Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Canoeing in the Saint Lawrence

This weekend (July 10) I went canoeing in the Saint Lawrence. I live in old Quebec now, inside the walls, so I walked down to take the bus out to the Baie de Beauport, rented a canoe down there and set out towards Île d'Orléans. A storm blew in, though, so I had only gone out about 20 minutes when I figured it would be better for everyone involved (meaning me, and the boats in the shipping lanes) if I headed back in. Even then, it was a bit of an adventure, so I'm grateful not to have been silly about it.
Being a kid on the South Shore of Montreal, then living in Montreal, now in Quebec city, it's a funny feeling having grown up beside the river and never having been in (or on) it. When my mother was young, there was still a beach at the end of Pine Avenue in Saint Lambert and everyone would swim in the river all summer. This is the mouth of all the great lakes, plus Lake Champlain, plus a bunch of Quebec rivers and lakes you all haven't heard of. It's the largest estuary in the whole big blue world, and whales swim in it. Big old whales swim in this river. And it's the river of my life. So it was a great experience to get out on it and touch it and wade in it and paddle it and really connect with it for the first time.

Pictured: Quebec city seen from the stern of my boat. For those in the know, you can make out the Château Laurier and the Price tower.

4 comments:

laura said...

Nice picture. I'm behind on that count!

Japhet said...

Ahh...paddling in the lovely St. Lawrence. Wish I could've joined you amigo. Point of clarification: isn't this river one of the dirtiest in North America? Checkout...
http://www.vsr.cape.com/~powens/riverhistory.htm#environment
for a little history on this stretch of true Canadian agua. Oh...and get this! There is a song about it (well there are lots of songs about it Im sure but this one kind of caught my pupil) at
http://www.casablancakids.com/dslyrics/dsaj_7.html by noted naturalist David Suziki.

Matthew said...

Yeah, Japhet, the Saint Lawrence is in fact dirty. And yet, so beautiful. And re: that first link: The Detroit office of the army corps can, on the record, totally bite me.
And I mean that in both senses. On the record: they can bite me, if they really want to, they can go on the record as biting me.

I'm about to check out that song right now, man.

Matthew said...

Oh, man, David Suzuki wrote that?
"And then the signs that say
‘No Swimming’
We’ll burn them all someday"

Aww, it makes me sad, too.
I don't think a Canadian exists who doesn't know who David Suzuki is, by the way, but some American readers may need to get with the times of this awesome, awesome guy.

http://img.villagephotos.com/p/2003-6/220172/suzukifigleaf.jpg