Day 8 |
Sep 27, 2011

At sea

By Hans-Peter Reinthaler, Botanist

Co-ordinates: 47° 22`N, 61° 51`W
Weather: sunny and windy
Air Temperature: 11°C

The sun was rising over the Gulf of St. Lawrence as the Silver Explorer sailed into the port of Cap Aux Meules on the Magdalen Islands. After a short clearance procedure, the disembarkation of the tour started. The weather couldn’t be better for an excursion on this interesting group of islands. Sunny blue sky with a little bit of wind.

The first stop on our tour was the herring smokehouse of the Antan family. This family revived the long tradition of smoking herring, which around 20-25 years ago was interrupted due to the fact of the crash of the herring population in this area. Our guests had the choice between dry smoked herring and marinated smoked Herring.

Shortly after this visit the next culinary highlight was on the program: A visit to the Formagerie de Vent: a cheese factory that produces different types of cheese out of raw milk. After a short introduction in which the owner explained the importance of the raw material, which means the grass that the cows are feeding on, our guests had the opportunity to taste the cheese and of course to buy some if they want so.

After this tasty stop we crossed the Chemin des Montants on a scenic drive through the landscape of the Magdalen Islands to get to South Dune beach. The beach is a white sand beach of 22km length. As our guests stepped out of the bus they could feel a fresh cool breeze coming in from the sea, making this stop a highlight of the tour, as they were enjoying the beautiful scenery of white sandy beach and red sandstone cliffs with underground caves sculpted naturally by the sea.

From the Dune beach the excursion brought us over to the Artisan du Sable, a house where artists dedicated their lives to form sculptures and useful things out of sand. But the Artisan du Sable was not the only goal of our visit here. Also the small but historically important fisher village of La Grave, which is just 200m away from the Sand house, was worth a closer look. After having enjoyed either the sand artists, the village, or both the guests returned to the Silver Explorer and we set sail at 12.30 for our next destination.

The afternoon program was filled with a lecture from me about “The Vegetation of Eastern Canada” where I gave a short overview of the vegetation and its plants starting with the tundra in the north and ending with the broad-leaved forest in the south.

During a relaxing teatime I spoke with some guests about our next destination and life on board the Silver Explorer. In the Recap & Briefing our Expedition Leader Conrad Combrink talked about our activities tomorrow in Cornerbrook. He also gave a short overview about the history of the vessel, followed by a recap from me about the provincial flowers and trees of the Provinces we are visiting on this cruise.

In the evening our guests enjoyed a delicious dinner in The Restaurant as we sailed away from the Magdalen Islands across the Gulf of St. Lawrence.