National Geographic : 1970 Jul
voyage back into history," she said, plunking the coffee mugs down. "We came here to fol low the great explorers. We must accept some of their discomforts, even their perils. "And what did they tell us about the mouth of the Saguenay?" she continued, reaching for books in White Mist's carefully assembled library. "Here's Jacques Cartier, discoverer of Canada. His journal mentions the 'swift and dangerous' tide, and a 'bottom ... strewn with large boulders like casks and puncheons.' "Now Samuel de Champlain: 'Here some times violent winds rise and bring on great cold.' And if you want something more mod ern, listen to what happened to the Prince of Wales, later King Edward VII, coming here on a royal visit in 1860. In a fog, currents pushed his Royal Navy frigate Hero on that same shoal we 'explored' today. "So I say the day was a huge success. Cheer up! And give me galley room to make dinner." Inland Cruise for an Ocean Racer I turn the pages of White Mist's logbook back to the first days of last summer's cruise. We were sailing from Chesapeake Bay to New York, initial leg of an unusual voyage for our ocean-going yawl. Using rivers, lakes, and canals to go north, she would take us via Montreal and Newfoundland to Baddeck, Nova Scotia (map, pages 3-5). Now, early on a June day, she coasted New Jersey's Highlands of Navesink. "Here's the perfect point of departure for a voyage like ours," I remarked to helmsman Jim Watson, my grandson. "Early navigators used these highlands, the only tall cliffs along this coast, as a landmark. You can be sure we're crossing the wake of history's great sea farers this very moment." "Who do you suppose was first?" asked Jim. "A Viking? A Portuguese or Breton?" In orderly swarms, British soldiers scale the New Jersey Palisades prior to a dawn attack on American-held Fort Lee in No vember 1776. So surprised were the Conti nentals manning the fort that they fled with camp kettles still steaming. The 46-foot yawl White Mist (lower) heads upstream from the George Washing ton Bridge, route of thousands of commuters who twice a day sweep past the site of the Revolutionary War debacle. Thanks to such benefactors as John D. Rockefeller, Jr., a 12 mile stretch of the Palisades remains un marred by development.