Bas St-Laurent and Gaspésie Peninsula

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Although our ultimate destination this summer is Newfoundland, we decided to take a detour around the Bas St. Laurent and Gaspésie Peninsula in the Province of Québec.  Notwithstanding the foggy days that made taking pictures difficult, we were in for a treat.  (See map)

This area of Québec is composed of small fishing villages along the coast, with the Appalachian mountains as a backdrop.  The scenery is spectacular, winding roads, up and down  very steep hills, it sometimes felt like driving on a roller coaster.  Typical of this area, each village has its own church.  Since most of them were built during the 19th century, they all have about the same architecture, pointy steeple reaching for the sky over a steep roof.  99% of them are Catholic churches.  Often built from stone, sometimes from brick, they are always quite handsome.  Depending on how wealthy people were in the village, the interiors can be either richly decorated or very humble.

 

Notre-Dame-des Neiges de Trois-Pistoles built from 1882 to 1887. Typical of 19th century architecture

 

Inside Notre-Dame-des-Neiges

We spent our first night in Trois-Pistoles and were treated to a spectacular sunset, without having to move from the campground.  Our day was spent touring the area, especially visiting the Basque Cheese Factory and the fish markets 🙂

Sunset in Trois-Pistoles

Our second stop was in Ste-Anne-des-Monts.  We were camping right at the edge of the beach.  What a view from our front window!

View from our windshield while parked at the campground

We spent a little time at l’Exploramer, an activity complex forcusing on the marine environment.  Yours truly found enough courage to touch and hold sea creatures; like sea cucumbers, lobsters, star fish and sea urchin.  Those who really know me, will understand how atypical this was for me. I don’t even swim in the sea for fear of having contact with fishes!

 

Yup, that's my hands holding this sea urchin!

We saw some very interesting fish and crustaceans, including this 7 year old blue lobster!

Ever seen a blue lobster?

Some of the fish had a face only a mother could love.  They are so well camouflaged, it’s hard to see that there are actually 3 fishes in this picture.

Can you see the three fishes?

 

From there, we moved on to the Percé area.  We stayed at Indian Head campground, aptly named because of this  giant natural rock formation visible from it that looks exactly like an Indian head.

 

Indian head rock

Again, we had a very nice view from our front windshield!

We took a boat tour to Ile Bonaventure, to see the bird sanctuary.   Chicken played Humpty Dumpty on Ron’s head while waiting for the boat 😉

Chicken doing his stunt in front of a surprised Sandy.

Of course, he insisted on driving the boat to go see his friends the sea birds!

Chicken drove the tour boat, assisted by the Captain 🙂

250,000 birds nest on this island, including the second largest and most accessible colony of “fous de bassan” (Northern Gannets) who share their island with other pelagic birds like the “Petit Pingouin”.

 

Northen Gannets and Small Pinguins nesting on Bonaventure Island

Birds flying around their nest site on Bonaventure Island

 

A grey seal near Bonaventure Island.

The name Percé means “pierced” in french and comes from the giant pierced rock (Rocher Percé) we can see close to shore.

Rocher Percé

 

Chicken made friend with a giant Gannet 😉

After his experience piloting a boat, Chicken found a boat he wanted us to buy him.    It was appropriately named “Baby Bear”,  but we decided against it.  Frustrated, Chicken went back in my bag. 😉

The boat Chicken really wanted to have 😉

We spent the next day sightseeing. The road presented us with gorgeous scenes.

Scenes from the road in Gaspésie

Finally we went searching for jasper and agates on  Coin-du-Banc beach and then found the “Auberge Coin-du-Banc” where we savored the most delicious gourmet meal we’d had so far.  It was time to move on again….


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