Expedition Journal

Mighty Saint Lawrence

Jun. 1–Jun. 11, 2022

© Jen Derbach

Île Bonaventure was complete with large flocks of northern gannets. The sky was filled with hard-working birds searching for nest supplies. Most of us agreed that we could’ve stayed out there all day listening to the calming sounds of the birds.


Mighty Saint Lawrence Expedition Journal Map
  • Day 1: Québec City, QC, Canada
  • Day 2: Tadoussac
  • Day 3: Saguenay
  • Day 4: Baie-Comeau
  • Day 5: Forillon National Park and Gaspé
  • Day 6: Percé Rock and Île Bonaventure
  • Day 7: Lennox Island and Summerside, PEI
  • Day 8: Les Îles-de-la-Madeleine (Magdalen Islands), QC
  • Day 9: Little Garia Bay, NL
  • Day 10: Bay D’Espoir
  • Day 11: Saint Pierre and Miquelon, France

Day 1 – Wednesday, June 1

Québec City, QC, Canada

Coordinates: 46°81’N 71°21’W

Weather: Bright day, with a warm sun and sparkling waters

Hello Again

To mark the 2022 season's inaugural voyage, today every guest embarked to find an ecstatic expedition team to welcome them on board after a long two years. The bright sun glistened off the water and lit up the interior of the ship. We were welcomed to the Nautilus Lounge for orientation, Zodiac familiarization, introduction to the expedition team, and briefing for tomorrow's activities.

Quebec city night coastline

© Jen Derbach

After much anticipation, the Ocean Endeavour dropped the last lines and set sail around 21:00 for a beautiful evening departure. Joined by sea shanties and an intention ceremony from some of the talented expedition team members, we enjoyed the bright and colourfully lit coastline as we passed by it and began our voyage.

Day 2 – Thursday, June 2


Coordinates: 48°08’N 69°42’W

Weather: A warm sunny day

Let the Adventure Begin!

Early birds joined marine biologist Pierre Richard out on the bow deck for bird and whale watching, as we approached the sand dunes of Tadoussac around 05:30. We continued to sail closer and closer to the beautiful, historic building with the red rooftop, the Hôtel Tadoussac, and prepared to disembark on the Zodiacs. Once again, the sun brightly reflecting off the water, and the cool Atlantic breeze kept us in comfort on our journey.

Tadoussac quebec

© Jen Derbach

We began our adventure with a hike of la Parc de Saguenay, where we enjoyed bird calls and stunning views of the Saint Lawrence River. We visited the Marine Mammal Interpretation Centre and the Chauvin Fur Trading Post, all the while discovering commonalities among like-minded travellers.

Some enjoyed an espresso or a microbrew overlooking the quaint town before travelling back to the Zodiacs to re-board the Ocean Endeavour. All in all, it was a marvellous day with beautiful weather, places, and people.

Day 3 – Friday, June 3


Coordinates: 48°20’N 70°52’W

Weather: Cloudy yellow skies

Ex-pe-di-tion tra-vel [ek-spi-dish-uhn trav-uhl ]: New Adventures!

We began our morning sailing into Saguenay. A change in the itinerary was made due to a strong wind forecast, but thanks to the hard work of the expedition team, we were able to make a quick shift to a new plan. The teams’ adaptability combined with the help of amazing local guides, resulted in a fantastic outing to a winery and two historic outings in the community, all piquing new interests among adventurers.

We were already experiencing the true meaning of expedition travel—flexibility!

Local welcome saguenay

© Jen Derbach

We disembarked the Zodiacs to find a warm welcome with music, dancing, and maple syrup. Some had (just a bit of) an early happy hour at the Domaine Le Cageot vineyard and nordic distillery, sipping wine and tasting all things blueberry.

Others enjoyed learning about Québécois painter Arthur Villeneuve at La Pulperie de Chicoutimi Regional Museum. At the Musée du Fjord, we took a journey back in time to learn about the historical roots of Saguenay. Though there was a change to the itinerary, there was no change in everyone's beaming faces!

Day 4 – Saturday, June 4


Coordinates: 49°13’N 68°07’W

Weather: Calm cloudy sky

A Call From the Birds

We got an early start to the day embarking on Zodiacs to Baie-Comeau, where we were welcomed to shore by a colony of kittiwakes and double-crested cormorants. Some chose to hike just under two kilometres at Goose Point, joined by park guides and expedition team members.

The cloudy skies were calm, which made for perfect conditions to listen for the widespread bird species, alongside naturalist Yvan Pouliot. Common goldeneye, chickadee, barn swallows, common eider, ravens, and a great blue heron were observed. Others enjoyed roaming the town of Baie-Comeau visiting an antique shop and indulging in the fine offerings of a local coffee roaster.

Black legged kittiwakes baie comeau

© Jen Derbach

Black-legged kittiwakes in Baie-Comeau

After lunch, we broadened our minds with an afternoon of presentations from different specialists. Valérie Courtois, Ilnu cultural educator and forester, gave a personal and insightful presentation on Indigenous Peoples of the Saint Lawrence River. Janick Martin, Adventure Canada’s Taste of Place ambassador, discussed Québec’s cuisine and its French touch, all the while making our mouths water for the evening's super that was to come. Marine biologist and oceanographer, Gabrièle Deslongchamps, also educated us on an important topic—informing us on the health of the Saint Lawrence River.

Day 5 – Sunday, June 5

Forillon National Park and Gaspé

Coordinates: 48°50’N 64°27’W

Weather: Partly cloudy with a flirtatious sun

Hike, Hike, Hike

We began our day with a calming cruise past the cliffs of Forillon. Yvan gave an informative presentation on auks of the Saint Lawrence, fitting for the day of wildlife spotting ahead. We disembarked at the Gaspé pier after a breezy Zodiac ride and headed to Forillon National Park, which happens to be the first designated national park in Québec, founded in 1970.

Forillon national park gaspe

© Jen Derbach

Cap Bon Ami lookout at Forillion National Park

Three different trails, each with their own stunning views, brought different experiences. Bill Swan led an energetic hike uphill—in a kilt no less! Others enjoyed a hike to the Cap Gaspé lighthouse, encountering a pleasant black bear from a distance, along the way. Others stretched to Cap Bon Ami, where there was an amazing hilltop view with an abundance of birdlife and a surprise visit from a moose on the way back.

Day 6 – Monday, June 6

Percé Rock and Île Bonaventure

Coordinates: 48°50’N 64°27’W

Weather: Sunny with clouds and light winds

A Peaceful Cruise

Waking up to the sun peeking through the clouds, the Ocean Endeavour was anchored between Percé Rock and Île Bonaventure. Beginning our morning with a stunning view of Percé Rock, multiple grey seals and minke whale sightings, we geared up for our first Zodiac cruise!

Grey seals perce

© Jen Derbach

A pod of grey seals on Île Bonaventure

Île Bonaventure, a Canadian wildlife protected site, was complete with large flocks of northern gannets. The sky was filled with hard working birds searching for nest supplies. Most of us agreed that we could’ve stayed out there all day listening to the calming sounds of the birds. Others made an appearance including grey seals, razorbills, moors, northern gannets, kittiwakes, minke whales, and even two puffins. The sun came out, lit up the sky and sparkled off the water, making the experience even better.

We then returned to the ship for a barbecue lunch out on deck and afternoon workshops, from where we continued to enjoy the magnificent views of the Saint Lawrence. Groups of humpback whales, porpoises, and even a fin whale joined us as we sailed towards Prince Edward Island.

Day 7 – Tuesday, June 7

Lennox Island and Summerside, PEI

Coordinates: 46°23’N 63°47’W

Weather: Warm and sunny

A Warm-Hearted Welcoming to PEI

The sun was shining as we arrived on Prince Edward Island in the early morning. Though the smallest province in Canada, the population has significantly grown in the past two years. Docking in beautiful Summerside, we journeyed to Lennox Island, where we were welcomed with open arms by the Mi’kmaq community.

We were greeted with an honour song from the youth of Lennox Island, enjoying the touching experience of a smudging ceremony and a round dance. We were lucky enough to participate in a variety of different workshops, such as porcupine quill art and basket weaving. We even got to make and enjoy bannock and indulge in authentic maritime oysters!

Lennox island intertribal round dance

© Jen Derbach

Guests participating in a round dance alongside members of the Mi’kmaq community

We also got to explore historic downtown Summerside. Some biked the boardwalk, while others enjoyed local seafood offerings, from clams to lobster rolls. The picturesque province was full of warm, welcoming people and beautiful coastal views. We enjoyed yet another spectacular sunset off the stern as we said goodbye to PEI.

Day 8 – Wednesday, June 8

Les Îles-de-la-Madeleine (Magdalen Islands), QC

Coordinates: 47°22’N 61°50’W

Weather: Cloudy and bright

Mother Nature’s Sculptures

We began our Wednesday morning enjoying some on-board educational programs as we continued to make our way to les Îles-de-la-Madeleine (Magdalen Islands). Although, the islands are a part of the province of Québec, they are in fact closer to the rest of the Maritime provinces.

Magdalen islands sandstone cliffs

© Jen Derbach

Disembarking after lunch, we got to experience a destination full of breathtaking views and charming local shops. We marvelled at the sandstone cliffs, all unique in shape and size, the silky soft sand, and hand-sized seashells.

Others enjoyed visiting a variety of local attractions including the Cap-Hérissé lighthouse, Artisans du Sable (sand craftsmen) boutique, and Le Site d'Autrefois (the site of yesteryear), discovering a fishermen’s traditional lifestyle. Many returned to the Ocean Endeavour with a souvenir and smile on their face.

Day 9 – Thursday, June 9

Little Garia Bay, NL

Coordinates: 47°38’N 58°34’W

Weather: Foggy skies (otherwise known as typical Newfoundland and Labrador weather)


As we headed towards Newfoundland and Labrador, our captain skillfully redirected us from a storm headed our way. We ventured to the south coast of Newfoundland into the fog, which we soon learned is not a rare occurrence for this province. We enjoyed the sail along with morning presentations and free time, where some enjoyed puzzles, journaling, or a cup of coffee in the Compass Club.

Guests disembarking zodiac little garia bay

© Jen Derbach

In the afternoon we embarked on an adventure, about to learn what expedition travel is all about. We made a landing on a small island in Little Garia Bay. We roamed freely on the island in different ways; a nature walk searching for flora, bird spotting with Pierre and Yvan, an exploration hike following caribou tracks and discovering spectacular views, and Zodiac cruises off the isolated shorelines. Now that’s the true meaning of adventure!

Day 10 – Friday, June 10

Bay D’Espoir

Coordinates: 47°46’N 56°03’W

Weather: Foggy skies with the mountains peeking through

Danny the Auctioneer

Continuing to get around the storm, we sailed into Bay D’Espoir, an area within Heritage Bay in the Gulf of Saint Lawrence, its name is translated to 'bay of hope.' We enjoyed foggy views of the steep cliffs and hills from the Nautilus Lounge, as we participated in some on-board activities including sudoku, music, and finally putting the last piece of the puzzle in!

Music onboard activities bay despoir

© Jen Derbach

Later, an auction was hosted for Régéneration Canada and the Québec Labrador Foundation by the one and only Danny Catt—auctioneer extraordinare!—with lots of fun items, including an Adventure Canada flag from the ship, signed by all of the expedition team members.

We then had a very heartfelt final recap recognizing the amazing work of all the expedition team members and crew on board, along with the longtime friends we made along the way. Many continued to get out on deck and admire the beautiful coastlines, regardless of the rain.

Day 11 – Saturday, June 11

Saint Pierre and Miquelon, France

Coordinates: 46°47’N 56°09’W

Weather: Bright and sunny

Au Revoir Mes Amis

The last day of the Mighty Saint Lawrence expedition came all too fast. We ended our trip just off the shores of Newfoundland, on the islands of Saint-Pierre and Miquelon, an official territory of the French Republic. We disembarked in the early morning to get a jump start on the many remaining sights to see.

Walking the streets saint pierre

© Jen Derbach

Some chose to hike a trail along the shoreline spotting birds and other wildlife with our team of naturalists, while others chose to take a tour of the many highlights of the island. Many also enjoyed doing some free exploration. The colourful buildings, one-way streets, and pastries truly gave us a real taste of France.

We were sad to say goodbye, but many of us walked away with new friends, and all of us with memories to last a lifetime. Until we meet again, Ocean Endeavour.

About the Author

Olivia Clancy

Olivia Clancy

Email Marketer and Copywriter

Olivia is a passionate marketer and avid adventurer who is always seeking out new experiences to broaden her horizons.

A communications graduate from Wilfrid Laurier University, Olivia's love for travel and the environment drew her to Adventure Canada, where she's immersed in the world of exploration and conservation.