Day One: Quebec City

Our next adventure has begun. We are on a road trip to Labrador and Newfoundland for the next month.

Day One found us in Quebec City. We’ve been here before, and have a few favourite haunts. We revisited part of the Old City, wandering along the cobblestone streets, and browsing the shops.

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Old Quebec is always a treat for the senses: colour, fragrance, tastes, sounds… Here are a few more photos to illustrate what I mean.

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Then we drove to the breathtaking Montmorency waterfalls.

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Spectacular, even if you don’t climb the many stairs to the various viewing platforms opposite the falls. The cliff face into which the stairs are anchored is sheer slate.

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It does make me wonder how stable it is! But hundreds of tourists climb up and down the stairs every day. If you’re really adventurous, you can even take a zipline across the falls!

 

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Decisions, Decisions

Do we or don’t we, that was the question of the day. All morning we checked the weather and debated.

We have four different weather sites that we look at. It’s rare for them all to agree. In fact, today, they were constantly conflicting. How do you make a decision when you can’t find anything factual to depend upon?

The rain started this morning, the winds were strong and gusty, and the forecast for the next three days includes thunderstorms and rain amounts between 15-30 mm per day.

We had a choice – stay put for three days, and be stuck inside a small boat while the rain pours outside, or take a chance and head to the next anchorage, halfway to our final destination.

We were stuck inside for only a few hours today and I was stir-crazy. It was hot and humid and we had to have the hatches closed because of the rain. So when the time came to make a decision this afternoon, we opted for heading out.

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As it turns out, the forecasted strong wind warning (winds 15-20 knots) was untrue.

The waves were minimal, and the winds were fairly gentle, dying right off by evening.

We’re anchored here tonight. In a calm cove.

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Tomorrow we have about 15 nautical miles to our final destination. There are storms forecast overnight and there is a brief window of clearing between 5 am and 9 am, but will we manage to wake up and get going that early?

Who knows? Tomorrow is another day!

Brrrrr!!!!

The temperature dropped overnight to about 14C so for the first time in this sailing trip, we had to add extra layers. It’s always cooler on the water plus the wind was still strong (although it had veered to the opposite direction during the night).

Today was a motoring day because we needed to navigate buoys from Presqu’ile Bay, through the Murray Canal, into the Bay of Quinte.

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You need to be able to read the charts (maps) to understand which side of the buoys to avoid shallow water, rocks and weeds. You also need to know how to get safely in and out of harbours, and as you get closer to the St. Lawrence River, you need to know the direction and speed of currents and the schedule of tides.

Sailing is not just about putting up sails and heading off on the wind. There’s lots to know, always more to learn, and each day brings new challenges.

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One advantage to motoring is you get to enjoy the scenery. The Murray Canal is a long narrow channel with two swing bridges.

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We’d been told by friends that a man comes down as you pass by and collects the $5 fee by extending a basket out to the boat on a long pole. We didn’t get to see it though because the bridge is being replaced and was wide open.

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We followed the buoys into the Bay of Quinte, past Trenton and the airforce base, and saw the search and rescue aircraft practicing manoeuvres over the water.

Tonight we’re in Belleville and it’s another chilly one. A pleasant treat after so many sweltering days in the sun.

 

Life In A Tiny Home…On Water

Living on a boat, especially a small boat, is a lot like living in a tiny home. You learn to make do with less and everything has multiple purposes.

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The kitchen (called a galley) on our boat is a small L-shape. Barely enough room for one person so we take turns on cooking and dishes duty. Behind the tiny sink is the ice box (which we must continually replenish with ice and drain out the melted water). Beside that is the drying area for dishes. When not used for that purpose, the shelf comes off revealing a two-burner stove. Sailing is also a lot like camping.

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The dining room is a table that folds up or down as needed.

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The living room is our cockpit.

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And the bedroom is the v-berth at the bow (front) of the boat. We pull out those pillows, and the sleeping bags behind them, and there is plenty of room for two people to stretch out comfortably.

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The toilet is called the head, and it’s really a tiny closet with a tiny toilet and tiny sink. You don’t want to be claustrophobic…

It’s a simple life, eating light easy meals, picking up just enough groceries for a few days, doing laundry when you get to a sizeable marina.

Life is easy. Life is good.

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Another Day, Another Port

Today was a lovely day on the water. We left Newcastle at 8:30 am to clear blue skies and…no wind. And so we motored, enjoying the scenery that you can only see from the lake – the towering clay cliffs at Bond Head, three egrets flying just above the surface of the water, Monarch butterflies fluttering past, and billowing cloud formations.

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We did get to sail for a while today. You can check out a short video on Instagram at j_is4joy

We’re in Cobourg tonight, about halfway in our journey already. There is a strange timelessness to this adventure. We no longer remember what day of the week it is (is this part of being retired?) All of the past marinas blend together in my memory, and what lies ahead is unknown.

Perhaps this is what living in the present feels like.

In keeping with that thought, here’s a sample of today’s pleasure…

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Rain Day

Into every adventure, a little rain must fall. We deliberately chose to stay put today because of the forecast. We did get some thunder and lightning this morning and it rained on and off, but that didn’t stop us from enjoying our rest day.

It was a good opportunity to do some needed repairs and cleaning. The speaker in the cockpit has been getting quieter so we took it apart today. It turns out that it’s falling apart inside. Time for a new one. Our marine radio still works but we can only hear it from inside the cabin at the moment. When sailing, you need to be able to hear the calls from the coast guard and other boats, warnings about freighters coming in to a harbour, and weather updates, so getting a new speaker is top in the list at our next stop.

The ice chest had developed a rank odour so it had to be thoroughly emptied and cleaned.

But it wasn’t all work and no play! There was time for an afternoon nap and…a swim in the pool at the clubhouse. Priorities 😊

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Can You Spell HOT?

We’re in the midst of a heat wave and while it’s cool when we’re sailing, it’s stifling at the dock.

We sailed for about 3 hours today in steady winds and gentle waves…at first. Then the wind became gustier and gustier and the waves rougher. For all you sailors out there, we were hitting 5.8-6.2 knots and that was before the gusts hit! A fun ride.

We decided it was time to head into the marina, so we tacked and brought in the genoa. That’s when one of life’s magical moments occurred.

Also heading toward shore was an enormous two-masted sailing ship. It was a beautiful sight. As we got closer, we read the name – HMCS Oriole. Check it out: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/HMCS_Oriole

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It’s over 100 feet long and was launched in 1921…almost 100 years ago! And we happened to be sailing in this part of Lake Ontario on the day that it arrived (it’s on a tour of cities on Lake Ontario and Lake Erie and is currently based in Halifax).

So cool. Even in this heat 😊

Photo Frenzy

Over the weekend, I had the joy and pleasure of being near Lake Ontario. I did a lot of walking, and took photos galore. I’ll share some of my more memorable ones in the weeks to come. For now, here are two that speak to me of spring and new beginnings.

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How green was my valley! Photo by Julie Wise

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Life anew. Photo by Julie Wise