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Mingan Archipelago..Oct 1-5, 2008


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just a short report from the Gaspe to say we went over to the North Shore of the St Lawrence . this is our 3rd trip over the years but the 1st to Kayak some of the Mingans. It has been 9 years since we were last there and met our 1st sea kayakers on Isle Quarry.

We have planned this trip for 3 years now including purchasing a new 21 ft Boreal Design tandem.

(Blue & White of course as they are the Provincal colors)

This was a total spluge as we went with a local guide ....which mean No cooking !!

Aside from wanting local knowledge of the tides and currents we also wanted much more immersion in the culture and ask all those questions we have had from over the years.

We totally lucked out with this young fellow named Simon and later on, Julie his "blonde"(a boyfriend is refered to as the woman's "chum") also a guide, and her parents also joined us making a party of 6...and the feasting truly began.

We paddled the central and western parts of the Archipelago putting in at Longue Point and taking out at Riverier Romain a high tide take out.

Lots of Minkie Whales some porpoise, grey seals and many birds. We lucked out with the weather 5 perfect days.

Nice weather meant we were able to spend much time on the southern more exposed shores making a circumfrence of most the islands we visited.

We also learned that 6 persons can carry a fully loaded kayak most any where you need to !

We paddled both of us using the sticks , Greenland paddles. Load including us was somewhere about 500lbs no problem

No big culture shock at the end of the trip as we only had to return here to the Gaspe, though we expect to return to the States in Oct.

Excellent trip and much worship of the "Yellow Doors"...

The Parc is divided into Western Central and Eastern sections...still heading east along the lower north shore is refered to as East of East.. till you go beyond the land of roads.

Villages are about every 30 miles or so ...it is that area that calls to us now for future years...spdr

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Spider, I'm really thrilled to hear that you went to Mingan. Isn't it a beautiful place to paddle? Did you get to Grand Isle and see Le Chateau? My favorite spot. Where did you camp? Any photos? You were so lucky to have good weather the whole time. Did you see other kayakers?

I think that going East of East would be some excellent expedition kayaking, esp past the end of the road where there are thousands of little islands to protect you from the rough ocean. I have been eyeing that area for awhile now. The ferry could be used to shuttle back to the beginning point. Take a look, see what you think. There's so much wild coast up there, isn't there!

really pleased that you made the trip!


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Thanks Kate, we have referenced your excellent trip report from last year several times and that of some others. We do have some nice pics but not the knowledge how to put them on a website. plus we are here on a dial up connection we are just getting the hang of.

If folks want to see the pics I just would say" see Kates they are much like hers".

We have learned that freighters will put your kayak in a container and you can travel that way. Simon & Julie (boyfriend,girlfriend, always refered to as a "Chum & his Blonde" or the other way around no matter who the people are) both guides, travelled some 200+k in the land East of East and couldn't say enough nice things about it.

We did see the Le Chateau, it was very excellent, and we have have a little story to tell of a "mystery wave" near there...the telling of the tale is.."

After making the crossing from Ile Nue de Mingan through the narrows between the Isles of Bouleaux we were only about 50 ft off shore of Grande Isle looking through the "longviews in search of a small fresh water waterfall. Suddenly there is a wave coming from the cliffs... heading our way about 40 ft off. We are all startled. The water is calm yet the wave comes toward us. I swing the bow to take it full on at the same time realizing it's a whale that is there. "What she doing??" is Simons soft question as we make no other moves.

First there is a blow off behind us, then another to the side. A mother and her young perhaps?... but no we decided.

It was a Minkie (Petite Rogual) Whale . Though they have only Baleen and no teeth they are known to eat small fish and will crowd them against the cliffs for concentrated feeding. We think she came up either head 1st or for a breath ,noticed us and swims along the surface more than a normal dive so the wave was much like that from the bow of a boat.

Very exciting!! Minkies were with us from time to time every day for the rest of the "Petite Expedition"

We also learned that if the water is dancing or it looks like it is raining but no raindrops

it is little fish and the terns as well as the whales may well be in close proximity for the feeding. because of a typo in the translations our French compaiinons were all excited to see their 1st Sterns for they had never seen them before. I was able to look them straight in the eye and say "Me To"... for it was true never had I seen a flying Stern, though Terns aplenty...

just a short mention that one other thing we learned is that though the tides are much like ours approx every 6 hrs the flow or the ride is more like 8hr to 4 hr. 8hrs on the ebb and 4 for the ride up river. (It might not seem quite logical but it would be something Like Great Bay in the States (NH) How does Exeter have it's high tide while meanwhile the bay is well into it's ebb)

I think I can be reached under the members info...I see also the excellent Newfoundland report..bon chance

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That's a really good story about the whale wave. I saw only one whale (Minke) the whole time I was at Mingan. Maybe more eyes mean more sightings - but then again your feeding whale made itself known in no uncertain terms!

I too heard the term "stern" but the person who told me they were sterns also knew that we call them terns.

Well, you have rekindled my interest in the East of East area. Ah, to have more time for kayaking....


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