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THE MANICOUAGAN METEOR CRATER


Northern Quebec

 

Taken from the Space Station, looking South

 

Taken from the Space Station, looking South

Head northeast along the northern coast of the St. Lawrence Seaway, then take a left onto the one road to Labrador. Drive 120 miles on a really crummy road till you come to the Manic 5 hydroelectric dam, one of the largest in the world. Put the boat in above the dam and sail north for 40 miles and you will come to the Manicouagan Meteor Crater.

 

The O'Day 16' Daysailer

 

The O'Day 16' Daysailer

It is easily seen from space, being some 60 miles across and forming a huge circle with a 40 mile island in the middle. No roads, no people, just water, mountains, and forest. Look at any world map and it will easily catch your eye.

 

Small boat, big sky

 

Small Boat, Big Sky!

I was looking for an interesting place in the eastern part of the country to go Squatching, and this spot caught my eye. It seemed perfect; very remote and uninhabited and accessible only by boat . A virtual Lost World.

This expedition was actually two trips with my son Dan. The first was in 2000 in an O’Day 16 daysailor. Dan was 11 years old. The weather up there can be horrible, and the Summers are short. We took two days to sail up from the dam and began to circumnavigate the island, Isle de Rene Levaseur. Three days later we had gotten perhaps a quarter of the way around, another 40 miles or so, when the fog rolled in. Since we were in an open boat we had to camp every night, which was fine, but time consuming, and left us exposed to the weather while afloat. 

 

Drying out. The AMF 17' sloop

 

Drying out. The AMF 17' sloop

Rain followed the fog, and the bad weather continued for another four days. Four days in a small tent gets a bit claustrophobic, to say nothing of boring. Dan, age 11, was reduced to reading Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, a book not designed for children. I watched him closely but he seemed to absorb this wild tale in his stride. Our food supply and enthusiasm dwindled, as the time allotted for the trip began to run out and finally we were forced to turn back. 

 

Dan reading

 

Dan, age 11 on the first trip

A bath would have been most welcome

 

A bath would have been most welcome

 

Nature, taking centuries, neatly sliced this bolder
 

 

Time chips away

18

 

DAN, AGE 11, EATING BREAKFAST UNDER SAIL

 

 

The weather clears

 

The weather clears

Jump ahead five years. We were back with a 17’ American Fiberglass sloop. This sailboat had a small cabin in which we could sleep and cook, and at least one person could stay dry while the other manned the tiller. Now 16, Dan was reading Finnigan’s Wake…. A tough book at any age. He was growing up fast. 

 

Dan, now 17,having eated blueberries

 

Dan, now 17,having eaten blueberries

This time the weather cooperated and in 12 days we circled the island and returned to the dam. There was plenty of wildlife; bears, elk, deer and the usual assortment of smaller species, but not a sign of Bigfoot . The island is absolutely beautiful. So few people go there that in many places you can see boulders which have remained undisturbed for God knows how many centuries have weathered; the heat of Summer followed by long Winters slowly cracking off pieces to fall in neatly ordered piles, as though placed by hand. 

 

Dan

 

Dan, as we entered the Crater

While from a Squatching standpoint the trips were uneventful, they were true adventures, wonderful sailing experiences, and a chance for Dan to catch up on his light reading. 

 

More Photos...

 

Looking across at the mainland from the island

 

Looking across at the mainland from the island

Looking for sign, high up on the island

 

Looking for sign, high up on the island

Wet and discouraged, the first trip

 

Wet and discouraged, the first trip

The boat, far, far away on the island

 

The boat, far, far away on the island

Stopped for the night,looking for tracks on the beach

 

Stopped for the night,looking for tracks on the beach

Very dense,mossy undergrowth

 

Very dense,mossy undergrowth

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