Toll Free: (800) 690-7887t: (604) 886-7300f: (604) 886-7301
Experience the rugged and beautiful St. Lawrence River area during the summer peak of whale and marine life activity.
We offer two options for this program. Choose the 5 day exploration program, with accommodation at an Auberge in the town of Bergeronnes, Quebec. Or participate in the 13 day educational program as a student in a whale research project, with accommodation at the Research Station.
From mid-June to mid-October the St. Lawrence River Estuary is the summer feeding grounds for blue, fin back, Minke, humpback, beluga and sperm whales plus harbour porpoise, white-beaked and white-sided dolphins, three species of seals and many species of shorebirds. The whales gather at the mouth of the St. Lawrence River at sites where underwater channels create an up welling of nutrient rich waters. Here the estuary supports an abundance of marine life including one of the most accessible concentrations of marine mammals in the world.
13 day ORES Whale Research Project Program:dates July & August tba Tour Cost per person: $2,065 CAD
5 day self-drive Exploration Program:
Daily based on minimum 2 persons available July 15 - September 15 Tour Cost per person: $ 885 CAD + 5% tax
DEPARTURE CITY: Self-drive from Quebec City (3 1/2 hours) or public bus to Bergeronnes also available.
Since 1992, the Swiss-Canadian Ocean Research and Education Society (ORES) offers the unique opportunity not only to meet a great diversity of whales in a magnificent marine environment but also to take an active role in whale research. Les Bergeronnes, located along the shores of Quebec’s St. Lawrence River. The study area lies within the boundaries of the Saguenay – St.Lawrence Marine Park which was created in 1998.
During daily outings volunteers will help to carry out observations, to collect research data and later, on land, will transcribe the collected information. Experienced marine biologists introduce them step-by-step to the different tasks. Regular lectures at the station and spontaneous talks during outings will deepen participants’ knowledge and interest about whales and explain the complexity of marine ecosystem. Eventually this will lead to an increase of environmental awareness among participants.
Participants have to bring their own sleeping bags.
Living at the research station
Research staff and course participants live at the ORES Centre, an old and well-equipped farmhouse overlooking the St. Lawrence River. Volunteers will be accommodated in heated wooden cabins located beside the main building and each holding four beds. Participants bring their own sleeping bags. Cooking and shopping will be organized by staff persons and participants help in preparations, dish washing and other household duties. Please note that sanitary installations are limited so that showers and laundromats have to be used at the near-by camp ground. The spacious lecture hall on top is where participants join comprehensive lectures, work on research data, chill out, watch movies or write postcards. A beautiful hiking and biking trail along the shore invites you to explore the area on our bicycles and trips to near-by attractions such as Tadoussac and a visit to the local whale museum will be organized.
Ursula Tscherter, project director, field marine biologist
Ursula’s childhood dream of seeing a whale became true in 1993 when she joined ORES. This experience changed her life dramatically. Originally a teacher for craftwork and art, her interests gradually shifted towards the fascinating world of whales and science. In addition to directing the Foundation and field courses she works as a lecturer and tour guide in the Antarctic and produces educative materials such as life-sized whales. Ursula speaks German, English and French.
Never in my life have I thought that volunteering to help in the research in minke whales would bring so much joy. Devon Wilcox, USA
If you love nature and whales in particular, then this trip offers you the unique possibility to really do something for a scientific project. When you have never seen a whale before like I hadn't, this field course will give you the time of your life. And seeing your first whale so close to the boat is something you’ll truly never forget. It’s beyond your wildest imagination. Stijn Somers, Belgium
DAY 1 SELF-DRIVE QUEBEC CITY - BERGERONNES Self-drive to Tadoussac along the north shore of the St. Lawrence via scenic Charlevois. Arrive in the traditional Quebecois town of Bergeronnes. Check into the Auberge. DAY 2 WHALES ON THE ST. LAWRENCE (B,L,D)Morning whale excursion by zodiac (inflatable boats) to the whale feeding grounds of the lower St. Lawrence estuary. Whales in large concentration gather during the summer months where the Saguenay River joins the St. Lawrence. Beluga, fin back, blue and minke whales can often be seen. Picnic lunch at Cap Bon Desir, a point where whales can often be seen from shore. Visit to the Cap Bon Desir centre and then the Marine Environment Discovery Centre in Les Escoumin. In the evening a visit to the ORES - Foundation for Marine Environment Research for a slide talk on the ecology of the whales of the St. Lawrence.DAY 3 WHALE CRUISE TADOUSSAC (B)Breakfast and a drive to Tadoussac. Morning boat tour to see the whales up the wild and famed Saguenay fjord in Parc Saguenay. Lunch on own in Tadoussac and an afternoon visit to the CIMM Whale Interpretation Center (entrance fee $ 5.00 to be padi on own on arrival). Local scientists have helped to assemble this informative whale museum. A film will be shown on the whales of the St. Lawrence. Later, walk around Tadoussac with free time to shop for souvenirs. DAY 4 WHALES ON THE ST. LAWRENCE (B,L,D)Breakfast at the hotel. A lecture on whale behaviour and visit the local whale research centre to learn about current research on the whales of the area (Note time of tlak still tba). Lunch and an afternoon trip by inflatable boat to view the Whales of the St. Lawrence. DAY 5 BERGERONNES DEPARTURE (B)After breakfast, depart on a self-drive to Quebec City provided Stops can be made at the information centre at Baie St. Catherine to observe the exhibits depicting natural history of the region. Baie St. Catherine sits on the opposite side of the Saquenay River than Tadoussac. There is also an observation area where often Beluga whales can be viewed. Other stops can be made at the artistic town of St. Paul where a high concentration of local artist reside and Montmorency Falls. The above itinerary will be altered with changes in weather conditions and movement of the whales. PRE & POST TOUR NIGHTS CAN BE BOOKED IN QUEBEC CITY. CAR RENTAL OPTIONS AVAILABLE.
"Hello Catherine,Just wanted to let you know what a magical trip we had. I still daydream about the whales. Our stay was great. The owners/hosts/staff were gracious, informative and very helpful. The food was sooo delicious. They packed us huge lunches and off we went to Cap Bon Desir & other areas to munch and to make more whale sightings. The talk & slideshow was so informative. All of our tours were great. We saw the most whales on our first day out -blues, minke, fin -very close to our boat - even though we stopped at the required distance it's difficult to determine where they will surface again. On our third tour we were able to spot belugas and blues. Our drive up the coast was great and we took a detour on the way back so we could always catch glimpses and breathtaking views of the majestic St. Lawrence. Just want to say thanks for organizing the incredible itinerary and for helping us discover an amazing part of Canada. It seemed like a real privilege and blessing to see the whales. We're hooked!!! Thanks again." Andrea, Gary & Remi | Ontario"The whale watching trip was wonderful. The other travellers were very congenial, our guide and mentor Danny was caring & fun to be with...we saw more whales in one day than some of the researchers had seen in 2 years. At one point we were surrounded by several species of whales doing a kind of "ballet" all around, dipping and diving and blowing! It was fabulous." P. Dibble | Ontario We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and were truly amazed at the number of whales we saw. Before we left I said if we saw just one whale it would be great--if we saw two of three it would be a bonus. We saw three the first day and exceeded my expectactions. Little did I realize that would be a poor day. Every day we seemed to see more whales than the day before." B Hardinge | Ontario
Toll Free: (800) 690-7887(604) 886-7300 Fax: (604) 886-7301
1114 Cartwright RoadGibsons, BCV0N 1V1Canada