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Latitude 46° 13.89 N Longitude 063° 07.05

 

As we departed the province of Quebec we began our trek south and further east heading towards Prince Edward Island. PEI is its own province and you can definitely feel the lack of French influence here. It’s much more British with the buildings very similar to what we will see throughout New England. During the night we changed time zones entering the Atlantic zone and we will remain so until we arrive in Bar Harbor, Maine on October 14th.

This is a beautiful island where fishing (lobsters and mussels) is the primary industry. Tourism contributes greatly to the economy but we are here very late in the season. Many shops and restaurants are already closed for the winter. After a walking tour through Charolettetown and lunch at what was advertised by the Cruise Director as the best lobster restaurant in town, we enjoyed Lobster Rolls at the Lobster on the Wharf. Carol and I enjoyed it tremendously, Roger had the biggest Fish and Chips he’d ever seen, and Pat was still hungry after the Lobster Roll so he ordered the Strawberry – Rhubarb Pie with ice cream. That boy can eat – he’d had a double scoop of Cherry Vanilla Ice Cream just less than an hour earlier.

After lunch we negotiated with a taxi driver and toured some of the island. We thought we could see the whole island but once we found out it was 148 miles long…we modified the plan. Our driver, Betty was raised here so she was a wealth of local knowledge. We went up to the north side of the island where there is a National Park right on the beach with beautiful sand dunes. The beach stretched for miles and at this time of year, was virtually empty. Victoria Park, back in Charolettetown is a beautiful neighborhood with beautiful historical sites as well as the old gunnery positions that protected the town during World Wars I and II. Prince Edward Island is a frequent stop for the British Royal Family and their visits were much discussed by our driver.

 

 

 

Endless Sand Dunes on the north shore of Prince Edward Island.

 

 

 

These towns are all heavily into the Crafts Industry. This was taken at the Northern Watters Knitwear Shop. Had we lived in a cooler climate, it would have been very tempting to pick up one of the famous British Wool Sweaters. Hard to justify living in Florida though…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Holland America began a Cellar Master’s Dinner event since our last cruise. There was fine wine involved so naturally we signed up to attend. There were less than 30 people in attendance and held in the Pinnacle Grill. Wow! The very young Pinnacle Chef, Daniel from Spain as well as the Cellar Master, Zoltan out did themselves. We have been to number of these over the years in different places but this was by far the best. The depth of flavors in each of the eight courses was amazing and the wine choices were so well matched. It was an extraordinary evening and we will definitely participate in future cruises.

 

 

Saguenay is located at Latitude 48 20.69 N and Longitude 070 52.65 W. So we are definitely moving further north and east in our travels. It still isn’t terribly cold considering it is into October but the wind is a contributing factor both as we walk and for the ship maneuvering into and away from the docks. The locals consider this to be an Indian Summer and refer to the -30° C. as the “real” winter. This is about as “winter” as I care to do. The high winds make it feel much colder than we’re accustomed to. We got up for the anticipated 7AM arrival in Saguenay where a local group in colonial attire was scheduled to welcome us with hot chocolate, blueberry pastry and song and dance. The wind was blowing like “stink” as they say, at about 35 knots according to the Captain. We fought our way through the door to the main deck to watch the festivities only to see the ship slowly moving closer to the pier. We thought the thrusters were just doing their job in slowly allowing the ship to ease up to the pier in a controlled manner. At the same time an ambulance had its lights on and a team was moving a gurney down the ramp towards the ship. They in fact were awaiting a stroke victim from the night before. The locals couldn’t be seen yet so we walked around to the windward side of the ship to find two ocean-going tugs at either end of the ship not pushing us towards the pier but rather pulling us away to preclude the winds from thrashing the ship up against the pier. They were working hard to do it and it took some time, but they did a great job working together and it made for an interesting entrance into Saguenay, Quebec!

 

We have found that all of these port of entry terminals have free wi-fi available. Not only does the crew take full advantage of it, but we try to stand around long enough to at least get all our email delivered before we head out on our big adventures.

 

Some of the crew entertaining us…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Leaving Saguenay River Inlet as we continue north and east towards Baei-Comeau. This river was very reminiscent of my sailing as a teenager up the St John’s River off of the Bay of Fundy. The landscape was a mixture of rolling farmland and granite rock faces with deep water right up to the shoreline. If it looks a little dark and overcast – it was! But fortunately the wind was only around 20 knots as we departed and we didn’t require the tugs to get off the dock. I guess the thrusters are only effective at something below 35 knots…hum. We watched our passage out of the tributary from Saguenay from the Crow’s Nest with a Martini firmly in hand. Back in the old days we would have been out on the deck braving the wind. Somehow that just doesn’t seem as appealing as it used to. We must be getting old or else we’ve just spent too much time in Florida! Last night was our first of three formal evenings aboard ship. We all got decked out in our formal attire…but believe it or not, we have NO pictures. We’ll make up for that on the next formal night. All in all it was a very relaxing day in Saguenay.

 

Baie-Comeau where we visited on October 8th (our 36th Anniversary) is known for the fact that they have no oil, natural gas or nuclear power generating facilities. They power the town purely from the electricity generated by the water in the nearby dams. There is also a large paper mill that is operational and cranking out huge rolls of paper that were continuously being trucked and loaded onto large cargo ships docked right next to our ship. We got off the ship and rather than taking the shuttle to the terminal we walked…then we decided to walk to the town rather than take the school busses provided. We were told to follow the walking path and that the town was about 1 ½ miles. OK off we went. The path was nice and provided for great views of the coastline along with the very tiny man-made harbor that provided the only protection from the surrounding seas and wind. We almost missed the town actually and only ended up there after one of those “why don’t we just go down this road for a minute” thoughts. We did have a map…well sort of a marketing tool and very misleading. When we returned to the ship I checked the Walking Mate app on my phone and it says we went 6.1 miles…not bad for a little outing.

 

Tossing a Cutthroat coin into the River

Lattitude 49 14.09 N

Longitude 068 07.75 W

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Looking at the tiny but well protected harbor. Most of the boats are already out of the water and prepared for the long cold winter months ahead.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Low Tide as we make our way towards town…on the way we saw our first whale careening along the deep side of the pier making his way slowly but surely to wherever he was headed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pat and Carol on our way to town. Pat lost his hat in the rocks back by the pier…never to be seen again.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you look close…you can see the entrance to the little harbor…good luck with that one at night!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So it was another fun but relaxing day in Canada. We’ve really enjoyed this cruise for the variety of ports, the cool weather and color changes in the landscape, and the lack of jewelry stores and tee-shirt shops like we’ve found throughout the Caribbean. Tonight in celebration of our Anniversary we are going to the Pinnacle Grill to enjoy a superb dinner. As we normally do, we will watch our departure from the Crow’s Nest and enjoy the beautiful scenery before the sun sets and we are thrust into darkness.

 

Best wishes and love to all,

Elise and Roger

Quebec City is an incredible old city with the same European ambiance found in Montreal, but on a much smaller scale. It’s much more rural. On the advice of a friend we took the Funiculaire (cable car) to the top and strolled through the small streets enjoying the quaint shops and cafés. The temperature is beginning to drop, and the wind has been strong all day long. The m/v Maasdam docked stern-in making our 9 PM departure a bit easier. We look so tiny next to the huge 5000+ passenger Princess ship also in town for the day. You can definitely tell that the population probably doubled with both ships in port. We are in the northern latitudes as the tides are extreme making for quite the views as we make our way to the northeast out of the Saint Lawrence Seaway towards the North Atlantic. It should be interesting to see what we find as we make our way out to sea. The North Atlantic in fall and winter…brings back cold memories!

 

 

 

 

 

Traveling to Montreal is like going to Europe without the time zone change and long overnight flight. Once the plane lands you must clear customs, get your passport stamped and realize that the primary language is French. The additional plusses are that just about everyone also speaks English and there is a distinct lack of the “French Attitude.” In other words, people are polite! Why go to France when the French culture is so close at hand? Fact – Montreal has the second largest French speaking population next to Paris.

 

For those of you who didn’t know (probably most of you – no reason that you would), we are traveling with Pat and Carol Moneymaker; our dear friends from San Diego. We are staying at the Chateau Champlain Marriott courtesy of Marriott Rewards Points…a very good deal as by staying 4 nights, you get the 5th one free. No bragging just advertisement. We find using Marriott Vacation Club just gives us lots of opportunities to travel better.

 

 

Roger and I were here about 20 years ago for a First Command Sales Meeting but we spent most of the time in meetings and therefore didn’t get out too much. Our youngest son, Rob with us that year – he had a much better time and remembers much more of the city. He had a great time as a matter of fact and his visit to Montreal has prompted many family stories over the years – probably ones he would prefer his children never hear. Don’t you love it!

We spent Tuesday doing the double-decker tour bus getting the big picture of the city. Found a nice little café for lunch – great local beer! Dinner at the Concierge lounge at the hotel (another perk), and then Ben & Jerry’s for Ice Cream. We actually found 3 Ben & Jerry’s in the city. We were on a quest for Cherries Garcia ice cream. At least two of the stores ran out on day 2…Pat then boycotted B&J’s. We determined it was a result of the US government shutdown. Fortunately, the third store hadn’t heard about the shutdown and still had some available. Life is good!

Day 2 took us back on the bus but only as far as the Notre Dame Basilica. It rivals any of the major churches we’ve seen in Europe. From there we walked…and walked…and walked. We found the old city. Lots of art, small bistros and restaurants and lots of winding narrow streets. This is all interspersed with new modern buildings where major corporations hold offices, university property and government offices abound. It’s quite the mix of culture and times. The city is very clean and the people well-dressed and friendly as cities go.

 

 

 

 

Day 3 took us to the Museums – there was a Chihuly exhibit. Definitely worth a visit. We liked the French restaurant we went to the day before, so we walked all the way back to the French Quarter to enjoy another lunch there. Yes, we’re pretty boring! We had told our waiter we’d be back (of course he’d never heard that line before), so he was very surprised to see us. Yep, got good service!

 

 

 

 

The Botanical Gardens occupied day 4. We took the Metro for this adventure. The gardens were spectacular even this late in the season and exceeded our expectations. The gardens are adjacent to the Olympic Stadium – another beautiful structure. While we got numerous pictures of the tower – a truly magnificent structure, we did not enter into the grounds nor did we ride up the tower.

 

 

 

On Saturday, the 5th we checked out of the hotel and headed for the ship terminal. Easy 10 minute cab ride and a simple and uneventful embarkation process. Rooms are just fine and we spent the rest of the day doing all the pre-departure drill – dinner reservations at the Pinnacle – internet time – culinary class, wine package, etc. sign up.

The weather is getting colder and it’s not nearly as warm as earlier in the week – finally feels like Fall!

Ahoy Matey’s – we’re on our way…more to follow!

With Love,

Elise and Roger

We’re Back

Feels like I’ve been on a very long sabbatical.  I can’t believe it’s been close to three years since making an entry in the blog.  In April of 2012 I did attempt to update the site, but alas…I never posted it.  We  are getting ready to go on a cruise (cruise ship variety) and thought “what a great time to start writing again.”  I found this next blurb on my desktop and after reading it, decided that yes, it needs to be included…so here it is.  I’ll fill in some of the gaps in the upcoming blogs.  It’s not like we dropped off the face of the earth, but after all the sailing excitement…life does seem rather boring for the John’s.  It’s really not – we’re both healthy, in good shape and most important the family is all doing exceptionally well!

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