Batiscan – not our best day
From Trois-Rivieres down the next 250 or so miles the St. Lawrence River current and tide must be taken into account when planning departures. Since we did not want to make any crazy late or early starts, we decided to stop along the way into Quebec City. Our first pause was in Batiscan – a small village on a river just a short distance from Trois-Rivieres. We pulled into this notoriously reversing stream before lunch time and after Steve did his due diligence we landed near the well-marked channel entrance. Steve went off for a healthy walk and returned with news of a big antique shop just off the dinghy dock so off we went again to check that out as well. Then the predicted rain and stormy weather blew up and unfortunately directly into the river adding to the already curious reversing current issues with wind fighting the tides and current. With all the movement our anchor slipped its snubber and we drifted close to the bank. Alert boaters next to us sounded their horns so we could move off the danger zone and reposition our anchor. With their kind help – did we mention that by this time it was also raining, blowing at 20 knots, -50 degrees, and getting dark? - we lowered our second anchor into the dinghy and pulled our bow out with the windlass and the stern with the help of the hardy Canadian boaters. A less than restful night ensued with one or the other of us checking and rechecking the anchors – by now two of them – and the depth as the tide ran its ups and downs. The two anchor lines were twisting as our boat continued to reverse in the current, wind and tide. Needless to say the mess on the anchors took more than a few minutes to sort out as we pulled up to head on downstream for Port Neuf. Thankfully the winds had died overnight and Steve expertly disentangled the two anchors, plus raised the dink while Julia managed to keep the boat in deep water and on course. We were grateful that none of the BIG freighters that regularly use this transport route were around as we chugged on north – their monster wakes would have been most unwelcome. (I forgot to mention that a vicious wake took a toll on our cargo before we reached Batiscan – tossing the unsecured contents of our home with wild abandon – OK Julia was at the helm and probably did not execute the wake crossing 100% by the book – but cats, and stuff, flew. One TV needs repairs and one pair of binocs is out of adjustment plus miscellaneous items have found new homes. Fortunately Frank did not seem as scared by this upheaval as on previous occasions and he has quickly returned to his pilot house perches.
On a much brighter NOTE: Port Neuf, even on an overcast day, is a friendly and cheerful place. At the marina we were met by Martin who claimed on the phone to speak almost no English, but who in fact managed much better English than our French and flawlessly guided us into a slip. Another visitor on a sailboat jumped out to help him and we were safely tied in this protected basin before 10 AM – after an uneventful passage through the Richelieu Rapids – where current boosted our speeds to 11+ mph from our normal 7. Although the famous restaurant on the marina grounds was not open during our stay, we found a friendly lunch at the Resto Gare Port Neuf. Steve could not resist the Poutine BBQ but was glad he had a medium order, not a large. In this friendly spot everyone wanted to know where we were from and where we were going and seemed happy to practice their English skills when they realized our French was limited.
Working the tides once again tomorrow we will leave for the last leg into Quebec City – just in time to celebrate Canada Day.