Sunday, June 28, 2009

June 21 - 26 ::: Tadoussac,the Saguenay River, Rimouski

SONATA is on the outside pier, Pier #3, between the front of the Tadoussac Hotel and the front of the Marina Officer . . . where you can see how high the office is at low tide . . . a range of 12-15'.

Later in the day we are all off for a shore-side lunch and a trip to the grocery. The wind is still blowing and the ladies are glad to be off SONATA for a while.

The next day, its back on the water again, on our way up the Saguenay River.

After the rough ride, Taylor decided to take charge and guide SONATA into the calm waters . . . off to a mooring ball in Baie Eternite.

As we approach Baie Eternite you can almost hear the music, strains of Ave Maria drifting out over the water. Charlie and Taylor are searching for the 32-foot statute of the Virgin Mary that has been placed on the river's edge up some 400 feet.

And there she is. The statute was hewn out of wood then coated with lead and hoisted into its present position in 1881. During the haydays of the 1900's well-to-do holiday makers would tour the Saguenay fjord on luxury steamers and as they passed a search-light beam would be placed on the statute as Ave Marie was played softly over the steamers speakers.

SONATA eased into the Bay (Baie) past the rocky cliffs and prepared to tie up to a mooring ball; Taylor at the wheel.

With Charlie on the bow . . .

. . . and Taylor at the controls; an easy landing was made and SONATA was secure for the day.

An outstanding job accomplished well!!

As the evening grew near other boaters came into the bay to remain for the evening.

The next day, June 23rd, SONATA had to pay for the use of the mooring ball, so, Taylor took her over the the pontoon dock so Bonnie and she could take a walk into the Park and Charlie could make a donation to the "mooring-ball-box".

During the morning SONATA got "dressed" for her return to Tadoussac . . . so she could take part in the celebration planned for the evening, Quebec Festival Day. Then it was away we go.

The evening celebration brought fireworks and a band on the beach in front of the hotel that played until . . . 0500!?!

Later in the day we had a "distinguished" visitor (unknown) and his family arrive by helo . . . later to be chased away by the incoming high tide.

We all then had a most enjoyable evening with several new friends, Greg and Suzanne Brown (aboard their vessel LARSEN), . . .

. . . and Jack and Christine Vanderloo (now aboard their vessel SOUTHERN CROSS).

On Wednesday we were back at sea in search of the whales. Everyone said they saw whales . . . we had not. We finally saw one do a roll, a couple of times a good distance from SONATA, then we had the seal . . . he stayed on the surface long enough to have his picture taken. A calm foggy day.

A last opportunity for pictures of Taylor and Bonnie. Taylor, Bonnie, and Charlie off from Rimouski to Quebec City. Took three days of travel to move from Quebec City to Rimouski (with other trips included) and will take just over three hours to drive the trip. It has been wonderful having Taylor aboard! She is a joy to have around! She helps with the driving and navigation of SONATA, and does a great job; she also assists with the other various shipboard duties that need to be accomplished. When visitors are aboard she joins in the discussions, and we have been proud to have her join us.................believe she will come back for still another visit!!!! IT WILL BE GREAT!!

On Friday, June 28th, SONATA and crowd crossed the St. Lawrence from Tadoussac to Rimouski. There was a rather thick fog ending in a safe arrival. On the way we saw one more whale roll, this time much closer to SONATA. Then on Saturday, the cruise with Taylor aboard ended. Off to Quebec City and a flight for Bonnie and Taylor which will require a wake-up-time of 0245 in a Quebec City Hotel.

In Rimouski we met up with Chuck and Claria Gorgen on ODYSSEE. ODYSSEE had remained in Rimouski over the winter awaiting repairs by Chuck. Chuck was wonderful . . . he loaned us his truck so that Bonnie and Taylor could be taken from Rimouski to Quebec City to catch their flights home. We traveled in the fog to Quebec . . . by road.

Leaving Tadoussac was a foggy day. A foggy day all the way to Rimouski. Arrival in Rimouski . . . it was time to prepare to let go of Bonnie and Taylor, time to return to Virginia Beach and Knoxville. Charlie will return to SONATA in Rimouski to await Bonnie's return in a week.

June 19 & 20 ::: To Cap-a-l'Aigle and Tadoussac

Leaving Quebec City SONATA took the North Channel and passed by the Montmorency Falls which are some 250 high, higher than Niagara Falls by nearly 100 feet.

SONATA is back in the shipping channel after clearling the East end of Orleans Island.

Just before we reach Cap-a-l'Aigle we enjoy another beautiful sunset with the sun sinking behind the Northern shore of the St. Lawrence River.

Bonnie made still another stunning entry into the marina. She had to enter from the river heading directly into the long pier, then make a right, starboard, turn parallel to the pier into the basin. Not appearing on the Google Earth shot, there was a large sail boat on her starboard side, and two other sail boats on her port side. She entered the basin, gently turned SONATA 360 degrees and then carefully placed SONATA alongside the long pier, starboard side too. The spectators and boaters assisting enjoyed the excellent ship-handling. One assisting boater asked if she might have a sister with the same skills that he could seek.

SONATA departed Cap-a-l'Aigle and started its journey to Tadoussac. The seas were not calm, and only got worse as the trip proceeded (how many times have we said we will avoid rough water?). There are no pictures of the rough seas, everyone was holding on. Taylor can tell you how rough it was, she and Bonnie were in the after berth hanging on. Charlie on the bridge driving and keeping it all-together . . . a long trip. The end of the day placed SONATA alongside the pier in Tadoussac and two fellows on a sail boat, boat behind SONATA in Cap-a-l'Aigle, joined us for a drink after the long hours on the sea. Jack Vanderloo and his friend Charlie Nixon . . . who grew up for a while in Virginia Beach.

SONATA alongside the pier with Southern Cross, Jack's boat, behind us.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

June 14 - 19 ::: Quebec City

Our view of Quebec City from SONATA in the marina.

Quebec City is the only place in North America to have retained so much of its European heritage. History is revealed on our walk through old narrow picturesque cobbled streets.

The Chateau Frontenac, built in 1893, is the symbol of the city.

On a ninety minute tour of the old city, Israel, our tour guide, explains that because of its perfect location, Quebec City was a major battleground between France and England in their fight for control of the new land of North America.

The tour took us up high atop the walls of the old city and to the northeast we could see the route we would be traveling when we proceed down the river toward Tadoussac.

On our way back to SONATA after the tour we stopped at the Cafe du Monde for a little lunch.

Lunch was enjoyed outside where we could view the river.

Passing closest to us is a "laker" going up river and on the other side of the laker is a freighter downbound headed for sea, the Atlantic.

SONATA in the Louise Basin across from the marina office and the fuel piers. SONATA is waiting for her turn at the fuel pump . . . diesel by the liter at $0.98 per liter and will take on over 830 liters before departure.

After many months of emails back and forth we meet our first Down East Loopers, Les and Judy Emery from Hudson, Florida, on board their vessel, VOYAGER II.

Departure from the lock separating the inside and the outside Louise Basin at Quebec City, gives SONATA a new look at the ajoining St. Lawrence and a freighter just passing the basin's opening. Next stop for SONATA will be, Cap-a-l'Aigle some 70 miles down the river.

Monday, June 15, 2009

June 14 - 16 ::: Montreal to Quebec City

Our Montreal Marina as we depart and proceed down river. It was interesting that there are very few boats there on a permanent basis . . . On Friday afternoon the marina begins to fill, and by sunset it is full. Sunday afternoon, everyone goes home and the next week the marina is near empty. What a show, so many wonderful people to talk with. Some could only speak French . . . we talked anyway. A terrific time.

Story has it that traveling down the river to Quebec before electronic navigation one would count the spires along the side of the river. There are many. The clear sky, calm winds, and boost behind us (11.7 kts) makes for a great trip and beautiful scenery.

BUTTERFLY, our new friends from South Carolina. They passed us going down river . . . they are on their way to Sorel and to Lake Champlain. We saw another boat, departing Sorel on its way to Montreal . . . a LOOPER . . . but we were unable to catch their name . . . something like "...Till...".

There are many ships on the river, big ships and little boats speeding around. Saw a "scary" today. Just as we came through Sorel-Tracy 2-5 feet off the port bow I saw something round, black. It was a 55 gallon drum in vertical position, floating awash, just below the surface of the water. I am glad we saw it, even more glad that we missed it. It would have done a job on the shafts and props.

During the passage from Montreal and Quebec we passed many ships. This one becamed named "Barbara's Ship" for Charlie was on the phone with his sister and . . . had to hang up . . . so he could "miss" the oncoming vessel.

As said before, count the spires . . . this is only a portion of the ones that we have seen from the river.

The bridge over the St. Lawrence just west of Quebec City.

Large of the Quebec landscape is the Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac. Construction was begun in 1893 and completed in 1924.

After entering the Bassin Louise we paused for the Lockmaster to ready the lock. Now exiting the lock into the marina basin, the Old Port Quebec, and off to our berth assignment.

A Google Earth picture of our location in Quebec City.