Mon 10 Oct 2005 - Mon 10 Oct 2005 15 °C
Leaving the area around Lac Saint-Jean, we headed south towards the town of Tadoussac, where we had been tempted by the possibility of seeing whales. Beyond there, we now planned to gun it and even head for the remote town of Gaspé, recommended several times by various people.
After a small detour to the town of La Baie and the nearby canyon, we backtracked and drove down the north shore of the Saguenay Fjord towards Tadoussac. Unbelievably, the scenery was even more stunning than what we had already seen and the weather was perfect for seeing it. The route led us past glass lakes reflecting the breathtakingly beautiful fall colours, waterfalls, fjord views and quaint old towns like Sainte-Rose-du-Nord.
Finally we settled in Hotel La Beluga in Tadoussac, a town almost entirely dedicated to whale spotting. The next morning we hopped aboard a zodiac dressed like we were headed for the Arctic circle to try and spot some of those snow-white Belugas. It didn't prove particularly difficult either and was a trip well worth taking, with plenty of whales spotted, Belugas included.
Petite Chapelle de Tadoussac
Having seen those beautiful animals, we shifted our sights towards the town of Gaspé. In order to make it there we would have to cross the Saint-Laurent river by ferry. In fact, it's more like a small sea than a river, with the shortest route taking 55 minutes. Naturally we headed for this 'short' crossing, only to be disappointed 200 kms later that it in fact wouldn't leave again till Thursday. argh. So onwards we went another 100 kms to a larger crossing in Baie Comeau. The ferry there would only leave once a day though. Lucky us, we were there 2 hours before departure. Unlucky us, we didn't have a reservation and it was all booked up. So we waited for two hours, 8th in line in the non-reserved queue. Only to be turned away after the first 5 cars got on. We decided to try again the next morning when there would be another ferry.
So bright and early we rose, 3 hours before the ferry's departure was due. "Surely, this would be early enough", we told ourselves as we drove to our fate. Shockingly, there were not 7 cars in front of us this morning, but 9. And so, the wait went on. We left our car in queue and indulged ourselves in some breakfast in the town, in fact probably one of the best breakfasts we had in Canada - the café was phenomenal. And so we waited, and waited and waited a little more. Slowly, cars boarded the ferry and we watched as they started to take on cars from our queue. Finally, just when we thought we didn't stand a chance, we were let on with only two other cars following us. Oh joy!
The ferry ride itself was pretty eventless - a 60km calm journey to the other side. The weather started to let us down at this stage and we made do by enjoying the coastline from the comfort of our car. Only really stopping for lunch along the way, we made good progress and rolled into Gaspé at nightfall, finally settling in a little hotel several kilometres outside of town when we found out that all motels were booked out. The lodging turned out to be quite pleasant. "Sorry, no TV in the rooms" was the only downside, but this in fact probably helped us fall asleep a lot earlier than we normally would. Just as well, because we had some long driving ahead of us.
The next morning we got up bright and early (sometime before 9 AM if I recall ) and went to see the world famous (at least in Quebec) Percé rock. A brief stop to admire this renowned rock from several angles proved enjoyable, before the rest of the day was spent driving the 1000 kilometres towards Montréal. And so, our road trip really came to an end. After a night's sleep in Montreal, we made our way through torrential downpour to Toronto for the conference that warranted coming to Canada in the first place. C'etait une bonne journée!
Can you figure out where to go?