So maybe it’s a smidge audacious to bastardize an iconic line from a literary masterpiece to use as the title of a silly blog post, but like Captain Ahab we’re in search of whales now. Today was supposed to be the day. The couple of boats ahead of us both reported seeing them by the bushel. For us, maybe tomorrow. Because there barely was a ripple in the Saint Lawrence all day, and certainly nothing that was caused by anything remotely Moby-Dickish.
In order to play the tide/current game again, we left at 5:45 as planned. At least by then the sun was high enough to sort of light up Chute Montmorency, so that made the early departure somewhat acceptable. We found it odd that this huge waterfall is right by a city. Locals drive past it every day on their way to work, probably cursing at the tourists who stop in traffic to take a picture. Too bad for them. If we were in a car, we’d stop in traffic to take a picture.
While in Quebec City we feasted several times on vegetables and wine from the farms and vineyards of Île d’Orléans. Today we cruised past them.
Pretty quickly the topography changed. The prevalence of churches remained the same, of course, although the Basilica of Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré was extra cool. Interesting factoid from Google: the convent someplace right around the Basilica has been the home of Redemptoristine nuns since 1907. Now they’re all dead or dying or leaving, so the convent was abandoned until some dude decided it would make a good mortuary. Anyway, the church is still a church, although apparently the cost of upkeep is stressing the Redemptorist brothers responsible for it.
When we get sucked into the scenery, sometimes we need stuff to remind us we’re on an enormous river. Cargo ships and lighthouses do the job nicely.
Hey here’s something we haven’t seen in our 7,000 miles of traveling by boat, a ski resort. Le Massif de Charlevoix has the highest vertical drop in eastern Canada. Which sounds pretty awesome except to the one of us who isn’t a big fan of snow skiing.
What feels like only a week ago, we boasted of riding current downstream to Quebec City. Fourteen knots. Fourteen knots! Boy were we proud of that record. It lasted only until today.
This current is ridiculous. At one point we throttled back to 1200 rpms. We still were doing the 14 knots that we’re now embarrassed we ever mentioned. It’s like that thing with old trees all over again.
The good news is that even speeding along like a pontoon boat with a small outboard, we were able to get sucked back into the scenery. Like the field of yellow something-or-others on top of a green hill.
Just before Cape Eagle we passed another one of those cool Château hotels.
There’s a casino next to the hotel but we didn’t bother with a picture since we figured they wouldn’t let us in, what with Doug taking a cool $200 (American) off the Golden Nugget when we were in Atlantic City. Word gets around.
Then on into the marina. This has to be one of the most picturesque settings for a marina we’ve seen. It’s a tiny joint—and the current at the entrance brought a few seconds of unexpected excitement—but it’s very cozy.
The restaurant was a delicious oasis of middle-eastern meets seafood fusion served by the owner’s daughter because they can’t afford to hire outside help.
Later the 3 of us sat on the shore for a while to give the whales a final chance to show themselves, to no avail. Oscar was particularly sad. We did see seals and ducks, though, so didn’t leave empty handed.
All in all, a solidly enjoyable day.
Tomorrow, however, rain or no rain we’d better see frickin’ whales, or we’re lodging some complaints.