But we learned about an intriguing area on the north side of the St. Lawrence River from Lois and Bev, new Ontario friends we met at a ceilidh in Baddeck, Cape Breton Island. The Saguenay Region is an area where the confluence of several bodies of water brings nutrients to the surface that attract many different types of whales. It’s a whale watching “mecca”.
Avid whale lovers that we are this sounded like just our speed. Also the drive there was on less challenging roads. The roads for our original plan around the Gaspé would be extremely challenging for Island Girl, which we confirmed when we drove in our car out to Forillon National Park and encountered quite a few steep inclines.
The drive time was over six hours and included another ferry ride. Based on the ferry schedule we divided the drive up by spending the night near the ferry departure dock and taking the ferry the next day. On the way we made a quick stop to walk around a really long and pretty covered bridge.
We experienced every kind of weather on our first driving day. The day started out very cloudy and a little foggy, then had varying degrees of cloud cover, a light rain shower and ended with blue sky and light clouds.
And we saw a little slice of a pretty sunset over the St. Lawrence River from our overnight campsite.
The next morning we headed out to the ferry dock to cross the St. Lawrence River. We chose the ferry from Trois Pistoles to Les Ecoumins because it made for the shortest distance to our final destination, the village of Les Bergeronnes, but also because this particular ferry allowed us to make a reservation and others didn’t.
Good thing we had a reservation because the ferry only accommodates a total of 40 cars, so we probably would have had to stand by for more than one ferry in order to get on.
This was Island Girl’s second ferry ride, but I was a bit concerned about boarding a “smaller” ferry, so I was very relieved when I saw a logging truck drive out of the ferry. Easy Peasy. Still, although they boarded a medium sized tractor, we were the biggest rig on this particular ferry.
I’m really impressed by these ferry operations. The guys who coordinate embarking and disembarking manage to get you within inches of the other vehicles without damage, and can squeeze in many more vehicles than you think possible. It all seems to work rather smoothly.
The St Lawrence River (fleuve) is a really wide and large body of water at this point (grand fleuve). The crossing was about one and a half hours and presented our first opportunity to see whales. A lucky person on board spotted a Beluga Whale, but we missed it and there were no other sightings. But it was still quite an enjoyable experience and a very smooth sail.
Hector and I wandered around on the top deck, while Angel rode comfortably inside Island Girl in the driver’s seat enjoying the view. She’s becoming a seasoned ferry rider, which brings her back to one half of her roots, since Keeshonds were originally Dutch barge dogs.
There were a few inconveniences; the water had to be boiled because it had some bacteria due to some construction, and there was no Wi-Fi at our campground nor anywhere but one place in the village :-(.
On to more adventures on the Côte-Nord of the Fleuve St-Laurent!