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A St. Lawrence Adventure

Dear Rudy,

In my quest to stay away from the car, my wife and I took a boat from Quebec City up the St. Lawrence River to Tadoussac, Quebec. It was some tour! And well worth the $150 Canadian.

We had planned this trip because I always wanted to go up the St. Lawrence River. After all, it's the main seaway for Quebec Province, as well as the only way into and out of the Great Lakes.

We picked Tadoussac because it's the confluence of the Saguenay River and the St. Lawrence, where fresh water from the Saguenay and salt water from the St. Lawrence mix. This combination is great for algae, which wales feed on, so this special spot is excellent for whale watching.

The other must-see feature of the Saguenay is the fjords that the river cut as the glaciers melted eons ago. They're spectacular: huge rocky cliffs going straight down into the water, with pine trees clinging for dear life to their sheer cliffs. And it's cold! In early July, the lilacs were just blooming!

The trip itself was great‹sort of a ferry ride and sight-seeing tour combined. Along the way, the boat makes four or five stops. Our tour guide pointed out the various sights, gave us a brief history of each town we stopped in, and described the different types of whales we would see. The boat we took was sleek, modern, and well equipped. It cruised at about 30 knots (about 38 mph) and held about 150 people.

During the trip, you watch the shoreline change from rolling pasture, to spruce woodland, to wild and woolly cliffs. It's the kind of place you wouldn't mind taking a closer look at in a kayak on a nice, calm day. The water changes color, too‹going from a brownish gray in Quebec City to grayish blue by the time you're an hour out. At Tadoussac, it becomes this incredible royal blue, almost purple. And the wind! By the time we reached Tadoussac, it was at a good 25 knots and screaming down the fjords of the Saguenay.

I could never do justice to the wonders of Tadoussac, and tour books can give you more complete details. However, I can tell you one thing: The trail walks are spectacular! Even my wife, who thinks there's no place as beautiful as Vermont, was impressed with the vistas of the fjords, the river, and the bay. It's well worth a visit. So the next time you want to have a pleasant boat adventure, I highly recommend a trip up the St. Lawrence.




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