflict turned into a world wide conflict fought on five continents.
As the war progressed the British laid siege to Quebec for three months in the summer of 1759. By September British General Wolfe had figured out a way to attack the French Fort at Quebec. A mile south of the fort, the French had built a trail/road to allow bringing provisions from their ships to the fort.
General Wolfe moved about 4,400 troops up this trail during the night of September 12th. The troops then took positions west of the fort in the Plains of Abraham, farm land owned by a fellow named Abraham.
The British formed two lines across the farm land and all men were ordered to load two musket balls in their weapons. The men then laid down and waited for the French to attack. The French General Montcalm grew impatient and ordered bayonets and a direct attack on the British troops in the field. The British troops allowed the French within 30 feet before the first line fired the first volley, mowing down many of the French soldiers. Then the second line of British soldiers sent a second volley to put the French troops left standing in total chaos. The battle lasted less than an hour (ok, more like 20 minutes) with a decisive British victory. When it was over, both Generals would be dead, and the French would never control New France again.
The Paris Treaty of 1763 forever changed the world map and impacted the events that would transpire over the next 25 years, that then greatly influenced the next two hundred plus years of world history.
For starters, the British got all the French lands east of the Mississippi River, as well as New France which is now the providence of Quebec. The Spanish had to cede over Florida to the British.
Article IV of the Treaty guaranteed the French Catholics the right to leave the region. Those who stayed, swore allegiance to the crown of Britain but were allowed to continue their Catholic worship.
In 1774, the British Parliament passed the Quebec Act that moved the treaty into law. Mostly to appease the French Catholics who were the majority of settlers in the region. The law allowed Catholic worship, use of French law, and the use of the French language.
You may be wondering why the British would want to appease the French Canadians. So if you recall your history lessons, you might remember those pesky patriots along the Atlantic were getting out of hand. Recall the Boston Tea Party took place December 1773. Those Patriots did not like the Quebec Act one bit. They had plans for all that land west of the Appalachian Mountains and the plan certainly did not include a bunch of non-Protestant French speaking people. The Patriots took the Act as punishment for the American colonies. The unrest resulted in the first shots of the Revolution in 1775 at Concord and Lexington, just north of Boston.
During the American Revolution, the Patriots went north to both Montréal and Quebec and tried to get the Canadians to join the revolt but the Canadians would have none of it. The appeasements obviously worked, and Quebecers still speak French as their first language to this day as a result of the Quebec Act of 1774.
The crew decided to go watch the Changing of the Guard ceremony at the Citadel. The Citadel was built to protect the British interest in Canada because of American invasions during the American Revolution and the War of 1812. The fort was built between 1820 and 1850. The Guard Ceremony was British Military traditions but with French commands, interesting.
The Dress Uniforms look very much like the British military, but there are actually two subtle differences. The Canadian’s hat is made of Bear skin and their buttons have a Beaver on them paying homage to the fur trade of the French who first settled the region.
Following the ceremony, the crew took a tour of the fort. The tour ended at the Chapel. They have an interesting tradition where members of the 22nd Regiment enter the Chapel once a day and read from the Book of Remembrance that contains all the names of 22nd Regiment who have lost their lives in war. They read one page per day. Which leads to their motto, Je Me Souviens, or I Remember.
The crew then set out on foot to walk some of the 4 miles of walls which line the old upper town. While doing so, they came across a ‘live fire’ demonstration at the St Jean Gate.
The crew also enjoyed a few street performances while walking around town.
The last stop of the day was the Norte Dame Cathedral. As with many of the other buildings around town the Cathedral was undergoing some major modernizations as they say here in Quebec. However, the doors were open and welcoming all comers to view the beauty within.
While walking around, the crew heard a tour guide mention something about a door at the Notre Dame Cathedral. The skipper did an internet search to find out what the tour guide was talking about. What he learned was that there are eight Catholic Churches that have ‘Holy Doors.’ One of the eight Holy Doors just happens to be in the Cathedral here in Quebec. The skipper turned around and went to go put his eyes on the Holy Door.
The Holy Doors are sealed shut until the next Jubilee year that the Catholics will celebrate in 2025. At that time the doors will be opened and people can make a pilgrimage to walk thru the doors. Part of the symbolism of walking thru the door is the passage from sin to grace, based on John 10:9, “I am the Gate, Whoever enters thru me will be saved.”
The crew has loved their stay in Quebec City, but they must press on because winter comes early and the crew wants no part of the winter festivals celebrated here. They will head east and cruise the Saguenay Fjord in search of whales.