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The Whale Route print email

In the Côte-Nord region and Duplessis, follow the Whale Route!

The Gulf of St. Lawrence is a teeming underwater pantry for hundreds of North Atlantic marine mammals. From Pointe-aux-Anglais to Blanc-Sablon, the Duplessis region is right on their way to their favorite destination. Numerous species of whales, seals, and dolphins come here every year to feast on the abundant food in our waters. What brings these giants of the sea so close to our shoreline, clouding the horizon with their spray, is the large quantity of shrimp-like krill-their main food source-as well as capelin, sand lances, herring, and mackerel. This is one show you won't want to miss!

Starting in April, their telltale spray can already be spotted around Sept-Îles and Anticosti. Sporadic at first, the whale sightings steadily increase in frequency until June when the waters of Duplessis come alive in a feeding frenzy! The capelin "roll" (so it is said when these small fish come by the thousands to the sandy beaches to spawn), and minke whales approach to within a few dozen meters of shore to eat their fill-a sight you can enjoy almost every year from the promenade at Parc du Vieux-Quai in Sept-Îles. Blue and fin whales also join in the buffet. You can marvel at them from atop any of the region's natural promontories. As for the humpbacks, they literally invade the waters around Blanc-Sablon to gorge themselves while engaging in a boisterous display of leaps and spray.

July and August are the months when traffic is busiest for all the species that travel to our vast region. This time of year, it's not uncommon to come across groups of dozens of humpbacks in Minganie, around Anticosti, or off the shore of Sept-Îles. These agile acrobats always enchant, performing as if in a natural outdoor theater with playful leaps into the air and tail fins that emerge from the water as if to wave hello. September and October are just as exciting, as nature prepares herself for winter and the birds begin their migration-but the whales remain!

Whale Watching and Tours

The St. Lawrence Gulf and Estuary are among the best places in the world to watch whales in their natural environment. Summer is considered the best time of the year to take a whale watching tour in the Duplessis region. Humpback, fin, minke, and blue whales are all regular visitors, while seals, harbor porpoises, and Atlantic white-sided dolphins are a particularly common sight in the gulf.

The Sept-Îles and Minganie regions, particularly the stretch of the Mingan Archipelago from Longue-Pointe-de-Mingan to Havre-Saint-Pierre, are popular points of departure for whale watching tours in the area. Many businesses offer various types of tours and excursions aboard small boats, water taxis, and hard bottom inflatables.

Find Out More

All along the coast, follow the blue signs with a white whale on them to discover the secrets of the Whale Route. To find out more about these mysterious creatures, be sure to visit the Mingan Island Cetacean Study (MICS) interpretive center, where MICS biologists will be delighted to tell you all about them.

 

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