Whale's, not the country

Trip Start Dec 14, 2007
Trip End Mar 16, 2009

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Flag of Canada  , Quebec,
Monday, September 22, 2008

We decided instead of taking the direct route to Tadoussac rather to take the longer mountain via Alma which would be less busy and hopefully we'd get to see a moose, deer or even bear! As luck would have it we did get to see a moose, a large male with some huge antlers. Sadly the impressive animal was spread eagle on the back of a pick-up with a glassy look in its eyes and would no doubt shortly be taking up a spot on the trophy wall.

Even though the drive didn't offer up any Canadian wild life it was still a spectacular part of the country to drive through. We passed by many beautiful lakes and scenery that changed from multi-coloured maple forests that were just beginning to change colour to evergreen pine forests to endless flat farm lands. When we arrived in Alma we turned east and travelled along the Saguenay River fjord where the dramatic, towering canyon ploughs south east towards the mighty Lawrence River. The fjord is said to be the most southerly fjord in the Northern Hemisphere and rank as the Quebec's most beautiful area.

We arrived in a slightly chillier Tadousac than we expected and after checking into the B&B we headed down to the beach for a walk to see if we could spot a few whales from the shore. Through all our travels to date this was the furthest north we had travelled in Canada and the closest we had come to the North Pole in a long time so naturally it was going to be a little colder, we just didn't know the temperatures would be hovering below ten degrees. This just meant we wore almost our entire wardrobe at once each time we ventured out.

The main reason for us deciding on a visit to Tadoussac was not just to take in the splendid scenery but to hopefully spot some whales. With the help of the lovely couple that ran the guest house we book an early morning zodiac whale watching trip fro the following day. We rose early the next morning and were greeted with a delicious eggs benedict and fresh fruit breakfast before making our way to the launch site to get kitted up with some all weather gear. We already had about 4 layers on each which we though would be sufficient but changed our minds very quickly when we got outside and felt the icy breeze. We looked like Michelin men by the time we had all the gear and waddled down to the boat.

It didn't take long for us to see the first water spouts on the horizon and you could feel the excitement in the boat as we got closer to what turned out to be a pod of hunting fin whales which are the second largest whales next to blue whales. It was surreal to be able to see these magnificent creatures up close and even though the boats stay at a distance the whales typically swim up close enough for you to reach out and touch them. We followed the pod for almost an hour before we moved off to find a humpback whale that was sighted on previous trips. After about thirty minutes of searching we finally found the gentle giant that looked like a log when we approached. The whale swam around the boats as if there were not even there and almost played hide and seek under some of the boats. That not where the whale watching ended we also saw many Minke whales, some of them up close and even the beautiful white Beluga whales who apparently are residents in the Lawrence River.

Tadoussac truly is a nature lover haven and probably deserved more than just two days but we did try make up for the short visit by getting up extra early to watch the sun rise and didn't miss a sunset. For anyone who is a whale lover this is a must and you will not be disappointed.

The day we left to return to Montreal where we would catch a train to New York we decided to take the route along the Lawrence River as we'd bypassed this on the way up. It seemed our timing was perfect as fall or autumn colours where beginning to appear in full force. For hours we passed breathtaking scenes where mirror lakes reflected the multicoloured autumn colours, truly a sight to behold.

The little we saw of Canada we loved and we would not hesitate to return and explore more of this magnificent country and its fascinating seasons.

Lastly, I got to leave Canada with a little more than just souvenirs, maple syrup and memories. By the time we left Quebec City almost 50 bites had appeared all over my body, strangely Inge-Marie was bite free. After a little internet research it was clear that I dinner to a family of bed bugs, apparently it's not uncommon for only one person to get attacked and the tell tale sign is usually a row of three or more bites which appear several days after the bites. So after travelling through almost 30 countries with nothing more than a few mosquito bites I get savagely attacked by bed bugs in Canada.

This little attach got us a little paranoid and resulted in us washing and drying all our clothes at maximum heat to be sure we had no illegal passengers hitching a ride, very annoying! Thanks Canada, thanks a lot!!
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nataliezeid on

So relieved
Oh Ryan,

Im so relieved you found out that it was just a bad case of the bed bugs. I freaked when I read your last blog and thought it was the C$%#&'s

Hee Hee

Hope you guys are having fun in US and Im sure they thank you for all the spending...

Lots of love and bug hugs to the both of you.

Nat and family

ksuter on

A really good series of posts about Canada. As a Toronto resident its cool to see a visitors view of my town. Next time here check out Toronto's multicultural communities. Its like traveling throughout the world without ever leaving Toronto! Sorry about the bed bugs though :)

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