On Friday, October 12th,
I'll be leaving the Royal St. Lawrence Yachtclub
in Dorval aboard the sailing vessel
Yacht, to sail down the St. Lawrence for 2
You'll be able to follow
the journal of this trip by visiting this link
regularly, so you might want to book mark it.
I'll update this site whenever I get into port
with an internet connection and hope to add some
good pictures. The red dot on this map indicates
our latest position. You can check our current
weather conditions by going to the links below.
Check St.Lawrence River
Check Gulf of St.
We left on a sunny Saturday morning and had to
wait at the St.Lambert locks for about an hour.
We motored and set sails to 18 kn winds. It was
smooth and gave me the chance to familiarize
myself with the boat and the array of signals
and lights that comprise marine navigation.
At 13.20 we chanced upon "Julia", Guenter's old
boat that he sold last year and with which I
also sailed down to Florida 15 years ago. The
couple that own it now were on their way up
river to the Royal St. Lawrence yacht club in
Dorval. We reached 3Rivers and tied up at the
dock at 21.00 and Guenter BBQed some bison
steaks in pouring rain for a great supper.
We left the dock at 7.20
and made our way through a touch of mud towards
Quebec. We managed to fix a faulty generator.The
sun came out a bit and the current carried us
swiftly down the St.Lawrence. Once we reached
the Quebec bridge we were making close to 12
We tied up in clear skies at the Quebec Yacht
Club at around 16.00, cleaned up, I got onto the
internet and then we went out for dinner at the
Poisson D'Avril, a great seafood restaurant on
Before going to bed I played a little guitar and
we had a few drinks, watched a sailing
documentary about the South Seas and hit the
We plan to get some spare
parts and then shall say good bye to Ingrid and
Francine, who will head back to Montreal by bus.
We shall miss them and their pampering us with
food and drink.
We left Quebec at 15.00. I
went my first night watch between 0-4. Lots of
lights including stars but little traffic. I
encountered only 4 ships during my watch. Winds
up to 28 kn.
Made it into Tadoussac
against strong winds (32kn) and currents. We're
glad we have 75 hp. Heard gale warnings on radio
and tied up at the dock in beautiful sunny but
cold weather at 1020. We went grocery shopping
and then for lunch. I introduced Gunter and
Leonard ( also known as “Dad” because of his
tender age of 90 years) to “Maudite” and “Fin du
Monde” strong beer. They’re napping now…On our
way back we saw a boat unloading boxes of my
favorite sea urchins that they had caught
diving.. We keep seeing them (2 boats) coming in
and out and unloading, must be a thriving
business. Coming soon to a sushi restaurant near
0800, beautiful sunny day,
we just had breakfast and are heading for the
Gaspesie. I saw a whale 200 m away. The wind is
from behind and around 15 kn. The sun is heating
up the cockpit. We're motoring with the foresail
(genoa) set. It is smooth sailing. "Dad " fries
up some pork chops with baked potato and peas
for dinner along with some of his home made red
wine which is excellent and takes on the 2300 to
I take on the 0300 to 0700
watch and see the sun come up as we make our way
past the Gaspesie coastline. I spot another
whale during the day and this time the others
see it too. I even caught it on video. We seem
to be the only boat out there. No ships or
fishing boats sighted all day. By 2200 we
finally tie up at the town of Gaspe.
The Club Nautique de Gaspe
is pretty well shut down and offers no more
internet connection "pour l'hiver". I had to
cross the bridge into the big town to find an
internet cafe. The Cafe des Artistes is a truly
beautiful place with all kinds of maritime
themed sculptures and paintings. The country
people are very friendly. One really feels the
difference compared to city people where
everybody has more of a tunnel vision. We'll be
heading for Charlottetown after I get back to
We cast off at 12.45 and
motor for 2 hours out of the bay. Since we just
passed the most northerly point of our trip
we're looking forward to heading South. The
weather forecast predicted an easterly wind (~20
knots)which should have given us a nice beam
reach. We pass Perce's Rock and I take the
obligatory portrait photos, then we circle
Buenaventura Island and I take video of the
hundreds of thousands of birds that nest in the
rocks of this nature reserve.
Now it is dark and we're heading straight into a
southerly wind that ends up gusting up to 38
knots right on the nose. We have a last nice
steak dinner but you can see in the photo that a
book is already holding the wine glasses. Soon
we're beating against the wind and 10 feet
waves, sometimes only making a speed of 1.5
knots. It's shake, rattle and roll, everything
is falling all over the place, everybody feels
queasy, we go our 4 hour watches and try to rest
as much as possible in between.
By early afternoon the
weather and sea has calmed a bit and we can
finally eat a bit. We turn more east into the
Northumberland Straight and start sailing
without the engine. Now the fun starts. We get a
nice wind (20-30 knots)from abeam and start
doing a speed of 8.5 knots. "Flirtation" sails
beautifully and it never feels as good as after
you get hammered by bad conditions. It starts
raining and when "Dad" wakes me for the 0-4
watch we can see the lights of the Confederation
Bridge which we pass under at 2.45.
We continue to sail right
into Charlottetown harbour where we tie up at
9.00. I phone Kevin who will pick me up at 15.00
tomorrow to have dinner at his home near
Summerside. I'm looking forward to getting some
time off and seeing him, Manon and Sasha, the
new addition to the family.
I hit Charlottetown looking for an internet
connection and some beer to replenish our stock
aboard. Both are difficult. Beer only in Liquor
stores, most of which are closed on a Sunday.
The town has this squeaky clean feel. No seedy
under belly here. Finally a cafe with internet
open to 18.00. So here I'm updating and then
I'll take a walk again to upload there. It's
sunny and warm now and I'm sitting in the
cockpit with a t-shirt on. Tomorrow Gunter has
to get a new impeller for the generator which
keeps wearing out mysteriously and one of our
GPS charting software "Nobeltec" refuses to boot
up and may need to be reinstalled. We're
planning to leave Tuesday morning for Halifax.
I managed to get Nobeltec
running again and am the hero of the day.
I had noticed that it got stuck trying to load
the console and when I hit the old Ctrl, Alt +
delete button to get system diagnostics it also
triggered a Nobeltec diagnostics page which gave
me about 10 different options. I chose "revert
console to default settings" and voila, the
charts were back. I then checked the connection
to the GPS, unplugged it and reconnected it
after checking plug, socket and pins and to our
surprise and delight the GPS was registering
Gunter had already decided
to take us to the Delta Hotel for dinner. He
always takes us to the best places. When we got
there we were in high spirits and when the food
arrived we were in over drive. We had all
ordered the potato crusted halibut with roasted
tomatos and we expected it to be good but not
that exceptional. Along with the meal we had an
unorthodox bottle of red Zinfandel. We found out
that Prince Edward Island is home to one of the
best culinary institutes in Canada and the hotel
recruits all their chefs there. For desert we
had a crustless cheese cake with flambéed
We got back to the boat and watched another
episode of some South Seas sailing trip and hit
the sack contentedly.
Happy Birthday, Ingrid!
5.30 the alarm wakes us
with a carbon monoxide warning. Gunter says it's
a hyper sensitive alarm that is not made for
boats and will even trigger in stagnant air but
we stop the shore power from charging the
batteries and air out the boat. It is so warm
that we can keep the port holes open.
At 10 (Atlantic Time) I get up to a beautiful
sunny day and calm air and waters. We hear it's
24 degrees in Montreal.Gunter and Dad go looking
for impellers while I write. Dad has looked up
the number of an old friend, John, who has
bought Dad's company many years ago. After we
move the boat over to Quartermaster Marina to
get some diesel and water, John shows up and
joins us for lunch at "Lobster on the wharf",
where we sit outside in short sleeves. As we
leave the restaurant Kevin arrives and we show
him the boat as we move back to the Yacht club.
I grab a bag and Kevin takes me back to his home
near Summerside, where Manon and Sasha are
playing in the garden along with some neighbors.
We have a great evening talking and drinking
beer and BBQing some steak and Arctic Char.
In the morning after
breakfast they all drive me back to the boat.
It's Manon's turn to get a tour of the boat. We
all say good bye, they give us a whole, frozen
arctic char with instructions on how to cook it
best and we beat out of the bay against a
southerly wind, but once out in the
Northumberland Strait we start sailing East
reaching 9 Knots under winds of up to 45 knots.
The waves are not very high though and it's an
enjoyable and exciting sail. We go through the
Canso Canal at about 2.30 and search for a place
to tie up at Port Hawkesbury, which we finally
do around 4.30.
I get up around 10 and am
typing my report, breakfast and then head into
town. I update at a high school library at this
otherwise uneventful town and we cast off at
1400 to head for Halifax.
We had little wind and
strong currents and the auto-pilot was not
keeping the course so I was worried we'd have to
steer through the night but Gunter is familiar
with the problem and turned the electricity to
the auto pilot off and on so it reset and
steered fine. The gentle rocking gave me my best
sleep so far and then I went 4-8 watch and saw
the daylight finally creep up the horizon under
cloud cover at 7.30. We tied up at the RNSYS at
16.30. I'm rethinking my plans to leave because
I don't want to abandon them. I've become
familiar with the boat and the company has been
great and I think they could really use me on
their way to Bermuda and the Bahamas. I'll make
some calls and check my commitments and will
make up my mind tomorrow.
We had a nice dinner at the Royal Nova Scotia
Yacht Squadron Club and clarified some matters
concerning procedure in the case of the three of
us going on.
I decided to stay on.
Gunter left for Montreal early this morning. He
is letting me fly to Montreal tomorrow to wrap
up things and I shall return to Halifax on
Wednesday and hopefully we'll have a good
weather forecast to get us to Bermuda, which
could take around a week. - Leonard and I went
to the Alexander Keith's brewery tour and had a
great time. They conduct it in period costumes
and you learn about the brewery and Alexander
Keith as well as early 19th century Halifax with
its strong British Empire presence.
At that time every British sailor and soldier
was entitled to 1 gallon of beer a day,
compliments of the Empire. There were 2000
soldiers stationed here, aside from ships going
in and out, so Alexander kept them happy and
they kept Alexander happy.