The Québec maritime Blog
Your suitcases are packed, you’re feeling excited about your upcoming trip to Eastern Québec, but then you see a disappointing weather forecast… What if we told you that wind, unusual tides, fog and even snowstorms could make your stay in our regions even more unforgettable? Would you believe it…?
Windy enough to knock you off your feet!
The St. Lawrence is no stranger to strong winds. When air encounters water, movement occurs, which invite us to move as well! Whether you go for an invigorating stroll along the water while sea breezes ruffle your hair or try out wind sports that will get your adrenaline pumping, let yourself be inspired and energized by the salty sea air in our regions!
The villages in Bas-Saint-Laurent that border the St. Lawrence Estuary all offer opportunities for strolls along the coast where you can savour sea breezes and stunning views: for example, you can explore the delightful Sentier de l’Aboiteau trail in Saint-André-de-Kamouraska. In the windy Îles de la Madeleine archipelago, you’ll want to snap photos of clothes dancing on clotheslines or try out kitesurfing in complete safety in one of the archipelago’s many lagoons. If you’re visiting Côte-Nord at the right time of year, you can also go kitesurfing during KiteFest in Pointe-aux-Outardes. And if you’d rather stay indoors on a windy day, why not make your own pinwheel? Whatever your interests, the wind in our regions is guaranteed to make your visit even more exciting!
“White horses on the sea”
If it’s blowing really hard, you can always stay on dry land, sitting in the window of a cozy café, or, if you have the right windproof gear, out along the coast where you can soak up views of the white caps, which are sometimes referred to as “white horses.” This phenomenon occurs when the wind is strong enough to cause the crests of the waves to foam, making them resemble horses’ manes. (In addition, the waves crashing on the beach can sound like thundering horses’ hooves!)
Unusually high or low tides
Tides are governed by natural astrological phenomena and influenced by factors such as wind and atmospheric pressure. When several of these factors combine, high tides can occur. When they’re very high (and often accompanied by very strong winds), they’re a spectacular sight to observe from the shores of Gaspésie. (Just make sure you’re at a safe distance!)
Low tides offer other types of unique experiences. For example, in Rimouski and L’Isle-Verte, you can walk across to Saint-Barnabé Island and Île Verte (Green Island) a few times a year! Low tides are also an opportunity to marvel at all the living organisms hidden near rocks or in shallow pools along the shore. For only a few hours at a time, you can explore parts of the St. Lawrence that are otherwise under water. You can also go shellfish harvesting at low tide: this traditional activity is great fun but is also highly regulated.
It can sometimes be hard to tell where the sky ends and the water begins… Fog has the extraordinary ability to stop time, lulling your senses as you are plunged into a dreamlike world. You may be able to capture some beautiful shots during the brief moments when the landscape suddenly reappears.
If you’re feeling more adventurous, you can go out on the water while it’s foggy. One of my most memorable sea kayaking experiences on the St. Lawrence was on an August morning filled with thick fog. We paddled close to the coast to keep track of where we were going, every sound amplified by the fog. Hearts racing with excitement and a touch of fear, we couldn’t tell how close we were to the whales we heard. We were enveloped in a dream, at one with the sea.
When snow falls horizontally in the maritime regions of Québec, it accumulates in every nook and cranny, leading to some wacky situations: buried cars, impassable snowdrifts, doors that can’t be opened… You’ve been warned: it’s best to stay indoors! If you’re well prepared, a snowstorm in Eastern Québec is an opportunity for a fun gathering, so be sure to have firewood, candles, cards, guitars, hot food and a variety of drinks on hand! And if you’d rather weather the storm solo, we’ve got some great book recommendations to immerse you in the spirit of your destination.
Making the best of it
If the weather during your vacation is shaping up to be not quite what you’d hoped, keep in mind that this is an opportunity to experience another side of Eastern Québec. Less-than-ideal weather will provide you with a unique and authentic vacation you’re unlikely to ever forget!