2014 July 24 & 25 – Days 35 & 36 (and probably 37) – Bonaventure, QC to Campbellton, NB to Bathurst, NB

Our last day in the Gaspè was Thursday, July 24.  We woke to sunny skies and a cool wind but it wasn’t too long before the top on Poppy went down.

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A nice sunset in Bonaventure IMG_3966

We saw wildlife!

My CCA travel book listed the Notre-Dame Oratory of Mont-Saint-Joseph near Carleton as having outstanding views of Chaleur Bay and New Brunswick.  I had no idea what an Oratory was but have since learned it is a Roman Catholic place of prayer and meditation. For millennium people have gone to high places for prayer and Mont-Saint-Joseph is the highest place in the area.

The road was paved all the way up; narrow, winding and very steep, but the view at the top was phenomenal!  There is a small chapel that was built in the 1800’s and has been encased in a new, larger structure that houses art and history exhibits. But the real gem was the 133 meters (400′) of boardwalk around the edge of the 555 meter (1820′) high hill.  This gave us a 270 degree view of the farm land, the Chaleur Bay, the town and marina of Carelton, and the forests for miles and miles.  It was gorgeous.  Unfortunately my new laptop does not have my photo-stitch program on it so I am not able to stitch the pictures together to give you a real sense of the immensity of the view.  Well worth the drive up and the cautious drive down again. IMG_3995 IMG_4015 IMG_3992 IMG_3970

The four photos go from left to right (with some missing bits, obviously,  in between.

The only other stop we made was 5 km past the bridge between Quebec and New Brunswick that takes you into Campbellton.  There is a National Park at Restigouche.  (Thank goodness for the annual pass we purchased last year in anticipation of this journey.  We just get to walk right into any National Park or National Historic Site.)

History Lesson (feel free to skip to the end): In 1760 the British were blockaded in Quebec City after winning the battle on the Plains of Abraham in 1759.  The armies of the British inside the city and the French trying to retake it from the outside were both in desperate need of provisions – food, arms and men.  Both ‘mother’ nations had dispatched ships to assist their colony.  The commanders of both armies were aware that the ones who received the reinforcements first would win Quebec City.

The French sent 6 ships with 2000 barrels of supplies and 400 men from Bordeaux, France on April 10, 1760.  They had to run a British blockade just a day after leaving port and lost two ships and another went down east of the Azores.  The remaining three ships made it to the Gulf of St. Lawrence in nine weeks only to learn that the British ships had sailed down 10 days earlier and were lying in wait for them to arrive.

In hopes that he could hide and out-wait the British the Captain of the French Fleet had them sail into Chaleur Bay thinking the deeper hulled British vessels would be unable to navigate the bay’s shallow waters.  Long story short, they were wrong and the French ended up scuttling all three of their ships – plus 9 Acadian frigates that had come to assist them – in an attempt to blockade the British out of the bay and/or prevent the cargo from falling into enemy hands.  Thus ended the hope of reinforcements for the French army at Quebec City and they surrendered when they saw the British ships sail in to the harbour; as did  Montreal a month later without firing a shot. The Battle of Restigouche sealed the fate of New France.                                End of History Lesson.

In 1939 parts of one of the ships, Le Machault, were raised and divers recovered all kinds of artifacts.  The museum at Restigouche displayed it all and told the tale.

I couldn’t get good photos of them, but they had on display the stem and the rudder of Le Machault; both over 9 meters (30′) tall.  It was really amazing to see parts of a ship that was built of trees harvested in the mid-18th century!  They also had one of the anchors on display.

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IMG_4089  Model of  Le Machault

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The top of the bow stem that cuts through the water.

IMG_4092 IMG_4094 IMG_4110  IMG_4098This leather pouch with the cannon ball kept inside was used for secret messages or documents.  In the event the ship fell into enemy hands, the captain just threw the satchel overboard and the cannonball would ensure it sank.

We spent over 2 hours there.  It was great.  Canada Parks does a really good job with the displays and video re-enactments of our nation’s history.  All the places we have been are displayed differently, well documented, easy to follow and understand, and give a real feel for the particular event featured.

We spent last night in Campbellton, New Brunswick – Province number 6.  After we checked in to our hotel John wanted to see if he could find the cemetery and graves of his maternal grandparents and aunt.  All he knew was the cemetery overlooked the sound (bay) and the family grave was near the top of a hill.  There has been a settlement in this area for 400 years.  I was pretty sure there would be a lot of cemeteries to check as he did not know the name of the one he wanted.

We were following the directions of Stella, our GPS, to our hotel and drove up this narrow back lane past a cemetery.  John says, “I think that is it.”  Our hotel was three blocks away so after we put the luggage in our room we went back and took a look see.  Thankfully the cemetery was not really large.  We started checking the graves on the hill – no Foulkes marker.  We made our way to the far side – no Foulkes marker.   Finally we looked on the flat area near the entrance. Behold – Foulkes; Thomas Williams, Marguerite Kennedy and their daughter Marion K.  What are the odds???  I mean really!

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This morning we drove the coast road to Bathurst which is only a couple of hours away.  And we didn’t stop to see anything.  Well – John stopped once to take a couple of photos of some small boats he saw near a bridge.  I didn’t take any scenic or historical photos at all. We are spending two nights in Bathurst.  Not because there is anything to see or do here (although we found out that there is a car show and shine on Main Street tomorrow), but I wanted a day to do some travel planning.  Unless I feel the need to upload photos of nice cars this blog will cover the 26th as well.  Keep your fingers crossed.

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