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Our Shared Heritage Tour
Our Shared Heritage Tour
Notre Patrimoine Le Long des Voies Navigables
Schooner Lois McClure | SHIP'S LOG
Jean Belisle
Jean Belisle
Jean Belisle is a professor of architecture history at Concordia University.  For years he was interested in nautical archaeology.  He co-directed the excavation of the paddle steamer Lady Sherbrooke with Andre LePine.  An exposition of that research project was presented at the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum in 2001.  He is serving as volunteer crew for the entire "Our Shared Heritage Tour". In the photo above, Jean and his university students experiment with early construction techniques, and have here constructed a bread oven.
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Transit to Quebec City | June 28

Lois McClure on Radio France International (RFI) :
interviews with Bernard Hallé, Zach Ralph, and Roger Taylor.
Jean Belisle    
28 June
Here I am, a professor of history of architecture from Montreal, on board an American sailing schooner on its way to Quebec 400th - a kid's dream come true.  I arrived in Three Rivers yesterday and I joined the ship at 2pm.  I was not expecting the arrival of Lois so early so I missed the docking. So no photos of the arrival to Three Rivers!

Passed by a Freighter
Passed by a large freighter. Photo by Jean Belisle
Today July 28 is my first real day on board. We left the harbour around 8am. The sun is there but very timid. After a U turn in front of Cap-de-la Madeleine we start our trip toward Québec. We will be in tow from the Churchill all the time. The wind is against us.  After passing the nuclear plant of Hydro-Québec at Gentilly, the south shore is becoming a cliff while the north shore is still pretty flat. We passed four big ships. As we approched Batiscan the head wind became stronger. At the height of Deschambult the current became much stronger. We are entering the Richelieu Rapids. Scudder is at the wheel. The Churchill is like a cork jolting in all directions. The wind is so strong that it neutralizes the wave. The river seems to be flat but we are doing 10.5 knots. It is really special. The sky is dark and we are flying over the St. Lawrence. The small island of Richelieu is history in a second.

Scudder throws a line to the dock. Photo by Jean Belisle.
Portneuf harbour is now in sight. As we approched the dock a big ship, the Marseilles, is becoming nervous. He expected a sailing schooner in tow but he can't see the tug and is is not sure if we are drifting. We talked to him that there was no problem and that the tug is at the hip. To give us more room the Marseilles is advising us that he will pass near the green buoy.  In Portneuf we are docking in the interior of the government dock rather than at the marina which is really too small for a ship of our size.The jetty is a good kilometer long so we get lots of exercice. The little village is very quiet.  It is sleepy town.  Some fairly large sailing ships have been launched from this place during 19th century  The people at the marina are very nice and helpful.  We can take showers and do our laundry.  Thanks Émilie Simard, Stéphanie Moffet, Jessica Ableson et Thomas Ableson of the marina; you don't know how much we appreciate your hospitality.

Tonight the menu is sausages and beans. By the way, the cooks are doing miracles with what we have, I am really impressed and pleased. After our supper it is time for poetry. Roger is the first with The wreck of the Julie Planté; Scudder followed with The Yarn of the Nancy Bell with some difficulties. He is unable to stop laughing, as is everybody on the crew. Finally Zach gives us his reading of Cremation of Sam McGee. My impression of Portneuf harbour is simple: a large imposing concrete wall!
Scudder at Helm29 June          (right) Scudder at the helm.
It is Sunday. There is a very imposing overcast. Everything is grey. The wind is very strong and again blowing in our face. The rain is starting as we leave the dock. It will be a long day! Even with the very strong current we are doing around 3.5 knots. The wind is literally stopping us.  I am wet really wet to the bones. Then around Neuville we saw the Québec bridge in distance. It will rermain there in distance for a very long time. Around 12:00 we passed under the bridge, well aware that it fell twice during construction! The river is narrowing. At the Ultramar dock we change configuration, the tow line is dropped and the Churchill is going at the hip. As we approched the Bassin Louise, Roger timed our approach with the schedule of the ferries. We entered the lower basin to proceed to the lock, at low tide.  Then we entered the upper bassin toward the direction of our berth. I am very surprised because we got the best spot of the entire harbour for visibility.  At 2:00 we are at the dock.  A lot of very curious visitors want to come on board but they must wait for tomorrow. 

Elisa and Matt are joining the crew.  We will need them tomorrow.  Volunteers Michel and Pauline Bouchard are also on the welcome committee.  They will be with us for the interpretation all week. During the afternoon we are putting up the gangway. The guys from the harbour assured us that the full range of the tide inside the bassin is about 6 feet. The toilets are directly in front of the Lois. We have electricity and water. After the supper we prepared ourselves for the show of Robert Lepage. We have no idea what to expect.  At 10:00 a very low sound started.  We have a very good spot.  The crowd is behind us.  Some spectators are even trying to bribe us to get on board. The show started and the very big grain elevators are coming alive. A whale is moving from the right to the left and as she is at the top of the balance tower she's blowing.  Then came Champlain with the construction of the Habitation, and so on and so on.  Everybody is impressed.  It is a very special show.  The show is 40 minutes long but it seems to be just few minutes.  We went to bed not really knowing what to expect for tomorrow.

Special Thanks To:
Gresco Ltee
Port de Quebec
Lower St. Lawrence Ocean Agencies
Port de Trois-Rivieres

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