The village of Baie-St-Catherine is located in the Charlevoix region, 70 km from La Malbaie via highway 138. Baie-St-Catherine is a very small village, with a population of less than 300, but for dozens of years visitors have flocked to Baie-St-Catherine climbing aboard the whale-watching boats for a better view of these magnificent giant mammals which inhabit the waters of the St. Lawrence and the Saguenay Fjord.
Baie-St-Catherine faces the sea on a plateau of sand and clay, with a lovely beach. The great outdoors attract hikers to the splendid Trail of the Waterfalls and the Beaver, with a 10-km-long loop. Guests can learn about marine mammals at the Pointe-Noire interpretation and observation centre of the Saguenay-St.Lawrence Marine Park.
Actually, the St. Lawrence estuary becomes the summer feeding grounds for whales from mid-June to mid-October. All species come here: blue, fin back, Minke, humpback, beluga and sperm whales, as well as harbour porpoise, white-beaked and white-sided dolphins, seals and different shorebirds. Guests can take exciting tour to see dozens of whales which gather at the mouth of the St. Lawrence River at sites where underwater channels create an up welling of nutrient rich waters.
Thus the estuary becomes a scene of one of the most accessible concentrations of marine mammals in the world.
Most of whale observation outings are made on inflatable boats, and the excitement of being on open water so close to the whale is incredible.
Baie St-Catherine. Photo by © V. Petrvosky