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4th October, 2015

Havre St. Pierre, Quebec

The journey up from Cornerbrook took us north of Anticosti Island and through the Mingan Islands which lay off the north shore of Quebec State. For many years Havre St. Pierre remained very isolated but eventually a highway was built to connect the isolated communities with Quebec. In front of our berth a bulk carrier lay at the Rio Tinto mine dock loading ilmenite ore and at first there was an issue with where our headlines could be placed. Common sense prevailed when I pointed out our gangway would be floating in mid-air unless we could come to some arrangement and, as we berthed, a pod of Minke whales swam past on the other side (Saga likes to surprise and delight).

It was a cold but clear start with light winds as our passengers embarked on their excursions, all of them by boat out to the various islands. Ashore there was a small town with enthusiastic locals who were very willing to offer advice. Directly across the road an arts and crafts boutique also had free local ‘tea’ made from a rather unusual looking leaf. During the morning the bulk carrier in front was moving up and down its berth in order to get each hatch under the loader in turn. At one stage it came within six feet or so of our bow. Needless to say, we kept a beady eye on their ‘adjustments’.

Mrs R and I joined an afternoon tour which took us, in a large open boat at great speed to Quarry Island, where two lady Rangers gave us the guided tour through the pine forest. It was very unique as rambles go and, apart from numerous species of vegetation I don’t recall seeing before, the shoreline had some unusual limestone rock formations that had been shaped by the weather over the millennia.

When we departed it seemed the whole community had come down to see us off, cars were flashing their lights and tooting their horns. On the dock there must have been a hundred or more waving flags, now you don’t see that very often in Dover.

Captain Philip Rentell

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