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Sunday, July 28, 2013

St Pierre~Miquelon…The Trip…Part I

Thursday, July 25
Our stop last night was at Fisherman’s Cove about 20 miles from Fortune (the ferry departure port). It was a quiet Provincial Campground with not too many campers present. As usual, in the morning, I had a big breakfast to carry me over the Islands. In no time we were packed up and tooling down the road to Fortune. The ticket office was just opening up and three young ticket agents were helpful in getting us all squared away with parking arraignments, passport info and boarding time. The ship pulled in around 8 am and passengers disembarked. The crew cleaned everything before letting us board. Now, the crew spoke French, but not the type of French we are use to. We could understand them, but had to listen carefully. Their English was even worse! The twin hull ship was about 100 feet long and in good looking shape. We pulled out of the harbour on time, but it was drizzling and very foggy. Three of the crew were standing at the head of the passenger compartment looking at us sort of strangely. Like they were waiting for something to happen. Here it comes!
Notice the lower part of my face...Green/Gray!
The ship started to jump the waves ahead of us. At first, I taught this was kind of fun. More wet towels going out… I mean a couple of dozen people not looking so good back there. We were sitting in the front row seats along with our new friends Catherine Gagnon and her husband Leon Jensen. Now the wet towels are going out with the little white bags. The twin hull ship is now coming down very hard on the approaching waves. Bang, bang as the hull hits more waves. The ferry is not rolling too much side to side, but just going for and aft abruptly. The Captain does slow it down a notch or two. I’m getting hot myself, I ask for a towel. Helen is doing ok two seats over with Catherine to my left and Leon to my right. Oh, oh… I need a bag! Remember the big breakfast this morning…not such a good idea! I didn’t use the bag, but it was close. Catherine was a little green herself. Leon… well, he just kept telling war stories…more about that later. The crew member said when we reach I’sle Verte (Green Island) the ocean will be calmer. Fifteen minutes later, we pulled into St Pierre. Of course, it was pea soup fog and we didn’t see much at first. Going through Customs was easy and our passports got the official cancellation of France.

I had tried to email a reservation at a B and B, but  had not received a confirmation. We followed or new friends to the Hotel Robert and were lucky to get a room.
Before our departure, when I was gone to park the camper back in Fortune at a remote parking lot, Helen began a conversation with Catherine. Her husband was close to retirement from the Canadian Reserve Forces. “Oh boy”, Helen said, “your husband and my husband are going to get along fine”.
Leon is a Colonel and he comes from a Field Artillery background. The same military background as I. Needless to say, we spent the next 24 hours talking military and how many places our military duty has crossed paths and places. I will talk about St Pierre and Miquelon in the next blog.
That is what we did and saw.

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