Next morning we left Matane, it was a sunny day with a favorable following wind – we ended up sailing the whole day. Our only motoring was to get away from the dock and to anchor for the night. Winds were 20-25 knots gusting 30, so we had a great sail downwind! We made it as far as Mont Louis where we decided to anchor for the night. We pulled in on a dying West wind, so the anchorage was a bit rolly as the last of the waves came in. We anchored anticipating a wind switch to South which it did after dark. We saw a beautiful sunset, then turned in for the night.
In the morning Winds were offshore from the South, which was a favorable direction, so we ate, hauled anchor and left before 7:30. Of course soon after leaving the wind switched to the East at 20-25 – directly on the nose, so we tried sailing for 4 hours and made 15 miles. We decided to motor the rest of the way as we had no desire to sail another 20 hours to get the 45 miles we needed to Riviere Au Renard. It was cloudy and chilly, with temps in the low 50s. Eventually the wind moderated and we were able to motor sail a little to help our speed. At sunset we witnessed a few whale sightings, but most interesting was a circling flock of seabirds – they were Gannets – about 50-60 of them. They circled around about 50ft up and then as we watched, suddenly a whole bunch of them would close their wings and drop like stones into water, diving and swimming after fish. It was a fascinating sight to watch.
We arrived at 9:30 – in Riviere Au Renard where Ivan greeted us at the dock and helped us tie up. This marina is a great location, very sheltered so after unwinding we went to bed and slept like babies.
As an aside I must say the winds here have been unusual for this time of year. Winds are usually out of the South or South West but this year they are having an unusual number of North East winds – exactly what we DON’T want. And the winds are either zero or howling (25-30) – there seems to be no nice 10-20 knot favorable breeze anywhere. Our luck I guess, but it sure beats you up when you are pounded day after day by cold, windy, cloudy weather and lumpy seas.
Next morning we took a long walk, then ate breakfast at a local diner (delicious) and came back to the boat where I installed the replacement inverter. Hopefully this one will work correctly. After I worked we took another walk to the post office to return the defective inverter, and then went grocery shopping before heading back to the boat so I could work again. Then we went to the local fish store – right on the docks where the boats come in – we picked up some Turbot and a bag of Bay Scallops – all for under $12 – boy its cheap when you get it right where its made. After a good night’s sleep we woke to gentle rain, went out to finish the laundry and ate breakfast at the diner again.
Then we packed up and cast off, our next stop Perce. This is a little town on the Gaspe Peninsula and its near an island called Ile Bonaventure, which is the home to a massive Gannet colony. These are seabirds who live on cliffs and raise their young in a huge communal setting there. We left with 20-25 knot NW winds which thankfully were helping us towards our destination. It was a rough rolly sea, and we trundled along rocking back and forth (fun when trying to work on the computer) at 7.5 to 9 knots depending on the size of the wave flinging you forward. We passed the cliffs of Gaspe and turned South towards Perce and arrived there on a dying wind where we anchored near some cliffs right off an RV park. We ate dinner and turned in.
Of course during the night, the wind came up and soon it was gusting over 30. We both prayed that the Lord would keep us safe and that our anchor would hold. It did, and after blowing for a few hours it died down to a reasonable 15-20 and we were able to get some sleep. Next morning we woke and after breakfast hauled anchor – or attempted to. Our anchor was stuck. I anchored in about 30 ft of water, and I could see the 30 ft marker about 10 ft under the water. We wrestled for a good half hour and just when I was about to give up, it suddenly came loose. I thought the line had broken, but no – it all came up and we were on our way. We motored over to Ile Bonaventure and then sailed down the East and South side marveling at the colony. The sight of hundreds of thousands of Gannets – everywhere – flying, sitting in the water, up on every square inch of flat space on the cliffs was truly beautiful. We left and headed South towards PEI. The wind gradually shifted around until we were sailing as close to the wind as we could, but it was a perfect day – we were moving about 5 knots in a calm sea and about 10 knots of breeze and all around us whales and birds performed their antics all day long.