Friday, August 29, 2008

The Voyage Really Begins Now!

What I am really starting to appreciate about this cruising lifestyle is that there are no two days that are the same, and that rules are more like guidelines. Since I have the attention span of a gold fish, and have always been accused of colouring outside of the lines, I think that cruising is becoming a pretty natural fit, right down to having to adapt to locking through St. Lambert at night and then beating our way upstream through 5 knots of current to discover the very well hidden entrance to Yacht Club de Montreal. You haven't lived until you hit an eddy that swings your boat through 90 degrees in the dark!!!

I had my last offical duty as an employee this week, when I returned my company issued computers to the Montreal Office. Now I am officially free, and to that end we have been slowly coming to the realization that we can pretty pick and choose what we want to do and when. The only person we can't disagree with, at least not without suffering some consequences is "mother nature"

I've been the Montreal many times, both as a student and as a work slave, but never as a tourist. The city is very different when you are wandering around in old Montreal looking for a place to have lunch or to take a glass of wine. Maybe it was our mood, but Pat and I found the city to be much more mellow than we have experienced in past trips.

We met up with our son Richard, his girfriend Michelle and Pat's cousin Ellen. It was Michelle's first day of a new job and it was the day of my last official duty, so a celebration was in order. Even better, Richard picked up the tab! If I had known that my son was going to foot the bill, I would have picked a better restaurant. Still there were important milestones to celebrate and I couldn't have imagined a better group to celebrate them with!

After a taste of city life, we left Montreal for the St. Pierre Archipelago which is a collection islands in the St. Lawrence just east of Sorel. Even though we wern't very far from Sorel ~6 NM, it may as well have been on another planet. We had the anchorages to ourselves and yes yours truly actually went in for a swim. Everything is better on a boat!! Nudge nudge wink wink, eh!!

For those of you who laughed at me for buying a hand held depth sounder, I can tell you that it is an essential piece of cruising gear. Pat and I used it in the dinghy to plot out places where we could fit Threepenny Opera and places where we could not. Ince the charts do not provide the kind of detail we would like, gunkholing with a dinghy and depth sounder helps avoid getting stuck in the mud. BTW the Rocna anchor is an absolute marvel. It is easy to set and relatively easy to set. when combined with an electric windlass, it is easy to become a pin point anchoring specialist. I drive, Pat hits the switches and we stay put exactly where we want to be!

We took advantage of the pin point anchoring capabilities again this week when we arrived in Trois Rivieres. We had reservations in the the local marina, but at $1.50 a foot, things can add up pretty quickly. I am still stinging over the nearly $300 bill in Montreal, so we were somewhat motivated to find an alternate place to spend at least part of our visit to Trois Rivieres. It is not shown on the chart as an anchorage but the west branch of the St. Maurice River, just south of the Duplessis bridge is an excellent place to drop the hook. Turn left at the first red bouy downstream from the Coast Guard station. Watch your depth sounder and favour the west side of the channel staying 200 feet offshore. You should see at least 15 feet of water, at the current chart datum of +.8 meteres.

It was even better when we discovered Serge M, who's home was a former pump house for one of the local paper mills. It turns out that Serge is also a sailor and keeps a Beneteau 40.5 down in Lake Champlain and a power boat in a slip at his front door. Serge kindly offered us the use of his dock to tie up our dinghy so we had a landing place to pick up Pat's brother Mark who visited us onboard last night. Thanks Serge for the hospitality.

I guess we will end up in the marina eventually, because some of Pat's family would be pretty challenged to ride across in the dinghy, but since we have to fuel up and pump out, a day or two in the Marina won't hurt. I'm sure we are going to have a pretty busy Labour day weekend of visiting, entertaining, provisioning and boat chores so heading out to Quebec City next week will be a good time to rest. We sail with the tide!

Brockville - Trois Rivieres PQ... click on the picture for more pics

No comments: