By MERLE ROSENSTEIN
Get adventurous this spring or summer with a trip to Quebec to see one of thirteen species of whales that careen along Quebec’s maritime coast via organized tour, or—for a more adventurous experience—climb into a kayak to get an eye-to-eye view.
Two of imposing animals currently on the endangered species list—the blue whale and the St. Lawrence beluga—can be spotted here. Blue whales, the largest animals on the planet, arrive in the Gulf of St. Lawrence in March, attracted by an ample supply of krill. Swimming alone or in pairs, blue whales emit low frequency sounds that carry for many kilometres underwater.
About 1,000 beluga whales live in the St. Lawrence year-round. Belugas are said to be highly social and congregate in pods of two to twenty-five. Appearing as a flash of white against the waves, belugas or “sea canaries” serenade pod-mates with clicks, grunts, squeals, screeches and whistles.
Plan Your Whale-Watching Tour
For excellent blue and beluga whale watching, follow the Quebec Whale Route, stretching 900 km along the north shore of the Gulf of St. Lawrence.
WHERE TO GO:
Preferred locations to see giant cetaceans by boat are:
- Saguenay-St. Lawrence Marine Park, reachable from Tadoussac, Baie-Sainte-Catherine, Rivière-du-Loup and Trois-Pistoles
- Mingan Archipelago National Park Reserve of Canada in Duplessis, one of the five regions of Maritime Québec
- Forillon National Park of Canada, in the Gaspésie (Gaspé Peninsula)
To see whales from dry land, try:
- Cap-de-Bon-Désir, at the mouth of the Saguenay Fjord in Bergeronnes
- Saguenay-St. Lawrence Marine Park
- Pointe-des-Monts, in Duplessis
See the full-size map.