Sunday, December 27, 2009

Baie St. Catherine

Aug14th - One of the goals for the Canada trip was to explore the St. Lawrence Seaway. Baie St. Catherine offers two sets of cruises - whale watching and a cruise up the Saguenay Fjord. I was eager to do the whale watching, so we didn't check the schedule for the cruises - turns out the whale cruises are offered both morning and afternoon, while the Fjord is only a morning cruise. I felt a little bad, because Henry had wanted to do the Fjord cruise and we realized the scheduling after we'd already done the morning whale watching. We tried to guess where to ride the whale cruise from, but it turns out that the boats pick you up from several docks to take you out to where the whales are - the docks are about 20 minutes apart.

But the morning cruise was nice . . . It was a little foggy over the water. The cliffs were really lovely.

This is where the Saguenay Fjord enters the St. Lawrence. A pair of ferry boats transports cars across the fjord here. We took this ferry later in the day.

While I love it when the whales are close to the boat, many times whale watching is just getting to see a species no matter how far away. I'd seen beluga whales at one of the SeaWorlds, but this was my first time to see belugas in the wild. They appear like white spots or white blobs out on the water. They seem to stay in pods as they feed.

Belugas are not large whales, but they are easy to identify in the water because they are so white.

Sometimes when you're whale watching you only see the back and the dorsal fin as the whales feed along the surface and as they surface for air.

You can also take Zodiac cruises. They outfit you with raincoats, because you can end up close to the whale action.

I have to admit, part of me would like to have been on the zodiac that was so close to the breeching whale.

Occasionally you get lucky and the whale surfaces right near the boat and you have the opportunity to catch the tail as the whale makes its dive.

I never know when I take a whale watching cruise whether I will end up with great images or mediocre images. But I always, always enjoy being out on the water marveling at these wondrous creatures.

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