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11th October, 2015


The first pilots exchanged off Trois Rivieres shortly before five, then the second pair exchanged as we passed Quebec, by which time we were in glorious weather. All the way down the river the colours of the autumn leaves on either bank were amazing. Throughout the afternoon we cruised closely down the north shore, passing small towns and isolated houses, between islands and mainland until the darkness came, the odd ferry crossing our path. The entrance to the Saguenay went by during dinner, a few hours before our final pilots left off Escoumines around 2200 hours.

Our approach to Baie-Commeau was in calm conditions, our berthing pilot coming out on a small tug. The town sees relatively few cruise ships, consequently there were no normal coaches for our excursions. So it was the black and yellows that lined up on the quayside, a photo I couldn’t resist taking from the bridge wing. With tongue in cheek I mentioned to the folks that homework would have to be completed before their return.

I conducted my tenth plaque exchange to commemorate our first call, but this time it was with a difference. I found out that of the locals that came aboard, ten had won a local competition and we were the prize. They received the ‘enhanced’ ship tour which meant me taking them up to the bridge.

Mrs R, not being particularly interested in dams (must be a lady thing), left me to take the afternoon tour to the Manic 2 Hollow joint gravity dam on my own. It was fascinating, walking around the lower level on the inside of a dam, being able to look down at the dry river bed between the concrete chambers and hearing the deep rumble of vast quantities of water cascading down through massive pipes before forcing the turbines around at great speed. Not for the feint hearted. In the power house we could stand in a room that held one of the turbine generators, a 400 ton structure rotating at 120 RPM. Unfortunately security restrictions prevented photography inside, so a photo of the model will have to suffice.

Back on board the odd Minke whale had been seen just off the breakwater and, right on cue, one swam past as we backed away from the jetty on departure.

Captain Philip Rentell

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