Today did not start well. We both in each others way wanting to do different things at the same time in the same place. Getting dressed next to a pan of boiling water with Mortimer rocking as Stef got in and out was not my idea of fun but Stef did not seem to understand why! Things improved with an outdoors breakfast and before long we were back on route 132 heading north with no particular destination in mind. We drove on to Kamouraska where our local guide indicated there were interesting places to stop - an eel farm and a micro brewery.
|Tasting a couple of Belgian brews|
The eel place was disappointing, especially as we had to pay $5 each to get in. Eel catching season starts in September so there was not much to see except models of the fishing nets and boxes used to catch the eels, some photos and a few preserved eels at different life stages.
To catch the eel, nets are used to steer them into big wooden crates that are put on the river bed weighted down with concrete blocks. On their best day ever they got twelve hundred eels in one catch (they check the nets twice daily). Hauls seem to be reducing these days due to a new hydroelectric dam up river which prevents the eel coming down this far (so why do they not move the eel farm up river was the question that sprang to mind). Of the catch only 2% is eaten locally in Quebec, the rest is exported.
Year old eels are tiny, like thin worms about two inches long and white. Apparently in Europe they are eaten as a tasty morsel deep fried but because of the volume needed for a meal it is threatening the eel population. By the time the eels are six they are the size you can buy smoked in Holland. Fully grown and aged twenty plus, they are black, the thickness of my arm and a couple of feet long.
The method of catching the eel dos not seem to be very friendly to other animals. At high tide, baby seals can swim into the cages but as the tide turns they get trapped and suffocate from the lack of water. For birds, low tide pickings result in high tide drownings as they are trapped in the nets. We got to try a bit of eel - the tiniest bit possible on a Ritz cracker with the cracker overpowering the taste of the eel. We bought a small piece for tea, again highly priced for what it was but it was very tasty.
At our next stop, the Breughel micro brasserie of artisanale Belgian beers, the very offhand family who run it said we could not get a tour of the brewery because they only did it for groups of five or six. Undeterred we decided to sample some of their local brew but were surprised we had to pay for it. At the vinyards we went to in the Canton de L'est the sampling was designed to encourage you to buy. Here it was almost as if it was too much trouble for them.
|Walking along the beach|
A small painters palette with five different tasters was plonked down in front of us with a bowl of what looked like seaweed. No information was given on the brewing process or why they had focused on the particular types of beer they had when there is such a variety of Belgian beers to choose from. The only information we had was from a leaflet (in French only) which we had to pick up ourselves. The "double" beers were OK, the rest not, including a very insipid framboise (raspberry beer). We bought a due of doubles and headed back along their unpaved and bumpy track back on to the 132.
We bypassed Riviere du Loup heading for the smaller and nicer sounding Trois Pistoles. The scenery here is changing, becoming more hilly and with more pine trees in evidence. With the hills our fuel consumption rocketed raising concerns that the leak we seem to have developed could be petrol not water. At the campsite we had a good pitch with a view onto the St Lawrence River.
Both wanting a faster cooking experience we opted for a barbecue for dinner. The only problem is that we do not have one! The local supermarket where we got the bits I could not get yesterday and food for tonight was a non started on the barbecue front but they pointed us in another direction. At the garden centre shop we got a disposable barbecue as the only other ones they had were monster size gas fired jobs. The next stop yielded the all important citronella candle. On our way back we passed a GM garage and stopped to ask about our "leak". They reckon it is probably just the air conditioning unit and that it is nothing to worry about.
Back at the campsite Stef tried to empty the waster water and sewage, another new experience. He got very frustrated because the simple "pull out the hose and open the valve" instructions we had had did not seem to work. I asked if he had pulled out the hose correctly to be told "yes", the "of course" was silent. All the instruction books (a couple of inches of A4) came out - no good. I persuaded him to leave it until tomorrow to sort it out.