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New York, New York
July 17, 2002
The captain knows just when to put the boat in reverse so hundreds of gallons of water come crashing over the bow and sides of the boat and land directly on you.
My mascara was running down my face after the first wave and totally off by the second!
It's scary, thrilling, wet, cold... and yet we all screamed and laughed for more.
Bring along an extra set of clothes for the obvious reasons. They provide lockers there for everything you want to keep dry.
The ride itself is only 30 minutes but you'll be talking about it for hours.
From journal Escaping to Montreal
by Sweet Willie
Des Plaines, Illinois
September 7, 2003
Upon arrival, one gets a briefing, a wet wool ex-Canadian military wool sweater, life-jacket, rubber scuba booties and a poncho or jumpsuit. These items do not keep you dry; they just prevent you from getting overly chilled from the wind. Wear a bathing suit; in no way believe you will stay dry in the least. There is a storage shelf but no lockers. Much to my wife’s dismay upon returning, there is no bathroom either, closest one is up top before you descend to the Sauté Moutons ticket booth. There are changing rooms. Bring a towel.
This was incredible, simply incredible. Wife and I sat in the front row of the boat. The boat whizzes along the St. Laurent at 40-60 M.P.H. until it reaches the rapids of Sauté Moutons. The boat then S’s through the rapids up stream, veering in-between the high waves, then it does this fishtail maneuver and is pointed downstream. The boat then is directed into the waves of the rapids. As we descended the boat hit its first wave, the bow went up and all I could see was the distant horizon, we hung there for what seemed like a minute then the bow crashes down and a meter high wall of water crashes over the bow into the boat. I was completely drenched and thrown around like a rag doll but loved every minute of it. The waves hit sometimes so hard that my wife had to secure her earrings. The boat plays in the rapids for about 20-25 minutes then whizzes back to the pier. Guy next to us had been white water rafting in many locations; he said this was as close as you can get to what white water rafting feels like.
Oh, and they give you unlimited free hot chocolate to warm you up if you are chilled. Water temp of the river was much warmer than I expected, but then I like swimming in Lake Superior, so it might be a little chilly to some.
From journal Montreal
by Foxboro Marmot
August 17, 2001
About a half hour before scheduled departure you sit and watch a video for a better idea of what you're getting into, followed by an entertaining lecture given in both English and French on safety, clothing and boat procedures. Following the talk, if the group is large enough, it divides into two boats: English speakers in one, French in the other.
Normally, the cold water and cool breeze require special clothing. Start with the absolute certainty that anything you wear will get soaked. The Saute Mouton people provide an Army surplus wool sweater (wool retains body heat, even when wet), life jacket, windproof poncho and neoprene booties but all we wore this trip were the life jacket and booties.
Then its into the boat for a 15 minute trip up the Saint Lawrence River to the rapids. Approaching the rapids conversations always stop and an air of apprehension descends. A guide who clambers all over the boat with total disregard for his personal safety keeps reminding you what to do: hold onto the rail, stay seated, and keep your mouth shut when the water comes at you!
The name Saute Mouton comes from the early explorers who were reminded of sheep by the white capped waves in the rapids - mouton is French for 'sheep.' 'Saute' is French for jumping, so Saute Mouton means Jumping the Sheep. The only thing is in most cases you don't jump the sheep so much as power through them or get tossed around by them.
The boats are built low to the water: when you're that low, everything seems to be moving faster and the waves look so much larger. Don't misunderstand - the boats can fly and the waves are big, especially when one lands in your lap! And everyone - front, middle and back of the boat will have a couple of waves crash over them. The body of the boat will fill up with water 2/3 of the way up to your knee at times before the powerful jet engines clear it.
After the first trip through, anxiety and fear disappear, turned to excitement and cheers. The boat turns and powers upriver for another trip through. You'll go through the rapids 6 times before heading back to shore; usually the complete trip takes a bit more than an hour.
It's pricey - It was about $53 CDN per adult, less for children (minimum age: 6). On a hot, sunny August day it's one of the most fun, most refreshing things to do in Montreal. On a cool day in May or October I'd think twice about it... but then I'd go anyhow!
From journal Montreal Meltdown