Gannets and storm

Trip Start Sep 02, 2013
Trip End Nov 28, 2013

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Where I stayed
Camping Cote Surprise Perce
Read my review - 4/5 stars

Flag of Canada  , Quebec,
Friday, September 13, 2013

This day started in a fog over both our campground on the cliff and the sea below the campsite. Now Julian sees things daily we clearly know he does not see-moose, bear, badger, a salmon breaching-but this morning as we stared into the foggy mist of the day he said "whale" with such conviction that I stared in the direction he was looking. There it was again, a small whale, a minke I thought, and then it was down again. He ran to get Rob from the common room, and sure enough they got back and the whale was up again feeding at the surface. We watched it for a while that morning and then saw it again from Ille Bonaventure, walking back from the Gannets.
We walked to town and made it for the 10am boat to Ille Bonaventure a Parcs Quebec Park and a bird sanctuary. We circled the island seeing the Gannets and the seals-two species-grey and harbor and then docked on the island. People management there is key, since you can walk right across the island to the bird sanctuary. So we walked up the hill and were corralled like cattle into a small area where we got the message the park wanted to make sure we would get. This is not a bad thing, as it continues the message that we are in a special place and there are new norms of behavior.
We then started our hike across the island, a 1.5 mile hike that takes about 45 minutes. Julian has decided he does not like to hike. This does not ever go over very well an he ends up hiking, and having a great time. This day would be no exception. We crossed the island and came out in a sea of Gannets-they were all we could see, smell or hear. As awe inspiring as this place is, it is also a place where the stark reality of nature comes into view in the form of the starving or dead chicks. The kids became fascinated by the chicks that would not make migration and their fate. Most will be eaten by the red foxes on the island, others just die in he colony. Julian was fascinated and it created a different hiker out of him for the rest of the day.  He now became our pace setter for the 90 minute hike back to the ferry dock by way of rounding the south side of the island, and he was in the lead until the last .3 KM. Luck would be with us that day and for the last .3 Km we looked out and again saw the Minke whale feeding. Watching the whale and the promise of the 4pm ferry made the last bit easy to make. We made the ferry and got to town for a wonderful dinner, and the start of an amazing storm that would rain and blow all night.

Let me say a word about the vegetation photos I am taking with the kids. I want them to think of this trip in three ways. 1) New ideas, places, people and animals they learn about and tracking these by looking up more information to build understanding about them, 2)Making comparisons between the places we go to understand what is different and why? and 3) Connecting the landscapes we move through-what ties them together-what are threads that link these places? The vegetation is a simple tangible way to do this. The vegetation you see in the photo of Ille Bonaventure could be the vegetation along a higher elevation trail in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. It is a great way to learn about connections, plant migration, this leads to animal migrations and then of course to glaciers. Some of the connections will also expand far beyond our travels. The Minke Whale is a whale of choice still hunted and killed in the thousands by Japan. The Gannetts here in Quebec migrate to the Gulf of Mexico where rangers reported a large drop in the population after the BP oil blow out in the deep horizon disaster years ago. The more we pay attention the more connected we are with each other, with landscapes and with other species. As hard as traveling with the kids can be at times, if they begin to really understand this in an internal way then it will be the best homeschooling we could have provided.
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