Saguenay-St. Lawrence Marine Park is considered one of French Canada’s best-kept secrets and techniques. Residence to greater than 2,200 species, this Nationwide Marine Conservation Space provides a few of the finest whale watching on the earth. From Might via October, these large marine mammals congregate the place the Saguenay River meets the St. Lawrence Estuary. This watershed is a gateway between the Nice Lakes and the Atlantic Ocean. The most important estuary on the earth, it’s an space completely suited to whales—considered one of excessive productiveness, plentiful daylight and wealthy feeding grounds.
Nat Hab vacationers on our Whales & Nature Trails of Quebec journey discover 4 nationwide parks and a marine reserve in French Canada, trying to find animals amidst the spectacular fall foliage and at sea. Exercise-filled days are spent mountaineering via glacial valleys and gorges, photographing wildlife and having fun with personal guided whale excursions by Zodiac. Our environmentally accountable boat operator belongs to the Eco-Whale Alliance, which helps whale analysis, schooling and sustainable practices. From Marina de Bergeronnes, we set out on an exciting whale-watching expedition within the hopes of seeing a few of the species beneath.
1. Blue Whales
The most important animals on Earth, blue whales can develop as much as 90 ft lengthy and weigh 80 to 135 tons. These baleen whales eat 4 tons of krill every day to keep up their weight. Blue whales are endangered, with simply 5,000 to 12,000 people remaining globally. Historic overharvesting has stored their inhabitants numbers low, and their replica charge can be sluggish. Blue whales produce a single calf each 2 to three years. Residence to a yearly congregation, the St. Lawrence Estuary is likely one of the finest locations to see these mild giants.
2. Fin Whales
The second-largest whale on the earth ranges between 50 to 70 ft lengthy and 40 to 50 tons in weight. Listed as weak by the IUCN, the North Atlantic inhabitants had roughly 40,000 people pre-whaling. At the moment, the inhabitants hovers round 4,000. Though searching is now banned, each fin whales and blue whales are susceptible to ship strikes. Following the sample of different baleen whales, they spend summers at feeding grounds close to the poles and winters in hotter waters close to the Equator for mating and calving. They produce a calf each two to a few years.
3. Humpback Whales
Humpbacks are recognized for his or her spectacular breaches, which Nat Hab vacationers could also be fortunate sufficient to see on considered one of their whale-watching excursions. Humpbacks are 30 to 50 ft lengthy in maturity and weigh 25 to 35 tons and are identifiable by their lengthy pectoral fins. One of many searching methods of this baleen whale is bubble netting, the place they circle round fish to create a wall of bubbles earlier than lunging via to feed. They quick throughout their migration and calving time, so summer time months are essential for constructing fats reserves to help gestation and lactation. Humpbacks have been endangered within the Nineteen Eighties however are longer in danger because of a world moratorium on whale searching in 1986.
4. Minke Whales
The world’s second-smallest baleen whale (after the pygmy proper whale), minke whales vary between 18 to 30 ft in size and weigh between 6 to 10 tons in maturity. Minke whales have distinctive sickle-shaped dorsal fins and a white band on every flipper. Like different baleen whales, they’ve two blowholes and grooves that permit their throats to broaden whereas they filter feed, serving to them push water via their baleen plates whereas retaining krill and zooplankton. Mating and calving happen whereas they’re within the Tropics. They breed yearly after they have ample reserves, producing one calf annually.
5. Beluga Whales
Though most whales discovered within the marine park are migratory, endangered St. Lawrence belugas are year-round residents, with a inhabitants of 889 people. Within the Nineteen Thirties, they have been the goal of an extermination program as they have been considered affecting salmon and cod fisheries. This was finally disproven, as belugas’ weight loss plan consists primarily of non-commercial species equivalent to capelin, sand lance and mollusks. Their catch was outlawed in 1979, however their inhabitants remains to be recovering.
These toothed whales attain as much as 16 ft in size and weigh as much as 3,500 kilos. Since 2016, a single narwhal has been noticed amongst belugas within the St. Lawrence. Scientists theorize that this younger narwhal obtained misplaced and was adopted by a pod of male belugas within the estuary!
6. Harbor Porpoises and Different Marine Mammals
In your maritime journey, be looking out for harbor porpoises, which vary 4 to six ft in size and weigh between 90 and 140 kilos. These small, toothed whales are a species of particular concern in Canada, as they’re generally caught as bycatch in bottom-set gillnets. Vacationers have an opportunity to see a number of seal species, together with harbor seals, harp seals, grey seals and hooded seals. The St. Lawrence Estuary can be dwelling to North Atlantic proper whales, Atlantic white-sided dolphins, white-beaked dolphins, long-finned pilot whales, orcas, northern bottlenose and sperm whales.
Can’t get sufficient of whales? There are 69 species of toothed whales and 14 species of baleen whales across the globe! Along with Quebec, Pure Habitat Adventures provides expeditions to see grey whales at their calving grounds in Baja. We additionally encounter belugas in Churchill and humpbacks in British Columbia and Antarctica.