Friday, 10 June 2011

Night and Day

So much for no stopovers. With a storm brewing at our backs, we bounced our way into a marina in Cap a l'Aigle our first night out of Quebec city. Wednesday morning we plugged away for Rimouski to shower, provision, refuel and grab a great old breakfast at a local greasy spoon that dolled out painfully generous portions of eggs, meat pie, toast and fresh fruit. Just what the doctor ordered. Now that we were back in proper seaman shape, we set an ambitious course that would take us into the Gulf of St. Lawrence, pass Gaspé Bay, through the Northumberland Strait and into Shédiac. This could take a while. In fact, it is a 350 nm stretch, that would take us 72 hrs to cross, without stopping. Given our optimistic nature and zeal for the task at hand it didn't seem too unrealistic. But our engine had other plans for us. For the second time now it choked up on water and ceased. It happened around 2 a.m. on Brittany's watch while we were motor sailing through some unfavorable winds. The night was already dreadful and had dulled our spirits long before the engine failed. The confused seas pressed against Rodeo from all directions, shifting everything on board this way then that way. Sounds of strained rigging and sliding contents send reverberating noise throughout the cabin. Rodeo was like a drum and the sounds were unbearable. We were taking 1 hr watch shifts at night and trying very hard to sleep in between them. It was a strenuous and trying night both physically and mentally. I felt trapped. Trapped at sea, trapped on a cold, damp boat and trapped in my own head. My brain and my insides felt like they were in a blender. Nothing could sooth the discomfort except for sleep, which only came briefly and infrequently, violently interrupted by one wave after another. I wanted to die. No, I wanted to go home. I began to wonder why I agreed to partake in this insanity. I also wondered what the appeal of sailing might be, considering the discomforts and dangers. What's so glorious about putting yourself through such an ordeal? I really couldn't figure it out. Though I tried. I reasoned with myself, tortured myself really with reservations and doubts, until sleep finally relieved the trepidation. I'm not sure how the rest of the crew felt. We all suffered in silence, accepting the hardship for what it was, part of the experience.
The light of day came as a relief, though the seas were still rough and my body tormented. The sun hung bright in the sky and it felt good to be outside. While I slept Gabriel and Randy made plans to stop in St. Anne de Mont to take a good look at the motor. Thus we attempted another docking without an engine, and perhaps, due to our extensive experience in the field, this time we eased into our mooring without unnecessary antics. The harbour master in St. Anne de Mont was extremely courteous and helpful, as were other marina residents who helped us with our engine repairs and gave us a ride to a gas station (thanks Vergine) so we could replenish the water-tainted diesel Gabriel drained out of the motor. Once we finished up, cleaned the boat and organized her shambled contents, we treated ourselves to a mound of magnificent roadside poutine and a nap. By 5 p.m. it was time to hit the seas again.

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