We left Cap a l'Aigle right on time at 7:00 a.m. in a shroud of fog. Got the AIS system on checking for any other boat traffic that may be ghosting along. Before long the fog has lifted and there is a whale sighting. Wait a minute.... there is a whole pod of belugas!! They decide we are of interest and come right over to the boat to check us out. OMG!!!! This is unbelievably fantastic! As you can see from the pictures, they are very curious. We thought one was coming right up onto the swim platform! Needless to say, that totally made our day and is an experience we will remember forever! After that we only saw them from a distance. There was a few sea lion sightings also, at least their heads bobbing along...
We had a good spinnaker run down the channel in 15-20 kn winds (SOG 11kn). Closer to Tadoussac, we doused the spinnaker and motored through rapids where the water depth goes from 400' to 100' in a short span. The waters outside Tadoussac harbour entrance can be very treacherous. We watched an ugly lightening storm in the distance. Fortunately, we had favourable winds and timing. As we approached harbour, there were 10 boats all converging towards the marina at once. It was "take a number and wait your turn" but we eventually docked at 2:00 p.m. in a lovely, secure harbour. Our early afternoon arrival gave us a chance to hike up the hillside to a lookout spot which provided a great view of surrounding vistas of the harbour, the St.Lawrence and the Saguenay rivers.
The plan for the next day was to take a charter cruise up the Saquenay about 10 miles for some whale watching and Fjord experience. We decided this because the Saguenay has 5 knots of current at the best of times and we are not up to fighting it again. It's wasn't long before we had our first sightings along the west side of the channel but this was no comparison to our experience the day before. The boats here will see the sightings of whales but will not approach as they are endangered. I guess we didn't know how lucky we were to have experienced them the way we did. On the trip we learnt that belugas in the late 1800's numbered 10,000. It was once thought that they were taking part in the dwindling cod stocks so hunting was allowed from adult to babies. This was later proven not to be so as they don't eat cod but that was too late as when hunting stopped in 1972, there were only 800 left of this species. In 2000 the numbers grew back to 1000 but since then numbers have been falling again and no one knows why. Belugas can live up to 60 years and will have calves every 5-6 years, so it's becoming harder to maintain and grow the population. You will also see some pictures of a manmade point in the Fjord called Passing Point. This goes back to Jacques Cartier days when the French would come across the ocean loaded with trading goods for the well sought after furs. Once the trading was done and the ship now loaded with furs, it's now much lighter so they would form a human line and pass rocks one at a time until the ship has the proper ballast once again.
Now with the tour done, it's off for another hike and then back to the boat for some boat made curried rice coconut and squash soup. In the afternoon it's time for laundry, groceries, diesel and pump out. Tomorrow, we part ways as we leave for Rimuoski and Joann has a day trip back to Winnipeg. It's been a slice with the three of us but with the cooler temperatures in the horizon I think Joann will enjoy the forecasted temperatures on the Prairies.