WAITING FOR (THE WX TO SETTLE DOWN IN THE STRAIGHT OF) HONGUEDOJune 6, 2013
Wednesday, 5 June, 2013
Pos: 48 36.4 N x 064 15.9 W
Wx: NNW F 4, gusting 6, 6/8ths cumulus, scattered showers
Pride of Baltimore II at anchor in 30 feet of water
The current weather around Gaspe is relentless: 20-30 from the West to North West, violent seas six to nine feet, nothing to go charging into. The worst of it is in the Strait of Honguedo, between mainland Quebec and Anticosti Island, precisely in our route. Pride of Baltimore II is waiting it out in La Malbaie, Quebec along with her sister, Lynx. I imagine this is the first time two Baltimore Clippers have shared this anchorage, perhaps the first time one has ever anchored here. In any case, it’s probably the first time in 200 years.
La Malbaie is French for Bad Bay, but we can’t find a single fault with it. Aside from its convenient location within easy striking distance of the St. Lawrence River mouth, the surrounding shoreline is nothing short of stunning. In the long stretch of northern afternoon yesterday, we finally started motoring after the wind faded and shifted for the 10th time, and set off for La Malbaie through the narrow passage between Perce Rocher and Ile de Bonaventure. Grumpy as we might have been about the weather, this diversion was worth every moment of frustration.
Ile de Bonaventure stands a mile and a half off the town of Perce, Quebec. Sheer red cliffs rise like castle walls from the gulf to mark the island. A few houses speckle a grassy streak near the west face and tall pines crown the island’s cap. As we approached, thin, cool sunlight streaked through a cloud shot sky to gleam against the rock walls. On the near shore, the ragged rock arch of Perce Rocher glowed a near purple in the shade. Beyond, the town of Perce crammed itself into the gaps and hollows of ragged coastal mountains. As we rounded the corner into La Malbaie itself, farms and roads climbed rolling hills into the interior of the Gaspisie. The sunset offered incredible drama. The scene, taken whole, was spellbinding. In myths or storybooks, our schooner might be waylaid here for centuries, all our obligations, adventures, and memories dissolved into the greens, blues, and soft purples of the land and seascapes.
In reality, however, we’re due into Clayton, New York in a week to clear US customs, re-supply the ship, and handle a dozen other logistic details before launching into the twelve Tall Ship festivals that fill the summer of 2013. We’re wind bound, not spellbound. But if the wind doesn’t let up, we’ll continue to enjoy staring at this captivating scenery.
Captain Jamie Trost and the fairly mesmerized crew of Pride of Baltimore II