The moment you cross Saguenay you feel already chilly. Or it’s just an impression. The weather looked iffy and in spite of the hot day a sweatshirt was mandatory for the evening. Well, it’s Canadian August. As a matter of fact you see in August the entire Canada in bloom but is a combination of lower latitude spring flowers with some summer siblings of them.
Saguenay River comes from the chilly north forming an estuary at its confluence with St Laurent. The way it looked from Tadoussac, crossed by the ferry and with its fjords and the cloudy weather it could have been anywhere in Norway.
Tadoussac is a focal point for whale watching. Some of the whale species have their frolicking habitat in the Saguenay estuary so any hotels would book your whale watch trip when they book the room. It’s almost like the included breakfast, only that you have to pay for it. The whales migrate from here all the way to the Dominican Republic and come back. Like the Canadians….
Unfortunately, the weather in the morning was pouring rainy so we were afraid that we would bother the whales to come out in rain so we canceled the booked tour. As a matter of fact I took this tour some years ago and I did not see any trace of whales and besides I got a serious cold that lasted for many days. Frustrated at the time by the fact that no whales bother to show up for the date, I walked in Tadoussac towards the bay where I sat down by the river just to see right in front of me, right at the shore, a continuous parade of all kinds of whales that were not told that they are under contract with the whale watching company and they were putting an impressive display for free. The same happened now so the show goes on after so many years, an option to save $70.
Tadoussac is beautiful with its old colonial church and cemetery and the charming hotel Tadoussac behind, emblematic for the town. But we had to move and drove Cote Nord for about an hour just to get to the Forestville ferry that crossed us in about 60 minutes over the river’s estuary to Rimousky, the largest city in the Gaspe peninsula. There are about four ferry crossings over St Laurent lasting between one hour and 2.5 hours from various points around Tadoussac and way further towards Labrador.
After the mandatory croissants and cappuccino in Rimousky, we continued the drive, this time on the north coast of the Gaspesie, through charming small towns that looked like artist havens. It looked that if you are not a fisherman the only other major trade is to be an artist and we stopped spellbound surrounded by a collection of statues going deep into the estuary that look like floating over the water during high tide. The low tide gave us the chance to walk all the way through this impressive installation put together by Marcel Gagnon, a Quebecois artist who has also a large gallery at the site, in Ste. Flavie.