Boating in Eastern Canada, St. Lawrence

Accounts of trips taken in Boston Whaler boats; organization of rendezvous for Boston Whaler boats
rlboeri
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Boating in Eastern Canada, St. Lawrence

Postby rlboeri » Tue Aug 15, 2017 2:53 pm

Good afternoon all,

I hope that you are all enjoying the summer and getting out on your Whalers. My son and I are interested in towing my 1988 Montauk up to the Saguenay - Saint Lawrence Marine park in Quebec, Canada. The boat is all ready to go and the trailer was just outfitted with new tires and bearings. We are looking forward to spending two days in the area, hopefully taking the Montauk out to do some whale watching of the Belugas in the area.

Just wondering if there is anything I should know about either towing or boating in Canada along the St Lawrence and up into the Saguenay Fjord? Does anyone know of local ramps in the area? We will be staying in Baie Sainte-Catherine. Also wondering what the fishing is like up there.

Thanks for your help,

Bob

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Phil T
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Re: Boating in Easter Canada, St. Lawrence

Postby Phil T » Tue Aug 15, 2017 5:26 pm

Bob--review Jim's posts on transiting into Canada via road and the need to get certain documentation for the water when you pass through the border.
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jimh
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Re: Boating in Eastern Canada, St. Lawrence

Postby jimh » Wed Aug 16, 2017 5:53 am

We have crossed the border by highway towing our boat into Canada many, many times, and always into Ontario. There has never been a problem entering Canada with a boat on a trailer, although once a border agent told me some crazy nonsense that I could only transit through Canada with the boat on the trailer and I could not use the boat in Canada. I am sure that was completely wrong, but I have learned not to argue with minor officials at borders, and I just nodded in agreement. I don't know how that agent expected to enforce their own interpretation of the regulations once I drove off into Canada, and, ironically, on that particular trip our destination was Buffalo, New York. So in fact we were just transiting through.

Once admitted to Canada by highway, you might encounter a border agent at a marina. See my comments at

viewtopic.php?f=8&t=2411

I have not been to the part of the St. Lawrence you are going to, so I can't offer advice on facilities up there.

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Dutchman
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Re: Boating in Eastern Canada, St. Lawrence

Postby Dutchman » Wed Aug 16, 2017 11:16 am

I have done sections of the St. Lawrence Seaway and what a fantastic place to boat.

I made it a point to register with the Canadian Border patrol as we would land and tie off on Canadian soil or anchor in Canadian waters.

There are new rules are if you boat from the US through Canadian waters. But as you will be in Canada and launch your boat in Canadian waters you must and should register. Make sure you have all the pertinent data of all persons on board relayed to the Canadian Border Patrol.

Following are a couple of links that get you in the right direction:

http://www.cbsa.gc.ca/travel-voyage/pb-pp-eng.html
[This same link was given twice.]

Happy boating and watch out for those ocean liners as they are mammoth from your Whaler.
EJO
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Re: Boating in Eastern Canada, St. Lawrence

Postby jimh » Thu Aug 17, 2017 8:32 pm

DUTCH--Both links you provide are the same. And the information in the link applies only to entry into Canada from the USA by water and not by highway.

When you enter Canada from the USA by highway towing a boat behind you there won't be any problem in my experience, which covers about 20 years of towing a boat into Canada by highway and the accumulation of months and months of boating in Canadian water.

If sometime later in your trip to Eastern Canada and the St. Lawrence, you are approached by a Canadian customs and immigration agent, several hundred miles from any USA water, I do not think you will have much trouble convincing the agent that you did not enter Canada by water in a 17-foot boat and travel hundreds of miles along the very open water of the St. Lawrence by open boat with no accommodations or cabin. The agent will likely accept your representation that you entered the country by highway. I suspect that if their immigration service has good networking and sharing of information, there will be a record available that shows your entry into the country.

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Don McIntyre - MI
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Re: Boating in Eastern Canada, St. Lawrence

Postby Don McIntyre - MI » Fri Aug 18, 2017 4:56 pm

Bob--My wife, another couple, and I drove up from our home base in Port Huron, Michigan. I had planned on towing our 21' Outrage. We stayed at Saint-Simeon, about 15 miles south of Tadoussac.

I'm glad I was talked out of towing the boat along; the drive is long, more than 13-hours from our home, and launch ramps are minimal--in fact, I never saw one. I saw some beach launching into the bay at Tadoussac Bay. When we took a 30-foot RIB tour boat out whale watching, it was rough. The tour guide mentioned that it was a normal day.

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Don McIntyre - MI
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Re: Boating in Eastern Canada, St. Lawrence

Postby Don McIntyre - MI » Fri Aug 18, 2017 5:02 pm

Bob --one additional note regarding whale watching: it is against the regs to chase the whales. The [tour boat] captains estimate where the pod will surface, run on plane to that approximate spot, and then shut down. That trick might take a bit of practice.

We also went up the river, and hung along the cliff walls, watching the waterfalls. Pretty nifty. I don't know how calm the Saguenay River gets up past Tadoussac.

Regards - Don

rlboeri
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Re: Boating in Eastern Canada, St. Lawrence

Postby rlboeri » Wed Sep 13, 2017 10:35 am

Good morning all,

Thanks so much for all of your advice. I would highly recommend the trip to the Saguenay Fjord, it is a spectacular place. It took about nine hours to make the trip towing the 1988 Montauk "Always an Adventure". My son and I left after work on a Thursday night and spent the first night in Sherbrooke. No problem whatsoever passing through customs as Jim indicated. Got up early the next morning and drove to Baie St Catherine at the mouth of the fjord. Stayed in a small hotel there for the rest of the trip. On Saturday morning, we launched the boat at a ramp right there which was free (no parking, so we brought the trailer back to the hotel). I then took the boat across the fjord to the town of Tadoussac, which is a great place. My son took the free ferry across with the car and we rented a slip for the night at the Tadoussac Marina (great place, very friendly).

The fjord is absolutely spectacular. There are whales all over the place. Right outside the marine we saw Belugas, Fin, and Sei whales. Further out in the Saint Lawrence we saw a Blue Whale! Astounding. We took the Montauk up the fjord about 25 miles before the wind got to be too much, visiting several coves and small villages on the way. Saw loads of Beluga Whales most of the way up. The cliffs lining the fjord are beyond belief, soaring hundreds of feet high. Twenty feet from the shore next to these cliffs you are i 300 feet of water. In the center of the fjord you can be in 400 to 600 feet of water. The town of Tadoussac is a very nice place and worth the visit. Food was great and many options for lodging. Very friendly locals although be prepared for dealing with places where no one speaks a lick of English. My four years of high school French came in handy although I did get several quizzical looks when I used what I can only assume were made up words..

The second day we went out early in the morning and just sat in the mouth of the fjord. Tons of Belugas came over to the boat and explored the boat, checking us out for about 30 minutes before moving on. If I could figure out how to post photos and videos I would (keeps telling me that the photos and videos are too large). We then took a road trip driving the entire perimeter of the fjord. It was a great drive, with lots of small villages to visit. The drive seems to be a destination for geezer motorcyclists which looks like a great deal of fun.

I cant wait to go back to explore more of the fjord using the Montauk and also to do some fishing in the local rivers. Apparently they are filled with Salmon and Brook Trout. If you are looking for a great place to Whaler and see some spectacular cliffs and whales, do it!

Bob

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Phil T
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Re: Boating in Eastern Canada, St. Lawrence

Postby Phil T » Thu Sep 14, 2017 10:20 am

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Dutchman
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Re: Boating in Eastern Canada, St. Lawrence

Postby Dutchman » Thu Sep 14, 2017 10:35 am

Bob thanks for the write up and Phil thanks for the photo link.
Now I thought this was just the Saguenay river(outlet) flowing into the St. Lawrence river(outlet)and not truly a fjord(inlet) even though it might give you that impression.
I'll sure put this on my to do list as it looks like a wonderful area.
EJO
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Re: Boating in Eastern Canada, St. Lawrence

Postby K Albus » Thu Sep 14, 2017 2:52 pm

Nice report. Thanks for sharing. Thanks to Phil, also, for putting up the pictures.

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Phil T
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Re: Boating in Eastern Canada, St. Lawrence

Postby Phil T » Thu Sep 14, 2017 5:44 pm

Here is Bob's video.

https://youtu.be/su_zPJUbcY0
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rlboeri
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Re: Boating in Eastern Canada, St. Lawrence

Postby rlboeri » Fri Sep 15, 2017 9:34 am

Phil--Thanks so much for taking the time to format and post the photos and videos for me. I appreciate it as I am sure all of the CW members do. Someday I hope to be smart enough to be able to do it myself.

Cheers,

Bob

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Re: Boating in Eastern Canada, St. Lawrence

Postby jimh » Sun Sep 17, 2017 7:28 am

Hi Bob--I notice (from the metadata on your images) that you made this trip in the first week of September, 2017. Was the trip planned to coincide with a particular time of year when the whale population would be high in the St. Lawrence? I think some species of whales are migratory, and perhaps their population moves around.

Thanks for the nice account of your trip, the images, and the motion picture recording. That launch ramp looks like it has a very steep slope. I would be afraid to use it at low tide when my rear-wheel-drive truck might be on a ramp surface that was wet and slippery. The weather also looks fair and the wave height not too high.

I will have to make an intensive study of French if I ever visit there.

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Re: Boating in Eastern Canada, St. Lawrence

Postby Don SSDD » Sun Sep 17, 2017 8:55 pm

I've never seen one, but I've heard belugas are very curious and friendly. My father in law had a 40 ft Cape Island boat, I've been on it when the humpbacks would come up under the boat and rub against it.
Jim, I think the whales are there any month you would want to be there in a boat, all summer at least. They stay away when the St Lawrence ices over since they breath air and can't surface through the ice.
Blue whales are around in the St Laurence River and Gulf but are very rare to see. I read recently from a scientist who cut up a dead one, they weigh up to 380,000 lbs and have a heart the size of a Smart car.
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rlboeri
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Re: Boating in Eastern Canada, St. Lawrence

Postby rlboeri » Mon Sep 18, 2017 4:36 pm

Jim,

I did not plan my trip to coincide with the whales. It was the only time that I could go. It turns out that the Belugas are there year round. Apparently they move a little further out into the Saint Lawrence during the winter, but they can still be seen. Spring, summer and fall they are in the fjord. The larger species may move a round a bit more, but I think that many of them stay in the area to feed.

The launch ramp was steep but very well maintained. Remember, it can only be used from high to mid-tide as it ends in some rocky bottom. We had to wait until about two hours on either side of low before we could launch. There are several ramps around the fjord, but the big problem was parking. It is mostly non-existent at the ramps. That wasn't a problem at Baie St. Catherine because we were staying at a hotel just down the street from the ramp. And the ferry across the fjord mouth to Tadoussac is free. Even for the boat trailer. It worked very well.

I would highly recommend taking your boat up there. It is amazing to be twenty feet from shore and in 300 feet of water with white whales swimming all around you.

Bob