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This post was translated from French by Google Translate. If you see any errors, please let me know!

Cacouna, July 30, 2021

Today, heading for Cacouna, I had my baptism of navigation in the St. Lawrence River. I’ll tell you about that in another post, but know that I got it all in the same outing. From the start of Saint-Jean-Port-Joli, waves of 6 feet, with some which should have grazed 8 feet. Strong winds, against the tide (hence the big waves!). I couldn’t even get up to hang my defenses on the lifelines because the waves were so crazy.

The VIKINGR was thrown violently to port then to starboard, in an endless pendulum movement! Water flowed over the rails on either side of the boat and rushed into the cockpit; there was water everywhere!

Heavy rain, lightning … and suddenly, after two hours of crazy weather, dead calm. A sea of ​​oil. I was even lucky enough to be accompanied by a group of beluga whales, the time to get away from them so that they had plenty of space. Minimum 400M.

It was, how to put it… so formative! What a navigation experience!

Port Canada | Gros-Cacouna, Cacouna

Still, I finally arrived, safe and sound, in the corner of Gros-Cacouna, just in front of the mouth of the Saguenay (or almost). There is space there to spend the night, well sheltered in a commercial port. We are tolerated, but their kindness should not be abused. It is a place where one can take refuge in case of need or while waiting for the good tide to enter the Saguenay. And spend the night there if the weather is bad. It’s what I’m going to do.

There are already two boats there. Which leave in a westerly direction. Probably to reach the marina of Saint-Jean-Port-Joli or the port of refuge of Cap-à-l’Aigle. Time for a wave of the hand to wish them good crossing that they are already far away.

So here I am made safe. Alone. I find a place where I will be well anchored. Under the keel, 12 feet of water. It’s perfect! I drop the anchor and turn off the engine. It is complete silence. Finally, I can relax a bit. I take this opportunity to assess the damage. But above all, a self-criticism of what I should and should not have done. I will talk to you about this in another post.

Another sailboat also comes to take refuge. Named LAROSE DES VENTS. A beautiful boat. But I’m too tired to socialize. I just watch him drop anchor, not far from me, and say hello. They are a few on board, probably a small family.

I go home to tidy up all the things that have fallen in the center of the square. This will be one of the things to improve: make things secure before leaving! I also prepare a meal. And prepare is a big word. Instead, I heat up a can of meatball stew, the Cordon Bleu. The one with potatoes, for those who know. I will not be difficult tonight. I’m very attracted to the bunk and as soon as I’m done eating and washing the little dishes, washing myself with the washcloth, I’ll settle in for the night. Intense thunderstorms are forecast for tonight. It will sleep well!

Le bateau Larose des vents

Larose des vents, my neighbor at the Port of Gros-Cacouna, in Cacouna


A noise coming from the front of my boat wakes me up …

Looks like someone having fun with my anchor. I think maybe it is current. Before I realize there is no current here, we are in a port. So it’s surely the wind? What else do you want it to be? I’m going out to check ….

As soon as I step outside the bunk, I am propelled like a shell, and I fall backwards in the middle of the saloon. Flashlight in hand, a little dumbfounded and still half asleep, I realize that the boat has just been propelled astern, by an extraordinary force! I hear the chain of my anchor hitting against something. The VIKINGR is torn and moves in all directions, as if it were a very small boat. He is still 10,000 lbs !! And all of a sudden, you’re backing 30 feet in a second (or two, I didn’t have time to count!). And then everything stops! You can hear the rain knocking on the portholes.

I go out. It’s raining to drink while standing. You can’t see anything at all. The drops completely cloud the surface of the water and their coldness finally wakes me up. I then realize that the bow of my boat, that is to say the front, where my anchor is located, is sunk. I glance in the direction of my neighbor. I can’t make out her masthead light, but still see a faint glow. Thanks, Odin, they’re still here! I watch them for a while, while I am totally soaked.

Nothing more is happening. Nothing moves. Everything seems normal. I’m heading forward to see what’s going on. I extend my touée. And the boat resumes its place. I’ll see tomorrow to try to find out what happened. For the moment, I am going back on board. Time to dry off and I’m already in bed.

Soon 2 am. I have to sleep a little longer …

But I don’t have time!

A rustling is heard. Something, something huge brushes against my hull, starboard side. My berth is located on the port side. I’m not sure what to do. I listen! I pay close attention, the engine keys in one hand and the flashlight in the other. I can easily see that the chain of my anchor is touched once again. But much less violently than before. It’s more of a touch. A curious gesture.

And then everything stops … a few seconds

This time, the boat is moving a little and what was on the starboard side has just passed over to the port side. I’ll be honest with you, I expected everything except this.

Two centimeters

That’s all that separates me from this huge thing.

I hear the friction very distinctly. It’s impressive, but I don’t feel aggressive. More of curiosity. It’s a gentle movement. Ripple … which fades and disappears. Obviously, I go out into the cockpit. I want to see what it is about. But the rain forbids me any possibility of distinction. You can’t see more than 10 feet. No fins, no groove … nothing. No track!

The next day, I talk about it with my neighbor. Who is curious to see me trying to remove my anchor which must now be completely buried 10 feet in the mud. Forward-backward, forward-backward. They neither saw nor heard anything. I tell him a little bit about what happened to me. But I don’t dare go into too much detail, I don’t want to scare them!

Le voilier Vikingr à Cacouna

The VIKINGR at the Port of Gros-Cacouna, Cacouna

So what was it?

No idea.

I couldn’t figure out what it could be. I was told that a large shark had been sighted in the area in the days leading up to my adventure. I was also told it could be a beluga, but I have my doubts. With the incredible force I felt, at the speed that my boat moved, well inked… It must have been enormous.

A whale? In 12 feet of water? Not sure. I also didn’t see any tracks on the bow of my boat. Alone on the flanks, you could tell that something had rubbed against it. That’s all.

Like a ghost, it evaporated along the coast of Cacouna.

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May Odin be with you!

Aerial photo of VIKINGR: : Philippe Larose from Larose des vents
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Louis Houde

Author Louis Houde

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