For the first time we really begin to see the motion and effects of the ocean’s tide on the river. Where the river narrows to less than a mile across, and especially when the shipping channel is the only deep part of the river, the river’s current running down stream is of course much stronger. It is a seemingly unstoppable force flowing at several miles per hour. Apposing this amazing force we now have the ocean’s mighty tide pushing upstream the several hundred miles to where we now are. When the tide is on the rise in these more narrow places on the river the result is that these two competing gigantic forces, one pushing up stream and one pushing down stream, collide and form miles and miles of eddies, small whirlpools, and intense currents swirling in all directions.
For us in our Pursuit 345 boat and its two powerful Yamaha 350 engines we are easily able to navigate through and across these strong and turbulent areas with ease, but we do feel the swirling below us. We can see, however, that if you were making this trip in a sailboat or smaller powerboat as has been the typical method of making this Down East Circle Route in the past, with or without a motor on board, that traveling through these more turbulent waters when the tide was rising hard would be a significant and possibly even dangerous challenge for any yachtsman.
By the time we got to the marina at Portnuef, some 35 miles west and upstream of Quebec City, the rise and fall of the tide was already at 15 feet we were told. That is a significant tide for any boater. The tide will get even greater, and therefore stronger, as we continue downstream to the ocean.