Intriguing Whale Watching Online in Quebec Maritime – #ArmchairTraveler

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We find ourselves in trying times but that should not keep you from becoming an armchair traveler. Why not do some whale watching online? You can see some of the most beautiful whales in the St. Lawrence Seaway online with the help of the GREMM Project and their Whales Online website. Having been to Quebec Maritime multiple times, knowing summer is prime time for whale watching in Quebec, I was pleased to see you can still visit the region online. I found this series of 21 short whale videos along The Whale Route on the Côte-Nord (North Shore) of Quebec.

One of the most thrilling experiences I had in Quebec Maritime was going whale watching. I have an extensive guide on what you need to know when searching out these majestic mammals. Whether you see them from the deck of an excursion ship, a sea kayak or approach cautiously on a zodiac (pontoon boat), there are plenty of ways ways to learn more about whale watching in Quebec.

Minke whale watching from the shore, in the Tadoussac sector : Marc Loiselle / Quebec Maritime
Minke whale watching from the shore, in the Tadoussac sector :
Photo Credit: Marc Loiselle / Quebec Maritime

Whale Watching Online

One of the best ways to familiarize yourself with these amazing creatures would also be to visit the Marine Mammal Interpretation Centre (CIMM) located in Tadoussac. They have a very impressive (albeit small) museum which explains which species you will find in the St. Lawrence Seaway. There are also some very impressive whale bones exhibited in CIMM. This is both museum and a research centre for GREMM.

I’m excited to find out that there will soon be an expansion to welcome three new whale skeletons in its exhibition, which already has the status of the largest collection of assembled whale skeletons in Canada. The Centre will see its showroom enlarged to accommodate three enormous skeletons: a juvenile humpback whale, a fin whale and a North Atlantic right whale. These three whales came to rest on the shores of the St. Lawrence and were recovered by the GREMM team. 

Tadoussac Quebec - Whale Watching  online in Quebec Maritime
Marine Mammal Interpretation Centre (CIMM)

Whales Online has identified a few initiatives to read, listen to, and watch, in an effort to make believe that whales, nature or science are directly in your living room. This is a fun resource for families as every week, they add new activities and resources! They have also provided a list of films and documentaries for whale watching online which you can find at various streaming services (think Netflix, Disney+ etc.). Whales on the Big Screen provides an extensive list with classics like Free Willie, Finding Dory and Blue Planet II.

 A female beluga with her calf (a threatened species) : Jean-Pierre Sylvestre
 A female beluga with her calf (a threatened species) :
Photo Credit – Jean-Pierre Sylvestre / Quebec Maritime

Generally, migratory whales (all species except the St. Lawrence beluga, which lives there year-round) are found in the region from May to October, with a higher concentration of observations towards the end of summer . Occasionally, whales can even be seen in winter.

The Côte-Nord (or North Shore) of Quebec, begins in Tadoussac and ends 844 km later in Kegashka The you can travel along the 138 road, nicknamed «Route des baleines» or The Whale’s route, in 21 short videos and stories.

Each one is a short snippet of different stops along the route. There are viewpoints and each section describes the best way to get to the best viewing areas.

There is a detailed itinerary for a 7-10 day excursion on the Quebec Maritime Website. As you are traveling to the north-eastern point of the province of Quebec, you will be able to see where Quebec and Labrador reach (which is a part of the province of Newfoundland and Labrador).

  • Tadoussac: At the confluence of the St. Lawrence Seaway and the Saguenay River, with fresh and salt water coming together at the mouth of the Fjord, Tadoussac was once a hub for gatherings and a crossroads of exchange between First Nations who have been present for 8,000 years. After Jacques Cartier’s visit in 1535, Tadoussac became a fur trading post for the Europeans. It was in 1864 that the village built its first hotel to accommodate summer vacationers in Quebec’s favourite resort, the iconic Hôtel Tadoussac*
  • L’Anse-de-Roche
  • Baie Sainte-Marguerite: is used by belugas, especially as a place for socializing. It’s not uncommon to observe adults and their young here. The depth of the sandy-bottom bay is around 50 metres, compared to 135 metres in the middle of the Saguenay.*
  • Cap de Bon-Désir 
  • Les Escoumins
  • Longue-Rive
  • Portneuf-sur-Mer
  • Forestville
  • Ragueneau Archipelago
  • Pointe-aux-Outardes
  • Baie-Comeau: the ice age
  • Franquelin
  • Godbout
  • Pointe-des-Monts: The large red and white lighthouse at Pointe-des-Monts guided sailors in an era when navigation in the Gulf of St. Lawrence was perilous. Multiple shipwrecks have occurred in the vicinity. After Île Verte (1806), the Pointe-des-Monts lighthouse was the second one to be erected in the St. Lawrence (1829-1830). Since 1830, the lighthouse has been tended by seven different lightkeepers, according to local sources. Several families stayed there to watch over the sailors, 12 months a year!*
  • Port-Cartier, Gallix, Sept-Iles
  • Rivière-au-Tonnerre: gate to Minganie
  • Longue-Pointe-de-Mingan
  • Mingan Archipelago: One of four National Parks in the region, the Mingan Archipelago National Park Reserve is one of the most spectacular parks in the country! Stretching over 85 kilometres from end to end, the archipelago comprises some thirty islands and numerous smaller islets.*
  • Havre-Saint-Pierre and the sea
  • Natashquan
  • Kegaska, FIN: This sign marks the end (FIN) of Route 138. Only in 2013 did Kegaska become accessible by car. What awaits you there is raw. If you want to continue your journey east to Romaine or Blanc-Sablon, you’ll have to fly or catch a ferry! Kegaska lies near the farthest reaches of Quebec: on the Gulf, not far from Labrador, beyond the eastern tip of Anticosti. Its rawness and immensity is overwhelming. This is where we end up after our trek across the North Shore.*

    *Note: All short descriptions are from the Whale watching Online Website and can be sourced there.

You can also see whale watching online in a documentary on CBC Gem from the program The Nature of Things on the Baby Beluga. You can check out the video below.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n0BjDsugVes
Whale Watching Online is as easy as watching a documentary
Watch The Nature of Things on CBC Gem

Other Post about Quebec Maritime:

Online Whale Watching in Quebec Maritime - from the comfort of your home  - Photo Credit - Suzie Loiselle Quebec Maritime
You can whale watch in Quebec Maritime in a zodiac (like in this picture), kayak or a cruise ship
whale watching online is easy with Whales online and GREMM in Quebec Maritime
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Margarita Ibbott is a travel and lifestyle blogger. She blogs about travel in Canada, the United States and Europe giving practical advice through restaurant, hotel and attraction reviews. She writes for DownshiftingPRO.com and other online media outlets.

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