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My journey in Côte-Nord – Duplessis: A day trip in Mingan Archipelago
  • The beach at Quarry Island in the Mingan Archipelago
    Le Québec maritime

My journey in Côte-Nord – Duplessis: A day trip in Mingan Archipelago

[…] Walking by the salt water
in stillness or in the wind
listening to immensity […]

Roland Jomphe,
from De l’eau salée dans les veines


This afternoon, I’m going on a cruise in Mingan Archipelago, off the town of Havre-Saint-Pierre. The trip includes stops on three islands: Niapiskau, Fantôme and Quarry. To choose a tour operator, inquire for their itinerary as they might offer different routes. The staff from Parks Canada will tell you where the interpretive activities are held.

I join a group of visitors from Ontario. They visit the Duplessis region for the first time, just like me. I ask them how they like the region so far and they all marvel at how beautiful Côte-Nord is!

Monoliths at Mingan Archipelago

As we’re leaving the shore, Danny and Margaret introduce themselves. They’ll be our guides for the day and they’ll tell us many details about the history of Minganie. We’ll also have a taste of the Cayens’ sense of humour during the cruise, but above all, we’ll feel their intense pride and love for their region.

Due to high winds, we can’t stop on Niapiskau and Fantôme Islands. The landing stages are not sheltered from the winds and it would not be safe for us to stand on them. We’ll just have some extra time to explore Quarry Island!

The pitcher plant at Mingan Archipelago

Upon our arrival, we are greeted by two park wardens who take us to the monoliths on the other side of the island. The trail goes through the different habitats of the island: shoreline, boreal forest, cliffs and bogs. Mingan Islands, and Quarry Island in particular, boast a very rich flora. Boardwalks across the island are lined with flowers. Our guide tells us their names, how they feed and how they survive in their environment. In the bog, she introduces us to the pitcher plant, a rare insectivorous plant whose intense purple colour lures insects that get trapped in.



Man-like cliff at Mingan Archipelago

I’m particularly impressed by the cliffs along the trail. Can you see, as I do, the face of a man with a big nose on this picture? You can imagine my surprise when I finally get in front of a bunch of multiple shaped monoliths! I’m in awe: those natural wonders are truly incredible! It’s hard to believe that these giants are so fragile. Year after year, winds and tides erode the limestone they are made of.

On the way back from the Island, our guide tells us about different people who left their mark on the history of Havre-Saint-Pierre and Minganie, including Roland Jomphe. We owe him to have made the region known around Quebec, Canada and the world through his poetry that depicts, among other things, the beauty of Minganie and the hardships of the sea. She recites one of his poems from which the excerpt above is taken.



For my part, the cruise ends on an especially magic note: I can see a whale in the distance. It’s the first time I see one. It’s a minke whale feeding off Quarry Island. I leave the archipelago with the impression of having witnessed some of the most beautiful natural wonders. I’ve been totally charmed by Mingan Archipelago.


For more details :
1010, Promenade des Anciens (Centre d’accueil et d’interprétation de Havre-Saint-Pierre)
Havre-Saint-Pierre (Quebec) Canada
G0G 1P0
Phone: 418 538-3285 (in season)
Phone : 418 538-3331 (off season)

625, rue du Centre (centre d’accueil et d’interprétation de Longue-Pointe-de-Mingan)
Longue-Pointe-de-Mingan (Québec) Canada
G0G 1V0
Phone : 418 949-2126

Toll free: 1 888 773-8888 / Réservation camping : 1-877-RÉSERVE (1-877-737-3783)

Author Tanya Paquet

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