St. Pierre and Ramea

Croissant, wild jam from Norway and creme fraiche!
Croissant, wild jam from Norway and creme fraiche!

St Pierre est magnifique.

I was up early because the customs representative told me the patisserie opened at 6:30 and things went fast. I went to the tourist information centre and they told me it was right next door to them. Sure enough there was a lineup but still plenty of goodies. I ordered a bag of croissants and baguette and headed back to the boat. Exsquisite!

We had some boat tending to do before we headed out to check out the island. Fortunately the night before just after we tied up, there was a massive downpour and the outside had been self-cleaned! We took some selfies under the dodger while waiting for the customs officials.

Selfie in the rain.
Selfie in the rain.
Filly in the Rain
Filly in the Rain

I vacuumed the entire boat, because between Al and me, and our fur-mate, things can get messy fast. I also did a couple of loads of laundry and made good use of the wifi at the yacht club. Meanwhile, Al rejigged the main locker, making space and tidying up. He also set up a boom preventer to keep our boom from swinging in high seas or heavy swells and secured our outboard and dinghy. Then it was off to discover the island.

Stroll on the waterfront
Stroll on the waterfront

We walked around the downtown area checking out the shops. St. Pierre has a very cool European vibe, typically French, with fast drivers, loads of cyclists and many smokers. The houses are painted vibrant colours and there’s flowers everywhere.

Around 12 the town became very quiet because everyone goes home for a lunch hour of 1.5 hours. How civilized! I will always carry a distinct memory of walking through the streets of the town, totally desolate of people but hearing the clatter of utensils on dishes through open windows.

Lovely streets of St. Pierre
Lovely streets of St. Pierre

We stopped and had lunch, a delicious chicken and veggie flan with a cool, crisp glass of white. Afterwards we did more exploring and headed back to the boat to check on Filbert.

St Pierre Yacht club has a fantastic sailing school and their inventory of boats was impressive. There were loads of young people, of all ages, taking dinghies, hobicats and Lazers out all day.

Sailing School at the yacht club
Sailing School at the yacht club

The Sultanate of Oman, which was tied up across the dock from us got many visitors as well. The boat had been participating in a transatlantic race when it pitch poled, breaking the mast off and severely damaging the boom and deck. All crew were rescued and recovered ok. Plans are to ship the boat across the ocean for repairs.

Little bit of breakage
Little bit of breakage

That evening we walked to the grocery store to stock up on cheap French wine and cheese. A good Chablis was $18 Canadian. And, oh the cheese. And the foie gras and pate. I don’t eat foie gras but I had to take a picture of some of the assortment available at the grocery store. The food in St Pierre was impressive. Aside from the main grocery store I counted two other food shops, one for organic food, 3 chacuteries, 2 patisseries and at least 4 wine shops.

We also purchased another jerry can to add to our growing collection on deck. Our fuel capacity onboard isn’t quite sufficient so we are supplementing with jerry cans on deck.

Pate and foie gras!
Pate and foie gras!

We returned to the boat, stored away all our gear and prepared for an early rise towards a new destination. But not before trying one of those nice French wines. (Wink)

St Lawrence – St Pierre, 10:30 – 17:30, 36 nm

Our trip to Ramea started around 5 am with very warm temps. The weather has been lovely since we began our voyage, with really hot temps out on the water. The sea state however turned out to be a challenge this day. We left with calm waters and a stunning sunrise. Filbert was running all over the place and was too crazy to get a pic. Typical cat, he loves the dark.

Filly and Al in the golden sunrise glow
Filly and Al in the golden sunrise glow
Sunrise early on the way to Ramea
Sunrise early on the way to Ramea

After we had cleared the island of St Pierre we began to sail along the coast of Miquelon, giving large berth to a significant bank of shoals to our starboard side. The seas were extremely active and it felt like we were sailing in a pot of bubbling water.

Sunrise over St. Pierre
Sunrise over St. Pierre

We had 70 nm to cover before we would arrive at Ramea and these conditions were going to make it a long one. We put the main up, 2 reefs and unfurled the jib, getting decent speeds around 7.5 nm. Not bad considering how much weight we are carrying.

Finally got our sails up!
Finally got our sails up!

I went below to check things and make sure all was secure only to find that a bottle of Compari had tipped over in the rear bunk and the contents were no longer inside the bottle. This stuff is like syrup and is bright red and sticky. Yuck.

After cleaning that up I went up forward and found we had water in the V-berth. It’s never good to have water inside your boat. Al checked it out and figured the drainage holes in the chain locker up front weren’t draining. Because of the sea state and our nose going under, the chain locker was filling but not draining the way it should. Nothing much we could do about it while underway but just continue to monitor and mop the water throughout the trip. This made for many trips up and down the stairs for the duration of our sail.

We made it into Ramea around 5:30 that evening, with the seas consistently tossing us around until we reached port. The government wharf was a welcome site! We called that day our ‘Endurance day’.

Ramea is a beautiful town with the most picturesque harbour and very friendly locals. The ferry comes 3 times a day as well.

Outer Ramea
Outer Ramea
The beautiful harbour in Ramea
The beautiful harbour in Ramea

I started tidying up and Al set to figure out a fix for our leaking v-berth. Trying to work on your boat in a place like Ramea can be a challenge but only for good reasons. The government wharf is in the heart of the community and after dinner many of the locals head down to see the boats that come into their port. They get many visitors and I can see why. Al was definitely the star attraction that day. One fellow told him that he’d been sat across the harbour with several other men and they’d been all guessing how high our mast was. The highest they’d guessed was 47, we’re 65, so off he went to tell the others that they’d all been wrong.

Tie up at Ramea
Tie up at Ramea

We had a very early night after our tumultuous sail and intended on getting up early again to head for Port aux Basques before our jump off the island.

St Pierre – Ramea, 5:30-17:40, 70 nm