Turned the Corner, heading South
06 August 2009 | Anchored in Riviere du Renard
Bob, Fantastic, Wind at our back all day
Several updates to catch up on.
First I have to explain the picture. Alice and I left Sainte-Anne-des-Monts at 05:00 this morning heading just north of east. Still going north although we knew further down the track we would hit our northern most part of the trip, so when we got to Cap Madeliene with its beautiful lighthouse we were as far north as we were going, so out came the Moet & Chandon and we celebrated. It is also quite fitting that Handel's Messiah was playing so we turned up the volume so the seals, whales and who-ever else including our angels, explained below, could hear it. It was one of those life moments, no big deal to the rest of the world but to us it was so special.
Now here is an update I wrote while under sail a day or so ago:
Rimouski was a great stop; the marina loaned us bikes we used to get groceries, booze and engine oil. I decided it was time to change the oil and unlike our quick oil changes for our cars this turned out to be a three hour project. I had purchased a hand pump for removing engine oil but it had several design flaws. Finally after making successful adjustments we were able to make the change. The marina gave us absorbent pads, a container for the old oil and even disposed of the oil for us. Great service, great showers, friendly people and Alice is getting pretty good with her French so we are doing well in the communications department.
We left Rimouski around noon planning an overnight sail moving us further east. After being under sail for an hour the wind died and we powered for another hour. I listened to the VHF weather; strong wind warnings were predicted overnight. Hard to believe when we were powering in no wind at all.
Well the weather guy was right on the money. About an hour later the wind started building from the south, on our beam; first 15 knots, then 20 then 25 with gusts to 30. These were gusts knocked us on our side when they came barreling down from the mountains. The water is deep right to the shoreline so I brought us in to the 30 meter line where with an off-shore wind there were no steep waves, just lots of white-caps, breaking waves. We sailed in these conditions from about 18:00 until around 03:00 when we started seeing thunderstorms filling in from behind. The conditions were deteriorating so I got Alice to agree to call it a night and find a harbor and some sleep. She's a great sailor, 30 knot winds and she's at the mast reefing the main then back in the cockpit helping me furl the jib, all in pitch dark with lightening, rain and lots of wind noise. For those sailors reading along with us, you know the sound of sails flagging in 30 knots, now add in lightening, rain, no light and are we having fun.
We chose Sainte-Anne-des-Monts because it was protected from strong westerly winds which we are experiencing right now. It is a steady 25 knots with gusts to 30 or more, so we've decided to call this a lay day and let the weather settle before continuing further east.
So far our track record for entering harbors at night in strong thundershowers is nearly perfect, last night though the thunder storm sucked up all the wind so we went from 30 to zero in just a few moments. Amazing!! Another note about arriving in unfamiliar harbors at night in less than ideal conditions, in each instance so far there has been someone either listening on the radio offering guidance or a person on the dock. Alice refers to these people as our angels; here it was 03:30, raining and there was a guy on the dock helping us find a spot. In stressful situations it sure helps to have someone there. I asked him why he was up and out at 03:30 and he said the strong winds were shaking his boat so he got up made some coffee and saw us coming in, one of our angels.
Finally I have to comment on the spectactular scenery along the southern shores of the St. Lawrence. This is the Gaspe' peninsula and the northern most point of the Applelatian Mountians. These 2 to 3 thousand foot mountains come right down to the water. It is so majestic, so powerful, so clear, so magnificant. Nature gives us so many beautiful vistas and we feel so blessed to be able to experience such grandeaur. We are so fortunate, and highly recommend a trip to this region.
Last night at dinner a fellow stopped by our table and asked where we were from. After trading introductions he told us he wanted to by a boat and travel to the Caribbean and was so eager to hear about our plans. There are many other people following their dreams and so far we're doing just fine.