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bei Sacré-Coeur, Quebec (Canada)
On Sunday we drove to a marina about 11 miles up the Saguenay Fjord and put in at the small marina in Anse de Roche. We left the chalet in a pouring rain but by the time we reached the launch the clouds had opened up and it was becoming a clear and beautiful day. The launch fee was $6 Canadian. We left the ramp about 8:30a.m. which was about a half hour before high tide and found the current to be close to 0 for the next hour but then it increased rapidly such that we had to hug the north shore in order to make headway. Early on, we did see lots of beluga whales heading up river and got a nice photo of an adult and a juvenile together. The wales are difficult to photograph because they surface and dive so quickly, but they are certainly exciting to watch. I did see some loons and got some nice photos. Our immediate goal was Baie Sainte-Marguerite where the belugas are known to congregate to feed. We arrived there about 10:20 a.m. which was apparently too late, because we did not see a single beluga after about 9:00a.m.
After lunch and checking out the camping facilities, we paddled up the bay which had a stiff 2+ mph current in the central part of the channel. We headed out and turned up the fjord still hugging the north side and finding a second camping site with tent platforms. Access and permits can be arranged at 800-665-6527 or 418-272-1556 which we read off the sign posted at the campsite.
We had set a secondary goal of circling Ile Saint-Louis (a.k.a. Grosse Ile) so we crossed the fjord into the wind and current shadow down river of the island. By this time a stiff down river breeze had combined with the period of fastest down river tidal current. It took a lot of effort to move up the channel south of the island. The up river end of the island features deep water and high cliffs that combined to give very chaotic waves. But we made it around the head of the island and paddled the seven miles back to the marina in about an hour and ten minutes.