We rounded the tip of the Gaspe Peninsula and passed the highest lighthouse in Canada on a beautiful sunny day.
Soon afterward the famous Perce Rock came into view. It is huge, sitting off the coast with a hole on the eastern end (that you can not take your boat through, much as Jeff and Wes wanted to try). We anchored off the island nearby, Ile Bonaventure, known for its large colony of nesting gannets.
Gannets are seabirds, white with black wingtips and lovely golden heads, that are part of the booby family. They skim over the water then rise up a bit and suddenly dive into the water, pulling in their wings at the last second with a splash and catch a fish. They come ashore, 50 thousand of them, to nest and have their chicks, on the bluffs and ledges of the island, making a raucous noise as they come and go. One of the pair stays on the nest and when the mate returns, they do a dance of rubbing beaks and necks together.
We hiked to the nesting colony across the island and came back along a trail along the shore, seeing seals and gulls and murres with bright red legs standing along the cracks in the face of the cliffs. We had bowls of delicious fish soup at the park restaurant then dinghied back to "Adirondack" and spent the night at anchor.
The next morning was gray and rainy, so we didn't see the sunrise on Perce Rock, but we circled Ile Bonaventure and saw all the birds from the water side. Then we headed across Baie des Chaleurs to Shippagan with a wavy, rocky trip, but improving weather as we went along.
We arrived in the marina to find it was the start of the 51st annual Seafood Festival. Our lines were caught on the dock and we were handed beers by our dock mates. There were lots of people, lots of boats all decorated with the Acadian flag (the French tricolor with a gold star on the blue to signify the North Star). We watched the parade of boats participating in the blessing of the fleet, had dinners of lobster (Jeff) and traditional clam pie (Sally - think chicken pot pie made with thick clam chowder) and listened to music and watched the fireworks!
We left early the next morning through the Shippagan Gully, a narrow passage through mud flats full of great blue herons and black capped night herons all standing in water up to their knees quite close to the boat. We had a nice run south to Escuminac, where we found a fishing fleet marina with space on the wall. We got out the bikes and had a good ride and dinner at the local diner. Today we continue south to Buctouche then over to Prince Edward Island the next day for highland pipping and an Anne of Green Gables pilgrimage! Sally
7/17/12 - True to the cruising lifestyle, we met a man on the dock at Escuminac who told Jeff of a diesel mechanic at West Point on PEI who might know about fuel filters. So to West Point we went, skipping Buctouche. The marina was very shallow, but we made it in (at low tide too!), found Albert Boyle with the help of a fisherman on the wall and now have a supply of 10 micron fuel filters and the reassurance from Albert that those are what we need.
We walked to the lighthouse - the tallest on PEI - which is now an inn, making it back to "Adirondack" before it rained. This morning the tide is up and we'll head to Summerside.