When the sun rises at 5 a.m., getting up before dawn is terrible. Actually it’s damn terrible. However, a massive volume of water goes up and down the Saint Lawrence with the tide. Fighting that water—rather than riding it down—is worse than losing a bit of sleep. Plus in a pinch there’re naps to be had. So we shoved off at 5:30.
We weren’t the only ones who decided on this strategy. Cargo ships from Montreal apparently copied our plan, which we realized when the Nunalik came barreling up from behind and passed us at almost 16 knots. Since we can’t communicate effectively in French we just moved out of the way.
Have we mentioned the churches? Seemingly every mile or two we pass a small town with a distinctive steeple. Dana has photographed just about every one, but mostly they all look the same. Judging by the churches, this is quite the religious bunch up here.
Have we mentioned the current? Today we blistered along at between 10 and 12 knots at the rpms that usually get us just under 8. The Richelieu Rapids—which oddly we encountered on the Saint Lawrence River rather than the Richelieu River—were a swirly-churny mess of rushing water. That was enough to push us to 13.5 knots, which was faster than we could recall Misty Pearl ever going before. Wheeee!
Shortly before we reached Quebec City, however, we zipped under the Pierre Laporte Bridge. This bridge has the longest suspension span in Canada. Pierre Laporte was the Quebec Minister of Labor—or Minister of “Labour” in these parts—when the equivalent of the People’s Front of Judea kidnapped and killed him. The bridge name probably is small consolation to Pierre’s family, but it’s something. Anyway, at the bridge we caught another surge.
We actually touched 14 knots. That’s faster than we can recall Misty Pearl ever going before. Two records in less than three hours! Wheeee!
Around the bend we passed the Château Frontenac. This historic hotel is the east coast bookend to the Château Lake Louise, which we recommend highly as a reward for anyone who (1) backpacks through Banff National Park and (2) has a high tolerance for annoying photo-blocking crowds of Asian tourists.
Arguably the biggest downside to current is docking. (We say “arguably” because going up the Ohio River against the current arguably was worse.) Quebec City solves this problem by jamming a lock between the river and the marina. We had no problem at all getting in. It’s the getting out that seems to be a problem. First, you have to make a reservation. Second, they pack boats into the lock in a way that would make sardines uncomfortable.
We’re not looking forward to the leaving part. What we do look forward to is exploring more of Quebec City. We’ve been excited about Quebec City since we decided to do the Down East Circle. Heck, we even scheduled a walking food tour for Tuesday.
We’re tucked in just below the Old City and don’t plan to move again until at least Thursday.