The weather was finally favorable to leave Halifax on Wednesday. The crew shoved off the dock and cruised to the small village of Lunenburg. They left the next morning and found sea conditions to be about perfect. Rather than stop at the anchorage they had planned, they put another 40 miles under the keel and anchored at Cape Negro Island. On Friday, they motored to Yarmouth.
Click on the Still Waters II Travel Map to see detailed Voyage Logs.
This week’s video shows Still Waters II watching a boat load of dudes landing sharks off the coast of Nova Scotia. 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.
The dock that the crew had been moored to since arrival in Halifax was exposed to the ocean swells and boat wakes, which made for an uncomfortable stay on the boat. The skipper talked with the marina and got permission to move over behind a wall that would block the wave action. Once they got settled, they climbed up on top of the radar arch to take their seats behind the V.I.P. Tent for the air show.
A large crowd began to form, both on the water and along the waterfront for the show.
The air show started with fly overs by various types of helicopters and planes. Because the crew was directly behind the V.I.P. Tent, they could here the MC talk about each craft as it flew by.
After the fly overs, it was time to watch the Red Arrows perform.
The crew has continued to explore Halifax while they waited for favorable weather conditions to continue the voyage south along the south shore of Nova Scotia. To expand their exploration away from the waterfront, they took a Hop on Hop off tour bus. The double decker bus made the round trip past thirteen historic sights and museums.
While headed out to the Fairview Lawn Cemetery (Titanic Cemetery), the Tour Guide also talked about a memorial/cemetery on Deadman’s Island where 195 American POW’s are buried. During the War of 1812, the British had a prisoner of war camp on Melville Island which sits adjacent to Deadman’s Island. The British held as many as 8,000 US soldiers and sailors at Melville during the war. As prisoners died they were put in unmarked graves on Deadman’s Island and forgotten to history.
Over the years, due to rain and wave erosion, some skeletal remains would become unearthed. So in the 1990’s, when a developer tried to get permits to develop the Island, local residents protested and claimed the area was an ancient burial ground. The authorities performed a review and found that the Island contained 400 remains from French, Spanish, and American soldiers and sailors. Rather than develop the Island, the Canadian’s turned it into a Park.
An interpretive plaque in the park contains the following anonymous poem:
Go view the graves which prisoners fill
Go count them on the rising hill
No monumental marble shows
Whose silent dust does there repose.
In a strange twist of fate, two sister ships (USS Chesapeake and the USS Constitution) share a bond at the Deadman’s Cemetery.
The USS Chesapeake was defeated in battle by the HMS Shannon in 1813. The British brought the Chesapeake to Halifax, repaired the vessel in the Halifax shipyards, and recommissioned her as the HMS Chesapeake. The American sailors were detained at the Melville POW camp.
On May 30, 2005, the USS Constitution was present when the US government dedicated a memorial tablet with the names of the 195 Americans buried at Deadman’s Island. Several of which were from her sister ship, the USS Chesapeake.
In another interesting twist, the skipper found a relative, James Fuller, among the names on the memorial tablet. James was a member of the US Army 23rd regiment, and died of dysentery while in prisoned at Melville.
Back at the Halifax Maritime Museum, they had a display about the pirates of Nova Scotia. With place names such as Murder Island, Spook Island, and Jolly Roger’s Bay, this should be of no surprise. This region of the south shore was sparsely populated and had many good coves to hide out, making it perfect for would be pirates. But the problem with being a pirate back in the day of sailing ships was that once you started your pirating ways, your life expectancy dropped to just a few years.
And as everybody knows, those pirates hid their booty on these remote islands, or so the folklore says. One of the more popular pirates was Captain Kidd. He was known to sail these waters and it has been rumored that he hid his treasure on Oak Island. And after the Captain’s demise at the gallows in London on May 23, 1701, people have been searching Oak Island for the mysterious treasure, mostly at a place called the ‘Money Pit.’ There is even a TV series about folks trying to recover the treasure, titled The Curse of Oak Island.
The crew bypassed Mahone Bay and did not take time to search for the treasure on Oak Island. They did make way to Lunenburg though and dropped anchor just north of the mooring field.
Island Office was in the mooring field and captured this shot of Still Waters II in the moonlight.
The crew left in the fog at daybreak. The fog hovered over the waters until 1130. This gave the skipper plenty of time to daydream about another buried treasure. This trove of $200,000 in gold has been rumored to be under a cleft in the rock at Star Island. Edward Baker supposedly buried the cache in a cave marked by the cleft.
The fog seemed to come and go most of the day. The skipper was able to snap a few pics along the way though. These houses were on a point as the fog lightened long enough to get a view.
The crew decided to keep motoring at noon because the sea conditions were just about as good as you could get. They decided to make another forty miles as long as the conditions remained favorable.
About 1630, the crew pulled into a Cove off Cape Negro Island that was well protected from the wind and waves. Just on the other side of a narrow piece of land, the crew could here the waves crashing the shore. Then the skipper heard what sounded like sheep. He grabbed his binoculars and began to eye the Island, and yes there they were, one ewe and a lamb. He kept looking and found three more sheep. Makes you wonder who takes care of them way out here, especially in winter.
The view from the sun deck while at anchor.
This would mark the third day in a row that the crew left in the fog early in the morning. Consequently they did not see much until late morning. The skipper did manage to get a few pics as they left the anchorage. He was surprised that there were a few houses on Negro Island.
With all this fog and treasure talk, the skipper decided to turn his attention back to Forest Fenn and his hidden treasure. For those who do not know, Forest hid about 2 million worth of gold and artifacts somewhere in the Rocky Mountains north of Santa Fe back around 2010.
The treasure trove before Forrest hid it in the mountains
Forrest then wrote a poem, that if you can solve the mystery of said poem will lead you to the treasure trove.
The skipper spent two years studying the poem starting in 2016, and believes he solved the mystery of where the treasure trove has been hidden in the Rocky Mountains. So today, he was reviewing his solve looking for any cracks in his logic that might shed some new light on the mystery. With the Admiral wanting to do some land time, 2020 might just be the year that the skipper takes some time to do a ‘Boots on the Ground’ adventure and goes and gets the treasure. But enough of this real life treasure hunt, it looks like the fog is lifting.
When the crew rounded Cape Sable Island, the most southern point of Nova Scotia, the fog was so thick that they could not see the land or the lighthouse. The fog lifted before they arrived at the Tusket Islands though, so the skipper weaved thru the islands to check them out.
After another 20 miles, the crew arrived at the Yarmouth Sound and made way up the river to dock at Killam Brother’s Marina where they docked for the weekend.
Yarmouth has a long Maritime history starting back with John Sollow who launched the first vessel in 1764. Because of the abundant forrests and well protected harbor, the area was excellent for ship building. The marina where the crew is moored was named for a family of sea merchants in the day of sail. The brothers ran an empire of 160 ships that traded around the world from their hometown of Yarmouth.
However, with all the success of the shipping industry, there was also a stark reminder of the hazards of the seas. Over 600 ships from Yarmouth have been lost at sea over the years. 1879 seemed to be an exceedingly harsh year for the residents of Yarmouth, 31 ships were lost that year alone resulting in 106 deaths. These losses produced 26 widows and 99 fatherless children.
The citizens of Yarmouth have created a memorial for all the sailors and family members who have been lost at sea. Currently there are over 2,400 names on the memorial.
Two big events were in town today. First was the Farmer’s Market where there was a band singing Elvis Presley songs. The skipper scored some brownies for the Admiral and chocolate chip cookies for himself.
At noon it was time to drift over to the next wharf and watch the weigh in for the Yarmouth Shark Scramble. This was the 21st Blue Shark Tournament. There were 15 boats registered who had 5-7 people onboard who were fishing for shark. Each boat could weigh in three sharks.
There were three sharks over three hundred pounds, 303, 315, and 321. Most of the sharks were in the 240-280 range. One 13 year old girl landed a 280 pounder, all by her self.
There were many volunteers making the shark weigh in a success. There were the folks actually weighing and measuring the sharks. Science organizations who were taking samples of the sharks for future studies. People carving the sharks up, others putting the cut pieces in big vats, and others shoveling ice to keep the meat cool.
Most of the Blue Sharks that were brought in were male. The skipper only recalls one female that was weighed in. Other interesting things about Blue Sharks:
The crew will end there time in Canada and head back to the good ole USA. They will enter into Maine. The only question will be when and where. The first window may be Monday, but it is too early to tell if the weather window will stay open. Once in Maine, the crew will make way to Arcadia National Park.
This week the crew left St Peter’s and made way to Halifax. On the way, they had some interesting experiences. Starting with getting fuel delivered by a fuel truck at the St Peter’s Lock. Later that night they moved from Dover Cove to Raspberry Cove because the anchor would not set. On the way to Liscomb on Tuesday, they assisted a fellow boater by towing them to Liscomb Lodge. Wednesday they arrived at Jeddore River where they again had problems anchoring. Then made Halifax on Thursday to find power and water available after they were told there was none.
Click on the Still Waters II Travel Map to see detailed Voyage Logs.
This week’s video shows Still Waters II as she dreams of cruising and exploring Sable Island. Notice she only dreamed of going, that is just too far to go in the open ocean for her and the crew. 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.
The Grand Finale of the week long Deny’s Festival was the 6th Annual Swim The Canal event. The crew walked down to the canal to watch the show. Some 350 swimmers paid to swim the icy 72 degree waters, for the length of the canal.
The swimmers start on the lake side of the canal where the water was reported to be a bit warmer and swim towards the Atlantic Ocean side of the Canal where the water is much cooler.
There was no obvious advantage to being fast because once you reach the lock, you have to wait for the last swimmer to arrive so the lockmaster can shut the gate. Therefore you may be treading water for about 45 minutes waiting on the casual swimmers.
Once all swimmers are in the Lock, the gates on the lake side are closed and the water level adjusted in the lock to match the Atlantic Ocean side. While draining, a chant developed: “Open that Gate, Open that Gate!”
Once the gates cracked open, it was a sprint for the finish line for some, and a leisurely crawl for others. Hey, they only get to swim the canal once a year and some try to stretch it out as long as possible.
The skipper’s plan to take on fuel and pump out the holding tanks came to an abrupt halt this morning. A 132 foot yacht landed on the fuel dock, overhanging both the bow and stern from the dock. Because the yacht was so large, she effectively blocked any other boats access to the fuel dock for their two night stay.
The dockmaster was not happy, but not much he could do. He did arrange for a fuel truck to meet Still Waters II on the Atlantic Ocean side of the St Peter’s Lock. So the crew shoved off and passed back through the lock. Once on the Ocean side, they tied off along the wall and waited for the truck to arrive. This would be the first fuel truck delivery for the crew.
Once the fuel transfer was complete, the dockmaster arranged for the payments and the crew was finally off on their first day cruising the Atlantic Ocean this season.
The run went well until it was time to anchor. The cruising guide said that Dover Island was a good Anchorage. But the crew could not find an adequate hole to drop the hook. After three unsuccessful tries to set the anchor, they decided to move five miles further west and try in the next Cove.
Upon arrival in Raspberry Cove, the crew found a good spot to anchor and finally called it a day.
Well if yesterday was a strange day with fueling and anchoring, this day would prove to be a strange one also. The crew set off for the Liscomb River.
Late last week, the docks at the Liscomb Lodge broke and they can only accept two boats until the docks are repaired. The dock was already reserved so the crew was just going to anchor in the river and skip the Lodge.
When the crew approached the Liscomb Island at the mouth of the River, the Coast Guard announced a boat in distress not far from Still Waters II. The crew decided to try and see if there was anything they could do to help. The skipper talked with the Coast Guard and got the vessels name (Red Tail), GPS position, and asked the Coast Guard to pass on their telephone number.
Captain Kevin called a few minutes later, and the skipper was able to figure out that Red Tail was anchored on the north side of Liscomb Island. The two agreed that Still Waters II would approach the starboard side of Red Tail and raft up together.
Once the two boats were secured together, they decided that Still Waters II would try and pull Red Tail the five miles up River to the Liscomb Lodge. Once both boats were satisfied that the lines were secure enough to tow, Red Tail raised anchor and Still Waters II was able to safely maneuver the two boats tied together.
The last challenge would be landing on the dock. The skipper approached the dock slowly, and the Red Tail crew were able to get a few lines across to the dock help. Kevin, the Captain of Red Tail, then began giving the skipper instructions on how to move to bring the boat along side the dock. Between Red Tail’s bow thruster, and Still Water II’s twin engines, they were able to get Red Tail secure with no drama and no damage to the dock or boat.
After docking, the crew walked up to the water fall along the river and sat down to watch the water go by and relax.
They then joined Kevin and Caroline for some great conversation and dinner. The crew quizzed them on their purchase of Red Tail on the west coast of California, bringing her south down the west coast and through the Panama Canal. Sounds like something our crew would like to do someday.
Well, after the last two days of excitement, today was just the normal run of the mill day. The crew left early to try to get in some extra miles today so tomorrow would be a shorter run.
The wind was less than ten mph on the stern for a nice push, but the ocean swells were 3-4 feet at normally 12 seconds apart. This made for an ok ride except when the time between waves would shorten which would cause the boat to to roll heavy to starboard. Then rock back and forth a few times before settling back down.
The skipper tried to weave inside the islands as much as possible, but getting out in the ocean and being rolled by the swells seemed to be the norm for the day. The crew had put in 70 miles by 1500, so they found a place in Jerrode Harbor to drop the hook for the night.
An afternoon storm was predicted to roll into Halifax around 1500. Armed with that info the crew left at first light and headed towards Halifax. When the crew got to the open Atlantic Ocean they found 3-5 foot swells at 8-10 seconds apart.
The rule of thumb for a smooth ride on the Ocean swells is a wave period double the wave heights. So if you have 5 foot swells, you want at least 10 seconds between each crest so that the boat just gently glides up and down the face of the swell. Today, it seemed as though the time between swells was closer to 8 seconds than 10 so it made for a more roly ride than hoped for. The good news was that it was less than two hours out on the open water which minimized the frolicking good time.
Upon arrival in Halifax, the first order of business was to find a facility with an operational pump out system to drain the holding tanks. The fourth marina the crew contacted had a working system, so the crew cruised up to Dartmouth and drained their tanks.
On the way to Dartmouth, they passed the location of a large explosion that took place back in 1917. A French War ship carrying ordinance for WWI collided with another ship in the most narrow point of the harbor. People heard the collision and saw the fire burning out of control on the French vessel. People rushed to the waterfront to observe the two vessels. Twenty minutes later the French ship exploded sending shrapnel over a two mile radius from the ship. The pressure wave flattened the town of Richmond as well as the structures within a half mile of the ships. All those people who rushed to the scene became part of the 2,000 deaths and 9,000 injured. The Halifax Explosion held the record for the largest man made explosion until the end of WWII when America dropped a couple of atomic bombs on Japan.
The crew visited the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic. The museum told the story of Halifax and its contribution to maritime interest from sailing vessels, to steam ships, to modern vessels.
The customary parrot and pirates in the sailing section of museum.
Captain Joshua Slocum, born in Nova Scotia, was featured as the first man to sail solo around the world. The Captain left Boston in April 1895 in a sloop named Spray, and returned to Newport, Rhode Island On June 27, 1898.
Captain Slocum aboard Spray
Also of interest was the ‘Graveyard of the Atlantic,’ or Sable Island. The Island is located 190 miles southeast of Halifax. In the era of navigation by sextant rather than modern radar and GPS, the Island was responsible for an estimated 500 sunken ships. A few other fun facts about Sable Island:
After a fun filled day at the museum, the crew met a pod of other boater’s for Happy Hour and dinner.
The skipper bought a book about the Halifax Explosion at the Maritime Museum yesterday. He completed the book and confirmed his suspicions that the authorities deflected blame from the event to the Pilot who was on the French vessel and tried to make him the scapegoat.
Anytime there is a disaster of the magnitude of the Halifax Explosion there are at least 3-5 precursor events which have aligned which then allow for the disaster to strike. Some call it the Swiss Cheese Model, where a hole in 5 pieces of cheese all align to allow a straight though hole and no barrier for prevention. And so it was for this senseless loss of life also.
The area called Richmond that was flattened by the explosion
For instance, here are but a few of the precursor events, that if had not of happened, could have prevented the accident:
By all accounts, the Imo was clearly at fault. When the Admiral Board of Inquiry met though, they had a problem. Neither the Captain nor the Pilot of the Imo survived. By a quirk in British Law called British Fair Play, because the men were dead and could not defend themselves, no blame could be attached to them. Well, that just left the Pilot of the Mont Blonc to pin the blame on and that is just what they did. Kinda hard to see ‘fair play’ in that but charge him with manslaughter was what they did.
The Imo blown ashore at Dartmouth from the explosion
Along with the Imo, the government also should share the blame in the disaster. Supervision, training, and procedures are all good barriers to accident prevention. By all accounts the Pilot’s were well trained and experienced. However, the supervision (government Port Authority) and procedures were lacking. As the port authority, they should have been making sure communications were making it to all the key stake holders and the Pilot’s knew what ships were moving in the harbor. Also, the procedures should have never let a war ship carrying that much munitions that close to civilian populations. The Port Authority should have kept Mont Blonc at anchor southeast of town. But as the skipper is fond of saying, “To err is human, to blame the other guy is more human.” In this case, the government failed the people by allowing munitions to be brought through the Narrows, and then deflected blame to the Pilot.
Interesting enough, when you do not actually identify the actual causes of an accident, but focus on blame, you do not fix the problems, and are doomed to repeat the folley. So it should not surprise anyone that during WWII the Port Authority once again allowed munitions past Halifax and into the Bedford Basin. And once again their was a huge explosion in July 1945.
The crew hopes to make Yarmouth on the west coast of Nova Scotia by next weekend. The weather will probably cause delays leaving Halifax until Wednesday, then the crew will need 4 travel days to make it to Yarmouth. We will see if they make it or not.
On Monday, the crew left St Peter’s and crossed over the lake to anchor in Little Harbor (1). Tuesday, they weighed anchor went further north up the lake and anchored near Baddeck (2). On Wednesday, they took a taxi to Englishtown (3) to catch the Donelda Puffin Tour to Bird Island (4). Thursday, they took the Cabot Trail Discovery Tour (5) and returned to Baddeck. Friday brought an end to the fun in Baddeck (6) as the crew returned to St Peter’s for the weekend.
Click on the Still Waters II Travel Map to see detailed Voyage Logs.
This week’s video shows Still Waters II ride around the Cabot Trail. 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.
The crew hung out at the St Peter’s Marina most of the day which allowed the skipper to explore the history of the Village that sits on this thin slice of land called an isthmus. Wondering what an isthmus is, are you?
Isthmus is Ancient Greek for the word neck. Today we use the term to describe a narrow piece of land that connects two larger pieces of land, that are separated by water. One of the more famous isthmuses in the world would be Panama, connecting North and South America, and separating the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.
In the case of the isthmus at St Peter’s, the land mass is the Island of Cape Breton, and the waters are the Atlantic Ocean to the south, and Bras d’Or Lake to the north. This isthmus was originally used by the Mi’kmaq Indians as their canoe portage into the Lake.
In 1650, Nicolas Denys arrived on the scene and built a trading post on the eastern side of the isthmus. The entrepreneur then figured out a way to haul his ships over the isthmus on skids pulled by ox. This both shortened the distance to ports to the north and made it safer than sailing out in the Atlantic Ocean.
The area changed hands several times between the French and British, with the British eventually winning out for control in 1763. A little over a hundred years later, after 15 years of construction, a Canal was opened in 1869 to replace the haulover road. This year marks the 150th year of Canal operations. The crew were the 424th boat to transit the canal this year and received a Certificate of Appreciation to commemorate the transit.
The crew plans to make several small runs this week to explore the Bras d’Or Lake. Their first run would be 20 miles to anchor in a well protected cove, on the north shore, of the main body of the Lake. On the way across the main body of water, the crew could hear thunder every few minutes. This was strange because the skies were blue with very few puffy clouds.
When they were halfway across the lake, the sky began to turn dark as the thunderstorm began to build. Then they witnessed three lightening strikes. The skipper decided to turn off all the electronics and lower the VHF antenna. Within minutes the rain fell on them and visibility dropped to about a mile. Thankfully, the crew was just on the edge of the storm. Within ten minutes, the storm had blown by and the crew were back in blue skies.
The skipper fired up all the electronics and headed for the narrow opening into the Cove. The crew found three sailboats already anchored, so they poked around to find a spot near the south shore in the Cove.
The crew weighed anchor and headed to Baddeck. There is an Alexander Graham Bell Museum in town that the skipper wanted to visit. The short run was excellent as the wind and waves combined for following seas. On the way to Baddeck they met Confetti on the water and followed her through a set of bridges.
Upon arrival near the Baddeck marinas, the crew dropped anchor, and then took the dinghy to go visit the museum.
You may recall when the crew visited the Helen Keller Birthplace Museum, that Helen Keller’s father travelled to Boston to meet with Mr Bell, and Mr Bell’s advice changed the course and trajectory of Helen Keller’s life. This museum told the backstory of how Mr Bell came to be in Boston in the first place.
Alexander Graham Bell was the son of Alexander Melville Bell. You probably had never heard of Melville Bell before, but he is famous as the creator of visible speech. The young Bell continued the work of his father and became a teacher of his father’s methods in Boston. His work with the deaf was heavily influenced by his mother and wife who were both deaf.
His study of the ear, basic understanding of both electricity and sound waves all came together to help him invent the first telephone. He then went on to start Bell Telephone System which eventually became American Telephone and Telegraph. And as they say, the rest is history. But did you know that Alex gave all but 10 shares of his new company to Mabel as a wedding present.
What do you think of when you see a Switchboard, such as the one below?
Well our crew thinks of the Lily Tomlin character, Ernestine, the switchboard operator who made the lines “one ringy dingy… two ringy dingy”, and, “is this the party to whom I am speaking?” famous.
The first patent for the telephone eventually made Bell independently wealthy, and allowed him to tinker and invent a plethora of other items. The museum spent some time on these other items, but mainly focused on two projects in his later years, aeronautics and hydrofoils.
The skipper found one of those other items to be most interesting though. Bell invented an early model of the metal detector in 1881 for the sole purpose of locating a bullet after the 20th President of the United States was shot in the summer of 1881. The metal detector was used to help locate the bullet lodged in Garfield’s body. Depending on what you read, the metal detector worked flawlessly or not well at all. Bell said that the metal springs in the bed where the test was conducted altered the results, as well as the depth of the bullet, to make the results inconclusive.
Following the Wright Brothers success at Kitty Hawk, Alexander Graham Bell decided to get into the aeronautics business. His wife, Mabel, created the Aerial Experimental Association (AEA) in 1907, with the purpose of constructing a practical flying machine. The group included two young engineers, an American motorcycle engine designer (Curtis), and an American aviator (Thomas Selfridge).
The AEA first used Bell’s work conducted with tetrahedral kites to fly unmanned and manned kites. The group then applied their learnings to gliders. Their first success was with a plane named Red Wing in March 1908. The White Wing and then the June Bug were built and successfully flown. Their fourth flying machine, Silver Dart, made the first controlled powered flight in Canada on February 23, 1909. The Silver Dart took off from the ice just off the Baddeck shoreline allowing Baddeck to lay claim to the Birthplace of Aviation in Canada.
The AEA Charter had a sunset clause, so the group was disbanded in March 1909. Bell had began experiments though on hydrofoils as a means to assist a plane from taking off in the water. By 1911, these experiments resulted in the development of the first hydrodrome, HD-1. They were able to make 50 mph in HD-1 before she broke apart on a test run.
Thru the long winter, Bell built HD-2, but once again she broke up during testing. Then the HD-3 was built and failed. With WWI in progress, Bell received money to build a submarine chaser. His design (HD-4) was a long cigar looking machine with hydrofoils. HD-4 set a world record for marine speed of 70.86 mph on September 9, 1919. After successful testing though, the hydrofoils were never put into any practical commercial applications.
The original HD-4 hull
Full scale replica of HD-4
Sitting on the lawn, contemplating the lives of Mabel and Alex Graham.
Back in 2017 while cruising along the coast of Maine, the Admiral learned about a little bird called a Puffin. Every since, she has wanted to see a Puffin. Problem with Puffin viewing though is that they live their life floating in the Atlantic Ocean far away from shore, a place our Admiral has no desire to visit.
However, there is a Bird Island just north of Cape Brenton that has Puffins nesting during July and August. And there are two companies which offer Puffin Tours. So today is the day for the Admiral to satisfy her goal to see a Puffin. The skipper liked the company quarantee, your money back from the tour if you do not see a Puffin.
The crew learned some interesting things about the tour operators. In addition to the tour, they also have a Lobster Permit to fish 265 traps. Lobster season here is mid May thru mid July, so they check those 265 traps six days a week. Once Lobster Season ends, they turn their attention to the tour business.
The Captain is the Grand Nephew of Giant MacAskill, a local legend in these parts. He is in the Guinness Book of World Records (1981) for being the tallest non-pathological giant in recorded history. He stood 7 feet 9 inches, weighed 425 lbs, and had a chest measurement of 80 inches. He was buried just down from the gift shop in 1863.
However, on the other end of the scale, Donelda explaining the small size of Puffins, the stuffed Puffin is actual size
The Puffin Tour was a great success. The tour lasted a little over three hours and the crew saw Puffins, so they would not be getting their money back. But it was amazing just how small those Puffins happen to be. Most of the ones sited were floating in the water, and they would dive under the water as soon as the boat approached.
Edited pic for a closeup, they are still small
However, the highlight of the trip might just have been the Bald Eagles. On the way out to Bird Island, on two different occasions, a Bald Eagle approached the boat. Donelda, the tour guide, would toss out a large dead fish and the Eagle would swoop down to grab the fish. It was an amazing spectacle to see so close to the boat. While traveling around the Bird Island, the tour saw over 60 Bald Eagles.
The other highlight of the trip were the seals. The Grey Seals were out sunbathing on the rocks as the tour glided by. The seals numbered in the hundreds.
One of the best known things to do on Cape Breton Island is to drive the scenic Cabot Trail. A 185 mile breathtaking road trip that takes visitors on a loop trip around the northern areas of the Island.
The Cabot Trail is named after John Cabot, an Italian explorer who reached the Island back in 1497. He is credited as the European discoverer of North America for the English. He has been lost to history though because it would be another 100 years before this area was settled. Kinda the same fate of my son, Leif Eriksson, who sailed these waters 500 years before Cabot, and gets little to no credit either.
The first surprise of the day was when the crew learned that they were the only ones on the tour today. That actually worked out great as they got to swap many stories with the Tour Guide.
Misty told a few stories about her 13 year old son. She referred to him as ‘The Little Capitalist.’ The stories reminded the skipper of himself when he was a youngster trying to earn a little money.
Again, from the skipper’s sister’s blog:
Did you ever want a pony? Unlike many of my friends, I can honestly say it never dawned on me to ask for a pony for Christmas. However, the Fuller kids were the only kids at C.C. Duff Elementary who had a real live Shetland Pony who lived in their backyard. He was a Christmas present who arrived on Thanksgiving night. His name was Buck and, when he got it in his mind to be tacky, which was often, boy could he buck. Already the family financial guy at age 8, David came up with a plan to charge our friends 25 cents a ride and we would split the profit 3 ways. He would get the extra penny since it was his idea. Did I mention he was in 2nd grade at the time? After one too many squabbles about that extra penny Mama gave us the option of handing over our money to her to be redistributed after every third paying customer or shutting down the pony rides. David lost his extra penny per ride since the vote didn’t go his way (majority rules, doncha know?) and we all got a nice shiny quarter each time we convinced 3 friends they wanted a ride. Which as I recall was about 1 time. We didn’t have many kids in our neighborhood and weren’t old enough to have friends who could walk or ride bikes over to our house from outside the neighborhood. It was an idea ahead of it’s time and probably why Mama was so easily persuaded to agree to let us do it. She knew we wouldn’t have many customers.
I was probably 13 the November my brothers got busted for an unauthorized zoo. Daddy had taken David and Danny to the deer lease for the weekend and Mama and I were “batching it” at home. That meant tuna casserole (Daddy hated it), Reese’s peanut butter cups and lots of reading and not much else. Our revelry was interrupted by a knock on the back door. I answered the knock to find a boy about the age of my brothers who was looking for them. He was very disappointed to hear they were not at home. I assured him they would be home the next day and he would see them at school on Monday but my words didn’t seem to help. He eventually explained the source of his disappointment was not in missing my brothers but in missing his tour of their zoo. He said he had saved up the dollar required to pay admission to see their zoo and he didn’t know if he would be able to come back until the following weekend. A whole week was just So Long when he’d already been waiting for a couple of weeks while he saved up the entrance fee.
The second he said zoo, Mama’s Mom-antennae were up and into listening mode. He turned to leave but she told me to ask him inside. She quizzed him about the zoo and he spilled the beans on their sweet little set up. He explained that The Boys had been showing off what they called the Fuller Zoo for several weeks. And charging a dollar a person for admission. And here we thought they were just popular and had lots of friends coming around to play. Mama was somewhere between ticked off and amused. I don’t think she was so much upset about charging people to see our pets as irritated that they had kept it a secret. She had me show the boy our zoo – even turning down his dollar when it was offered. I spent a full 30 minutes introducing him to Frisky and her pups, my cat and Mama’s cat, Mama’s poodle, the fish and turtles, Snowball’s children and grandchildren, Wiley and Pepper and ever other little creature I could think of to make his trip to the zoo a memorable occasion. He was the Fuller Boys’ Zoo’s last official visitor. Much to the frustration of my brothers, Mama shut down the operation over the lack of permit for the Fuller Family Ordinance which stated one much get permission before making a profit on the backs of one’s friends.
The crew left from Baddeck and went thru the Margaree River area which is famous for Salmon and Rainbow Trout fishing. The trail then proceeded north thru the Cheticamp area, one of two Acadian towns on the route.
From Cheticamp, the trail continues north to Pleasant Bay where the crew managed to view a pod of whales and took lunch at the Rusty Anchor Restaurant. After lunch the route weaved into and out of the Cape Breton National Park along the northern border of the Park.
The Trail was then south thru the Village of Ingonish and St Ann’s Bay to return the crew back to Baddeck. The crew had great weather through the day to make their tour adventure a true success.
Words do not adequately express the rugged beauty of the areas visited, and the pictures also seem to come up short of capturing the wonder of it all, but here are some of the crew’s favorite sights around the Island.
The crew spent an exhausting three days in Baddeck, so they headed back over to St Peter’s to regroup and prepare for the trip along the south shore of Nova Scotia. The run back was made in calm seas, but once docked the wind picked up to make for a windy afternoon.
Son of a Preacher Man
The crew will leave St Peter’s on Monday and try to make Halifax for the weekend. They should make 4-5 runs to arrive in Halifax depending on the weather.
The crew managed four travel days on the water this week. They also rented a car and took a day to explore Prince Edward Island, PEI. Tuesday, the crew travelled to the Provincial capital of PEI, Charlottetown (1). Wednesday the crew explored the Island by car. Thursday, the crew set out for Pictou (2). Friday, found the crew anchored in Havre Boucher (3). Then they ended their travels for the week in St Peters (4) on Saturday.
Click on the Still Waters II Travel Map to see detailed Voyage Logs.
Today was National Ice Cream Day. Hope you celebrated this wonderful day with your favorite ice cream. The skipper’s favorite ice cream is a family recipe perfected by his dad. In honor of his father, here is the recipe: per half gallon to be made, mix the following ingredients:
3 eggs, beat/whip them up good before adding sugar
1 cup sugar, slowly add the sugar to egg mixture while stirring the eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla, again add slowly while stirring into mixture
1 can fat free evaporated milk, continue to stir up mixture
1 can sweetened condensed milk, continue to stir into mixture. If the ice cream is too sweet for your taste, cut back on this milk for your taste.
Pour the mixture into the ice cream bucket. Now fill the bucket to the fill line with whole milk. (You can substitute 2% milk if you are counting calories.) If the bucket has no fill line, fill the bucket 3/4 full.
Assemble your ice cream maker per manufacture instructions, add ice and rock salt. Turn till the ice cream hardens in the bucket.
Variation for fruit ice cream. Add 1 cup puréed fruit per half gallon. Add to the mixture before you top off with milk to the fill line.
The crew had planned to rent a car in Summerside and expand their exploration of PEI. Unfortunately, while trying to book a car, the skipper discovered there were no cars available. He expanded his search for a car over to Charlottetown and again no cars available from three different vendors. Then he got a tip from Confetti, and was able to score a car for Wednesday.
In the mean time, the skipper went to visit a few museums while the Admiral went shopping.
The first museum that caught the attention of the skipper was the International Fox Museum and Hall of Fame. You may be wondering why a fox museum might interest the skipper. The answer is captured here from the skipper’s sister’s blog.
When I was 12 my dad got a call on a Saturday afternoon from a friend. Two hours later we were foster parents to 3 baby foxes whose mama had been killed and whose den had been found by Daddy’s friend. The babies were so young their eyes weren’t yet open. We fed them with eye droppers filled with a combination of evaporated milk and water. We hadn’t had Wiley E. Fox, Pepper and Mary Elisabeth very long when they were stolen while we were at school one day. The next day, after a call to the junior high principal and his impassioned appeal over the morning announcements, Wiley and Pepper were returned. I got to leave school in the middle of the day to take them home. We had them for several years. They were as “tame” as a wild animal could be. They loved to be brushed, walked on their leashes and they reveled in the attention they got from us and our friends.
The skipper (left) and brother Danny with their pet foxes
Wiley left home one day (ran out the open front door) and never looked back. We saw him from time to time in the wooded area behind our school. After his departure The Boys shared Pepper until he, too, decided it was time to go “home” to the woods. My brothers entered Wiley and Pepper into the annual Pet Show at Woodland West Recreation Center. They always won first place for Most Unusual Pet.
Pepper winning first place ribbon
The Fox Museum told the story of Prince Edward Island’s second economic boom period from the late 1880’s to WWII. A resident of the Island had trapped a couple of black fox and with the help of a friend, learned how to bred them in captivity in the 1870’s. The French Fur Trade was already big business, shipping pelts from North America to Europe. These new black pelts were a fashion hit with the upper crust of society in Europe.
In the early days of the Fox Trade, three different breeders cornered the market on these exclusive black pelts that sold around $1,000 a pelt at auction houses in Europe. The three breeders signed a pact not to sell breeding pairs of Fox to any other people wanting in the lucrative business.
Eventually, one of the three sold a breeding pair of Fox to a nephew under the promise that he would not breed and sell pelts. The nephew kept his word. For three years he bred his fox to grow a sizable inventory. Then he sold live fox breeding pairs rather than pelts. His pairs were sold for $5,000, more than double what a pair of pelts sold for.
Silver Fox pelts as a variation to the solid black pelts
With that kind of money to be made, the other three fox farms also began to sell breeding pair. It did not take long for the market to saturate and the free market economy based on supply and demand busted the ‘Boom Day’s.’ By the end of WWII, with women’s fashion no longer seeking fox coats, a pelt sold for only $7.
This was all interesting, but the skipper wanted to know if a black fox was unique to the Island. The museum did not answer this mystery so he asked a worker. She informed him that these were actually just ‘run of the mill’ red fox. However, in nature, one out of 1,000 liters will contain a black colored fox. Because these fox were on a remote island, more black fox were present and able to bred in the wild.
With that mystery solved, it was time to ride six miles out to the Acadian Museum, to learn about their story. As mentioned last week, the Acadians originally migrated to the region from France. Initially, the Acadian population was mostly along the Bay of Fundy coastline of modern day Nova Scotia.
As the British won lands during the French and Indian War, they began deporting the French from the lands. Following the Treaty of 1763 that transferred New France to Britain, the British wanted their new colonist to take an oath of faith supporting the new Protestant Rulers. When these Acadians refused based on their French Catholic views, the British deported them back to France.
Expulsion of Acadians by Lewis Parker
Ships Take Acadians into Exile by Claude T. Picard
In the 1780s and 1790s, these deported Acadians began to migrate back to their former settlements. However, they found these areas now settled by American settlers and Loyalists from the Revolutionary War. Therefore, the Acadians searched out new areas and settled in western Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, and the eastern shore of New Brunswick.
Settlements are Burned by Claude T. Picard
With a better understanding of these Acadians, the skipper headed back to the boat to prepare for departure to Charlottetown tomorrow.
The run to Charlottetown proved to be uneventful, well except for the potential boarding opportunity provided by Canadian Border Patrol as the crew approached the inlet to town. The Border Patrol boat came speeding out of the harbor and closely cruised by Still Waters II. The Border Patrol Boat then passed behind Still Waters II and circled around on the starboard side. By now, they had gained the skipper’s full attention. The Boarder Patrol Boat then passed behind Still Waters II a second time and pulled up close the port side.
The skipper observed the agents on board give him hand signals to slow down, so the skipper put the engines in neutral and just drifted. He came down out of the helm and called down to the Admiral, who was in the salon, that Customs was stopping them. She came up to see what was going on.
The three agents pulled along side Still Waters II and began to ask a boat load of questions. But the majority of the questions centered around the agents trying to understand how the skipper and Admiral had gotten that big boat all the way to Charlottetown. It truly intrigued them. Once their curiosity was satisfied, they asked to see the cruising permit that the crew received when they checked into customs just north of Lake Champlain. Luckily, the Admiral knew right where the piece of paper was and went to retrieve the permit.
After the agents copied information from the permit down, they asked if the crew had seen any suspicious activity while they were out cruising. The skipper replied that the only thing suspicious that they had seen were three people dressed in black running around in a black boat. Once the agents realized he was talking about them, they laughed and wished the crew safe travels.
Once the crew got settled in their slip, they walked to the rental car company, PEI Rental Cars, to see if their car was ready for pickup. Upon arrival, the owner apologized and said the people who had the car had extended till 1800 and were in the process of driving back to the office.
The crew decided to try some fish and chips while they waited for the car to return. They ordered a 2 piece cod dinner that they planned to split. When the food came out they each had a large helping of fries and 2 large pieces of cod. When the bill arrived, they were only charged for 1 plate. The skipper brought the error to the servers attention and said that they would pay for two since they had eaten all the food. The server said no, that she served them the 2 piece dinner and had split the plate. The skipper is still not sure how they count to 2 in Prince Edward Island but he will gladly eat 4 large pieces of cod and pay for 2 anytime.
The crew finished dinner, procured the car, and went on a provisioning run at the local Walmart a few miles away. When the Admiral went to pay, she learned two things rather quickly. For starters they do not bag your products at this Walmart, it is ‘bag your own’ country. Secondly, they do not provide any bags.
Luckily, the Admiral always carries her own bags so the latter was not an issue. The crew learned that PEI has passed a law outlawing plastic bags, and the law just went into effect. Most of the stores on the Island claim they have not had time to come up with a bag solution. Seemed apparent to the skipper that they all had found the same solution, require the customer to provide their own bags. Our crew can remember when those plastic bags were the environmentally friendly answer to tree killing paper bags. So, how long will it be before this answer is also found to be wrong?
Upon return to the boat, the challenge was to find a place to park. After circling around a bit, the crew found a parking lot that was empty and within view of the boat.
A cruise ship pulled up to the dock this morning and docked just outside the marina. About 0830, the skipper looked out and noticed the empty parking lot was filling up with tour buses and shore excursions. He also looked over at the rental car and all appeared to be fine.
At 0845 the crew departed the boat and walked over to the rental car. When the skipper reached in his pocket to pull out the keys, he glanced over towards the car, and failed to see the vehicle. He asked the Admiral if she could see the car, she pointed and said it WAS right there.
Seems the crew had parked in the taxi cab waiting line for the cruise ship, and the cab drivers had the car towed. Ouch. Then they had to pay a cab driver to take them to the tow company to fetch the rental car. Double ouch. This day certainly got off to a crummy start.
Once the car was rescued from the impound yard, the crew set out to explore the eastern and northern shores of Prince Edward Island (PEI).
They made stops at the Sorous Lighthouse, East Point Lighthouse, and the Greenwich Sand Dunes.
When they arrived at the Sorous Lighthouse, a crew was busy setting up a tent for the annual Sea Glass Festival. There was a young boy following one of the workers around as he hammered in tent stakes.
The young boy was busy hammering the worker with questions. In fact, the boy could ask questions faster than a Gatling Gun can fire rounds. At one point the worker paused from hammering tent stakes and answering questions to make a comment about the boy’s T-shirt. He said, your mom sure dressed you right today.
The skipper was not sure what to make of the comment, but continued to observe the strange dance before him while he waited for the Admiral to finish shopping down the gift shop. At some point the boy tired of his endless questions and turned to find his mom. When the skipper saw the T-shirt he could only laugh at the worker’s earlier comment.
But Why? brings us to the question of why is all this dirt on PEI red? The dirt on the Island is rich in iron ore. When the iron ore is exposed to the air and water it rusts staining the dirt and giving it the red rust coloration.
After exploring the eastern portion of PEI, the crew drove over to Cavendish to try and see the Anne of Green Gables House. Upon arrival they found where the two cruise ships full of tourist were spending the day. The parking lot was full of cars and tour busses. The grounds were covered like ants at a picnic with people. The crew did not have time to fight the crowds and return the rental car on time, so the skipper turned out of the parking lot to head back to Charlottetown.
After returning the rental car the crew went over to Confetti and Island Office where they joined the two other crews for dock tails before finding a restaurant for dinner.
The crew left PEI in the morning to cross the Northumberlad Strait to Nova Scotia. The run across the Strait was much less dramatic than the loss of the rental car the day before. Most of the day was wide open big water with not much to see.
They ended the day by anchoring across the marina in Pictou. There was an interesting looking, rather large, old wooden boat beside the marina. The vessel is a replica of the Hector.
The original Hector left Scotland in 1773 and brought the initial 189 Scottish settlers to New Scotland, modern day Nova Scotia. These first colonists established the Village of Pictou as their new home and hence it’s nickname, “The Birthplace of New Scotland.”
The crew had another successful run in the big open water today in fabulous cruising conditions. The first forty miles were dedicated to reaching Cap George, where they altered course into St George Bay. Within just the first few miles they began seeing whales and harbour porpoises. By the end of the run they had spotted three whales and at least 10 porpoises.
The final destination today was an anchorage in a well protected cove. Once anchored the crew sat back to relax and enjoy the peaceful surroundings. Unfortunately the peaceful day was interrupted by bad news from a fellow boater on the Down East Loop.
Seems Laughter joined the ranks of shipwrecks along the St Lawrence River. Yesterday while trying to enter the marina at Rivière de Madeleine, the crew were abruptly hit by strong winds that shoved them into the rocks.
Two weeks ago when our crew was there they encountered strong winds in the late afternoons. The cruising guide called this phenomena, Katabatic Winds. The winds turn a calm, peaceful sea breeze around abruptly. The winds starts to blow from shore and rapidly builds to 30-35 knots.
The only good news with this story was that the crew managed to get to shore safely. The whole ordeal was a not so subtle reminder just how quickly conditions can change from a great day, to your worst day, in just a matter of moments.
The crew weighed anchor and got under way towards Bras d’Or Lakes. Their goal was St Peter’s Marina. After just a few miles they entered the Strait of Casno and headed to the Casno Lock.
The lock and causeway were opened in 1955 to to help ships traverse the Strait. Prior to the causeway, the current would rip through the Strait at 6-7 knots. The engineering challenge was how to fill the 155 foot deep Strait to stop the current. The solution was determined to be right before their eyes. They quarried 10 million tons of rock off of Porcupine Mountain to backfill the Strait and create the roadbed.
After clearing the lock, the crew made way to the Bridge over the Lenox Passage. The Bridge was under repair which might cause the crew some problems and cause a 10 mile detour. When they arrived at the bridge they found scaffold built out into the waterway making the tight squeeze just a bit smaller. The crew worked together to pilot Still Waters II under and past the hazards.
Next challenge was the St Peter’s Lock. When the crew arrived at the lock, the gates were swinging open to allow passage. The lock and Canal were first put into operation back in 1869. To celebrate the 150th year of operation, the lock was passing out Certificates of Commemoration. Still Waters II was the 424th vessel to transit the St Peter’s Canal in 2019.
After the Canal, the crew turned towards the St Peter’s Marina to bring the run to a close. They found Island Office already tied to the pier. They had arrived yesterday making the run from Charlottetown in just one day. The two crews walked into town and had an enjoyable dinner together.
All in all, it has been a great week for the crew.
Followed Reel’n & Deal’n thru the St Peters Lock
The crew will spend the week exploring the Bras d’Or Lakes region and this island paradise before returning to the mainland of Nova Scotia.
We had more people join the ranks as virtual crew members this week by following the blog. Welcome aboard to Map195. And a special welcome aboard to Alex and Marilyn, thanks for the tour of your one of a kind boat, it is beautiful.
The crew managed to make 5 runs during the week and actually arrived in Summerside (5) on Saturday. This was truly amazing based on the amount of open water the crew crossed this past week. Thank you Lord for calm winds and still waters. Along the way to Prince Edward Island, they also made the following stops: anchored in the fishing village of Renard (1) on Monday, made a long run to Shippagan (2) on Tuesday, after taking a weather delay day on Wednesday, they anchored off Portage Island (3) Thursday, then on Friday they made Bouctouche (4), and completed the week by pulling into Summerside (5).
Click on the Still Waters II Travel Map to see detailed Voyage Logs.
This week’s video shows Still Waters II watching Gannets on their morning feeding frenzy. Enjoy!
In the early morning hours of May 29, 1914, the RMS Empress of Ireland dropped the pilot off at Pointe-au-Pere lighthouse and continued towards the open waters of the Gulf of St Lawrence. Unbeknownst to them, the Storstad, which carried 11,000 tons of coal, was on a collision course with them. The heavy fog that night prevented any attempt by the navigators to alter course and avoid a collision.
The Storstad collided into the side of the Empress of Ireland. The bow rammed 20 feet into the ocean liner opening a huge hole in her side. The skipper of the Empress directed the captain of Storstad to maintain a full bell to keep the hole plugged.
The strategy failed, the ships separated, and in less than 14 minutes from the collision the Empress of Ireland lay on the bottom of the St Lawrence River. The loss of life was large due to the fact that most passengers and crew were asleep at the time of the crash. The Empress holds the record for the most number of passengers lost on a liner in peace time. The 840 deaths beats the more famous Titanic by a mere 11. The sinking is also Canada’s worst peacetime marine disaster.
However, there has been an interesting story circulating for years about a man named Frank Tower who is linked to both the Empress and the Titanic. As the story goes, he was a crew member aboard the Titanic. He was one of the 215 crew members who survived the sinking.
He then took a job on the Empress of Ireland, and somehow managed to be one of the 201 crew members who survived that collision.
But wait, there was one more famous ship sinking, the Lusitania which was sunk by a German U- boat (U20) off the Irish Coast and drug the US into WWI. And yes, Frank happened to survive that sinking also.
The skipper ran a probability assessment that one person could have survived all three disasters. The probability that Tower could have survived the three wrecks, 0.125. That got the skipper digging for more information.
Turns out Frank Tower was not listed as a crew member on any of the three ships. He was not listed as a passenger either. The skipper began to wonder if this story could be true, or not. In his search for the truth, the skipper tracked the Urban Legend down to a Ripley’s Believe it or Not! Encyclopedia of the Bizarre: Amazing, Strange, Inexplicable, Weird and All True! publication.
Now this brings us to an interesting quagmire, in today’s Information Age, which one is true? The internet or Ripley’s? Inquiring minds want to know?
Yes, this is exactly what the skipper does with his time when waiting out weather delays. Trying to unravel the mysteries of life.
The crew woke to fog, rain, and wind this morning. Strange combination. After studying the weather apps for an hour, the skipper determined it would probably be a decent enough day to travel. Now to convince the Admiral of the same.
He started the discussion with, “if we go out there and it is worse than expected, we can always come back to the dock.” He followed that up with, “I also have a plan B stop 20 miles down river where we can pull into if conditions deteriorate.” Then concluded with, “but I believe conditions will improve as the day goes on.” The Admiral mulled it all over and agreed to give it a shot.
From shore, looking out to sea, across the marina
The crew headed up to the marina restaurant for breakfast, and to allow for some time to pass with hopes the fog would lift just a little. After hearty cheese omelets the crew rigged the boat for heavy seas and shoved off.
After they got out of the marina, conditions were tolerable so they nixed returning to the dock, hugged the shore to try to minimize the effect of the 15-20 mph southwest winds, and made way towards the Plan B spot downriver.
Watching waves crash into the rocks
Passed interesting lighthouse up on shore
Crew surprised by number of houses along the shore
As well as many small villages strung out along the shore
After two hours of cruising, they arrived at Plan B. As hoped, the conditions had improved enough to convince the crew to push on toward Rivière Renard. As they continued, the fog began to lift and the sun finally decided to make a showing and shine through the clouds. By the time they reached the basin at Renard, the winds had died off enough that the Admiral suggested they anchor rather than take a marina. So anchor they did.
View from anchorage
By night fall, the winds had completely dissipated. A last weather check showed favorable conditions for an early morning departure. Hope it holds.
Ever experienced a time that was so good that you did not want it to end? Well, that was the reality for today’s run. The wind and waves combined for a pleasant cruise on the water, while the scenery along the shore line was spectacular.
The Gaspé Peninsula lived up to its reputation of rugged scenery. The high rock cliffs were truly amazing to see and watch as the crew cruised around the Peninsula.
Scattered along these cliffs were what seemed to be a never ending supply of lighthouses. The crew was thankful that it was a clear blue sky day so they could see them all.
A local back in Madeleine told the crew that he had sailed all the way to the Bahamas and back home. He went on to say his worst experience on the water was rounding the Gaspé Peninsula and crossing the Bay of Chaleur. He warned the skipper to pick his weather window carefully. So far the wind and waves have provided a wonderful calm relaxing run.
After the crew rounded the Cap Gaspé, they set their sights on Perce Rock and the Isle of Bonaventure. Both are Bird Sanctuaries protected by Parks Canada.
The skipper had planned to drop anchor by Isle of Bonaventure and hike over the island to the birds nesting along the shore. But all these birds reminded the skipper of some words of wisdom, ‘A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.’
With the favorable conditions out on the water and the warning from the local, the crew decided to skip both Bonaventure and the Beaufils Marina and go ahead and cross the Bay of Chaleur while the window was open. A final check of the weather showed the crossing window would close overnight with no good window in the foreseeable future.
The skipper altered course to cross the Bay and got comfortable for the additional 45 miles tacked onto today’s run, making it 98 miles long. The crossing went well with a few seal sightings, one whale sighting, and meeting a couple of dolphins swimming north. The end of the long day found the crew safely docked in Shippagan, New Brunswick.
Turns out the crew made an excellent decision. Confetti posted on a Down East Loop page about the Beaufils Marina and suggested people bypass the stop because the docks are not in the water this season. In addition to this info, the crew of Confetti also posted some pictures of their time spent on Bonaventure. Thanks to Vicki and Mack for sharing their adventure on Bonaventure, the following pics are from their hike around the island.
The weather was tolerable for a run to Miramichi Bay, but the conditions were forecast to be even better tomorrow. Based on that info, the crew decided to stay put today and explore Shippagan.
The first thing the skipper noticed was a French Flag flying, but with a yellow star in the blue field. That was odd looking.
There must be some significance to the flag because it shows up everywhere one looks.
The flag honors the heritage of the Acadian’s who first settled here in the 1700’s from France. The yellow color represents the Papacy while the star symbolizes the patron saint for mariners, Mary. The star is placed on the blue field because blue represents Mary.
The skipper also went to the Aquarium to learn about the sea life that lives in the water surrounding this area. He found an explanation of why lobsters are different colors but turn red when boiled. Short answer was they have red pigment in their shells, but red is made up of shades of yellow and blue. So lobsters display different colors depending on the makeup of the blended shades. However, when put in hot water the pigments all merge to give the characteristic red lobster.
The skipper also got to see about six different species of cod, but the most interesting fish were the sturgeon that they had in several tanks depending on their size.
They also had three seals in a pool so the skipper was able to get a few Harbor Seal pics.
The skipper was interviewed for an AGLCA POD Cast in the morning. After the interview, he made a dash over to Tim Horton’s for another round of donut holes. And yes, he remembered to order only 20 this time. The delay in departure allowed the crew to see Alex and Marilyn one last time. Our crew got a tour of the one of a kind boat owned by Alex and Marilyn. Thanks for asking the crew aboard. Oh, and you have a really neat boat!
Once the crew got underway they passed under a lift bridge and worked their way out of the winding channel to open water. They passed a light marking the channel entrance. This light was the last thing the crew saw for about 50 miles besides the open water.
After those long boring miles, the skipper sighted a buoy that marked the entrance to the Miramichi River. Kinda sad when a floating navigational aide brightens up your day.
The skipper tried for 30 minutes to find enough water on the north side of Portage Island to enter the anchorage. After plowing mud a few times he decided to try the south side of the Island. Once anchored, they began to see seals with their heads up admiring Still Waters II. At one point, there were nine seal heads above water looking around. Can you spot the one below?
The sun decided to go hide behind the shore and close the curtain on the seal show.
The crew weighed anchor and headed out of the Miramichi River. They found themselves surrounded by several hundred Gannets flying about in a wild feeding frenzy. Once a bird spots a victim swimming in the waters below, the bird banks and plunges toward the water below. Just before hitting the water, they tuck their wings and assume the looks of a javelin to spear the prey.
After watching the sorties fly their morning breakfast missions, the crew rounded Point Escuminac, and entered Northumberland Strait.
This light marks the reef as boats make their way around the Point.
The run in the Northumberland Strait would be another 40 mile long boring run in open water. A couple of lobster boats were about the only thing the crew saw for most of the day.
Hauling in the catch.
Eventually the lighthouse marking the entrance channel came into view. The crew rounded their way into the narrow winding channel. After an hour they arrived at the marina. The best thing about this marina was a working pumpout. It had been 19 days since the crew last pumped out their holding tanks because none of the small fishing villages along the Gaspé Peninsula had a working pump out system.
The marina office and captains lounge was housed in this building.
The building was once office space for a saw mill that once occupied this space. Hence the name, Saw Mill Marina. The crew walked around town and learned that a Farmers Market is scheduled for the morning. Sounds like an event to explore.
The crew walked to the Farmers Market and were exceptionally surprised with the quality of the market. Cars were parked both sides of the road as far as the eye could see.
The skipper had a good visit with a local bee keeper selling his honey. The bee keeper had a show hive on a table and you could watch the busy bees going about their business taking care of the Queen.
The crew enjoyed the Market until around 10. They then headed back to the boat and shoved off the dock to make way to Prince Edward Island. The crew had another wonderful calm cruising day across the Northumberland Strait. After the 30 mile crossing, they arrived at Summerside where they will stay for the weekend and launch their exploration of PEI.
Lighthouse announcing arrival at Summerside
The crew went walking around town and found a street concert underway. Actually, it was the first annual Mike’s Family Reunion. Mike being a Restaurant sponsoring the concert. They had bands playing from 1300 to 2300. Each band played a 45 minute set. The crew listened to three of the bands, but Looper midnight showed up so they called it a night and headed back to the he boat.
The crew will spend the first part of the week exploring Prince Edward Island. They will then start towards Bras d’Or Lakes.
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.
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.
This week’s video shows Still Waters II as she watches a pod of Beluga Whales swim with a Narwhal. Enjoy!
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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.
Welcome aboard to usfman and NASIRUDDIN Foundation who started following the blog and became our latest virtual crew members! Glad to have you aboard? Special shout out to all virtual crew members who take the time to read and comment on the blog. It encourages Eric to keep chronicling the adventure.
The crew made four voyages this past week. They left Quebec on Tuesday and took a marina at Cape Eagle (1) in the evening. Then it was a foggy morning on Wednesday as they made their way into the Saguenay Fjord and stayed at the St Jean marina (2). Thursday, the crew went further up to the Bay of Eternity, then turned around and anchored a couple nights off the Isle of St Louis (3). They ended the week with a voyage to Tadoussac (4) on Saturday morning. The crew has lost count of the number of Beluga Whales they have seen in the past week, but the number is easily over a dozen and probably approaching 20.
Click on the Still Waters II Travel Map to see detailed Voyage Logs.The voyage of discovery did answer the following questions this week:
This week is a video of the first whale the crew ever saw on the Great Loop. The humpback whale spray from the blow hole startled the skipper when it came up just 10 yards off the port side of the boat. The skipper managed the wherewithal to grab his phone and capture the unforgettable moment on video. Enjoy!
Today the crew decided to go eat at Ciel for Sunday Brunch. It is one of those restaurants in a tower with a rotating platform.
Took about an hour to circle and get a 360 degree view of Quebec City.
Happy Canada Day! This is the National Day of Canada which celebrates the founding of Canada back on July 1, 1867 by uniting the colonies of Quebec, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick.
The crew spent the day preparing for departure into the Charlevoix region of Quebec. After going to the local grocery for provisions, the crew moved the boat thru the lock guarding the marina basin, and took a spot on the floating dock.
Because of the tides and current, the cruising guides tell prudent skippers to leave two hours before high tide at Quebec City. High tide is at 0620 in the morning, necessitating an early departure at 0420. Sunrise is at 0454, so as soon as the skipper can safely see, the crew will shove off.
Well, it was finally time to say good bye to this magical place called Quebec. The skipper was surprised how light it was at 0400. He did the morning fluid engine checks and started the engines. The Admiral was up and moving and the crew cast off and were out of the marina by 0430.
Quebec at 0430 as the crew pulls away from marina
There was not much time before the first attraction of the day, Montmorency Falls. The Falls are 272 feet above the base below, 98 feet higher than Niagara Falls.
In winter, the spray at the bottom of the falls creates a large ‘sugar loaf’. Since the skipper doubts he would ever be in the frozen tundra to see this feature, he found this pic to view from the warm comfort of the boat.
One last look over the shoulder at Old Quebec City.
The region that the crew will be cruising in over the next week is called the Charlevoix, named after Pierre Francois-Xavier de Charlevoix, a French Jesuit explorer. The region is characterized by the Laurentian Mountains that come right down to the river.
An interesting fun fact about the region is that 90% of the area residents live in the Charlevoix Crater. The crater, formed from an asteroid hit, smoothed and flattened a 34 mile diameter section of the mountains and allowed farming and settlement.
The crew continues to meet large craft from around the world plowing the waters of the St Lawrence River.
The day’s cruise came to a surprising end when the skipper spotted something in the water, could it be, a Beluga Whale, here? The crew did not expect to see any whales until tomorrow as they approach the Saguenay Fjord. But just one mile from the marina breakwater wall they spotted not one but two Beluga Whales. What a deal, they could even hear the two whales communicating with each other with their high pitched canary sounds. Hence their nickname, sea canary.
The cruising guides all suggest to leave Cape Eagle four hours after high tide at Point-au-Pere. For the crew, that meant leaving at 0702. When the skipper first looked outside he was a bit surprised to see the heavy fog. There was not much choice but to leave as suggested and hope the fog burns off quickly.
So much for hope. The fog hung in there until about noon before it started to lift. That makes for a stressful day when you cannot see much past the bow.
The skipper tracked this sailboat on the radar for what seemed like forever. The sailboat overtook the skipper at less than a quarter mile.
I know what you are thinking, and yes the skipper let a sailboat overtake him. Normally this would be an embarrassment, but today, well today, the skipper was trying to time his arrival at the Prince Shoal Lighthouse. Because of the flooding, the current is stronger than normal and the skipper was running an hour ahead of schedule. He had pulled the throttles back to idle speed and was still making over 10 mph speed over ground.
Prince Shoal Lighthouse in the fog
The crew arrived at the Lighthouse 45 minutes ahead of schedule. Rather than find slack current as planned, they ran head on into a 2 knot current. Once the crew entered the Saguenay River, the crew began to hear fog horns blowing. The radar showed no targets within a mile and a half but the horns sure sounded close. Amazing how sound carries over water.
Ferry Crossing at Tadoussac
In just a few minutes two large vessels appeared on the radar, and then a few minutes later the crew could finally see the source of the horn blasts.
Between the Lighthouse and the Ferry Crossing, the crew saw seven more Beluga Whales. Unfortunately, with the fog, ferries and other boats in the area, there was only time to watch the whales. Hence no pics were taken.
When the fog began to lift it made for some spectacular views. The mountains came straight down to the waters edge (by definition, a Fjord), and then continue down under water for several more hundred feet. The crew cruised over some waters 750 feet deep today.
The crew continued up the Saguenay Fjord taking in the beauty of the mountains while keeping an eye out for more whales. However, no more whales were spotted, but it is worth the trip up river just to marvel at the scenery.
The crew took a slip at the St Jean Marina and plan to go to the Baie d’Eternity tomorrow.
I will start the day with an old Patriotic story that beckons back to the days of our wonderful country to commemorate Independence Day. Since the crew cruised Champlain Lake, I will use characters that hail from that region for the story. Ethan Allen, an American Revolutionary War Hero from Vermont, George Washington who needs no introduction, and the antagonist should be obvious.
As I remember, Ethan Allen ventured over to the British Isles after the war to make a visit to old friends. While there, his friends continued to make fun of his new country, the United States of America, and its new leaders. Of course, this means President Washington was the butt of the shenanigans. One stunt the British pranksters played was to put a picture of George in a most conspicuous spot in the privy, or outhouse. Ethan Allen saw his Commander in Chief in the privy, but made no mention of the picture upon return to the gathering of his friends.
This certainly caught the British by surprise, so one of them finally asked, “Ethan, did you notice George Washington in the privy?” For which Ethan Allen replied, “well it seemed like an obvious place for an Englishman to keep a picture of George so I didn’t think much about it.”
This was certainly not the response the Londoners were expecting, so they asked the obvious follow up question, “Why is that?” To which Ethan wittingly answered, “there is nothing that will make an Englishman shit so quick as the site of General Washington.”
Hope you had a wonderful Independence Day, brought to you by George Washington and his band of Patriots.
The crew made way to the Bay of Eternity up the Saguenay Fjord. The main goal was to see the statue that sits atop a hill at the entrance to the Bay. The crew could make out the white statue several miles before they arrived. As they approached the entrance, the statue grew is stature and came to dominate the point.
After the photo shot, the skipper had to dodge some kayakers who had paddled out to the statue. Once safely past the paddlers, he entered the Bay to see if he could find a spot to anchor.
The crew arrived at low tide so they could sound for water depth to locate a spot they could safely anchor. The problem is finding a spot because the water level drops so fast close to shore. Since the tide change is around 15 feet, the skipper was looking for a sliver of water 5 foot deep at low tide. At what looked to be the best spot, he stuck the bow into some soft sand/mud. Then took a sounding at the back of the boat, 55 feet deep. After considering the risk rewards proposition of this task the crew decided it would be best not to anchor and skip the hike to the statue.
The end of the Bay of Eternity
The crew turned around and headed to the Isle of Ste Louis where they dropped the anchor in 10 feet of water, played out 150 foot of chain, and still had 20 feet under the keel. That should hold them just fine for the next few days.
Still Waters II at anchor
Within the hour of anchoring, the Admiral noticed a Harbor Seal sunbathing on a rock protruding out of the water.
After watching the seal for a while, the skipper decided to use his stalking skills to sneak up on the unsuspecting seal. These skills would have made a French fur trader proud. The skipper dropped the dinghy, and rowed ashore out of view of the seal.
After securing the dinghy, the crew snuck around the backside of the island and had a great view of the seal. After repositioning a bit, the skipper was able to get some good pics of the sunning Harbor Seal.
After a bit, the seal got a little nervous and slipped back into the water. Or did he know the tide was rushing in and his rock would soon be under water? By the time the crew got back to the boat, the rock was barely visible.
The crew took a wonderful relaxing day just watching the water and scenery around them. There was not a whole lot else to do because they had no cell service out in this neck of the woods. The crew did get caught up on a few boat chores and got plenty of quality reading time. All in all, a great day!
The crew woke to rain and light fog. After the rain stopped, the crew weighed anchor and started towards the town of Tadoussac. The skipper kept the throttles set at idle speed and was making 10-11 mph as the current ebbed out with the tide. Once a cell signal was achieved, the skipper called the marina to make a reservation. Luckily the marina had a spot for them.
After arrival, the crew took lunch aboard and then set out to go explore the Whale Interpretive Center. All the displays were in French; however, the museum had books that were in English that explained the displays. A very good curated museum.
After dinner, the crew hiked a loop trail to see if they could spot some whales from shore. Their walk was rewarded with several pods of Belugas swimming out in the entrance channel to Tadoussac.
Who knows what all these boat names mean since they are written in French.
The crew will continue to search for whales along the north shore of the St Lawrence for a few more days. They will then cross to the south shore to the Gaspé Peninsula and visit Saint Anne des Monts. If the weather is good they may even begin to round the peninsula and head south towards New Brunswick.
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.
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.
The crew would like to welcome tom m. aboard as our newest virtual crew member.
Now that Still Waters II has entered Canada, she proudly displays her Canadian courtesy flag in the place of honor off the bow. She also is flying her club AGLCA Burgee, and her Down East Flag.
The crew had a good mix of cruising and sight seeing this week. On Monday, they visited the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum and stayed the night in Burlington (1). Tuesday the crew cruised around Valcour Island and then docked at Gaines Marina at Rouses Point (2). Wednesday, the crew checked into Canadian Customs and then took a spot on the St Jean (3) Lock. Thursday was a short day that ended up in Chambly (4). Friday, the crew visited Fort Chambly before making way to St Ours (5) Lock. The crew ended the week with a cruise to Three Rivers (6).
Click here to read the daily Voyage Logs and Travel Map for last week.
Sometime mid-morning, one of the boats left the town dock so the crew weighed anchor and moved over to the town wall. Of course, this turned out to be easier said than done.
Because of the high Lake level, the town has not put the floating docks in the water this season. This leaves some 4 inch vertical pipes exposed ready to damage the fiberglass side of Still Waters II. The skipper managed to get the boat in close without incident, had a spring line down to prevent the current from pushing them forward into the boat off their bow. The skipper then stepped off the boat to secure the stern line which would prevent the bow from hitting a post.
The current had other plans though. The current caught the stern and started pushing it further from the dock. This caused the bow to close in on that pesky post. The skipper rushed forward to fend the boat off the post. He also directed the Admiral to get up in the helm. He began giving “port forward”, “starboard reverse”, “neural” commands to the Admiral. After what seemed to be 10 minutes of sheer excitement, the Admiral managed to walk the boat back to the wall, and the skipper was able to secure the stern line. That was not easy, but teamwork got the boat safely docked.
With the boat secured, the crew took a stroll around town and got a close look at the waterfalls.
The best thing about moving the boat was that the stern was now facing the waterfalls. After dark, the Admiral noticed through the stern window that the Falls were lit up with colored lights. They remained lit until at least midnight as the skipper finally fell asleep instead of thinking about how to get off the wall in the morning.
Turns out all that planning and loss of sleep was a waste of time. The wind was favorable and was blowing such that the boat easily drifted away from the metal pipes when the crew cast off.
After seven miles, the crew exited Otter Creek and headed south towards the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum. Upon arrival, the crew took a mooring ball near the Museum dock. The skipper launched the dinghy and the crew made way to the dinghy dock. They then walked up the hill to find the Museum office.
The crew spent about three hours in the museum. Their top three exhibits were the wooden boat collection, antique boat motor collection, and the ship wreck exhibits. There are some three hundred known wrecks on Lake Champlain. Who knew. The museum offers a monthly trip out to a wreck and uses a remote operating vehicle to dive the wreck while you observe the wreck topside on camera. They had several videos of the operation and it looked like a boat load of fun.
The museum offered a 20% discount on lunch at the Old Mill restaurant. The crew walked over and had an interesting lunch. The guy who sat them had a British accent, while their server was from Bulgaria. Then an airplane landed and taxied to the backdoor of the restaurant. The Admiral got her first Lobster Roll of the season, while the skipper stuck with the tried and true, medium rare hamburger. And yes, the food was excellent.
The museum had a whole building dedicated to the Battle of Valcour Island. Benedict Arnold led a group of vessels that were built back in Whitehall against a much superior armada of British ships.
The New York had the largest number of casualties. All but one individual lost their lives when one of the cannons exploded on board. The canon below was found where the New York went down and is thought to be the failed canon.
After lunch, the crew headed back to the boat, then made way to Point Bay Marina. The skipper learned that they were selling diesel fuel at 2.99/gallon. Since he knew that Burlington was selling fuel for 3.39/Gallon and Rouses Point price point was 3.79/gallon, this was a no brainer.
After taking on fuel, the crew headed to their final destination of the day, Burlington Boathouse. Once docked, the skipper headed for the camera store. The computer screen no longer recognizes the keyboard. This has resulted in no means to download pictures from the Canon Rebel Camera to the computer. The skipper is looking for adapters to get pictures from the camera to the laptop screen or iPad. The search continues. Until a workable solution is found the crew will use iphones and iPads for cameras. Quality is not as good but is workable.
Next to the Boathouse is an area dedicated to sailors because of the impact of the naval engagements along Lake Champlain.
The memorial area also had stones for both the Battle of Valcour and the Battle of Platsburg during the War of 1812.
When the crew left Burlington and headed towards Rouses Point near the Canadian border, the skipper took a little side trip around Valcour Island. On the west side of Valcour Island is where Benedict Arnold set up his small fleet of ships to ward off the far superior British Navy in October 1776. All but one of the American ships were captured, sunk, or burned to the waterline in the two day battle. Though the ships and battle were lost, the overall mission was a success.
Valcour Island is to the right in the pic below. The water seen is where Benedict Arnold set up his small fleet to fight the British.
I hear you asking, ‘How can that be? A loss is a win?’
Easy, the mission was to delay the British from advancing down Lake Champlain and into the Hudson River Valley. Since it was so late in the year by the time the British secured victory over Lake Champlain, they did not have time to fortify their position before winter arrived. Consequently, the British returned to Montreal and Quebec to layup for winter.
This delay allowed the Patriots time to reinforce their positions at Ft Ticonderoga and eventually win the Battle of Saratoga that we discussed last week.
A Lighthouse now stands on Valcour Island overlooking the battle scene
This is why some scholars refer to Lake Champlain as the first Great Lake, cementing its place in our nation’s history.
After the little detour, it was time to get back on course and get to Gaines Marina for the night.
Before leaving the marina, the crew went over and pumped out the holding tanks. They are not sure of the availability of pump out stations in the areas ahead, so decided to leave with empty tanks. The task should have been $10, but before the skipper paid for services rendered, he started a conversation with the dockmaster. The skipper reported a few problems with their slip; the water did not work, the electric hook up panel was not properly installed, and there was a broken lamp with glass on the dock.
The skipper suggested that the dockmaster go look at and fix the issues. He also mentioned that he was able to secure work arounds so the issues did not impact their stay.
The skipper then turned to the clerk at the counter to pay for the pump out service. The dockmaster told the clerk that the pump out was free and wished the skipper a good day. Well, the Day has certainly got off to a good start.
The crew shoved off the dock, cruised into Canadian waters, and then landed at the Customs Dock. The skipper is sure hoping his good fortune continues and there is no repeat of the Customs fiasco from 2016.
Fort Montgomery on the way to the Canada Customs Wharf
The skipper and Admiral went inside to meet with the Customs Officer. The Officer reviewed the boat documentation paperwork and asked where the crew was going. The skipper responded that they would be cruising the Down East Loop and gave a high level description of the route. The officer then asked how long the crew would be in Canada. The skipper responded about two months. So far so good.
The next question was a bit of a surprise. Not the question, because it was expected. It was the way the question was asked. The Officer stated, ‘I see you are from Texas, do you have any guns or weapons onboard?’ The skipper replied, ‘Not on board.’
The follow-up question was asked with a bit of a smirk and sarcasm, ‘Do you own any weapons?’ Which the skipper gladly answered with a big grin, ‘Yes of course I own weapons, but I did leave then all back in Texas.’ This might have just started to slip down the rabbit hole and go south.
The Officer then stated, ‘I am only going to ask you this one more time, If I go down to your boat and conduct a search will we find any weapon?’ The skipper invited them to go search but assured the Officer that they would find no weapons.
With that dance completed, the Officer asked if October 1st would be sufficient time to explore Canada and return to the US. The skipper said that would be plenty of time. The Officer completed the paper work, returned the passports, and wished the crew safe travels.
With that little task behind them, they shoved off and made way to St Jean where the crew will spend the night at the beginning of the Chambly Canal.
On the dock at St Jeans
There was a park near the dock with public art displayed and even had a working piano inviting you to come bang out a tune.
The Chambly Canal runs 12 miles beside the Richelieu River and allows boaters to bypass rapids in the river. The Chambly Canal opened in 1843 and facilitated exports of Quebec’s industries to the United States. The Canal is still operated manually, well except Lock 9 which is operated hydraulically. One of the locks may have been updated, but the one thing that stands out the most is just how small the Chambly Locks were built.
One boat and the lock is about out of room
Today was the last day for restricted operations of the Chambly Canal. Tomorrow, the canal will be fully staffed and operational. However, today there are only two lock openings. The crew was assigned the 1330 opening to begin passage of the Chambly Canal along with Jill Kristy and Wild Goose. Three boats in those little locks, this could get exciting.
At 1030 the Lock Master contacted the three boats and directed them to prepare to relocate to the floating dock just before Lock 9. Total travel distance would be less than quarter mile but required coordinating two bridge openings. The crew moved and waited for their start time.
On the dock waiting on lock
The empty lock calling our name
Still Waters II waiting for gates to open and a green light
At the appointed time, the crew started the engines and moved into Lock 9 with a port side tie. Jill Kristy came in next and took a position on the starboard wall. Next, Wild Goose came in behind Still Waters II on the port side. It was a tight fit but the three boats managed to squeeze into the 100 x 23 foot lock.
The rain decided to fall and dampen the excitement of the days cruise. With only about 12 miles to go at 6 mph, 6 locks, and 5 bridges to open the crew was not looking forward to getting soaked. But soaked was exactly what they got. Then once they landed at the park just before Lock 3, the rain stopped.
Time to find the Parks Canada employee, get the hydro (electric power) hooked up, and turn on the dryer and get all these wet cloth dry.
The current day Fort Chambly is actually the fourth Fort built on the location. The first three were all made of wood and were initially built to protect the French assets from the Iroquois. The current Fort was built in 1711 and saw action in the American Revolution.
The skipper was surprised to find out that the architect was a Fuller
The crew also went and got a good look at the Chambly Rapids before shoving off.
After learning a bit about New France history, the crew walked back to the boat and prepared for the last three locks on the Chambly Canal. This also meant saying good bye to the crews of Jill Kristy and Wild Goose, they will be turning towards Montreal and our crew will not see them again this season.
The crew was joined with one other boat thru the three step locks. The lockage went fine until the last lock. Because of strong North winds, the Admiral was having trouble keeping the bow of the boat in position along the lock wall. The skipper went up and traded positions with her and managed to get the bow back along the port wall. When the gates opened, the skipper made the line fast, started the engines, while the Admiral cleared the lines. They were both glad to be done with those little locks.
The crew cruised by Fort Chambly and had a good view of the Chambly Rapids. They crossed the Bay of Chambly and entered the Richelieu River.