Watch Whales on the Mighty St. Lawrence
|ALMIGHTY STRETCH: A humpback whale lets it all hang out (Corel)|
Watching one of the earth's largest creatures burst out of the water and plunge back into the deep is an experience you and your children will remember forever. And one of the best vantage points for families to see whales is near Tadoussac, a two- to three-hour drive northeast of Quebec City.
Here, icy saltwater carried up the St. Lawrence River from the Atlantic Ocean meets warm freshwater flowing out of the Saguenay Fjord. As the two currents mix, they give rise to a rich harvest of plankton and krill that draws eight species of whales in summer and fall. Unlike many whale-watching trips, there's no long boat ride to get to where the whales are located, while the relative calmness of the St. Lawrence River eliminates the danger of seasickness caused by ocean swells. On our cruise, it was only a matter of minutes before two black minkes rose out of the water and a fin whale approached.
The whales usually arrive between May and October. In August, you might be lucky enough to spot a rare blue whaleÂ—at 98 feet and 140 tons, the largest animal on earth. When a blue whale breathes, its blowhole is so large and powerful that you can actually smell the creature's fish breath. Other species you might spot include belugas, humpbacks, and harbor porpoises. From May to mid-October, whale-watching boats leave daily from the Baie-Sainte-Catherine wharf or from the town of Tadoussac. A ferry connects the two communities.
For more: +1-418-235-4703, www.parcmarin.qc.ca
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication