Friday, October 24, 2014

Taking the Ferry across the St. Lawrence

Boarding the ferry
Photo by Kate Tompkins
When we were planning our road trip to Kegaska at the end of Highway 138, we thought we’d take a boat back from there. Turned out the price for us and the car to spend three days on the boat would have cost more than a Caribbean cruise, so we decided not to. As a compromise, we figured we’d take the ferry from Baie-Comeau on the north shore to Matane on the south shore, a crossing of about two-and-a-half hours. If you’re thinking of doing something similar, here are some things to think about.

It’s possible to make a reservation ahead of time through the Société des traversiers website. We did this and it was probably a good idea as, though we were travelling on a weekday in September, there were still lots of vehicles lined up to get on.

Boarding the ferry
Photo by Kate Tompkins
If you have mobility issues, or are worried about damage to your vehicle (not that we had any), you may want to avoid the ferry. They really pack you in there tightly. If you’re a passenger, be prepared to have to leave the vehicle before it’s parked and go upstairs. You will not be allowed to return to your vehicle until just prior to landing. I wasn’t expecting this and didn’t grab my jacket, which I could have used as it was very windy that day. My husband tried to text me once he was parked so we could find each other, but despite the fact we have the same network provider, I never got the message until the next day.

You will have to re-enter your vehicle shortly before arrival. They had us wedged between a big RV on one side and a pickup on the other. The only way in to the car was through the back doors. No, I’m not kidding. My husband then had to climb into the front seat. Not fun.

Heading out
Photo by Kate Tompkins
Having said that, we did enjoy the ferry ride. The boat is huge. It’s possible to go up on the top deck in the open air. There’s also a lower deck with lots of seats, a snack bar and gift shop, and even a couple of rooms with televisions, if you’re not interested in the view. You don’t realize just how wide the St. Lawrence is until you’re out in the middle of it and can’t see either shore.

This should be the last post about our road trip. If you're interested in reading them in order, here are the links:

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