Whale Watching in Quebec
Whale Watching in Quebec with Croisières AML
Bas-Saint-Laurent. This activity was part of our 3-Day Road Trip in Bas-Saint-Laurent designed for families and individuals interested in unique travel experiences.
A major feeding ground for marine mammals, the Saguenay–St. Lawrence Marine Park is dubbed as one of the best whale-watching sites in the world. From May to October, visitors can admire these majestic creatures on land or on one of Croisières AML's whale watching cruises.
Aboard the AML Levant, the Rivière-du-Loup cruise takes passengers past scenic rugged coasts, heritage lighthouses, and picturesque islands on the way to vantage points where passengers can spot seals, whales, and belugas. Croisières AML even offers a whale guarantee for those who choose to embark on one of their tours.
Croisières AML's Whale Watching Cruise in Rivière-du-Loup was on our travel bucket list and we were able to experience watching the beautiful whales of Quebec as part of our trip to the region of Bas-Saint-Laurent. During our particular cruise, two humpback whales shocked the passengers and the crew when they appeared to perform in unison for the crowd. It was a thrilling and emotionally uplifting sight. I was able to take a video but feel the video does not do this momentous occasion justice. You have to experience watching these majestic creatures in person to truly appreciate their grandeur.
In the end, whale watching can be a humbling experience. It is a reminder to think outside of our day-to-day existence and realize that there exists outside of our own realities a much bigger world to consider.
Wear warm clothing. It is best to bring sweaters and jackets since it does tend to get colder out in the St. Lawrence as opposed to on land.
Passengers of the cruise are not permitted to bring food or drinks on board. Only small snacks are allowed. The cruise takes 3.5 hours so you can either eat beforehand or bring small snacks to save money. Alternatively, you can purchase the snacks and foods they have available on board.
It may take awhile (approximately 45 minutes) before the boat locates an area where the bigger whales such as the humpbacks reside. Be patient. The captain will usually let the passengers know if there are whales around. Keep your eyes peeled, however, because the smaller whales can be easy to miss. In particular, the seals, minke whales, and belugas tend to dart in and out of the water quickly.
For those with younger children who may not be as willing to wait patiently, bring them something to keep them occupied while the crew searches for whales. Our kids were busily playing some hand games with each other but an iphone, tablet (yes, digital devices can help), or a book, can help keep the young ones at bay during the waiting periods.
This advice may seem obvious to some but I cannot stress it enough - since spotting whales in the wild is determined largely by natural conditions humans are unable to control, do not expect to experience the type of show one would see performed by whales in captivity. Though the video we took appears to convey two humpback whales performing in unison for the crowd, keep in mind that it is a rare occurence. I am not going to use this particular post to express our strong opinions regarding whale captivity but I do need to make it clear that watching whales in their natural environments differs greatly from watching whales trained to entertain a crowd. Having these expectations will only lead to unjustified disappointment. You will risk missing out on appreciating the moments, though not as grandoise, of watching the whales in their own environment.
The whale-watching cruise which leaves from Rivière-du-Loup runs from June to September.
There are two cruises available daily (morning and afternoon departure times) but in late August, only the morning cruise is available.
The boat departs from 200, rue Hayward, Rivière-du-Loup, G5R 6A8 (approximately 4h15 drive from Montreal)
Children under 5 yrs are free.
$69.99CDN for passengers 13+ years.
Family pass for 2 adults + 2 children (6-12 yrs old) for $199.99CDN.
Whale Watching Tips by Whales Online (fantastic resource for whale watching!)
Disclosure: All or a portion of this event was sponsored or provided at a reduced cost in exchange for coverage on our site. All opinions expressed on our site are our own - no pretenses here!
Photo (Main): Croisières AML