Adventure by the very nature of the word itself indicates challenges, at times hardships and exhilarating experiences. This little adventure of ours has been amazing but for sure it’s not been all pretty sunsets, cockpit cocktails, and rainbows.
The waters of the Saint Lawrence are now registering close to freezing temperatures and night time temperatures, not much more. Anchorages of any sort, good or bad will be limited from here on in. We could take the easy route and stop at marinas each day but we equipped R.E.D. so that we could be more autonomous and that’s what we are determined to do.
So we’re now at another crossroad where we are evaluating whether to continue on to the Gaspé or whether to head back up river. Yet another night of rock and roll at anchor. Another night of very little sleep. Then the weather report….gale warning.
So this morning we hauled anchor and moved on up river to a little bay that looked better protected from the oncoming storm, well marked with channel buoys, even recommended in our 2016 Guide Nautique.
But after the first two red and green markers, water levels drastically dropped. Dagger board raised, rudders lifted, engine tilted. Crunch…a small crunch but a crunch..a rock in the middle of the marked channel. Tricky manoeuvre by François and we were out of there back to last night’s anchorage. Nothing major damaged but it was another hit to our not-so-sunny mood.
Talking it Over
We pulled ourselves together. Captain installed a couple of our enclosure panels while I made lunch, then in relative comfort we devised our plan. There are still a few things we want to see farther up river. We will treat ourselves to a marina, take a heavenly shower, do some laundry that doesn’t include my cockpit scrub bag, and meet up with friends in a few days. It’s those little things after all that make a difference.
A friend reminds us that ‘a smooth sea never made a skillful sailor’ and I’ll add to that ‘our glass is neither half empty nor half full. It’s refillable”
Here’s to a full glass!
We’ve officially been on the way 20 days, 17 of which have been completely off-grid and at anchor, with 418 nautical miles covered so far. There have been challenges but so far nothing we haven’t been able to handle.
Last night at anchor in Les Escoumins was our second worst night, not so much because of adverse weather but because of wind orientation and through 3 tidal changes we were tossed from 30 ° port to 30 ° starboard until just before dawn. You know it’s bad when you have to hold on in your berth,. But yet again our brave little R.E.D. and the mighty Bruce anchor held tight. I guess we have to expect there will be times such a this and those nights at calm anchorages the reward.
But today is a whole fresh new day with fair weather forecast. Time to make our way across the Saint Lawrence River from the north shore to the south, second coffee and PB&J in hand we hauled anchor and set off occasionally sharing the way with the BFB’s. Even with moderate winds the swells were impressive.
Wrapped, Strapped and Tethered
We would surf the crest of the wave then drop down and disappear into the trough, then up to the crest again. Water temperature 5.8 ° C. Air temperature not much higher.
Purple Lips But Happy
Over five hours at times reaching 7 knots we’ve arrived at our anchorage for the night in a cozy little bay at Île du Bic, a protected wild life sanctuary.
Île du Bic
Entrance to Anchorage
If this location and weather proves favourable we may just hang out here for a day or two exploring. If not, there is a mere 5-6 nautical miles to the south shore.
We are now in an area of the Saint Lawrence where tides and currents will be a major factor. Each day we calculate times of high and low tides, and pick at least three possible locations to stop if and when needed including optimal anchorages.
Just to give you an example, we departed at 09:00 at the calculated high tide to give us the maximum push. We covered 39 nautical miles. Our usual travelling speed, sail and/or motor, depending on the wind conditions, is 6 knots. But because of that ‘push’ of the retreating tide water we travelled (actually surfed) at times 11 knots and arrived 1.5 hours in advance of our usual travelling time.
The force of the water is impressive.
…and even when very little wind exists the water swirls as if boiling.
We face 10′ – 11 ‘ rise in tidal waters now but will be dealing with a full moon soon.