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Boston--->B/Harbour, Halifax, Nova Scotia & Quebec Cruise-A-Thon! 9/5-12-2015

Gary MGary M Posts: 13,246 AG
Wow! It's been a Slam Bang year for us going back to late April and here we go on the next nautical, maritime, seafood adventure! Lots of fun boats, some great seafood and a few stories coming, starting with the first Installment of our 7-day cruise from Boston to Bar Harbor and then up over the top of this section of Canada and down the St Lawrence Waterway and into Quebec City! We rode on a ship, two jets, one turbo-prop, a lifeboat, a lobster boat, several coach/buses, a few taxis and a sail boat! We visited a combat veteran warship too!

Ten years ago I'd have sworn that I'd never do a cruise! But that summer, we did our first and it was a 7-day trip out of Seattle and up the Inside Passage to Alaska and back. We always focus on the trip itself, the stops/destinations and go make our own 'fun'! :dance

Since then, we've done a 14-day trip from Sydney, Australia and over to New Zealand (wow, what a trip in 2008!) and one out of Venice, Italy and down to Greece which I documented here a few years back. I hope that you will enjoy coming along on this very FUN trip as well!

The ship was nice enough to post this great map of our trip, routes and destinations!


Flew on Spirit up to Boston out of Ft Lauderdale. Taking off on the new runway, I had a great view of the Dania Cutoff Canal and the Marinas below. I had just been down there after coming back from Bimini in June with our own Intrepid377 and his crew!


Followed quickly by the ICW and Hollywood beach beyond.......


Coming into Boston, we saw the old fort that once protected the harbor! The Atlantic is in the distance.


About to touch down on RWY 4. I have flown in here in my previous life and there were always notices for pilots about "Tall ship in the harbor" but I never saw any back then. :huh


Got our bags and took a cab to our ship, the "Veendam" from Holland America Line. She's a 'mid-size' cruise ship with about 1,250 guests. At 719 feet long, she displaces about 57,092 tons, or, about 57,086 tons more than the ol' HEY MON!, our 30 Grady-White! Max speed for the Veendam is 20.9 knots. We normally cruised at 6-14 knots. They time the departures at about 5-6pm and the arrivals at 5-7am.

Jenn organized a top deck, outside cabin with balcony. This trip started out just to be our neighbor and her Mom, then Jenn and I got to tag along! Our neighbor Julie's husband fishes most of my Dry Tortugas trips with me. With school in session, he had to stay home with the boys! I had suggested to Julie that since we'd be heading 'north' that we try to book for a port side cabin and that worked out great for viewing!

A narrow, long cabin, it was excellent! Mini-bar/fridge, cable TV, some WiFi, outstanding room service and great AC.


We had to do "Lifeboat Drills" and here you see a larger boat with twins. They use these as 'shuttle crafts' when anchoring out.


We wandered up as high and as far FWD as we could before we shoved off. Yep, here's what the Pros use once again!


I shouted down to these guys, "Catch anything?", since they had two rods in the holders. "Not a **** thing!" came their reply! I shouted back, "Maybe you didn't have enough beer?" and they just laughed.


We had many boats slowly glide right by the ship while still tied up. Compare that 'security' to what many of have seen around Port Everglades!! I see so many examples of 'inconsistencies' with regards to Homeland Security at ports as well as airports. :huh

We four went to the aft deck to see the Departure as I knew that we'd have to back down the canal before turning the ship! Here's our narrow slot to slide the 114 foot wide ship through! No tugs either! :hairraiser


Across the canal as we slid back, we passed this small fishing dock. I'd love to go out on one of these. On a nice day of course!


No 'zoom' on the camera here as we passed the docked up freighter! :applause


Being Labor Day Weekend, (as well as a gorgeous Saturday!), the harbor was very busy.


Now, did I mention notices to pilot about 'tall ships' near the active runways?


Oh, and how about the 15 knot crosswind from the right for these guys?


He could have use a bit more left rudder to kick out his 'crab' before touchdown! He did do a nice job keeping the jet right in the middle of the runway though! Trust me, this guy (or gal!) had a BLAST doing this!! :hail


As opposed to docking up our boats, there's no pilings to help you, no dock guys to throw a line to, no boat hooks, no playing with the throttles and certainly NO bumping allowed! It's just the pilot, his head, both feet and both hands working in tandem and good 'ol Mother Nature!

It got kinda noisy there for a while!


We soon enough had the pointy end of the ship headed east, out the harbor. Yes, the 'Boston Tea Party' was held here on Dec 16th, 1773!

We saw these HUGE 'vessels' and their wind turbines and I found out that they are huge waste treatment tanks that turn local, Bostonian 'waste' water into fertilizer! That's our harbor PILOT boat escorting us out in that photo and he'll take the Harbor Pilot (who actually commands the ship on Departure), back to shore. We'll see some more of this later. On a rough day too!


One of many wonderful Lighthouses (the first one here outside Boston Harbor) that we saw on this trip!


Settling in and realizing that it was deep into Happy Hour, a quick call had this sent right to the room! Just in time!


We had clear, cool skies as we cruised just offshore on our way to our first stop of Bar Harbor, Maine. I planned to set the alarm, bundle up, grab some coffee and head out on deck to see the sunrise and our arrival into Bar Harbor.

And that's just what I did...........


  • dolfanjoeydolfanjoey Posts: 1,174 Officer
    Awesome report. Really enjoy reading all of yours.
  • dpdashdpdash Posts: 5,359 Admiral
    very cool Gary, you have certainly covered some ground this year
  • alacrityalacrity Posts: 2,648 Captain
    moar por favor. great read so far. thanks for sharing
  • Gary MGary M Posts: 13,246 AG
    dpdash wrote: »
    very cool Gary, you have certainly covered some ground this year

    Not done yet either! I will probably be going back to the Chesapeake to help Don bring "Discovery" back south as well as another trip to England, up to NYC and I just got a spot on a 4-day Dry Tortugas trip in early Dec! :willynilly
  • INTREPID377INTREPID377 Posts: 3,736 Captain
    Looks like a wonderful trip. I'm pretty sure I recognize the dockmaster in that picture of Harbor Towne. ;-)
  • Gary MGary M Posts: 13,246 AG
    I'm pretty sure I recognize the dockmaster in that picture of Harbor Towne. ;-)

    I did not have my mini-binocs with me on the flight but I would have looked down to see if you were down there washing your boat! Haha!
  • Gary MGary M Posts: 13,246 AG
    Day Two (Sun) the 0520 alarm went off 30 minutes before sunup so I bundled up a bit, made some hot coffee, grabbed the camera and headed topside. The ship has a BIG area up high that is excellent for photos.

    Bar Harbor (pronounced Bah Ha-ba by the locals) is on Mt Desert Island, Maine and Cadillac Mountain is the main attraction on the island. At over 1,800 feet high, it's the highest mountain in America east of the Mississippi River! We spent a week at Bah Haba (2009) at a bed and breakfast and we went all over the island in our rental car. Here's a photo from Cadillac Mountain from that trip and you can see the tiny village of Bah Haba as well as the Cunard Lines newest, largest cruise ship, the Queen Mary 2.


    The upper viewing area of the ship on that morning.


    Timed it just right.......... I wondered what they were fishing for!


    My trusty Starbucks mug does double duty with keeping coffee hot in the morning and keeping my Rum and Coke cold in the evening! That's part of the actual harbor in the background.


    Walking carefully (the deck is steel and was wet!), I kept an eye open on both sides of the ship as we very slowly weaved our way into our anchorage area.

    This made me laugh! My kind of guy! They slid between the ship and a small island as they headed out to check their pots. I hope that nice, blue bucket didn't fall off the gunnel!


    I hope that you can see these lobster pot buoys. It seemed to me that the ship was just plowing through them but I later asked the Third Officer (a nice Aussie guy from Tasmania) about it and he said that the fishermen know to leave an open 'lane' for the ships to go though but also that the props will just slice through any lines that do get in the way!


    We had a short window that morning to get ashore and join our harbor tour on the LuLu's Lobster Boat Tour. Here's the inside of one of the larger shuttle lifeboats that are used when they anchor out. These hold 90 passengers or "150 in an emergency"!


    I noticed this gorgeous yacht, the "Checked Out"!! Has our own PaulBoat not told us something? :huh


    Here's the gangplank to board "LuLu"! This nice lady ahead of me sat right next to me and she even bought me lunch later! :grin


    We had to weave our way out of the harbor and I just had to take a photo of probably the smallest lobster boat in the world! All boats must display an example of the buoys that they use (color, etc).


    Here's a normal boat. Love those lines! Similar to the boats that I showed in my Chesapeake Report a few weeks back.


    We made our way out to the Egg Rock Lighthouse. Named for the bird's eggs on the tiny island. It goes back to 1875. I took this photo later in the day when it was sunny. It's now powered by solar panels.


    We saw lots of cute seals.


    We then motored over to some lobster buoys and pulled a few up. This is a former fishing boat that has been overhauled for passengers. Our Capt/tour guide was excellent. He showed us how to tell male from female, how to measure them, etc, etc. He told us about the three main types of traps which I'll mention later.


    Here's the same boat that I saw while up on deck at dawn! No sitting on the gunnels now! Notice the dozens of buoys!


    After the fun, nearly 3 hour tour, we all were ready for some lunch! Right on the harbor was "Stewman's" and it was gorgeous out on the deck. The IPA beer was cold and my Fish 'n Chips were excellent! Haddock and for a change, NOT a super-thick crust! Jenn got a 'girlie' drink and the Lobster Roll.


    We used a few hours that afternoon to walk around, hit some shops but we also had a 'mission'. Jenn needed some olive juice for her Filthy Dirty Martinis back at the room but we had to settle for a few jars of green olives that gave her the juice and gave me a nice Happy Hour snack!

    After departing, I kept my eyes peeled for the harbor Pilot boat to approach the ship to take off the pilot and here she comes!


    Okay, I'll admit it that the boat was well over 100 yards away when I took the above photo, but I love the 30 power zoom on my camera!! Notice the tall, angled exhaust stack up on the fore deck? I've never seen that but you can see the sooty black stuff from the exhaust on both the Furuno radar antenna as well as on the VHF antenna! Anyone ever seen a set up like this? Makes me wonder where the engine is located below!

    It was a bit sloppy as they made the transfer but they finally got it done. I'll show you a much wilder one later! This was luckily right below our cabin!


    That's the pilot in the orange life jacket.


    Dinner that night was a seafood chowder and seafood cioppini and both were excellent. Dummy me, forgot the camera! :banghead

    Next stop would be Halifax, Nova Scotia and that day was probably my favorite! With an outside cabin, we mostly slept with the balconey door wide open. Hearing the water passing below and feeling the cool ocean air was really nice!
  • Gary MGary M Posts: 13,246 AG
    I set my alarm for the next arrival on that Mon morning but the doggone crew slipped into port at Halifax, Nova Scotia way early! :shrug

    This map will show Halifax as well as tiny 'Peggy's Cove' where we would visit later that day. We all really had a great day here and we enjoyed this area enough to maybe want to come back in the future.


    Looking out our balconey, we looked straight across at the lighthouse on Georges Island. Fort Charlotte is on the small island and it dates back to before the Revolutionary War. It has also been used as prison!

    Here's a small work tug towing two barges over to the ship. It's not uncommon while in port for 'work' to be done on or in the ship.


    When they tied off right below us, I shouted down, "Hey, is that smaller barge to empty the ship's holding tank"? The holding tank is what holds whatever goes down the toilet! I figured that with all the pipes and valves that the barge was for 'something' that is in a liquid state! The flat barge holds regular, large garbage bins and the empty ones would be swapped out for the full ones through large access doors in the side of the hull.


    "No, not dumping the holding tank yet" came the reply. A smaller boat then towed the holding tank barge off to another part of the ship's hull to access the ship's holding tank, or tanks.

    We then had a knock at the door! It was worker in coveralls and an extension cord! He wanted access to our balconey as it was 'varnish day' for the balconey railing! We asked for another 30 minutes until we cleared out of the cabin, but here he is next door!


    I then saw this big tug boat that I had seen assisting a large ship across the harbor. She was on her way back to her berth. Just about to pass the lighthouse on Georges Island


    Just 15 minutes before, we see the "Atlantic Larch" hard at work. Notice the smoke from her twin engines. The throttles are way up no doubt!


    We finally walked off the ship (they electronically log you on and off the ship) and found that the harbour has a mile long, wide walkway that runs along the waterfront...... much like Seattle does!

    Well, who are the first guys that I run into and chat with? The guys from the Atlantic Larch!


    I chatted with them and found out that the boat is about 100 feet long and is powered by twin, 2,000 Cat diesels! I also found out that she's made about 10 crossings of the Atlantic when hired for jobs in Ireland, the UK, etc! "How long does that crossing take?", I asked. "Six days when the weather's nice, 10 days if it's sloppy and we have to slow down"! :hairraiser

    I was hoping for a tour but never got the invitation, unfortunately! Nice guys though!


    Jenn and I peeled off from Julie and her mom (who probably has more boat cruising miles under her belt than all of us combined!) and made our way farther down the boardwalk. This is about as 'tricked out' of a Boston Whaler as you can get! Looks like this owner is ready for just about anything!


    This warning marker made me laugh!! I've never seen one this CLOSE to shore!! :rotflmao


    We found out that there was a WW 2 Royal Canadian Navy "Corvette" on display so we hustled down for a quick peek. We had reservations for a bus tour in the afternoon so we kept a close eye on the time. Here's the K 181 or the "Sackville".


    She's seen her share of combat.....


    Basically a mini-destroyer, she heavily damaged two German U-boats during the war and made dozens of escort missions across the North Atlantic. She also rescued many survivors off of sunken ships.

    She's 205 in length with only a 33 foot beam! Displacing just under 1,000 tons, her max speed was 16.5 knots. Convoys always traveled at the speed of the slowest ship which could be as slow as 6 knots! The escort ships would then zig-zag on the outside of the convoy. The Sackville has twin boilers that turn a single screw with 2,750 hp. A crew of 85 men.

    Some of the routes used. The Sackville might have pulled out of Halifax and joined up with a convoy enroute.


    Getting a convoy ready to sail from Halifax.


    The Sackville beginning to ice up in the North Atlantic. Rough enough?


    On the aft deck were two ramps to roll depth charges right into the water when attacking a U-Boat.


    Along the aft sides of the ship were the depth charge 'throwers'. These, when used with rolling them off the back, could put out a wide 'pattern' of depth charges. Not too much different that trolling lines off of outriggers as well as two flat lines off the stern!


    The sonar operator might be able to figure out how deep the U-Boat was and the men on deck could then set the charges to go off at a certain depth. Even a close explosion near the hull could sink a sub. The men in the sub could hear the 'splashes' above them as the depth charges hit the water. They then knew that Hell was coming down on top of them. A micro-second before the explosion, they would hear a single 'click' and that was the detonator setting off the charge. :hairraiser


    Going inside, we found the pristine boiler/engine room.


    On the fore deck was the biggest cannon as well as some 40mm and 20mm smaller cannons. Twin anchor chains too. When catching a U-Boat on the surface, they used the deck guns. The U-Boats ran on the surface at night to charge their batteries....... using their MAN twin diesels. Top speed on the surface was about 18-20 knots, below about 8 knots but that would deplete the batteries quickly. It was common for the subs to crawl away submerged at just 1-2 knots! All while keeping completely silent. A game of very deadly 'cat and mouse'.


    I think that Jenn now has a thing for Canadian Navy guys!


    We quickly walked back to catch up with Julie and her Mom at a waterfront restaurant called The Bicycle Thief for a quick lunch! I had iced tea and a lobster roll as you can see!


    What a great day that was! Yet, it was only just getting started.........
  • Gary MGary M Posts: 13,246 AG
    After lunch at The Bicycle Thief, we made our way back to the ship to catch the tour bus that was going to take us to Peggy's Cove and then to a cemetery that has a large number of people buried there that were pulled out of the icy waters after the Titanic sank in 1912. As we were getting on the bus, the Tour folks asked where we were from. I replied, "Well, originally from my mother's womb!" They seemed to like that answer! :rotflmao

    You can see Peggy's Cove in the map in my post above, just southwest of Halifax. It it is one of the 'tiniest' villages that I have ever been to! The terrain there is rugged to say the least. The village goes back to about 1766 and the lighthouse back to 1868.



    "Nova Scotia" means "New Scotland" and there was a lot of Scottish influence while we were on the island! Here's a bagpiper on the walk out to the Lighthouse! Not the only one we'll see either! We got "piped" off the dock later that day!


    Fishing of all types is the staple in this village but it's not for the faint-of-heart! The 'inlet' into the tiny, natural harbour is at most 40 yards across.


    There was a small pier and I took these from the end. Looking to my left towards the inlet.


    And to my right up and into the end of the narrow inlet.


    Here's the Tonya Nicole getting a bit of work done on the hull. She's 34' 11" in length and is powered by a 130 hp single diesel. Furuno radar of course.



    I spoke with the owner/fisherman. Most of the times, these guys don't open up much if they deal with the typical tourists. In the conversation, I let him know that I was a boater, had taken our boats to the Bahamas about 30 times, that I love to fish, etc. Once they feel that you'll 'understand', they open up and are very friendly.

    In order to get the boat up and out of the water, he explained that at high tide, they would get a truck winch and just pull it out! They'd block it into place to keep it still. To get her back afloat, again at high tide, he uses vertical jacks to get her to 'lean' back and to help her slide on her own. A little bit at a time. Once the prop will bite, he can power her back!

    In the late 1990's a Swissair jet had an in-flight fire in the cockpit right offshore from Peggy's Cove. The crew, in attempting to lighten the airplane to get it under the Max Landing Weight and get on the ground at Halifax, elected to 'dump fuel'. This is done by opening some vales and literally pumping jet fuel out of the wings. This is only allowed in an emergency. Before they could get the weight down, the crew lost control and the wide-body went into the ocean, killing everyone. The various news companies swamped Peggy's Cove for weeks afterwards as wreckage and bodies were brought into the tiny harbour there.


    I asked the boat owner/fisherman if he was there then and he said that he was. He said that for 3-4-5 days afterwards, all you could smell was the strong odor of the jet fuel fumes which is very much like kerosene. He also told me that all fishing was banned in that area for two full years after the crash. There is a Memorial nearby to the passengers and crew.

    We piled back into the coach and made our way to a cemetery in Halifax. Here are buried the remains of over 100 victims from the Titanic which sank in 1912. They are all lined up in a few rows. Some markers are larger if the families paid for bigger headstones. Many victims could not be identified as was the case with a small boy that was recovered. No one claimed his little body so he was buried here with a simple marker. The marker bears the inscription 'Erected to the memory of an unknown child whose remains were recovered after the disaster of the "Titanic" April 15th 1912'. The marker was paid for by the crew of the cable laying ship that recovered the little boy. Fast forward nearly a century and because of DNA, etc, he was finally identified as Sidney Goodwin who was 19 months old at the time and who perished with his entire family who were English. That was pretty sobering.


    Here, you can see the rows of the mostly simple marker/headstones. The gentleman in the Scottish 'kilt' was our excellent tour guide, "Lou". Lou told us that he gets asked a lot, "What's worn under a kilt"? He always replies, "Well, under mine I can report that nothing is 'worn' and that it's all in perfect working order"! :rotflmao

    On the way back to the ship, we drove along the harbour's natural shoreline. He told of a collision between two ammo cargo ships in Halifax Harbour in 1917. One ship caught fire and the ensuing explosion was the largest man-made explosion in history, prior to the atom bomb. It instantly killed over 2,000 people, wiped out an entire neighborhood and injured 9,000 more. The city of Boston sent supplies, doctors, food, trains, tents, etc to help and many Bostonians were still there, helping, after several months. To this day, the city of Halifax sends a 50-60 foot high Christmas tree to Boston........ still saying "Thanks.....".


    As we slowly slid off the dock that evening, we passed the offshore supply vessel "Tidewater". She's about 260 feet in length and displaces just under 4,000 tons.


    As we exited Halifax Harbour (one of the largest and deepest natural harbours in the world), we passed the Devil's Island Lighthouse. Built in 1877, it's not longer in use. Notice the small fishing boat that's tucked in behind the breakwater. Winds were 25 knots or better out of the ESE that day.


    Dinner was in the nice dining room (not the buffet line) and I had Rockfish and it was excellent! The fillet is under the prawn.


    With another nice sleep with the door WIDE open, we had plans for the next day in Sydney on Cape Breton Island. We'll swap modes of transportation here and see some 'different' kinds of fishers!
  • alacrityalacrity Posts: 2,648 Captain
    great report. keep them a-coming.
  • Gary MGary M Posts: 13,246 AG
    I finally got this photo to upload and it goes back to the 'Day' before when we left Halifax, Nova Scotia. I was up on the big area near the bow when I heard bagpipes and a drummer! Looking over and onto the dock as we were just departing, here we see that we were being properly sent off from Halifax!


    We sailed out that night from Halifax and made a sweeping turn to port to enter the harbour at Sydney on the NE corner of Cape Breton Island. Once again they slid in early on me so we were docking just as I got up ****! Here's the island and it's relation to Nova Scotia proper where we had just been. Cape Breton is part of Nova Scotia Province.


    I awoke to see this. Our only 'dreary' day.


    We docked up starboard side to, so I never saw the dock or the town until we departed the ship. I kid you not when I say that we slid, ever so slowly AFT for at least 300 yards or more before we were tied up!

    As we slowed, I looked down to see 'this' which i hope was just mud being stirred by the props or the thrusters! :hairraiser


    Across and to my left was this nice, cozy little Marina. I would loved a cup of coffee and to walk around a bit and to chat with a few guys there.


    After a quick breakfast we hopped on yet another bus/coach for an hour ride to a lake at Baddeck (SW of Sydney) which can be seen on the map above. There, we four were booked on a 67 foot sailboat for a 2-hour ride out on the local lake. We sat near the stern in the white seats facing me here.


    It turned out great because we were very near the owner/Captain and we got to hear his many, very interesting stories!

    1) His father built this boat in their back yard!
    2) It has sailed to Bermuda many times!
    3) It has also sailed many times, deep into the Caribbean on long voyages!
    4) From the lake, there is a passage to the open ocean.

    So were heard the normal blah, blah about the lake and then he asked his deckhand to get a bait fish out. It turns out that this Capt has his own stash of 'pet' bald eagles that he can almost call on demand! As we sailed near the shoreline, he knew where their nests were, knew which were the 'parents' and which were the 'kids' and he fed them right next to us about four times!




    Here's one about to land with it's mate in the tree nearby. It was pretty amazing to see them circle the boat and then pick out the best time to swoop in to grab the fish!


    Out on a 'point' was the residence of inventor Alexander Graham Bell. He and his wife lived here from 1888 until his death in 1922. Inventor of the telephone, he also invented a hydro-foil boat that held the top speed world record for many years! Yep, he was a boater too!


    We grabbed a VERY quick lunch in Baddeck before heading back to the ship. We departed a bit early this day so while underway, we all had some nice drinks up at the "Crow's Nest" bar near the bow of the ship. Great, 270 degree view up there and it provided a very quiet area to read, snooze, etc during the morning hours.

    Dinner that night was Salmon on a Plank and it was excellent! Another great night of sleep with the sound of the ship's wake (we were not far from the bow, port side) and the cool breezes coming it.........

    Next stop was a FUN and 'delicious' day at Charlettown on Prince Edward Island!! :grin
  • Gary MGary M Posts: 13,246 AG
    As we departed Sydney, it was pretty rough outside the harbour and we watched the Harbour Pilot boat have a hell of a time getting alongside! Here, he's just gone ahead and 'stuck' the bow into the side of the ship. Lots of bumpers and tires of course but he had already seen a few approaches be aborted before this.


    "Jenn!! Get out here! You've got to see this"! :hairraiser

    The bow of the little boat must have been rising and dropping 6+ feet....... up and down.


    Patiently waiting, they finally got a spot that was a bit smoother. Notice the nicely varnished rail that was done earlier!


    Whew!! Finally!


    I finally got my dinner photo to upload and here's my Salmon from that night. Excellent!


    Next morning, I got to at least see a little of our arrival into port at Charlettetown on Prince Edward Island.

    Here's a great view showing Halifax, Sydney and PEI as the island's called. Charlettetown is located at the bottom of the "1" on that map.


    I saw this really nice but short lighthouse that shows the main entrance into port. Still lit up too!


    A mile or so father in, I saw two short lighthouses where one seemed to be on higher ground than the other. I told Jenn, "I think those might be Range Markers and if so, I'll bet that he'll make a turn to starboard and they will line up behind us!" I reminded of her of the many times that we've made the run into towards the beach on South Bimini, Bahamas, using those white Ranger Markers and how I have also seen a pair coming into Manukau Harbour in New Zealand when fishing with our brother-in-law Ian.

    Yep, we made our turn to starboard and they lined up nicely!


    Approaching the pier, we got a good view of the small town of just 35,000. Settlers arrived here around 1720 and the harbour was used during WW 2 for warship repairs and refits. Seafood is BIG here! A nice mix of modern and older buildings in the city.


    After a quick breakfast, we left the ship to join up with "The Seafood Chef" group/excursion that we had opted for. That entailed a guided walking tour on down to a very cool, seafood restaurant and bar for our two hour live cooking (and eating!) show!

    Being a small town, no fancy Harbour Pilot vessel here! The JRG was used to bring our Pilot out to the ship.....


    And the boat next to her looked to me to almost be a mini-warship! The steel hulled 'Harbour Tug'!


    We finally ended up in front of the 'Merchantman Fresh Seafood & Oyster Bar' and they took great care of us inside. Even the name makes me hungry and thirsty! The group was limited to only 15 people and it was really a lot of fun with some great stories by the chef as well as learning the history of the older restaurant that had been restored to what it looked like much earlier. The Manager/Chef was a big Steelers fan!


    On the menu, it was going to be PEI oysters, mussels, scallops and haddock. They had us in a nice room where they cooked right on the bar!

    He's got some of the pan seared scallops going here...... Biggies too!


    Served with some Asian Slaw. Awesome!


    Oysters were big and I should have waited as we ended up getting two each, of two different types.


    The mussels were incredible and we got about a dozen each. Pan steamed in a garlic wine sauce. Wow! I leaned over to Jenn and said, "Two months ago we were eating world famous Penn Cove Mussels IN Penn Cove (Washington State) and now we are eating world famous PEI Mussles IN PEI"! :hail


    Finally, we had the fish that was lightly cooked and served with rice, veggies and some sort of fruit chutney on the fish. Sorry, but I'm just not into the fruit stuff all over my fish (or meat either :nono ) so I did taste one bit and then slid the fruit jam off of the fish. Politely though!


    After that wonderful lunch, we walked through the downtown area and had a fun time in some shops and I 'accidently' bought four used books. My 'addiction' I guess!

    The old church there was beautiful but not as 'old' as it seems only going back about 100 years. For this 'building' at least.


    Across from the church were a lot of old, yet renovated 'row' houses in the town's historic district. Here we see the "Carroll House" which I think is named after a famous aviator!


    Back on the ship, my blond cabinmate had a fancy massage scheduled that afternoon but for dinner, we knew that we wanted to go to the buffet dining room because it was "PEI Mussels Night"! Yep, I helped myself! Anyone noticed yet that my rum and cokes are always nearly empty? :grin


    This guy was sitting behind us and I took this one photo just for one buddy and he knows who he is and he's laughing right now! Luckily, Ben Franklin didn't have guys running around late at night with a camera, taking photos of his buddies! :nono


    We came back to the cabin to find that our cabin guys had left us a 'hanging monkey'! We kept him hanging as our pet for the rest of the trip! Very clever.


    Next morning it was a day at sea as we made our way over the top and down into the St Lawrence Waterway to Quebec City......
  • dpdashdpdash Posts: 5,359 Admiral
    Looks like a very interesting cruise, thanks for posting it
  • captaintjcaptaintj Posts: 443 Deckhand
    great report looks like a great time
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  • latitudeajustmentlatitudeajustment Posts: 2,060 Captain
    What a great trip report, outstanding! Thinking of maybe taking a trip up to Bar Harbor next summer and just staying there for a long weekend or maybe 1 week. Thanks so much for the information, really awesome stuff.
  • Gary MGary M Posts: 13,246 AG
    Thanks guys!

    Okay, time to head for the barn and finish off the last two days. The next to the last day was a full day at 'sea' as we left PEI and entered the St Lawrence River and made our way down the river to French-Canadian, Quebec City.

    That morning, after another nice breakfast, Jenn and I decided the head up to 'The Crow's Nest' which is a large gathering area with a bar. Big windows that spread out across the bar with nearly a 270 degree view near the bow and up high as well. She grabbed her Kindle and I grabbed my copy of "The Pacific" by Hugh Ambrose. Oh, and another big cup of coffee as well as my camera and little/powerful binocs.

    The Captain made his regular morning announcement and we heard that we had steady 40 knot winds with 'gusts to near 50 knots'!! :banana We were getting a good ride but I walked over to the port side windows to look at the water. I saw huge wind farms (in New Brunswick) and those combined with the winds made me easily see 'why' they built them where they did! Hope that you can blow this photo up! It's a bit 'misty' no doubt from the salt spray that is in the air.....


    Throughout the day and afternoon, as we got deeper into the River proper, the seas laid down. We all saw this guy miles ahead of us and we slooooowly overtook him. From our balconey.


    Zooming in, we can see more wind farms up on the hills..... I wondered what her next port was going to be?


    Haha! That night was "Formal Dinner Night" where gentlemen were asked to wear at least a sport coat in the nicer dining rooms. The ladies all looked nice and they walked in front of me and smiled a lot as we entered the dining room and headed for our regular table. I did break down (this will be shocking to those of you who know me!) and wore nice slacks, socks, lace up dress shoes but I drew the line at the sport jacket and just wore my finest Tommy Bahama silk shirt! It's amazing what you can get away with by just smiling a lot! I did see a few dressed up gentleman glare at me......... no doubt mad that they had not done the same thing!! :rotflmao

    When I agreed to our waiter's suggestion of a lobster tail, he immediately asked me, "Should I make that two tails sir"? "Why, yes! Yes, you can"! "And I'd love another Bacardi and Diet with a healthy chunk of lime to go with it"! "But of course!", he replied! By then, I had him well trained!!


    Okay, confession time. I'm an old Florida boy who's eaten hundreds of Florida/Bahamas lobster tails and I know that some people go all goo-goo gaa-gaa over 'Maine' lobsters, but I really don't even consider them in the same league as 'our' lobsters. No matter how much butter you dredge them through! Same with 'Lobster Rolls'. $16-$18 for a bun with some lobster pieces and mayo? :huh I keep 'trying' them but it's more of a novelty thing for me now. Checked off both squares... done. :rolleyes I've got some grilled Florida lobbies to look forward to in about 10 days!! :grin

    Julie ended up 'inventing' a new drink! You've heard of a 'Black Russian' and a 'White Russian' right? Well, hers is called a 'Tan Russian' and that's a mix of both! Does she look like she's enjoying it? :cool:


    I finally timed it correctly to watch us dock up for the last time in Quebec City. The large building to the left of center is the majestic, old hotel where we were booked in to have a fancy French meal for lunch! The big ferry boat runs back and forth across the river. We laughed as we saw him running a 'curved' path across the river, no doubt due to a stiff current.



    We had Res for noon so we made the steeeep walk up the hill to get to the Hotel. There was a 'Tour de Quebec' bicycle race so many streets were blocked. When the racers went by, they were going FAST!

    Looking down from just outside the Hotel, we got a good look at the ship and across the river.


    And the view from our table. Quebec is more 'French' than 'Canadian' and the menus and the locals reflected that!


    First up for me was an incredible Seafood Chowder! I may have accidently wiped the bowl clean with a last piece of bread!


    Then, it went downhill. The Fish and Chips were terrible. At least the fish was. Just waaaay too much of that heavy batter that when fried, you can't find the fish! Like the Maine lobsters, I just don't get all the hoopla about how 'great' it is! I had a much crispier and delicious Fish and Chips in Bar Harbor but this was greasy mush. Oh well, when in Rome I guess.........


    We decided to walk up the nearby hill to see the old fort that protected the area and to walk off the lunch. A great view of the 'Sloman Herakles' ship making her way up the river. She has her Harbour Pilot boat alongside.


    She's a fairly new chemical/oil tanker and as I write this, shows her to be in the New Orleans area! She's about 470 feet long and displaces about 12,000 tons.

    We also saw the 'Manitoba' going inland. Built in 1966, she's much larger at 607 feet in length and can displace over 19,000 tons of dry goods. Here, you see her passing close to our ship......


    There is a nice hill side leading up to the old fort. The weather that Friday was gorgeous and there were lots of people out to enjoy the day and the sunshine.......... This nice couple is also enjoying a bottle of wine....... Ahhhhh....... 'young love'! :angel


    We made a loop through the old downtown area and sure enough, the racers went flying by! People were cheering in the streets, ringing cow bells, beating on pans, etc! It was pretty wild and luckily for Canada, a Canadian won! :dance


    As we went downhill to get to the ship, we ran into the two guys that had been taking care of our cabin! They gave us excellent directions to get back to the ship! We passed a very ugly Marina I have to say! I think those are grain silos in the background.


    I did see a grand old lady tied up there and that was fun.....


    We were staying aboard one last night so for my dinner, I had trout over a very nice pasta. The food in the Rotterdam Dining Room was excellent!


    Here, I caught Julie having a fourth helping of dessert! :hairraiser


    Juuuuuust kiddddding! From the amount of wine in the bottle, I think we were only working on the appetizers.

    Had to depart the ship very early, but with enough time for one last custom-made Omelet before we shoved off. We left our cabin guys a nice tip and I sadly have to leave a fair amount of Bacardi behind which I hope they were able to enjoy!

    Grabbed a cab to the airport where we had about a 5 hour wait for our afternoon flight over to Montreal where we'd catch our Air Canada flight down to Ft Lauderdale. Jenn **** out her Corporate AMEX card and sweet talked our way into a very nice, quiet lounge area at the Quebec Airport gate area to make the long wait for our flight. Lots of goodies to eat and drink so we had 'lunch' right there! Thanks Jenn!


    Taxiing out in our 36-seat Dash 8 turbo-prop, we passed a line-up of Canadian Govt, dedicated Fire Bombers. These are CL-215 aircraft and they do an excellent job of skimming a lake, scooping up a lot of water and then dumping in on a fire. That would be fun, but no doubt dangerous flying.


    We blasted into the Canadian skies and pretty much followed the St Lawrence River further west to Montreal. Of course, I spotted one last Marina on the north side of the River.


    The Air Canada A-320 flight down to FLL was nice until the last hour or so.


    If there is only ONE other passenger on a flight that I am on, two things WILL happen! That person WILL be right in front of me and, that person WILL dump their seat fully back into my face! It is amazing how that always happens. Ughhh and I have to do four flights in the coming weeks. When I was a pilot NO ONE was in front of me! :rotflmao


    There were nasty lines of thunderstorms across the state and we ended up going down over Ft Myers. We ended up down at 3,000 feet and flew the last 125 miles at that altitude, across the Everglades!!! My pilot buddies will shake their heads as I did while it was happening! Very NON-Normal to run 'under' the weather in a jet! :willynilly Maybe it's a 'Canadian' thing, who knows!

    We had a great time on this trip and hope that you enjoyed coming along! Thanks to our friend Julie who suggested that we tag along! Where are we going next?
  • Gary MGary M Posts: 13,246 AG
    Thinking of maybe taking a trip up to Bar Harbor next summer and just staying there for a long weekend or maybe 1 week. Thanks so much for the information, really awesome stuff.

    We spent a week there as I mentioned, so let me know if I can give you any suggestions, etc if you start planning a trip there....
  • mikevmikev Posts: 10,817 AG
    Excellent report and pictures!
    "The only people that tell you it can't be done are the people who haven't done it themselves."
  • alacrityalacrity Posts: 2,648 Captain
    i'm pissed that the pictures, food **** and stories are over. please head on out to another exotic destination forthwith.
  • Gary MGary M Posts: 13,246 AG
    alacrity wrote: »
    i'm pissed that the pictures, food **** and stories are over. please head on out to another exotic destination forthwith.

    Hehe........ Going to NYC very soon so if we do a Harbor Tour and eat some incredible pizza at Lombardi's I might sneak in a quick Report!

    Glad that you guys liked it..... I might get a chance to help my buddy Don bring "Discovery" back south from MD so that might generate some more seafood pics and boat pics! We'll see..........
  • Gary MGary M Posts: 13,246 AG
    mikev wrote: »
    Excellent report and pictures!

    Thanks Mike!
  • dpdashdpdash Posts: 5,359 Admiral
    long pants, lace up shoes, dress shirt? Pics or it didn't happen��

    I hope you returned the favor in French Canada and tipped accordingly

    Very very cool trip, thanks for posting! Jen has taught you well on how to travel :)
  • Gary MGary M Posts: 13,246 AG
    Probably no one will see this one last photo but I stumbled onto it this morning looking for another photo.

    Here's the view from a Midway Airlines Boeing 737 as we came into Boston to land on the same runway where I took the cool photos of the jets landing on! This is from the late '80s. Our 2015 cruise ship would have been off to the left and would have backed out of her slip, right under the approach to the runways that we can see here. Obviously, I'm not flying this approach as pilots always 'swap' flying on every flight. I would have made the next takeoff and flight out of BOS. Yes, that's the windshield wiper and on 'high' it can make 177 sweeps a minute and it gets a bit 'loud' then!

  • alacrityalacrity Posts: 2,648 Captain
    Gary M wrote: »
    Probably no one will see this one last photo but I stumbled onto it this morning looking for another photo.

    Here's the view from a Midway Airlines Boeing 737 as we came into Boston to land on the same runway where I took the cool photos of the jets landing on! This is from the late '80s. Our 2015 cruise ship would have been off to the left and would have backed out of her slip, right under the approach to the runways that we can see here. Obviously, I'm not flying this approach as pilots always 'swap' flying on every flight. I would have made the next takeoff and flight out of BOS. Yes, that's the windshield wiper and on 'high' it can make 177 sweeps a minute and it gets a bit 'loud' then!


    that's a great picture.
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