4 August, 2014

Good Morning,

Yes, good morning.  Back to English in New Brunswick, Canada’s only bilingual province.  Still no internet, so no posts.  It’s Monday morning, August 4th, and it’s New Brunswick Day ending a 3 day weekend in these parts.  We’re on a 9 hour passage, so better get caught up on the log. One could call this Hhrbor seal alley. The water is calm and a curious head pops up and watches the boat pass. We are officially out of the St Lawrence River. Pte Rosiers is the official southern boundary of the St Lawrence River. Perce Rock was pretty spectacular.  It was visible from a distance of 15 miles or so and the closer we got, the more out of place it looked.  The sun was out and it provided great light for snappin’.  The scale of this incredible formation can be appreciated by observing the black specs (people) in the lower left of the pic.  Cool.  L’Anse Beaufils provided our harbor for the night.  Formerly the home of a fishing fleet, it is now dependent on tourism for survival.  A renovated fish processing plant now houses a music venue, a bar, and gallery for local artists’ works.  A recent addition has been the Pit Caribou microbrewery, built and owned by a young man with local roots.  We’re closing out the day with a Pit Caribou (or 2), rappin’ with Jacques, who runs the marina, and he gives us a recent history of the harbor.  When the fishing industry collapsed, locals bought up the property, and the local guys refurbished some of the buildings, and obtained provincial $ for harbor work.  From there, property was sold to a non-profit, so the money generated stays in the community.  The music venue, Vielle Usine de Beaufils, brings in 30 acts per year which sell out routinely.  Okay, so there you have it, a small community joining together and working for a preferred future.  (This account may not be 100% accurate, but it’s pretty close as related by a Francais-speaker to an Anglais speaker) 0653 hrs. the next day, and we’re off to Shippagan in New Brunswick.  On the way, we lose an hour, as NB is on Atlantic Daylight Time.  Six hours later, we’re opposite the marina which is too small for The Girl.  Good news is, we’re between fishing seasons, and most of the fish boats are on the hard.  Into the commercial harbor.  We have to climb up a steel ladder on the wall to tie our lines as it is low tide, and this place was built for the bigboys.  The old tires hanging from the walls have provided Bueno casas for the local spiders, and there are some lunkers in there.  We’ll be on a killing spree for the next few days-Oh well.  There’s nobody-and I mean nobody around, buildings are locked up tighter than a drum.  There’s an aquarium a half mile or so down the waterfront that’s gotten good reviews so we’re hoofin’ over.  On the way across this paved area which is about as big as 5 football fields we pass a little building with one pickup in front.  The guy is just getting in, so I ask him if he knows who to ask about the harbor.  Yep, its him-he’s the head of the Port Authority, no problem.  The aquarium is really cool, all about the environment, flora, and fauna of the St. Lawrence Bay.  Very well done, with all signage in French and English.  The Admiral (marine biology chick) is in heaven, but we have to get out as its closing time (we’ve been the only ones here for the last ½ hour).  Next day we have a 10 hour passage to Miramichi to join up with Bill and Lauren aboard Sea Star, so up at 0600.  Exiting Shippagan Gully, the tides racing out against a 15 knot breeze, and the waves are standing at attention as we cross the bar.  Water is swirling around like a blender, and I’ve got the power on to push on over (welcome to the ocean, Lakeboy).  The cruise up the river to Miramichi takes four extra hours, but we’re hearing that it’s worth it.  Pull up to the Ritchie Wharf, and there’s Sea Star.  Tied up, no water, no power, no problem-just happy to be here.  Turns out Bill and Lauren were out on recon, but didn’t make it past The Boulevard (watering hole).  Good news is they got an invite to a private lobster party for special patrons and friends to be held the following day at 1400 (their friends from Michigan too).  Dinner is at Esty’s, the best fish ‘n chips place in the world, about a mile and a half walk outside town.  We’re thinkin’ it must be good, ‘cause we get our order in, and we’re number 81.  They’re presently on number 53.  You mighta guessed that it’s take out only-right on.  Out to the parking lot to wait our turn as its hot and crowded inside.  The guy coming out says he had number 75, so we should get in there.  Next guy says “were You number 81?-she already called you, and she’ll skip you if you’re not there”.  Back in with my tail between my legs and the 5’2” blond bulldog that some kid probably calls Grandma tells me that “You’re in the shit”.  No kiddin’.  She skipped me and made me wait for 3 more orders to come out.  So, livin’ large sitting with our backs against the cyclone fence, under the basketball goal on the blacktop parking lot eating our F & C out of a see-through (greasy) brown paper bag.  I was a little hesitant to go back in to get a couple of Cokes, but thought I’d brave the storm and tempt fate one more time.  She’s barkin’ numbers, but has to come up for breath so I slip in my request and plunk down my cash (cash only).  No acknowledgement, so the lady behind asks where I’m from.  In the nanosecond that I turn away from the bulldog, my cash is gone, and there are 2 Cokes on the counter.  Her lips are moving, but I haven’t refocused quickly enough-“pardon me?”. “And you don’t listen either!” she barks.  I figure she’s probably a sweetheart-this is just her shtick.  Well, they’re celebrating New Brunswick day this weekend, so there’s live music all day in the town square (which is circular), and an old car show.  We just spend the day bangin’ around this little village which looks like it’s dying a slow death since the mill shut down.  The lobster party is just a buy your own beer, the lobster’s free kind of deal for about 12 or 15 folks.  We all finish our first, and the owner Chris’s dad Colie is there with a second lobster for all of us.  After some tough negotiation, we agree to split one amongst us.  I could go on for hours about all of the gracious folks that we met here, but I won’t.  After the river tour boat captain, Azide (?) offered to take us with him (free) to learn about the area, he proceeded to give us the local history for the next 45 minutes.  It seems that his family, French Acadians, have roots here that dated back to the early 1600’s.  The boat thing is not his “regular gig”; it’s just what he does in the summer when he’s not teaching French and History at the high school.  Ahh…. There I go again.  Guess I am pretty impressed by “those people back East” that other Canadians talk about.  For the past 2 days, everyone’s been buzzin’ about the party at Ile Du Vin, which we passed when coming in from the ocean a few days ago.  “Everybody” goes out on their boat, and rafts up with other boats for a 2 day party on New Brunswick Day weekend.  We have to anchor there anyway as our next port is a long way, so we’ll ride the tide out the next morning.  We’ve seen some big parties, but this one’s BIG.  There are over 100 boats at this deserted island.  There are 15 fishing tugs with their bows run up on shore.  Other boats, ranging from go fasts to pontoon boats, are either grounded, or anchored in 2 feet of water, and everybody’s rockin’.  After anchoring a couple hundred yards away we get the tender in the water and cruise over to check things out.  Lotsa smiles, and lotsa beer (and, as Colie said-lotsa skin).  These folks are professionals.  A man has got to know his limitations, so we opt for a little boat ride across the channel.  Bill and Lauren are feeding us tonight at our place.  They arrive, armed with 2 fondue pots, Elk, Duck, Beef, cheese and raw veggies.  We spend an hour or so doing battle with this pile of food, washing it down with redpop.  We didn’t completely vanquish the enemy, but it’s safe to say it was a complete rout.  At dusk, the raft was breaking up, and by nightfall we were the only 2 boats in this deserted wilderness anchorage.  The beach was swept clean of trash, and after high tide all evidence of the festivities will be gone.  That just about catches us up; we’ll spend the next 2 nights in Bouctouche, as there is an eco-centre there that Lauren wants to see.  Hopefully we’ll get some faster WiFi, and get some pictures up.  ………Later

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