If you’ve been to Old Montreal this summer you may have noticed that a huge Pirate Ship has popped up in the Old Port right across from the Marché Bonsecours. In fact two ships have popped up – one being a pirate ship and the other being a royal ship
If you took a closer look, you will notice that in between these two ships are a series of rope courses and zip lines. This mysterious place is called Voiles en Voiles and is the brainchild of Groupe Écorécréo that you may, or may not, know rents the quadrycycles in the Old Port (another activity that I recommend- although it is a tad less intense!)
My family was invited to try out Voiles en Voiles and we decided to go yesterday evening with plans to take in the fireworks afterwards.
OMG. The ships…the set up…it’s all just absolutely magnificent…and DIFFERENT!
Let me begin by saying that I have never been a zip line kind of gal, or even a zip line kind of mama. They freak me out a little. I figured I would try the ropes course.
I am also somewhat afraid of heights – I say somewhat because if I did what I did last night, I can’t possibly be that afraid 😉
We were greeted by JP, one of the 3 co-owners through Groupe Écorécréo. He showed us the two ships- One “Royal” and one “Pirate”, the idea being that the ropes courses and zip lines take you from one to the other
There are 4 levels: 1st one at 3 ft off the ground, 2nd at 13 feet, 3rd at 24 ft and 4th at 35 ft.
We talked safety…I was very concerned about safety. So is he. As we were soon to learn, all of the staff are as well.
My husband and I were blown away by the attentiveness and ‘on guard’ demeanour of the entire staff. They were constantly reminding the kids of the rules but in a fun & friendly way so as not to scare anyone. I was also witness to one of the hourly ropes checks that takes place (In addition, they have AM and night-time checks).
Staff were always watching to see if anyone was ‘stuck” and needed to get down…if that happens- they find their way to you to help you out. NO WORRIES. That said, I did not witness any ‘rescues’ – I think most people get through
JP suggested that we have something to drink – this was important as although it was cooling down, it was a very hot day.
It was time to start…
Two of my four kids wanted to start at 24 ft. My kids haven’t done a whole lot of ropes courses or zip lines. Anything they’ve done has been with camp or youth groups and was certainly not of this magnitude. I wasn’t feeling great about it. I would have liked everyone to start at 3 ft.
They pushed back.
I asked JP.
He recommended they start at 13 ft to get used to the harness and once they are comfortable move up.
That’s where they would start- against their wishes. One of my other children and my husband started at that level as well and were happy to do it as this was the level they saw starting with anyhow.
JP advised and I agreed that my youngest who is a petite 8 (almost 9) year-old to start on the lowest level until at least she became comfortable (and as I eased myself into the idea of her walking a course 13 feet up in the air!)
We were suited up in harnesses and helmets, stored our hats and my fanny-pack in a locker and we were off the races!
OK – Let’s be honest, my hubby and the kids were off to the races I stayed on the ground to watch my youngest on the lowest level course and to take pics that I would inevitably need for my post should I decided this experience was worthy of sharing with my readers. Let’s be really honest that the ‘chicken’ in me was a little happy that I had to stay down for the time being…
The little one rocked it!
Up above, however, the older ones as well as my He-man were struggling a little. They were sweaty, expressed gratitude that they didn’t start higher up and were literally just trying to make it across. Wondering why I could possibly be recommending this to you? WAIT.
I kept reminding them (and myself) that they were secured to the upper track (like a zip line) with their harnesses and therefore could not fall.
One of my 12 year-olds let go at one point to use the track as a zip line, and once he did that he shouted across for his siblings to do it : “You’re less afraid when you realize that you won’t fall!”, he advised.
I was both impressed by the shift in my son which had gone from sheer bravado (before starting) to “What did I get myself into?” midway to “Hey, I GOT this!”…I saw his confidence building before my eyes.
WOW. The fact that he was trying to help out his twin brother and older sister also made me glow a little because I am so used to them being at each other’s throats.
The still-struggling son was in good company with his older sister, my 14 -year-old, who was also finding it more challenging than she expected. Then she made it past what I will call the ‘crazy swinging logs’ and she regained her composure. She saw that her younger brother was able to do it and I think this also gave her some confidence.
My Hubby was at the tail-end, doing way better than I would have but less well than he would have expected.
They made it through.
Meanwhile, my youngest had run her course a second time and was itching to go up.
It was time for me to try. I was honestly contemplating the 3-footer but I was clearly too big for that one, so it had to be the 13 foot one to start, but I was a little terrified by what I’d seen. JP pointed out that there was a second 13-foot course, it looked a little less challenging to me. Of course it started with a mini-zip line which terrified me somewhat but, hey, I came to have fun, I would just have to let it go a little…(and yes, that song was playing in my head as I contemplated embarking upon the first zip line of my life.)
We went up to the second 13-footer but the kids went before me, and since I was taking pics from the platform, another child went before me, I was ok with that. It was now my turn.
The staff member told me if I was a bit afraid that I should just sit down, lift my legs (before starting) and feel how I am suspended on the rope (wire). I did this and I think that it helped.
I then walked the plank & let go! I hit the 1st “tree” and it was time to go across the course, but the boy in front of me was having a bit of a hard time to get his nerve to go. Eventually he did and I went as well. It was shaky but I was doing it!
Yes, that’s me…Walking the plank!
There’s no turning back now…
Let me tell you…I also have more confidence after doing this!!!
In the meantime, two of my kids were 24 ft up in the air…
While I was still up there my Hubby was asking about the kids doing the ‘bigger’ zipline. I told him I needed to get through this first to think straight- I needed to concentrate! I concentrated & I went through, probably slower than most, but faster than I expected. I got to the ledge of the Royal ship that I had to walk alongside the edge to make my way back to the Pirate Ship…this part was tricky for me, but I just did it!. On my way back I felt more confident and the boards that I was navigating felt somewhat easier. By the time I got back to the Pirate ship and the kids wanted to zipline, I said: “Sure!” They ran.
After all, two of them had a ready completed the 24′ course by this point…TWENTY FOUR FEET!!!!!!!!
JP asked if I would do the zip line … “ARE YOU CRAZY??!?!?!?!” was my response.
But then I thought to myself, I’m here…“Let it go, Tan…you can do this” I mean, I was letting my kids go ( although they are lighter than I am…)
My first two kids went. The third decided to skip it so I sent him to the Royal ship so that he could catch me on camera zipping across should I decided to go for it.
My hubby went across to coach him
My youngest went up, hesitated and then zipped across! You go girl!!! A family watching her below joined us in cheering her on
It was finally my turn to go…Let it go…Legs up…
I DID IT! Here’s the wacky video to prove it!
Yay me!!! I came. I saw. I kicked …with class 😉
I know…it’s not that high up…but for me, this was BIG.
And then I spent the rest of the evening in complete and sheer awe of my children.
Not only had their confidence been built up, but the two who had successfully navigated the 24′ course, were now navigating the 35-foot course…and they were looking out for each other & helping each other as they went along. Can you say Team-building???? These two fight all the time, but look at them up there…My husband and I were literally in awe.
The other two were quickly navigating the 13-foot circuit. They were also encouraging and helping each other when they reached the tricky parts.
These were benefits I wasn’t expecting to get out of this activity – confidence-building, team-building, cooperation…..I wanted to write my blog post…NOW.
I was both enchanted and hooked…pardon the pun.
This is not just an activity…this is an EXPERIENCE. If you only have the time or budget to do one family outing this summer, make it Voiles en Voiles. It is fun for EVERYONE.
Pre-teens & Teens will be enthralled.
The younger ones will either have fun just going round & round the 3′ course or release their inner daredevil and go higher ( I saw a TINY little one – smaller than my youngest navigating the 24′!)
The adults can choose to sit back and observe (bring a camera, if this is your plan) or to jump ship and join the fun! In my case I am thrilled that I literally walked the plank and that I conquered some of my fears…I HIGHLY recommend it!
If you have wee-ones, there are inflatables – I didn’t get a good pic, though
Seriously…this is even a great idea to switch-it-up for Date Night!
I almost forgot to mention the rock-climbing wall! My hubby & kids enjoyed. I was happy to sit back in the Adirondack chair for a bit
If you can go during the week, I suspect it will be less busy than on the weekend. Last night was great because it was a weeknight and it was still quite hot out when we arrived, so there was very little waiting time – we were lucky!
(1) If you are a beginner, like me, and are starting on the 13′ course, try the one that starts on the Pirate ship with the plank walk to the zip line…our family found it less challenging than the other 13′ course. I think this one is called the Treasure Chest…
(2) Remember to drink – it is incredibly hot out and you are burning energy doing this stuff! You can bring your own drinks and keep in a locker (additional charge), you can also purchase from a variety of bottled drinks and water as well as slushies on site.
(3) Let yourself do the trial ‘hang’ at the onset (before you walk the plank), it will install confidence.
(4) If you didn’t do #3 above and find yourself stressed mid-course, let go & zip line to the next tree…it will build your confidence.
(5) Wear good shoes!
(6) Travel light & leave your hats in the car (or in a locker)
Finally…Are you planning a birthday party anytime in the near future? Voiles En Voiles offers a BIRTHDAY PARTY package…check it out on their website by clicking here
Voiles en Voiles: It’s a Montreal MUST-DO and officially montrealmom.com APPROVED!
For more information check out their website
Feel like WINNING a Family Pass? Here’s what you have to do to ENTER the GIVEAWAY:
In order to ENTER THE #WalkThePlank GIVEAWAY you must:
- Leave a comment in the comments section of this post answer the following question: “Why do you want to WALK THE PLANK at Voiles en Voiles?” (and Yes, “To have fun” is an acceptable response! )
- Correctly enter your email address as the winner will notified via email.
Once you have entered by answering the question above in the comments section, Here’s how you can get additional entries:
- Follow @voilesenvoiles on Twitter (leave your Twitter handle in the comments section of this post)
- Follow @montreal_mom on Twitter (leave your Twitter handle in the comments section of this post)
- Tweet this giveaway by tweeting this post using #VoilesEnVoiles and #WalkThePlank (1 entry for every RT, you can tweet up to 2 times daily- please leave a link to each tweet in the comments section of this post)
- Add montrealmom.com/blog to your RSS Feed (leave note in comments that you have done so, use same email address for both comment & RSS Feed)
- Write about this giveaway on your blog/website and leave me a link to your post in the comments section (counts as 4 entries!)
- Read any other post on the montrealmom.com blog and comment on it (please leave a comment on this post as to which post you read & commented on)
The giveaway ends at 11:59 PM on Thursday, August 6th, 2015. Winner will be chosen at random and will be contacted via email on Friday, August 7th, 2015. Please make sure your email address is correctly entered in the comments section as the winner will notified via email. Winner must answer a skill-testing question before claiming prize. Open to Canadian residents only.
Any litigation respecting the conduct or organization of a publicity contest may be submitted to the Régie des alcools, des courses et des jeux for a ruling. Any litigation respecting the awarding of a prize may be submitted to the Régie only for the purpose of helping the parties reach a settlement
Family Pass is courtesy of Voiles En Voiles. By entering this contest you are accepting that, if you win, your contact information will be shared with Voiles en Voiles representative(s) and shipping agency for the purpose of mailing your prize.
All winners must be from within Canada.
Wishing you a day where you find the courage to Walk the Plank…and then DO IT.