ArcTrain Summer School – Day 9: Ferry tales

Last breakfast at the Uapishka station. Thanks to Dan the cook and his crew for the delicious food! (Credit: Charles Brunette)

We are in the middle of the St. Lawrence estuary as we are writing these lines, crossing from the northern to the southern shore, on board the Saaremaa ferry.  This morning, we woke up and had one last breakfast at the Uapishka station, in the depth of Côte-Nord du Québec, and tonight, we will settle in Rimouski for the week to come – two locations separated by close to 500 km including the road and the ferry ride. It’s a long trip, but there’s definitely a sense of amazement in crossing all these different landscapes in the same day of traveling. Driving road 389 up and down, we could see the first leaves turning yellow and red, marking the arrival of the fall.

We made a short stop for lunch in Baie-Comeau and visited the Parc des Pionniers once more. We saw hundreds of ducks taking some rest at the beach. Will they cross the river and fly south to Rimouski as well?

On the ferry, we made friends with Shimon, a kid from Happy Valley-Goose Bay, Labrador. He also had a short stop at the Uapishka station with his family, as they drove south. We introduced him to our ArcTrain all-time favorite card game; he turned out to be a great player.

Ducks resting by the beach in Parc des Pionniers, downtown Baie-Comeau. (Credit: Tengfei Song)

Introducing ourselves as scientists interested in ship operations, we had the chance to visit the bridge of Saaremaa and meet with the first officer. Saaremaa was built in Norway and started the Baie-Comeau/Matane crossing on August 1. The front and the back of the ship are identical for easier embarkment/disembarkation of the vehicles. The bridge requires a special design: 360° windows and symmetrical sets of instruments along the starboard/portside axis. To control the ferry in one direction or the other, the captain simply turns around on his seat.

We are landing in Matane in just a few minutes. Then one more hour of driving before arriving at our final stop in Rimouski. Our field trip is coming to an end. But the memorable experiences for all of our 18 ArcTrainees lives on. We are looking forward to sharing all of our stories with our colleagues during the Annual Meeting taking place from September 16-20.

Thanks to all the participants for an amazing field trip, thanks to all the inspiring people we met on the road, and thanks to everyone who followed our daily updates – stay tuned for more stories from ArcTrain students!

Time-lapse from road 389 and the ferry ride across the St. Lawrence estuary. (Credit: Charles Brunette)

Written by Charles Brunette & Tengfei Song

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