Just one picture is all I have for this post. No spectacular sunset. No feisty storm. Just this one picture that tells the story.
We arrived home after almost two months away. And a superb voyage it was! Such a great experience! We’ll sort all that out as we settle in at our home port.
Our vehicle was left at our condo this year inside the garage because of problems with the breaks two years ago after a summer away. Expensive lesson learned. We also wanted to avoid mail accumulating while away and to have the occasional eye on our little land home ‘just in case’.
Two very special people played an integral part in the ease of departure and arrival. Retreived at our club in fine style, us with enough dirty laundry to sink a ship, served a delicious home cooked brunch with great chilled champagne, fine wine and some truly wonderful conversation and a gift of fresh local corn on the cob. Then to arrive at our land home, a welcome back note and bounty from our friend’s community garden.
Béatrice and Dorian, words don’t begin to express how much we appreciate everything you have done for us, on our departure, during our absence and on our return. As I have said so often, it’s the little things that mean so much. Un gros merci! Thank you so much!
….So, I said just one picture would tell the story when as I was writing this my dear Francois realized we were out of a few supplies of the alcohol persuasion and returned with his ‘booty’ in true pirate style…
…neither shaken nor stirred with a slice of lemon and a heart-shaped ice cube. First ice cube I’ve seen in more than two months.
Desire to Inspire
Almost back to our home port, Francois decided to treat us to a little stop over in the Old Port of Montreal.
The entry to the yacht club against the Courant Sainte-Marie brought back memories of last year’s trip along the East River (story here). Apparently not too many sailboats frequent this part of the city because of the fierce strength of the current. Not the time for an engine fail. But our mighty little R.E.D. was soon parked safely amongst the big boats. Very nice club though. A step or two up from the others with welcome chocolates and fresh towels in the showers. It’s the little things.
Montreal Clock Tower
It’s not very often we get to play tourist in our own village so it was a treat to wonder through the Old Port.
Old Port Montreal
…and enjoy dinner at one of the many great restaurants this city has to offer.
Pints for the Thirsty Travellers
We spent the evening back onboard chatting with our boat neighbours who had passed us on the river. Beautiful American Tug flying their Looper flag. And what were the odds that two days later we would be docked next to them at the marina. Great sharing stories and wish you a pleasant and safe finish to your epic Great American Loop trip Lila and Allen.
Room with a View
Now all tucked in we can see the Clock Tower of the Old Port all beautifully lit with changing holographic images against the night sky.
Yet another experience added to our repertoire. Night passage. And the weather couldn’t have been more perfect to cross Lake Saint-Pierre. Relatively flat water, light winds and clear skies.
Trois-Rivières at Night
We pulled anchor around 21:30h from our place on the River Saint-Maurice and headed out of Trois-Rivières. The city lights lit our way.
As we reached the Laviolette Bridge the night descended fully. No longer did we have the city lights to see the buoys that marked the Saint-Lawrence Seaway.
Plotting our Course
Francois had, in advance, placed waypoints into the chart plotter and into the iPad just in case and we had of course our paper charts to be able to consult our progress. As it turned out, radar could have been a great tool but we found that when the skies are clear nothing can replace a kean eye on the water. At first, in the dark, all we could see was a sea of green and red buoys all mixed together, port, starboard, to the left and right, like a two dimensional arcade game. It was impossible to tell which was which at first. I felt a bit of panic in the beginning wondering if we had again taken on too much. During all of this there came an emergency call on the VHF about a collsion of two boats in the Port of Montreal so you can imagine what visions were going through my head. Crazy partying boaters heading home in the dark. It wasn’t a pleasant thought. Not to mention the container ships that frequently navigate the river at night. On land I have trouble driving at night. My depth percetion isn’t that great, but as time went on it became much easier following the channel markers and when it wasn’t obvious which buoy was next the range lights showed us the way. But as always, François was the voice of calm in my head.
The stars were amazing, like a blanket of sparkling lights they covered the sky. Mars and Jupiter were the most clear planets. And the moon, wow! As it rose, its light on the water was magnificent!
Clair de Lune
We were prepared with cockpit cushions fully intending on taking shifts of two hours on, and two off but there was so much excitement generated with the newness of this experience that neither of us felt like closing our eyes.
A coffee and some snacks were all we needed to keep the vision. The container ships (our BFB’s) were foremost the most concern along the way once we figured the party boats were way past their sleepy time. We passed one at anchor being serviced by a pilot boat and farther on, one heading east. We can keep fairly well off channel if necessary but it was a trick judging in the dark when we would hit their wake but it all went very well. The only other one we met was as we reached our anchorage eight hours later.
Sunrise on the Islands
We dropped the hook securing all, then crashed (sleep-wise that is) just as the sun was rising over the Sorel Archipelago. Now after two days have passed, François commented that it all seems like a dream. I guess it was in a way a dream. A dream with a successful outcome.