It was a cool, overcast day for a trip on the Saguenay in a rubber boat, so we dressed warmly. It was also sprinkling rain. Arriving at the visitor’s center at 1:30 we filled out our paperwork, relieving anyone of any responsibility. A young man introduced himself as our guide, asking where we were from as we walked down to the boat. He lives just the other side of Mont Valin. So here we are in Quebec with a very nice guy who lives nearby, and what’s his name? Rafael! I meant to get the rest of the story, but never did. He did an outstanding job of explaining all the intricacies of the Saguenay and the St. Lawrence that makes this place so special. It is difficult to comprehend all of the water in Quebec – all those lakes and big rivers, but add to that the Great Lakes. All of this water drains into the St. Lawrence River! It is 25% of all the fresh water on Earth. As the glaciers formed this area, they cut what would become the river as deep a the mountains are high, and it is pretty much a vertical drop off. As all of this formed, there was a huge pile up of rock, like a huge bull dozer might make an underwater dam in the Saguenay. The Atlantic and Arctic Oceans are flowing into the Gulf of St. Lawrence and into the river, bringing huge amounts of plankton, krill and other foods that whales and other mammals like to eat, but this food source can’t move past that pile-up in the Saguenay. Therefore, the whales and dolphins don’t come either. Most of this water is also fresh water, with some sea water staying on the bottom layer. But past that pile-up where all that fresh water meets that huge flow of seawater filled with food is a very special place. We can’t wait to take that whale cruise!
There is a story about a man driving a wagon on the Saguenay in the winter where the river freezes 12 deep. He broke through the ice. Praying to the Virgin Mary to save him, he managed to escape. So indebted, he had a huge statue of the Mother Mary carved from pine. It was shipped in pieces up the river, then cut further into 14 pieces so it could be hauled by hand to it’s resting place on the Saguenay where it has survived through sometimes brutal conditions for over 100 years!
As Rafael took the very quiet and smooth -running Yamaha around the bay, he stopped to look at a big vertical rock where climbers were working their way to the top. Apparently it takes about three days for them to make the climb, sleeping on the cliff. I thought walking that ledge was crazy enough! Then along to what looked like a very deep cut in the mountain, Rafael pointed to the other side of the river where there was an identical one. This is a fault where two tectonic plates meet. I couldn’t help but think of one of my favorite quotes by Will Durant in the book Krakatoa, “Civilizations exists by geologic consent, subject to change without notice”.