Kayaking the St. Lawrence
Our guest post comes from Bonnie & Bill Neely of: Real Travel Adventures Ezine – Your free online monthly travel magazine with hundreds of features and photos on travel to anywhere.
Just beyond Tadoussac at Les Bergeronnes on the wonderful Cote Nord Whale Watching Highway along the St. Lawrence in Quebec, Canada, we lunched at Mer et Monde Café. This bistro restaurant with very fresh and tasty food near the adventure outfitter company Mer et Monde Ecotours, is owned by the same family.
As we stood on sandstone flat rocks on the shore and looked out at the beautiful deep blue water, a large pod of white beluga whales gaily rolled in the water and playfully greeted us, as if on cue. We counted over 45 pairs. Now we had completed our whale sightings! We wished we had planned to camp out, which several other families were doing. The whale’s blowhole sounds are often the wake-up call in this beautiful place on the St. Lawrence, which looks like the ocean.
We quickly pulled our wet suits over our swimsuits and long underwear, getting into our waterproof jackets, life preserver vests, and kayak skirts and shoes. We looked ridiculous as we waddled to our kayaks.
We were so fortunate to have Matthieu Dupuis as our guide par excellence. With 10 years experience, he won the silver medal for best safety kayak instructor for the past two years, so we felt totally safe. He was very thorough with his assessment of our ability levels and with his individual instruction. He realized I had some fears of both the kayak entrapment and the very cold water, so he told me to share his kayak. The two-person authentic sea kayaks, are extremely stable and he assured us that turning over would have to be intentional and with great effort, and that getting out of the kayak in such a case is quick and easy.
With dark clouds gathering overhead but a calm water surface, he pushed each of the four kayaks into the water of the huge St. Lawrence Estuary, which plunged immediately to about 150 meters deep. As soon as we were on the water, I felt secure and peaceful and lost all fear. I had, for years, wanted to kayak but had scared myself out of it, and now it was immediately great fun. We paddled along the coast, not too far from shore, so that we could observe the beautiful camping sites with wood platforms on the sandstone boulders lining the natural water line. Further on we saw the original village church at the site where there was a large landslide in the early 1900’s and 23 homes slid into the water, killing several people. Soon we spotted some seals bobbing in the water. What a great experience we enjoyed for over an hour, traveling several miles round trip. Just before we returned a large minke whale greeted us nearby. What a thrill!
Mer et Monde Ecotours is certified by Aventure Écotourisme Québec, whose stringent operational standards ensure the highest level of quality and safety for all the services offered by the representatives of the numerous outdoor activities available in Québec. Mer et Monde has received the special Les Grands Prix of Tourism award, placing them at the top of the best in ecotourism in Quebec. Included is safety of equipment and certification of quality control of adventure and outdoor activities and ecotourism in Canada.
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