Longueuil, Montreal, and the UPS Screw-Up

Canada Travelling Video
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August 25, 2018

July 6th, 2018: Our trip from Lachine to Montreal had us transiting the last two locks of the St Lawrence Seaway: Côte Ste Catherine and the St Lambert Locks.  Other than our dramatic exit from the marina in Lachine, the transit was uneventful except for the fair amount of incredibly massive ships that we were motoring in very narrow waters with.  The size them were mind boggling.  The first time I saw one I think I yelled REALLY BIG BOAT at John and then had a minor anxiety attack. They are not quite as stress-inducing anymore, but they are still really damn big, especially when you’re sharing a such a narrow channel.

We chose to skip docking at the busy port in downtown Montreal and opted instead to go to Longueuil which lies across the river.  The winds had picked up again and we really didn’t want a repeat of our last marina encounter.  We called ahead to the Port de Plaisance de Réal-Bouvier marina and they informed us that the easiest option would just be to tie up at their fuel dock; we could sort everything out from there.  We managed to convince them to let us stay at the fuel dock for the first night as the winds refused to die down. We watched with morbid fascination as other boats, particularly a small ferry/tour boat, struggled with the exact same issues that we had that morning… the wind caused them to lose control of their steerage as they attempted to approach the fuel dock and they narrowly missed smacking several nearby docked boats by gunning their engines (while yelling… a lot).  If even experienced, commercial captains were having this issue, I didn’t feel quite as bad for our earlier debacle.

John and I were a bit wind weary and agreed that we needed some down time.  We decided to stay at Réal-Bouvier for two nights and leave Sunday morning, weather permitting.  We wandered into town, scouted out groceries, had a ceremonial poutine at Frite Alors, and eventually moved the boat to a proper slip once the wind subsided.

Being a Friday and knowing full well we wouldn’t get answers on the weekend, at 5pm we checked back in with Liz.  No parcel.  We called UPS.  The parcel apparently had been attempted to be delivered but the business was closed.  Um, excuse me?  The parcel was not being delivered to a business, it was a residential address.  And the box had instructions on it to leave in a specific spot.  And Liz had put a note on the door instructing the same.  And she had been home when the reported non-delivery had taken place.  UPS put me on hold.  Something was not adding up.  They patched me through to Jayselle, one of their customer service agents.  Jayselle apologized immensely and explained that there had been a screw up.  The parcel had never left the depot.  It had arrived on Wednesday from being overnighted from the company in BC but hadn’t made it to the truck.  It hadn’t made it to the truck on Thursday either.  Or today.  I explained the situation, that the parcel had to be obtained before we left town, that we had it overnighted specifically because we were only there for a couple days and could we please come to the depot to pick it up before they closed at 7pm for the weekend?  Yes, of course, she would locate the parcel and call me back.  We had Liz on standby to jump into the car (thanks so much Liz) to grab the parcel from the depot 20 minutes from her home.  We would figure out how to get it to where we were once it was in her possession.  About half an hour later, we received a call back from UPS.  The parcel had been locked in a truck that they had no access to and it would be delivered on Monday.  This was not going to work.  We explained the situation again and UPS agreed to grab the parcel on Monday and re-route it to our next mail drop address at our friends Steve & Kris’ home in Prince Edward Island.  Jayselle promised to update us as soon as the parcel was rerouted but it was small comfort.  We would unfortunately not see our replacement part for some time, and John promptly went to buy more ice.

Saturday arrived and we found out from our lovely new boat-neighbours (Thank you, Eric!) that there was a ferry available directly from our marina that crossed over to the port of Montreal.  Perfect.  Eric even amazingly offered us his car to do our shopping with but we politely declined his incredible generosity… walking was a good habit to get into and we could use the time to stretch our legs. After stocking up on groceries and doing our ever-exciting task of laundry, we departed for the city to wander for the afternoon. And my camera was definitely coming along for the ride.

Timing was also on our side that night, as we had a prime view of the first of the fabulous fireworks displays from the International des Feux Loto-Quebec competition, from the hill above our marina … and not a mosquito in sight. I didn’t have a tripod set up so all the photos are hand-held.  I was perched in amongst the rocks of the shoreline with what I’m sure was a hundred other people. John decided to go to bed early but I adore fireworks and happily staked out my spot amongst the crowd. Plus, the display was set to the music of ABBA. How incredibly perfect. What a great way to spend our last night in Montreal/Longueuil.

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Michelle Kauntz
Wild Blue Yonder

Seems you've found us. I'm one half of the charming and somewhat frustrating duo that is John & Michelle. (I'm Michelle) We once had this one-day idea that we wanted to sail around the world. We made a five year plan. After ten years of talking and two years of prepping and postponing, we are finally underway. Feel free to follow us and live vicariously though our pratfalls and adventures as we take our almost-as-old-as-John Bayfield 40 Cutter Ketch out of the safety of Lake Ontario and out into the world. On a shoestring budget. With two fiercely independent people. In basically 300-ish square feet of living space and with not a heck of a lot of sailing experience (yet) ...This is going to be fun...

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