Over the past ten days we have had the opportunity to see and experience some of the great variety that Quebec has to offer, provided from the vantage point of two very different rivers. The mighty St. Lawrence, with its broad and often pastoral views, is perhaps known to many, however the Saguenay, which is deep and fiord-like, we expect is much less familiar. The pictures in this post are from the St. Lawrence only; the pictures from the Saguenay will follow in the next instalment.
Our stops along the way – Sorel, Trois Rivieres, Portneuf, Quebec City, Cap-a-l’Aigle, Grandes Bergeronnes, and tonight, Anse-Saint-Jean – range from large cities to regional centres to very small and out of the way villages. Perhaps because we are cruising on the other side of our county, our boat and port of origin have raised as much curiosity here as anywhere. Despite our poor French language skills (the English we encounter is always better than our French) we are usually able to explain that we haven’t cruised the vessel all the way from B.C. via the Panama Canal, only from Florida. And as has been our experience when travelling in Quebec in the past, everyone has been most friendly and helpful (offers to drive us to the store, or even lend us the car, are typical).
A particular highlight of this part of the trip is that we are travelling through the Saguenay – Saint Lawrence Marine Park, renowned for its biodiversity, particularly the opportunity to observe a wide variety of whales (belugas, minkes, humpbacks, fins and blues) in their natural habitat. We have had both distant and some close up views of belugas, minkes and fins, and hope we`ll be rewarded again before we leave the area.
Our berth at Sorel, which was very shallow and had a tricky entrance…..
…..which we learned the next day had created serious weed build-up around the props and therefore much vibration; this is the Captain performing anti-fouling duties.
Sharing the river with large ships was common as there is much commercial traffic; fortunately there is usually lots of room to move over.
Pont Laviolette at Trois Rivieres.
River scene upriver from Pontneuf.
The Pontneuf breakwater, which extends well into the river from the shore; the marina – and an excellent restaurant – is located at the end.
As with New York, it was exciting to approach Quebec City from the water for the first time.
Our view of Quebec City from the Port of Quebec marina; interestingly, due to the large tidal range, the marina basin is accessed via a lock.
A view of Chute Montmorency, just east of Quebec City, through the Ile d`Orleans Bridge.
After transiting Ile d`Òrleans passage, it`s one cape after another on the way to Cap-a-l`Àigle, the next suitable harbour on the north shore and a distance of 80 miles from Quebec City; note the current at the buoy – we were getting an additional 4-5 mph (more than 20 in total) thanks to the strong ebb current.
A view of the the St. Lawrence north shore and the Cap-a-l`Àigle harbour of refuge (as they call them here).
Lighthouse at Pointe des Rochers, where we encountered…..
…..our first whales, a large group of belugas…..
…..who turned out to be very curious about His Idea; a few came very close to the boat, which was a real thrill.
We think this fellow came up to see the name of our hailing port on the stern!
Entrance to Club nautique de Bergerrones, our farthest point east for our Great Loop trip – 48*13.20’N/69*33.29’W; we were the only visiting boat due to high winds that arrived just as we did; it turned out to be a great place to hole up in – Merci beaucoup to Guy!
Saguenay River pictures to follow…..