In october 2018 I did a road trip in provence Quebec, Canada. The cities of Montreal and Quebec, and the 3 different national parks I visited along the way were very nice, but one of the highlights was the whale watching I did around the St Lawrence river.
Between may and october, around 13 different species of cetaceans can be seen in these waters. They come here to feed and for whale lovers this is really the place to be. Not only can you go on one of the many whalewatching cruises, but you can even spot them from the shore or on the ferry! As a big ocean lover and huge whales fan, I had an amzing time spotting these wonderful creatures during the three days I was in the area.
Whale watching cruise
Very often whale watching cruises and the city of “Tadoussac” are mentionned in one sentence. It is right that Tadoussac is famous for its whalewatching. It is also a nice small town to stay at, but don’t forget fame comes with a price. I found that whale watching cruises starting out from Tadoussac were a lot more expensive, and that one company “AML” seemed to have a monopoly position. Also ,because I was there in october which was already considered ‘season extension’, most of the boats where top covered boats which made them nicely wind and water proof and probably warm.. However, I didn’t like the quite big completely covered boats. I wanted to be out there with the whales as much as possible..
So after some research I found out that a bit up north of Tadoussac some other companies were doing whalewatch cruises too, less expensive and with smaller boats. I headed to “Les Escoumins” and booked with them a trip. I paid around 40€ (63 Can $). It turned out to be a great decision…
We were with a small group of 7 people in total and a skipper. Everybody was given a special suit against the cold and after we changed we left. The boat was small and uncovered, but that was exactly what I wanted. I still believe this makes your experience “more real”. The skipper was very funny and telling a lot of stories, which is always a plus.
The first 20 minutes we were driving to the place where the whales were spotted before. No whales to see during this trip. However, as from then we saw whales constantly for the rest of the almost 3 hours during trip! I saw sperm whales, belugas, a grey whale and ofcourse a lot of humpbacks. Our skipper did an excellent job manouvering the boat close to the whales, but always keeping in mind to not disturb them with the engine noises so cutting it when necessary.
Some pics of my instagram account:
Whale watching from shore and the visitor centers
Between Tadoussac and Les Escoumins (the ferry place), there are some visitor centers and I want to mention the one I liked the most: Center of Cap-de-Bon-Desir, a place that I ll always will remember. Cost: 6€ (about 8 CAD).
After going through the building on the site which give a bit more general information, I went to the observation platform and I stayed almost a whole day. They give you binoculars and when I was there, there was a very friendly guide giving extra information about the whales. There were sooo many whales passing by, it was just amazing. Tip: especially as from october, it is quite cold and windy, so dress accordingly!
Whale watching during the ferry
Just when you think it is over… After the whale watching cruise and the whale watching from shore at different locations, I boarded the ferry from Les Escoumins to Trois Pistoles. If you do so too, or are taking any ferry to cross St Lawrence, keep your eyes open! During my ferry there were literally whales surfacing everywhere! Best ferry trip ever!