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Captain Log ID: 1051
Title: Saguenay Fjord, Quebec
Boat Name(Id): BlueJacket ( 58)
Sailor Name(Id): Geoff Schultz ( 306)
Geo Region: Canada:Quebec
Date of Occurance: 2008-08-07
Latitude: N 48º   14.639'
Longitude: W 70º   10.8'
Sender (if email-in): wcz5101@NO_SPAM
Earlier log from "BlueJacket":  1050
Newer log from "BlueJacket":  1053
        Page visited 496 times since created         Edit This Log

Saguenay FjordBonjour from the Saguenay Fjord in Quebec!

If there's one word that I could use to describe our trip down the Saguenay Fjord, it would be "stunning". Of course, one word doesn't begin to describe what we saw. This was clearly the highlight of the trip so far. We almost didn't come, because the guide books implied that we needed to have the current with us to make it up the fjord, but Sue talked to a local who assured us that we could make it, and even more, that if we were here, we had to go. So we quickly got ourselves ready to go and headed down the fjord.

Dwarfed KayakersThe Saguenay fjord was created during the last ice age and is 93 miles long. Of that, only 68 miles are navigatible, but we only the first 30 miles or so. The fjord is impressive and awe inspiring with 1000 foot cliffs lining the water at times. The water depth is also awe inspiring, as the depths were regularly in the 800+ foot range. I swear that there were many places where I could have pulled the boat up to the rock face and still have 100' of water under the keel! As an interesting aside, I found that my depth sounder can measure about 750' and above that, it provides bogus results. It's not often that you can measure something like that. One loses perspective until you see something like another sailboat against the cliff sides. Looking at a chart and seeing that something is 600' high doesn't mean quite the same thing as seeing how small a sailboat is in comparison.

Another impressive fact is that the tidal range at the far end of the fjord is 16'. That means that the entire fjord, which is easily 1/2 of a mile wide, funnels in and out of the mouth of the fjord every 6 hours. Just think how much water is flowing in and out. The outgoing current can reach 7 kts and when it hits the 3 kt current of the St. Lawrence, which is running perpendicular to it, you had better watch out as it can get very nasty. As a result, you really have to time when you enter the fjord. Luckily, we entered just past high tide and the currents which were against us weren't too bad.

Beluga WhalesBeluga whales, which are endangered and number around 500, like to feed at the mouth of the Saguenay. When we entered we saw several pods of Belugas and we proceeded carefully between them. Well, they saw us too, and I can only guess that they saw our white hull and decided that we were the mother ship as they swam along side of us for probably close to 45 minutes. We slowed to just above idle and they were all around us. At times we even had 3 whales swimming side by side right behind the swim platform. I guess that they liked the prop wash as they did this over and over. It's pretty cool to look under the dinghy and see multiple whales swimming along and surfacing so close. Literally, we could have reached out and touched them. After about 45 minutes they moved away and we decided that we needed to get moving.

Bay EterniteAs we moved deeper into the fjord, the scenery became much more impressive with higher and steeper mountains. What really made this wonderful was that the sun was out and it was warm compared to what we had been experiencing. We eventually made it to Bay Eternite which is a deep bay flanked by two massive peaks. The view was just majestic and I wanted very much to spend the night there. There were supposed to have been 20 mooring balls there, but there were only 15 and of those 15, only 5 were usable and the others had signs (in French) which said not to use them as they were weak (our translation). Due to the water depth, you can't anchor there, so we headed back to L'Anse St. Jean, which is another bay about 6 miles away. The charts and guide show an anchorage there, but we were unable to get the anchor to hold in the very soft mud and once again trying to find a place to anchor where you won't end up getting grounded due to the 16' tides is very difficult. With the assistance of someone on the dock who spoke English, we managed to pull into one of the most friendly marinas that we've been at.

Today we'll make our way back to the mouth of the fjord and stage ourselves for the next leg of the trip which will take us to a bird sanctuary about 35 miles away.

-- Geoff & Sue

P.S. I have uploaded a photo album of the area to http://www.geoffschultz.org/2008_Sailing/Photos/Quebec_Saguenay/
Unfortunately the video is still processing and won't be done until after we're gone.