Whales, Waterfalls, and Waves

Ahoy from the Gaspé Peninsula and hello to our virtual crew members and fellow adventurers!

The end of the dock leads to the waterfall in the Baie de Pancrace.

I would like to welcome the crew of Island Office aboard as virtual crew members. They are also currently in progress on the Down East Loop, and a week or so behind our intrepid crew. Bienvenue a bord!

A hearty Welcome Aboard also goes out to a blogger named KINDNESS, I kindly thank you for following the crew’s blog and coming aboard as a virtual crew member. And remember a couple of benefits of virtual crew members, you never have to wear life vests or get sea sick while enjoying the cruise.

Summary of the Week

After waiting Sunday and Monday for the winds to calm down, the crew were able to leave Tadoussac on Tuesday and find a beautiful anchorage in Cap Colombier (1). Wednesday, they moored on a dock at Baie de Pancrace (2) to view a waterfall that did not disappoint. Thursday, they crossed from the north shore to the south shore and got their first good look at the Gaspé Peninsula. They took a mooring at Ste Anne des Monts (3). Weather kept them put on Friday, but they made Rivière- la- Madeleine (4) on Saturday to end the week.

Click on the Still Waters II Travel Map to see detailed Voyage Logs.

The voyage of discovery did answer the following questions this week:

  1. How many Canadians does it take to change a lightbulb?
  2. What is a Fjard?
  3. The southern end of the Appalachian Mountains are in Georgia, but where does the range terminate on the northern end?

At the Box Office

This week’s video shows Still Waters II as she watches a pod of Beluga Whales swim with a Narwhal. Enjoy!

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.

Sunday, July 7th

The crew spent a relaxing day getting beat to death by the wind. The sustained winds have blown over 20 mph for the better part of the night and day. The forecast does not look good for a Monday departure, but the rest of the week should see some good cruising days.

The Tadoussac Hotel dominates the landscape of the waterfront on Baie de Tadoussac.

While waiting for the winds to become favorable, less than 10 mph according to the Admiral, the crew went out walking around Indian Point again to spot whales from the shore line. They successfully viewed several pods of Beluga Whales. But they did not get as close as these folks will, all bundled up in their foul weather gear.

And yes, the beach will practically disappear when the tide comes back in raising the level of the dock about 12 feet.

The skipper did go walk around for awhile and the cemetery caught his eye. Most of the tombstones were of modest means, some nothing more than wood with a name carved into the material. However, the mausoleum seemed a bit out of place. Maybe the person was the Rockefeller of Tadoussac. Reminded the skipper of the Sleepy Hollow Cemetery they visited back in the fall of 2017. Rockefeller was by far the largest over the top fixture in the cemetery. Guess that was what being the richest man in the world will buy you. But then again, Andrew Carnegie was also the richest man in the world for awhile and has only a simple Celtic Cross marking his remains.

Monday, July 8th

As expected and forecasted, the winds are still blowing. They were 22 mph when the skipper first got out of bed, but had dropped to 15 mph by noon. The crew has a go-no-go policy, one no vote by any crew member and the boat stays moored to the pier. With the winds predicted to remain at 15 mph for the rest of the day it was almost a certainty that the Admiral would vote thumbs down on a departure today.

The skipper showed a little wisdom and just went and paid for another night at the marina. Tomorrow promises to be a good day with winds less than 7 mph. Now where has that ‘Honey Do Boat Project List’ disappeared to?

Oh by the way, did you know that there are at least 13 species of whales that call this area their summer home? The most commonly seen whales here are the :

St Lawrence River Whale Fun Facts:

Blue Whale – largest mammal, 80-100 feet long, so big he needs 4 tons of food per day, only 60-100 are in this area, only 1,000 in the Atlantic Ocean

Finback Whale – fastest swimming whale, 80 feet long, eats 2 tons per day, can dive over 700 feet deep

Minke Whale – most abundant baleen whale, 25-30 feet long, has a white strip on the flipper, will blow 5-8 times on surface then dive up to 20 minutes

Beluga Whale – only whale that can turn its head, 10-16 feet long, can be heard whistling like a canary, born grey at birth, then turn bluish grey, then after 4-9 years they turn white

Humpback Whale – most acrobatic whale, 40-50 feet long, eat 1.5 tons of food per day, pectoral fins are about a 1/3 it’s body length, displays its tail when diving

Tuesday, July 9th

The winds have died back down and conditions are favorable to cruise so the crew headed out of Tadoussac this morning. The skipper made a last minute change to the cruising itinerary though. Rather than cross the St Lawrence River to the south shore, he has decided to remain on the north shore for a few more days.

The crew started seeing Beluga Whales almost immediately. By the time they got back out to the lighthouse they had lost count of the sightings, but saw at least 5 separate pods. And, they did spot one Humpback Whale as they turned towards red marker 54.

The skipper had a conversation with the Captain of Confetti the other day about the purpose of the large wooden structure that appears along side the lights marking the coastline. Neither of them knew the purpose of the structure so Mack went out to solve the mystery. The answer reminds the skipper of an ole joke, “How many Canadians does it take to change a lightbulb?” Well turns out the answer is at least two if your job is changing out Lighthouse bulbs in these remote parts. Because there are no roads to these lights, the wood structures were built as helicopter landing pads.

With that perplexing mystery solved, the crew continued along the north shore to their anchor spot for the night. Turns out that this spot was popular with the locals, as there were 5 sailboats at anchor when the crew arrived. Since this is a large bay though, there was plenty of room for everyone.

Wednesday, July 10th

The crew weighed anchor early and headed out along the north shore again. Today the crew has the Baie de Comeau in their sites. More specifically, the crew is headed to a Fjard that is in the bay. The crew had never heard of a Fjard before, and apparently neither had the auto spell correct function either. But basically a Fjard is a baby Fjord. The draw to this Fjard though is the waterfall feature at the headwaters.

The skipper decided to put his mountain goat skills into play and climb the ropes course to the top of the waterfall. After making it to the top, he noticed a trail marked with blue blazes. He decided to follow the trail to see where it led. Well let’s just say it was very anticlimactic after seeing the waterfall.

Thursday, June 11th

The crew would cross the St Lawrence River today and arrived on the south shore at Saint Anne des Monts. If it was only just that easy. The voyage would be a little over 70 miles and the winds were predicted to pickup in the afternoon to over 15 mph, which can cause greater then 3 foot waves. If you are a new virtual crew member, that means a very uncomfortable ride.

To mitigate getting caught out in high winds, the skipper shoved off the dock at 0400 to begin the 8 hour tour. All went well for the first three hours as the water remained fairly flat with waves less than a foot. But then things began to change. The waves started building to two feet as the crew no longer had the blocking effect of the north shore.

Commercial fishing boat

The long unobstructed fetch allowed the waves to build to 3-4 feet as the crew found themselves out in the middle of the river with no protection. Worse, the waves were pounding the port beam of the boat which was rolling the boat side to side. The skipper finally abandoned his course and turned towards the south bank. This caused the waves to hit the stern, following seas, and Still Waters II began surfing the waves.

This made for a much more comfortable ride, but now the skipper had some decisions to make, for instance where to go to get off the water. He consulted his smarts books and quickly realized there were no good options once he reached the shore. Either direction, east or west, would be 30 miles to the nearest marina or cove to duck in out of the wind.

The Appalachian Mountains come to an end at the south shore of the St Lawrence River, and the crew was more than ready for the day’s cruise to end on the south shore as well.

Strangely though, as the crew got closer to land the winds began to lie down. The land should have had no effect on the wind since it was blowing from the northeast. The skipper picked up his phone to look at the weather radar and discovered that out in the middle of the river, two fronts were running into each other causing the large confused waves. The wind on the south shore was around 10 mph while the wind on the north shore was around 20 mph. Armed with that info, the skipper decided to continue on to Sainte-Anne des Monts.

Once the waves were consistently 1-2 feet again, the skipper turned back to the east and made way for the marina. He also kicked the throttles up a bit to minimize the amount of time the crew were out on the water. They were sure glad when they made the turn into the marina basin inside the breakwater wall.

First view of Sainte Anne des Monts

Not sure what happened here, but it looks like Still Waters II was put in the time out corner of the marina.

Friday, July 12th

Well this wind delay is brought to you by the 15-20 mph winds out of the east. The forecast does look favorable for a travel day on Saturday with winds under 10.

In the mean time, the crew walked around town to take in the sights. One of the first things they noticed was the amount of driftwood in the bay that washes up on the rocks. One of the crews grandsons would be in stick heaven here.

Aiden’s driftwood heaven

The local art scene uses this driftwood as there medium to show case their talents. The crew learned from a local that they have an ordinance where businesses must donate some public park or art funds to get a building permit. Hence the large number of art projects seen around town.

Some of the driftwood art in town

Saturday, July 13th

The day got off to a humorous start. The crew had decided that the skipper would make an early morning donut run before departure. When the skipper arrived at the local coffee shop, he found the glazed donuts and donut holes the crew wanted. When the French speaking donut gatherer came to the counter, the skipper ordered Trois (3) beignets glacés (glazed donuts). The donut gatherer sacked the three donuts and handed the bag over to the skipper. So far, so good. Then things quickly turned on a dime.

The skipper then ordered two dozen trout de beignets vitres (24 donut holes). The look on the donut gatherer’s face made it apparent that all communication had ceased. In fact, the skipper was getting the proverbial deer in the head light look. So the skipper held up two fingers while saying deuce, then four fingers while saying quarte.

The donut gatherer turned his back on the skipper, reached for two small boxes, and then presented the boxes to the skipper. At this point the light bulb came on when the skipper remembered these folks are on the metric system. One box was labeled 10, the other 20. The skipper smiled and humbly pointed to the box labeled 20. Mission accomplished!

The crew headed out towards Rivière-la-Madeleine this morning. The marina and town are nothing more than a petite fishing village. The key word here was petite.

The crew did have a good cruise though. They ran 1.5 miles offshore and witnessed 50 miles of rugged country. They also cruised past two lighthouses. Then when within five miles of the marina they saw a Finback Whale. They idled in the area for 20 minutes but the whale never came back up for a breath of fresh air.

The skipper gave up on the whale and headed to the marina.

Whale Pic of the Week

Since the crew has marginal French speaking skills and finding a good French boat name has been more challenging than expected, this is temporarily the whale pic of the week. The pic will come from Baleines en direct, a nonprofit organization connected to the museum in Tadoussac. You can follow them at http://baleinesendirect.org

Humpback Whale Tail

Next Week –

The crew will spend the week timing their travel days with good weather windows as they round the Gaspé Peninsula. Locals have warned them to pick their weather windows carefully. Because of the venturi effect between the Peninsula and the islands to the east, even light winds can accelerate thru the gap and make for some rough cruising. With that in mind, the crew hopes to make Prince Edward Island, but will allow the weather to dictate just how far they get next week.

Tune in next week and see if the crew makes it to Prince Edward Island or not. For those virtual crew members susceptible to sea sickness, this is the time to put on your ear patch or take your medication. Batten down the hatches cause here they go.

Loop On – Where the road ends, the water begins. The water goes on forever, and the adventure never ends.

Eric the Red

5 Comments on “Whales, Waterfalls, and Waves

  1. Can’t believe we are getting to see the awesome whales thru your eyes and adventures…so excited for you! That waterfall was pretty awesome too!! Hugs to the Admiral

    Like

  2. Erick, please tell the Skipper his sister requires several photos of Anne’s House of Green Gables when y’all reach PEI.
    Please & Thank you.
    💋

    Like

    • Wow what a ride you had!! Glad you were able to get out of it for a safer ride. Looks like an amazing area. Not gonna lie donut story too funny 🍩🤣🌊🛥

      Like

  3. Point of reference:
    Erick, please tell the Skipper that his sister requires several photos of Anne’s House of Green Gables when y’all get to PEI.

    Please & Thank you. 💋

    Like

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