Weather forecasts Tides Visitor's guide

SEA KAYAKING

Paddle the black waters of the fjord, ride along the upper estuary islands and observe the breath of the great whales in the Estuary. Discover the Saguenay–St. Lawrence Marine Park and travel through three magnificent and captivating ecosystems.

IN THE HOME OF THE WHALES

We float on the marine park along with the winds, tides and currents. Dug during the last ice age, the Saguenay Fjord is lined with cliffs reaching 300 meters. The St. Lawrence estuary offers a challenge to kayakers that will discover a landscape dotted with islands and inhabited by an impressive wildlife.

In summer, the marine park is an exceptional hunting ground. The whales, seals, and birds you will see during your sea outing, for the most part, travelled thousands of kilometres to come feed here. These wild animals spend a large part of their time feeding and resting.

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By adopting good practices when you navigate in the marine park, you contribute to protection efforts. Your participation is vital!

Residents of the marine park, beluga whales are present throughout the year in the St. Lawrence, and in the Fjord during the summer. These whales give birth to their young in the summer particularly in July and August; so this is a critical time for the survival of calves and their mothers who need peace and quiet to raise and feed them and rest. Although the temptation is strong, do not approach them. This respectful attitude is important, whether you navigate by kayak or with any boat.

You are privileged to be able to watch them in their habitat and witness their natural behaviour. Pay close attention to comprehensive preservation zones. They aim at ensuring the protection of marine ecosystems, rare or sensitive habitats and species as well as important cultural resources. These areas are shown in the guide’s map.

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The population of St. Lawrence belugas is declining. Each animal is important.

Since 2010, issues related to birthing and the survival of calves have been observed.

COMPREHENSIVE PRESERVATION ZONES

Zone for the protection of habitats and sensitive species. Please avoid navigating here.

Area closure at Baie Sainte-Marguerite

From June 21st to September 21st , vessels must not enter the red area closure which follows a line between Cap Nord-Ouest and Cap Sainte-Marguerite. Special authorizations are granted only for kayaks, canoes and recreational fishermen who must travel without stopping along a corridor within 10 metres of the shore in shallow areas.

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The Baie Sainte-Marguerite is a place where beluga whales give birth. Your presence can attract their attention and reduce the amount of time they spend looking after their young, feeding, and resting. For their sake, this area is protected to ensure a peaceful environment.

I’m heading towards Baie Sainte-Marguerite, what should I do?

Watercraft are prohibited in the bay between Cap Nord-Ouest and Cap Sainte-Marguerite. To travel from one cape to the other, by kayak or canoe, follow the designated corridor along the coast.

Even if you cannot see any belugas, travel, without stopping, within 10 metres of the shoreline and remain in shallow areas.

When in the presence of belugas, continue paddling until you have put at least 400 metres between you and them.

Since distance can be hard to judge, we recommend that you move away until you can no longer see them.

While paddling on the St. Lawrence or the Saguenay, you may encounter beluga whales. Your presence in their habitat can attract their attention and reduce the amount of time they spend looking after their young, feeding, and resting. Belugas need space and a peaceful environment.

There are belugas ahead, what should I do?

Lire la suite

When in the presence of belugas, change direction to go around them while maintaining a distance of at least 400 metres.
Stay in your group and keep paddling.
Since distance can be hard to judge, we recommend that you move away until you can no longer see them.

I’m taken by surprise when belugas suddenly appear around my boat, what should I do?

Lire la suite

If belugas suddenly appear around your boat, do not stop. Choose a heading that will take you at least 400 metres from the belugas.
Stay in your group and keep paddling.
Since distance can be hard to judge, we recommend that you move away until you can no longer see them.

Every action counts to help protect the belugas.

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Did you know?

In winter 1878, a Québec City merchant by the name of Charles-Napoléon Robitaille fell through ice covering the Saguenay River under the weight of his horse and carriage. Imploring the mercy of Virgin Mary, he managed to lift himself out of the water. In honour of She who saved him, he had a sculpture by Louis Jobin erected high atop Cap Trinité. Standing 180 metres above the water line, the Statue of Notre-Dame-du- Saguenay has looked out over the fjord since 1881.

DISTANCES TO BE RESPECTED

400

metres

For endangered or threatened* marine mammals such as the beluga whale and the blue whale, a distance of at least 400 metres must be maintained between the vessel and the animal.

200

metres

A boat can come within 200 metres of a whale that is not endangered or threatened.

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It is prohibited to get into the path of a whale in such a way that it passes within less than 200 metres of the boat, and less than 400 metres if it is an endangered or threatened marine mammal.

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It is forbidden to use the action of wind, waves or current to approach within less than the specified distances.

1/2 nautical mile = 926 metres

FAQ

How should I kayak past the ferries at the mouth of the Saguenay Fjord?

  • Always stay in a group.
  • Stop 100 metres from the wharf near the north shore (Tadoussac).
  • If possible, contact the ferry on channel 9 of your VHF radio.
  • The ferry captain will give you permission to pass. The ferry will be moored and the engine will be in neutral (no water bubbling on the surface).
  • Go around the ferry keeping a distance of 100 metres from the boat.
  • Continue on your way.


Note :
– The mouth of the Saguenay is an area of intense maritime traffic: be vigilant and yield to other vessels.
– Currents in this area can reach 7 knots at ebb tide and 4 knots at rising tide. It is almost impossible to paddle against these current forces. Monitor tide times and plan to cross at slack water, when the sea level is stable (during the 30 minutes before and after high or low tide, check the tide table for more information).

SIX MONTHS OF WONDER

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SAFETY FIRST!

Are you planning a seagoing activity without a certified guide? Before you set out, find out about the directives you need to follow and the equipment you need to bring to make sure your outing is safe and enjoyable. Consult the www.canot-kayak.qc.ca website.

Weather conditions change rapidly and strong marine currents could make your outing hazardous. For your safety, stay close to the shoreline so as to always keep it in sight,

particularly under fog conditions. On account of marine traffic, avoid making “shore-to-shore” crossings.

KEEP YOUR EYES OPEN!

The sheer cliffs of the Saguenay fjord are an ideal nesting ground for the peregrine falcon. As the home of no less than 20% of all breeding pairs inventoried in Quebec, these cliffs are protected by the Parc national du Fjord-du-Saguenay.

INCREASING AWARENESS

You may encounter one of the teams dedicated to research, awareness or monitoring who ply the marine park on a Parks Canada or a Parcs Québec boat.

SHARE YOUR RESPONSIBLE BEHAVIOUR!

#beluga400m #marineparkmoment

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Later… It feels good to get our feet back on the ground!

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