The Rock and the Whale

Posted Aug. 25, 2008 at 22:45

(Notice to mariners: beware of the dock-water at Riviere-au-Renard - dripping from the hose on deck overnight left a strong orange-yellowish stain on our deck - we still couldn't get it out completely)

We continued our trip south from Riviere-au-Renard sailing along the Forillon peninsula:

and across Gaspe Bay:

Right around the above picture (start of Gaspe bay) there was an awful lot of marine life activity (unfortunately, no good photos):  whales in the distance,  dolphins following us for a minute or so, bouncing in/out of the water quickly.

It was a nice sail downwind and a couple of hours later, the famous Perce Rock appeared in the distance:

The sun was behind, so the photos of this side didn't turn out so well... Well, another hour or so later, we rounded the rock and the very picturesque town of Perce and the view became much better:

This was the Rock.  Then, a few moments later we notice a whale approaching from a distance to the right of the rock above (more photos in the gallery).  This whale was having fun, or was having its back cleaned by splashing into the water (my theory).  Hey, no room for you in this cockpit... : !

It dove underneath us, and a minute or two later repeated the performance, with uuuhs and aaahs heard in the distance from the rock-tour boats every time it splashed. It was truly spectacular, amidst a most beautiful scenery of the town of Perce and the Rock.  We felt really lucky to have witnessed this.

But, everything has to end sometimes and the whale got off into the distance with a couple of latecomer tourboats trying to follow it with little success.  It felt like the whale wanted to perform right beside the Rock and Perce, and calmed down once it got beyond.

It was getting late, and we headed for L'anse-a-Beaufils for beer and dinner at the dockside restaurant, and our first tie-up at a tidal wall (not much tidal range though, only 3 ft).  Inside the building at the wharf, we were expecting marine supplies, or a fish processing plant, instead we found an art gallery - and a guitar shop!

The night on the wall was quiet, and the next day we continued on a 80nm (as the crow flies) long haul to Miramichi Bay, as that was the first place where we could stop with our boat.  Along the way, we were joined by another crewmember:

First it explored the cockpit, including our shoes, then it decided it would not trust the autopilot and insisted on taking over the helm:

After a while, it got tired and flew away...

We could not go into Shippegan as we don't fit under the bridge that we would have had to have crossed if we had gone that way...  We had a nice 15kn southwesterly, the only trouble was that it was blowing exactly from the place we were sailing towards...  So we 'beat' into it all day and all night, the waves fortunately staying just below the uncomfortable range arriving in the lee of Fox Island near Escuminac, Miramichi Bay at 0430am...  We slept for four hours and the continued on another 40nm to Richibucto, New Brunswick,  being the only port on the south shore of the Northhumberland Strait (separating Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick) that we could get into with our draft.

The scenery changed from mountainous to flat and sandy...

And, sailors beware, the Northhumberland Strait is one big fish trap - there are fishing bouys in places so dense as every 50-100ft and this really slows you down even under otherwise perfect sailing conditions.  Here is  the fairway bouy (the "recommended shipping entrance")  into Richibucto Gully / River:

It took us an hour and half to find our way into Richibucto among the bouys that were all in different places than on the chart - the chart warns that due to shifting sands and silting the bouys are constantly being moved.  But finally, with the help of a local sailboat going in at the same time we got in safely and tied up on the outside of the harbour wall (there is not enough depth for us on the inside):

This was the first harbour where we were not asked to pay anything and there was even a free harbour wifi - Welcome to New Brunswick!

-- Z --