Pronounced "Bay Como", the town of Baie Comeau is a new stop for some cruise lines. It is a small town located on the shores of the St. Lawrence River and has a thriving economy, thanks to its local industries of aluminum, timber and paper production.
The area also boasts five dams, four of which are hollow gravity. What, pray tell, is the difference between a hollow gravity dam and your run-of-the-mill dam? Well, my friends, it is that the hollow gravity dams are built with some hollow cores. From an engineering perspective, if the area conditions (river, rock and soil type, flow, etc) are right, you can build a dam 80% more efficient with 20% less cement. Or something like that. I have to admit, on my tour of the Manic 2 dam (named Manic 2 because manic is short for the mighty Manicouagan River and the second dam built on it) I was busy looking at this insanely gorgeous hunk a lunka of a security guard that accompanied us through the inner workings of the dam, and wasn't always listening to our tour guide. And when he spoke In French to our guide, ooh la la, there might have been some discreet swooning on my part!
Because this area was covered by 4 kilometer deep glaciers way back when, most of the rock around here is glacier rock, and another reason a hollow type dam can be built.
Baie Comeau boasts a 3 block long downtown, 20,000 residents, a Wal Mart and a McDonalds. One of the province's governors was also born here, and the town is very proud of that. Our bus guide even drove us by the house where this man was born as well as the house just down the street where he grew up. I cannot begin to tell you how fascinating that was, but truth be told, I would have preferred to have seen where the security guard lived.....
A lot of the passengers on the ship were less than impressed with little Baie Como, and the rumor is that the HAL ships won't be back next year. I felt a bit sad, because if there is one standout from my visit (besides you know who), it is that the residents of this town are fiercely proud of their city and happy to show it to you.