Batiscan River | July 8
THE day had arrived. I had left my home in the 18th arrondissement of Paris in the early hours of the morning and was waiting impatiently for the Metro that would take me to Charles de Gaulle and my flight to Quebec City. I was about to embark on my second adventure on the Lois McClure.
Three years ago, I traveled with the schooner on the Hudson River from West Point to New York City. That trip remains a highlight of my life! It was in New York City that I learned of the possibility of a voyage to Quebec for its 400th Anniversary in 2008. I volunteered to serve as a French-speaking interpreter-and now, that long-talked-about possibility was about to become real.
Seven hours after takeoff, I set foot for the first time in La Nouvelle France. I collected my luggage, cleared Customs, and jumped in a taxi, destination Bassin Louise and the Lois McClure. It turned out that Bassin Louise is a big place, and my driver dropped me at the opposite end from where the schooner was moored. But, no problems, my suitcase had wheels, and I could see the Lois McClure across the Bassin in the place of honor at the central quay. My heart was pounding with joy, knowing I would soon see my friends again, and excited at the thought of discovering Quebec and her history.
Samuel de Champlain at the wheel of Lois McClure in Quebec City. Photo by Jean Belisle.
The welcome from the Admiral, the Captain, and the crew was warm and hearty. I had just time to stow my gear, have a bottle of water, and catch my breath-then I was interpreting in the Captain's cabin, relating the details of family life on a canal boat in America in 1862! Our visitors soon realized that I wasn't from Vermont! They listened with interest and asked many questions, most especially, "Pour quois les roches?".
Quebec City was teeming with people. Each day, we set a new record for visitors, until by the end of our stay, we had talked with over 13,000 people.
(right) Zach's turn at the grill. Photo taken in Portneuf.
We sailed out of Bassin Louise Monday morning at dawn. The crew was tired, but we knew we'd done a good job. Even the Lois McClure herself seemed proud. We traveled under a hot sun to Portneuf, "far from the madding crowd," but well equipped with laundry and showers. The next day, we anchored in the Batiscan River. More showers-what luxury-and a hearty meal for the whole crew at the little marina restaurant.
Wednesday, the 9th, was a day off. Some of the crew went swimming in the Batiscan, some of us caught up with our reading, some of us slept. Elisa and Matt returned to Vermont, and Hilton, Leo, and Molly arrived to take their places. It was good to see Hilton again-one of my crewmates from the New York trip. Zach and I went off on foot to explore with Jean. What a tour guide he is! Several hours and eight kilometers later, we returned "home" to the schooner and dinner on board. I was happy to see a typical Québécois small town, in contrast to the "big city" of Quebec.
Tomorrow we leave this peaceful anchorage and sail to Trois Rivieres. It will be my last day on the Lois McClure, and already I feel sad to part with my friends and the schooner. I hope this is just an "au revoir"! Merci, everyone, for another happy trip and great experience on the Lois McClure.
Special Thanks To: