Whales, Seals, Adventure and the mighty St. Lawrence River! Baie-Sainte-Catherine (St. Catherine Bay) is located 137 miles (220 kms) northeast of Quebec City. There are tour operators that offer a whole day trip from Quebec City to go watch whales. It takes approx. 3 hours of travel each way with a 3 hour boat excursion into the St. Lawrence River. This is the part of the River that has mixed with the Salt water of the ‘Gulf of Saint Lawrence’, hence the presence of Whales.
There are many options to watch these beautiful sea animals. You could take a ‘big’ boat like the one above where you are dry, not so close to the water and can enjoy the availability of food and beverages or, you can take a “Zodiac” adventure/expedition, where you are up close and personal with these mighty creatures. Of course, you WILL get wet on these but it is safe.
Whale watching is touch-and-go. These magnificent creatures do not wait nor pose for you to click a picture of them. You have to be ready for when they show-up and have a trigger finger to shoot your camera. We were fortunate and saw some mighty splashes, quite a few whales and many seals.
The Seals are pretty comfortable swimming besides the boat/zodiac and you can have a field day clicking pictures of them. For me, the boat seemed more comfortable (not wet), for others, the thrill of being up-close-and-personal might be the choice. Any which ways, it is a trip you will always cherish.
The bus drivers that drive you back and forth are extremely friendly, bi-lingual, humorous and knowledgeable. They make a very good presentation (while driving) of local history, culture, nature what to expect and how. There is one stop on the way up and one on the way back. Both are at delightful local farms where you can enjoy a local, nourishing meal and buy some farm products as well.
You should also consider visiting Quebec City.
- It is a long day, be well rested before you leave.
- if you want to click pictures of your encounter with these amazing animals, the boat is the better choice. For adventure/thrill seekers, the Zodiac should deliver.
- have your camera at the ready, always. There is no advance notice of a “breaching”.
- The bus drivers expect a tip, it is up to your discretion.