Whale Watching in Quebec


While Quebec has certainly made itself known around the world as a cultural and culinary hotspot, there's another spectacular reason to visit the area. Whale watching season! Yep, that's right. It's easy for those not living nearby to forget that this important waterway eventually becomes an oceanic saltwater gulf, as deep as some 300 meters. From the off-shore waters of the charming little Quebec village of Tadoussac to the Gulf of St. Lawrence, the river is home a vast array of sealife, including many fish, dolphins, seals and, yes, even mighty whales. 


We were given the opportunity to experience first-hand the amazing diversity of busy sealife during the annual migration of whales making their way to warm Caribbean waters. Our delightfully cheerful hostess was Katie Lepage from Croisieres AML, a family-owned company that has sailed the St. Lawrence River since 1972, showing half a million visitors a year the diversity and wonder of the waterway.

The types of whales you might be lucky enough to glimpse on your journey are more varied than you may think. Beluga,  blue, fin or finback, minke, and humpback whales all make their way through the St. Lawrence. In addition, there are plenty of grey seals there as well. Other parts of the river are home to river otters, harp and harbor seals as well as many types of fish and seabirds.


For our cruise, we were served a warm meal while heading out to deeper waters. Once there we were treated to sightings of humpback, fin, minke and Beluga whales as well as a few grey seals. There's nothing quite as exciting as hearing "Humpback whales at three o'clock" shouted by the ship's spotter, who also shares with you information and stories about the waters, wildlife, and even a few particular whales that have been coming back year after year, such as "James Bond," a whale with markings on its tail that look like the numbers "007."


This whale-watching excursion on Croisieres AML takes about 3 hours. Be sure to wear a couple of layers if you go as it can get quite windy and cool out on the water. Crosieres AML also offers a variety of other cruises, including a dinner cruise, fireworks cruise, Zodiac whale watching, brunch cruise and city tour & cruise packages on various vessels from several destinations around the Province. Depending upon the time of your visit, there may just be a trip on the waterway that suits your interest. 

If you do go whale watching you'll want to take some photos. We got some great tips from journalist and photographer, Cinda Chavich of TasteReport.com, while onboard. Set your camera to auto and let the camera do the work so you don't miss a thing. And use the continuous shooting setting so you can take rapid shots of all that's going on because it happens so quickly. These tips will dramatically increase your chances of getting a great photo. Remember professional photographers shoot for days before they get that perfect whale tail shot. Just catching part of a whale will be a fun way to share your experience with friends. 

Take a look at the really short video of one of our whale-spotting adventures during our cruise. 

If whale watching sounds like something you'd like to try, check out croisieresaml.com for more details. They have many different cruise options to choose from we'll sure you'll find one perfect for you.

Thanks to our friends at Croisieres AML for the use of their photos. Merci beaucoup!