We left Mount Saint Hilaire amid sunshine and happy boaters on Saint Jean Baptiste day, June 24. It was a fairly uneventful day, thankfully, though the bow watch had their hands full, letting Roger or Erick know about the many boaters out enjoying the weather. We stopped to pump out at a very friendly Marina Camping Parc Bellerive, and gathered a crowd of perhaps 50 people wanting to know about who we were, what the boat was, and where we were going. Brochures were handed out and Zach had his hands full answering questions in French. There was a little bit of rain (of course, it happened during our only lock that we had to go through on the trip), but overall it was a bright and sunny day. We arrived in Sorel, only slightly damp, to dock at an industrial wall right behind a tug getting ready to be scrapped, called the Techno Venture. We could see the huge ships on the St. Lawrence Seaway heading both towards Montreal and out towards Quebec. The sheer scale of those amazes me every time I see one. We also saw a small red inflatable that could have been the clone of the Red Oocher, except for the reclining chairs used by the operators of it.
Stepping the masts in Sorel.
The next day, we started at a little bit before eight o'clock, when the crane from Grues Guerin arrived. The masts went in without issue, booms went on, and the gaffs were placed onto the decks of the boat. We were done with the crane work before noon, just in time for lunch! During the long hot afternoon, Zach and I bowsed down (tightened) the shrouds, trying to get the masts as secure as possible. By the end of that, I was very much ready for a break (as well as fairly sunburned). It rained in the evening, just to let us know what was in store for the next day.
Boats line the dock in Sorel.
Thursday, we finished putting the rig all together. Len was missed greatly during this. "How did we do this last year? Len would know!" was a common sentence uttered. Everything managed to get set up right (with a few extra trips up and down the mast for Erick and Scudder), with the last part of the day's work being done in torrential downpour. Folding sails in the rain is less than fun. Roger, Erick and Zach managed to avoid the worst of the rain by going to a press conference, hosted by the city of Sorel-Tracy. Members of the Tourism Bureau, Industrial Parks Society, and the city of Sorel Tracy enthusiastically and graciously welcomed Lois McClure and her crew for their return in July. The mayor, Marcel Robert, ventured down to the boat after the press conference to take a personal tour. A local man who was working on the dock graciously offered to let us use his shower, which made him our new best friend. Thank you Denis! Jeff Hindes and Sandy Jacobs arrived in the evening, to accompany us to Quebec City.
(right) The Tugboat
Techo Venture sits at her dock in Sorel.
We left at the usual eight o'clock on the 27th, and had a rather short trip to Trois-Rivieres, due to the current. Pretty quickly in the morning, it was mentioned that we had a small island that was going to overtake us. It turned out this was actually a container ship that was following us, but my eyes had initially registered it as a piece of land. Again, the sheer scale of those boats awes me. We arrived in Trois Rivieres early afternoon, and got a few small chores done (Zach and I painted the stairs into the cabin). We had steak for dinner, and quite a crowd gathered to watch us eat. The night's entertainment was lots of speedboats coming by at high speed, very close to the docks, as well as a concert by the lead singer of Styx, which went until around 11. Trois Rivieres looks like it is going to be a very welcoming and busy stop on this tour. We leave tomorrow morning at 6:30, with the tide.