Montreal, the Jazz Festival and Further Adventures East

We spent a couple of days in Montreal, right in the heart of the old city. We learned the Jazz Festival would be going on while we were in Montreal and one of our favorite groups, Rodrigo y Gabriela was playing. The weather forecast was dismal, but the concert was inside a wonderful concert hall. While many of the festival venues were free, this show was not but occasionally you just have to splurge.

Rodrigo and Gabriela

Rodrigo y Gabriela

We became fans of R y G many years ago. Their music has a heavy flamenco influence with Gabriela using the guitar base as a percussion instrument. Their show was intense – with more of a rock influence than we were accustomed to but was still an amazing show.

While there were many venues with free music after the concert, we were both too exhausted from the show and made our way back to the boat.

Canada Day

It was Canada Day while we were in Montreal – the entire old city was filled with street performers, artists, and tourists enjoying the celebration. We spent the day wandering the streets and then headed back to the Jazz Festival area. With food and beverage trucks and stands scattered throughout, we grazed our way around and enjoyed more music.

Street musician playing in the fountain
Montreal Jazz Festival
Atwater Market in Montreal

Local Knowledge

Initially we were one of two sailboats in the Vieux Porte Marina. The rest of the floating population was made up of power boats of various sizes. On one of my trips to the laundry, I met the people on the other sailboat. They were from Quebec City and make frequent trips between the two cities. They told me of an anchorage that we had not heard about – Iles des Barques.

We departed Montreal and set our destination for this new anchorage. Approaching from the north side of Ile des Barques, we followed the deepest path and found ourselves in a beautiful wetland area. We dropped anchor and for a brief time shared the waterway with a small fishing boat. Once the boat left, our neighbors were herons, cranes, and a few odd ducks. No, I’m not talking about us!

St Lawrence
Morning at Ile des Barques

Ghost Ship

With the weather cooperating, we departed our peaceful anchorage and headed towards Trois Riviere. Soon after entering the shipping channel, a heavy fog rolled in. It was probably combined with smoke from the wildfires in northern Quebec. Our visibility was minimal. Our AIS told us a cargo ship was approaching and as it got closer, we heard its foghorn on regular intervals.

The shipping channel was quite narrow with depths outside of the channel no more than 1-2 feet. We found one spot that was 15-20’ deep and pulled out of the shipping channel as far as we dared and stopped. We had no desire to pass a ship in a narrow channel when we could barely see the bow of our own boat! A few minutes later the ghost-like vessel came by shrouded in the fog.

Trois Riviere

The fog burned off as the day progressed and the sun came out in full force. We arrived in Trois Riviere and headed for an anchorage a short distance up the Saint-Maurice River. There was a large park on Ile Saint-Quentin and the beaches were packed with families having picnics and swimming. With the 85-degree temperatures, we both jumped in. I can’t say I really swam as the current was so strong that I had to hang on to the swim ladder. It was lovely!

We stayed just one night in Trois Riviere and never left the boat other than our swim. It was nice just to watch the boats come and go and the dragon boats as they practiced their drills.

St Lawrence
Dragon Boat races in Trois Rivieres


Our next destination was Portneuf where we had reservations for two nights. Portneuf is also where you start to experience the tide impact on the St Lawrence and is one of the marinas where they have adequate depth regardless of the tide. Some of the other marinas could only be entered at high tide. Portneuf is over 300 nautical miles from the Gulf of St. Lawrence.

There is a wonderful restaurant, La Perle du St-Laurent, upstairs from the marina office. We were told that they were completely booked but perhaps they could fit us in at 8:30pm. The parking lot was still packed when we walked up to the entrance so our expectations of getting seated were not high. But the owner/waiter seated us on the outdoor balcony, and we had a fabulous meal overlooking the marina. Perfect!

July 6, 2023 343 Nautical Miles 46°40.990’N  071°52.677’W

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