An encounter with Sandy….

I’ve loved going to the North Shore of Lake Superior in October since I was a little girl.  The sparkling waters of the lake, the crisp, pine scented air, and the beautiful fall colors are such a wonderful highlight in the fall!   Imagining that Nova Scotia might be a lot like Lake Superior country, I’ve always wanted to go there during October, and that dream came true this year.

My husband and I left for Quebec City on October 12th to spend a few days  sightseeing.  Honestly, I’d never given the city a second thought, and never expected to find it such a beautiful, quaint and fascinating jewel!  Old world charm, beautiful European architecture, and the feeling of being immersed in the French Canadian culture were such a treat!  With the exception of finding…shudder….horse meat listed on menus, that is.  I love horses.  The thought of even seeing one on a menu turned me into a vegetarian while we were there!

Our  fourteen day cruise began in Quebec City, with stops at Saguenay and Baie-Comeau in Quebec;  Charlottetown on Prince Edward Island;  Sydney and Halifax in Nova Scotia; then Bar Harbor and Boston.  Beautiful, every one of them.  We got to tour Green Gables, have chowder at the Oyster Bar on Boston, where Daniel Webster was a regular patron, and saw homes where many of the early literary giants stayed at one time or another.

We were supposed to stop at Newport, Rhode Island, but with bad weather brewing up into  Hurricane Sandy in the Caribbean, the ship’s captain decided we ought to skedaddle for our final port in Fort Lauderdale.  But the farther south we skedaddled, the worse the weather got, until the ship was pitching and swaying, and listing to one side at times due to the high winds, and the staff was handing out Dramamine like Halloween candy.  The weather got worse, and soon the captain was on the loudspeaker hourly, reporting deteriorating conditions—as we’d certainly noticed!   He and the main office in Seattle were now searching for a safe port away from the high seas and wind, but could not find an available port anywhere that they could safely approach.  They said that to try to continue south would risk significant damage to the ship and risk injuries to the people inside.  With all of the older folks on board that was certainly a possibility as one couldn’t walk anywhere without gripping a handrail.

A port was finally found—up the St John River to a shipping container dock in Jacksonville, Florida.  Those calm waters were a wonderful relief!   The cruise ship then bussed most of the 2500 passengers down to Ft Lauderdale, but since we’d missed our flight anyway, and the option for a later flight that day were nonexistent, we stayed in Jacksonville and enjoyed St Augustine for a day.

The irony is that we’ve been on six cruises, and have been affected by hurricanes on three of them.  My husband says he’s never setting foot on a cruise again!

My heart goes out to all of you who are, or who have been, in Sandy’s path.  Blessings and best wishes to everyone.

I would love to hear about your favorite vacation places, or where you’d like to go.  And if anyone else has had an unexpected vacation adventure, I’d love to hear about it!

Roxanne Rustand

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16 Responses to An encounter with Sandy….

  1. lizkflaherty says:

    Wonderful pictures, and I want to go to Green Gables!

    • Thanks, Liz. Green Gables was beautiful–a perfect cool, sunny day, fall colors, and looking out at the surrounding meadow and timber, you can sure feel how that place would have inspired the series of books. The series wasn’t filmed there–though a docent said that some interior shots were done there, and a scene on a beach nearby. The author (Lucy Maude Montgomery) didn’t live in the house, it actually belonged to relatives, but she spent a lot of time with them. She married a minister and moved away, and was buried in a cemetery very close to the Green Gables property.

  2. Kathleen O says:

    I am so happy that you enjoyed your visit to Canada. even though I live in Ontario, which is the neighbouring province to Quebec, I have never been there, Nor have I visited Green Gables in PEI.. And to have been on a cruise during the storm, well just let’s say I am glad I like to fly…

    • Quebec City is like a fairytale place, with its beautiful old buildings. I was in awe. And Prince Edward Island is beautiful. All of the houses we saw throughout the island were like doll houses–beautifully painted and kept up, neat as a pin. I would so love to go back. Though maybe not on a ship. 🙂

  3. What beautiful pictures! Sorry that your vacation was interrupted, but it looks as if the beginning and middle were wonderful. I would love to vacation in October (well, I actually have, with a girlfriend a couple of times and then with her and our kids a couple of times when they had October breaks from school) but the dh is a high school teacher and they don’t have time off then. 😦 We had a great vacation this summer, though. Particularly loved Martha’s Vineyard. Islands always feel like a special place to me.

  4. michelehauf says:

    See, that’s why no one will ever get me on one of those big cruise ships. Harrowing!

    But so glad you’re safe. Maybe the universe is trying to tell you something if you’ve encountered hurricanes before? But to look at the pictures, looks like the trip was well worth it.

  5. leannebanks says:

    Roxanne, your pics are beautiful! You vacation sounds wonderful… except for the hurricane. Anywhere in the Atlantic ocean is more likely to be challenging during September and October. We’ve been through enough hurricanes that we try to avoid water travel during those months. But your pics make me want to see those beautiful places in Autumn!:) xo, Leanne

  6. Kylie Brant says:

    Wow Rox, what a fantastic opportunity! You and your hubby are sure getting to go on a lot of fabulous trips!

    • roxrustand says:

      We wouldn’t be traveling much at all, if not for his hard work, and the fact that he earns the opportunities now and then. Though right now, he is saying that he never wants to travel again. 🙂

  7. Nicole says:

    Wow! You went to Baie Comeau. That is where my in-laws lived actually.
    We live in California but all our family still lives in the province of Québec. We always go back in the summer to visit.
    Just a note for the horse meat on the menu. It must be a new thing because I never saw that before. I love horses too, don’t want to eat them.
    The old Québec city is such a nice place to see. We have a lot of picture of our trip there when our girls were younger.
    I’m glad you’ve enjoyed your visit and that you are safe.

    • roxrustand says:

      In Baie Comeau we took a tour to the Pointe-des-Monts lighthouse. Just looking up at it gave me vertigo, but I made it to the top and was so glad I did–what a pretty view. We also went to an interpretive center on shipwrecks and one on forestry. What lovely country it is there!

      • Nicole says:

        I don’t know how many times I’ve been to Baie Comeau and I’ve never visited that lighthouse. My husband went there when he was younger. I’ll have to do that next time.
        It’s lovely there but cold, winters are brutal cold. 🙂

  8. What gorgeous pics, Rox!

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