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6th October, 2017


Stand-by engines was at 0630 this morning and as I arrived on the Bridge it was yet another fabulous start to the day. When I had gone to bed around 2200 hrs the Viking Sea was ahead of us and to my delight was now 4 miles astern as I wanted to arrive first and “beat the Vikings”. As it was a boat port I was keen to get the prime anchorage position with the shortest run possible for the ships tenders. One of our 3rd Officers kept the control (con) this morning and took the ship all the way to the anchorage position controlling the course and speed of the ship. It was a very smooth arrival and we dropped anchor at 0720 sending our 1st tender ashore shortly afterwards to secure the best pier in Gaspe and set up our shore party operations. By 0800 we were all ready to go and begin our full day of “boating”.

Along the Upper St Lawrence, the Gaspe Peninsular provides some of the oldest and most intriguing attractions in the world. At 8,500 square miles Gaspe is roughly the size of New Jersey. The region’s unique geography –lush arboreal forests, 350 million year old glacier burnished mountains and hundreds of crystal-clear rivers that team with popular sport fish such as salmon and trout –gives rise to a subtle tribute: many simple call it “The Gaspe”. Vikings may have been the first visitors, but officially Jacques Cartier discovered it for France on 24th July 1534, taking possession by planting a wooden cross with the Kings coat of arms and the sentence Vive le Roi de France (meaning long live the King of France)

There were 6 tours on offer today focused around trips from Gaspe to Perce, and tours to the Forillon National Park. Both Gaspe and Perce are very attractive towns and the one hour transfer between the two is a beautiful journey. A visit to Forillon National Park is a unique adventure and includes geological features that are up to 450 million years old, and its majestic landscapes cover an area of 94 square miles where the land joins the sea.

I managed to get ashore for an hour and the port agent kindly drove me round Gaspe in her car. It certainly is a delightful little town and the true fall colours were very evident. During a chat over coffee she mentioned that after sunset there would be fireworks at the marina which would time perfectly with our departure. So with everyone on board at 1745 we “weighed”anchor, secured our tenders and then maintained position for 10 minutes to watch the fireworks. After a slow start they gathered pace and it was a very good display –nothing of the magnitude of the Saga Magical Moment in Quebec of course!!!

It was an interesting sailaway as having “beaten”the Vikings in the morning we agreed to follow her out of the anchorage in the darkness. Once clear of Gaspe bay we set course for a day at sea en-route for Halifax

Captain Julian Burgess

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