Tuesday, 7 June 2011

la belle vie

Following a night at anchor in Batiscan, we closed in on Quebec by early afternoon on Sunday, June 4. Long before the city came in site the steep shore lines became peppered with arresting cottages, churches and waterfront resorts. Then the approach to Port de Quebec granted us spectacular views of the Citadel and Chateau Frontenac. We were enchanted. Rodeo had a spot waiting in the well sheltered Marina Port de Quebec and we eased into it in awe of our surroundings. 
The old Quebec lay at our feet and we wasted no time getting on land. We strolled through the narrow, cobble stone streets for a while, peering into windows of shops and galleries, now closed for the night. Then for a pit stop, Chateau Frontenac. Spending a little time taking in the intricate decor of the hotel interior, we made our way through the lobby and into the lounge, where Fernando treated us to a bottle of Champagne. How awfully civilized. We sipped on the bubbly and glanced out the full height windows overlooking the river. And though this gesture was in stark contrast to our simple boat life, the moment was something to be savoured and we toasted it. We were proud of ourselves and applauded each other for good work and great team effort. The celebration was bitter sweet, as our time with the transient crew members Renato (aka Papa) and Fernando was drawing near. But what a time it has been. These two colourful characters had brought heaps of energy and laughs into our daily lives. The week and a half we spent together seems more like months, we've grown together so much. We will miss having them around. 
To give us a hand in absence of the old crew, our friends Randy and Michelle offered to fly down to complete the open ocean part of our journey. Michelle was unfortunately unable to make it, but we were lucky enough to get our friend Brittany on board. She and Randy flew in on Monday and after spending the day picking up supplies and provisioning we prepared to part ways with Gabriel's dad and Fernando. They were set to leave on Tuesday, June 6 to go back to Brazil, but they wouldn't go quietly. As a final gesture of their inexhaustible generosity and appetite, the boys threw a BBQ of Brazilian proportions. There were racks of ribs, sausages, steak and wine, lots and lots of wine. We had so much food the neighbouring party of boaters got in on the feast. 
The festivities continued aboard Rodeo as we slowly settled in for the night. We had 6 crew for the night and only 5 bunks, which meant someone had to sleep outside. That arguable pleasure was all Randy's, who nearly froze to death in the cockpit. Poor guy. I did offer him a heater, but he decided to tough it out, at least until early morning, when Papa and Fernando bid us farewell. The rest of us were ready to depart Quebec shortly after as well, and so back with the river we rolled. 

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