Saturday, June 11, 2011

I'm Back!

It's been nearly two weeks since my last post.  Well, there's a couple of reasons for that ... first we lost our telephone/internet service for several days because the workers doing road construction broke the cable, and all the cables that were not cut had no capacity to take more. 

I've been so stressed out.  Steve's mom, his dad.  I'm worried that my mom will not be able to look after him, her arthritis is so bad, but she'll soldier on.  My sister's husband may lose his eye due to diabetes, he'll have surgery later.  And at work ... well I'm so far behind on my testwork I'll never catch up.  So Steve and I planned a long weekend up in the Bruce to attend the orchid festival.

Instead I was surprised to know that Steve had asked for vacation on my behalf and we headed east into Quebec ... our destination ... Tadoussac.  He had it planned for months.  Oh, and another surprise ... a brand new camera!

I was so excited and I love driving through Quebec, it is so beautiful.  We stopped at many of the rest areas along highway 138 to stretch our legs and let the dogs rest.  Tucker hates travelling, poor guy.  And then it happened.  Sydney suddenly jerked on her leash and I hurt my back.  After some debate, we continued along 138, stopping in Trois Rivieres for the night.

After driving through the spectacular scenery along the north shore of the St. Lawrence, we boarded the ferry to cross the Saguenay ... it is the only way across ... poor Tuck ... as the ferry rocked gently back and forth during the 10 minute crossing, he puked up his breakie.  Then, back on the road and before anything else, Steve stopped by the bakery ... and purchased some chocolate croissants and bread ... yum.  Finally we arrived at our little cottage. 

Less than 3 km from the village, we rented a cottage in Domain des Dunes.  We settled in and Steve got a ticket for me to watch the whales the next day.  Song birds sang in branches, and when the sun set peepers chirped through the night.  Paradise!

In the morning Steve headed out whale watching ... my back was too sore, he didn't see many whales through the fog but still managed to get a few pictures. 

Beluga Whales
Ferry through the fog

When Steve returned we headed to Baie Ste Catherines to watch for whales from the shore.  We got stuck in a huge backlog of traffic in line for the ferry ... it took 1.5 hours to get back across.  But while we sat in line we saw several beluga whales.

My back seemed fine while driving so the next day we left the frosty fog that seemed stuck over Tadoussac and toured around the fjord up to Saguenay, stopping to admire the rugged and beautiful cliffs along the fjord.  The sun was bright and warm.
Steve with les petites
Dramatic cliffs rise above the Interpretive Centre
The Saguenay Fjord
Then we stopped by "la petite maison blanche" or "the little white house".  During massive floods in 1996, the tiny home was engulfed by the raging saguenay and somehow survived.  It's now a museum.

La Petite Maison Blanche July 1996

Now a museum, a "fake flood" cascades over the rocks.
It was getting late so we headed back to Tadoussac along the north side of the fjord, missing some of the sights, but we stopped at one and found a small restaurant still open.  We enjoyed a club sandwich followed by ice cream while watching giant clouds move across the sky.

Clouds tower over the fjord
Back on the road the sky provided a lovely sunset over the trees.

Beautiful Sky!
And finally heading back into Tadoussac ... the fog is still there!

The Road to Tadoussac
 We visited the Beluga Whale Intrepretive Centre and spoke with one of the biologists.  It was entertaining and informative.

Marine Mammal Interpretive Centre

Finally it was Thursday before I got my sea legs ... the first day we even saw the sun in town.  We saw several groups of belugas and a few minke whales, I'm amazed at some of the pictures!
Heading out onto the St Lawrence River

A mature beluga with a juvenile

Minke whale feeding.  Her throat enlarged with water.

Same female minke, this time she is rolling while scooping water into her throat ... she looks like she's swallowed a beach ball!
What a great day!  My face was burned red!  On the return trip to our cottage I noticed that the town was just bustling with people ... then noticed the newly posted signs for "Festival de la Chansons".  The shuttle bus driver informed me that it was a huge draw for the village, and a great excuse for hundreds of young people to drink too much.  Back at the cottage, the campgrounds were filling up quickly.  By the time it was dark the place was full, in fact people were setting up on the side of the road!

No complaints about the campers.  These people seemed quiet and considerate, although some were forced to move on ... not allowed to camp just anywhere.  Steve headed down to go whale watching.  Again it was quiet out there ... the boat was packed and he still got some great pictures.

Beluga ... bright white!

Minke ... gleaming in the sun!
While he was gone more giant motor homes pulled in, I could hear their generators purring.  Sydney and Alfie ran around playing while Tuck ran around barking at them.  When Steve returned he said that the village was jam packed ... he couldn't get near the bakery (gasp).  It was time to leave.

So cute.
Just got home this morning ... still have to unpack the van.  There was a package in the mail ... the kits from scrapbook generations.  Ohhhhh ... lots of nice stuff to play with!

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