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Le Boreal Travel Journal - Boston to Montreal 10-Day Cruise

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11 of 15

Day 7 - Havre Saint Pierre, Quebec and Quarry Island
Rock formations on Quarry Island of the Mingan Archipelago National Park Reserve

Rock formations on Quarry Island of the Mingan Archipelago National Park Reserve in the St. Lawrence River of Quebec

Quarry Island (c) Linda Garrison
After about an hour on Niapiskau Island, we took a short ride to our second island, L'ile Quarry. (Quarry Island) It has this name for one of two reasons--either for the small limestone rocks all over the island that resemble those from a quarry or for the French word for hunting blind, which is similar. On the way, we could see Anticosti Island in the distance, the large island at the center of the mouth of the St. Lawrence River. It's amazing just how big this Gulf is! Anticosti was bought by a rich man in the late 1800's as a hunting preserve, and he stocked it with deer, moose, and other game animals. Unfortunately, he didn't stock any predators, and so the deer ate all the plants (except for some evergreens). Today over 250,000 deer are on the island, and they have extensive hunting season to keep them from dying of starvation.

Ile Quarry is a little larger than its neighboring island Ile Niapiskau, and is home to five distinct habitats. Before our walk, we had a nice snack consisting of sandwiches, cake, fruit, and cheese, along with water, coffee or juice. After the snack, we toured the island for almost 2 hours with another enthusiastic guide who was an ecologist/botanist. She was excellent, and as we walked through the areas, she did a nice explanation--not too much information as many do. We walked through the (1) forest, (2) bog or fen (3) barren (4) cliffs and (5) shore, noting the differences in the plant life. It was low tide, so we walked along the beach rather than on the trail in some parts. This island also had limestone monoliths, some with green growth on the tops, resulting in their being called Pot de fleurs (flowerpot) monoliths. Also saw insect-eating pitcher plants in the bog and a lot of trees draped with old man's beard like I saw in Alaska. The presence of this plant that looks much like Spanish moss is only possible when the air is very clean with no pollution.

On the way back to the ship, we walked along the shoreline to the ship. I suddenly saw a dog running out onto the dock towards our ship. When I asked the guide who brought their dog along, she said pets weren't allowed, but quickly also saw the "dog", which was actually a red fox. These animals do live on the islands, eating berries and small voles. This one was completely unafraid of man, and sat on the dock posing for photos. His fur was quite thick and he looked very healthy, so I don't think he was starving, although I was a little worried about rabies, given his odd demeanor. This sighting was a terrific ending for our fascinating morning.

We boarded the boats about 11:45 and were back at the ship by 12:15. We didn't have to be back on board, so walked around the small town, which took all of 20 minutes.

Lunch was a Mediterranean buffet--very good. We sailed at 2 pm, leaving the Gulf of St. Lawrence and moving up the river. We sailed all afternoon, and I used the time to sort through some photos. Most of the time, the river bank was too far away to see; it was like an ocean. I even took a short nap and missed the expedition leader's English language talk on seals.

Dinner was another excellent meal. We had pureed vegetable soup or beef consomme, followed by beef carpacchio, Caesar salad, or lobster risotto in mussel reduction as appetizers; with cod, pork tenderloin in beer sauce, or a vegetarian couscous as the main course. I had the consomme (soups have all been good; maybe it's the coolish weather), carpacchio (one of my favorite appetizers), and the pork. I had the "after 8" mint ice cream for dessert, as did most of our table.

The theater was showing the movie "Endurance" (English with French subtitles) about the English explorer Shackleton and his crew who were stuck in Antarctica, and there was a pianist in the lounge. Then it was time for bed.

We would be sailing the next morning, arriving in Tadoussac about 1 pm. Went whale watching in the afternoon.

Le Boreal New England and Atlantic Canada Cruise Travel Journal

  1. Overview and Embarkation
  2. Bar Harbor, Maine
  3. Halifax, Nova Scotia
  4. Halifax - Peggy's Cove
  5. Louisbourg, Nova Scotia
  6. Iles de la Madeleine, Quebec (Magdalen Islands) - Morning Tour
  7. Iles de la Madeleine - Afternoon Tour
  8. Perce, Quebec
  9. Perce - Bonaventure Island
  10. Havre St. Pierre, Quebec - Niapiskau Island
  11. Havre St. Pierre, Quebec - Quarry Island
  12. Tadoussac, Quebec
  13. Saguenay, Quebec
  14. Quebec City
  15. Montreal and Disembarkation
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  8. Quarry Island in the Mingan Archipelago National Park Reserve - Day trip from Havre Saint Pierre, Quebec

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