We stop at a prearranged point near a small town on the banks. A fast boat arcs out from the jetty and pulls alongside. The pilot climbs the rope ladder and then pulls up his overnight bag after him. He quickly climbs the flights of stairs up to the bridge and assumes control of the ship.
Little is said. The radio is tuned to a French language station pumping out bland American rock. Numbers and co-ordinates are exchanged. As the sun sets, the lights of Quebec City come into view around a bend in the river. We sail under giant bridges, past docks and city towers and the illuminated tourist attraction of a massive waterfall. The ship stops and another boat pulls alongside. Pilots are exchanged and we continue up the St Lawrence with our new leader guiding us through the night.