As we head upstream into Montreal, an orange dawn greets us from beyond Sainte-Anne de Varennes Basilica.

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Closer to Montreal, a line of ships awaits, three at anchor and two down bound.

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Ocean Intrepide switches the pilots.

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If I’d been sleep-deprived, my first sense of Biosphere might have been a nearby planet beyond Buffalo-built  American Mariner. 

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I recognized Balder immediately, new name notwithstanding.

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And the raised metal confirmed my suspicion.

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I was not expecting to learn of this direct link to a distant archipelago rich in lobsters and road salt, but one of these years, that’s a trip I’d love to do both for the destination--Îles de la Madeleine–and the journey.

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I have no photos to prove it, but I wanted to experience Lachine Rapids, so I took a surprisingly enjoyable tour in one of these get-very-wet boats.

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I wanted to see the rapids, because without this perceived barrier to reaching China from here, Montreal might not have become a city.

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Because we tied up at Bickerdike terminal, we had the good fortune to see these Svitzer tugs and

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Oceanex Connaigra

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here passing the Clock Tower.

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All photos by Will Van Dorp, who comes to the end of the actual trip with this post and who will now recap the same trip with some of the details left out.