Sea Kayaking Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean | Paddle Tales

Sea Kayaking Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean | Paddle Tales


– – My name’s Ken Whiting. I’m a world champion whitewater paddler and I’ve led trips and taught kayaking around the world. As an athlete and explorer, my lifelong passion has been to challenge myself, meet interesting new people, discover beautiful places, and
share these experiences with others. This is the story of these adventures. This is Paddle Tales. Hey everyone, Ken Whiting here with yet another episode of Paddle Tales. Now in this episode we’re going to one of
the most dramatic landscapes in the world. And we’re gonna explore it by sea kayak, whitewater kayak, and sail boat. But before we get started, please subscribe
to PaddleTV, if you haven’t already, so that you get notified the next time an episode
goes live. In this episode of Paddle Tales, we’re heading to a place that’s commonly referred to as ‘The Land of Giants’, because everything about the area is big and spectacular. It’s a rugged and inspiring land that features a lake so big that it feels like an ocean. One of the longest and most dramatic fjords in the world and some of the best whitewater rivers that you’ll find anywhere. In this episode of Paddle Tales we’re exploring deep into the Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean region. The Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean region is located in the middle of Québec, and it’s the third largest region of the province. With three national parks, and a marine park within its boundaries, it’s no surprise that adventure tourism and nature are defining
features. Of course, that’s exactly why I’m excited
to explore the place. To kick things off I’m heading to the small
and beautiful town of L’Anse-Saint-Jean, which sits nestled in the hollows of the mountains
on the shores of the renowned Saguenay. Not only does L’Anse-Saint-Jean provide a
great taste of the kicked-back, small town lifestyle of the area but it’s an ideal spot
to launch kayaks and explore the fjord so I head over to Fjord en Kayak, the premier
kayak company in the area, there I meet up with one of their guides, Mathieu Boulanger-Messier who knows these waters as well as anyone. Sweet, the sun is shining. There’s hardly any wind at all and we’re in
the Saguenay Fjord. This is gonna be good. – [Ken] You gotta love exploring obviously
in this region. – Yeah, you know it’s my office here man – This
is a heck of an office. – Yeah so I discover the place a lot and I
paddle a lot in the Saguenay Fjord. So yeah, we are into the fjord here which
is an amazing environment, because as you can see there’s like mountains all along. It’s like a huge canyon here filled with salt
water and fresh water. Fresh water on the top and salt water on the bottom. And we can call it the fjord because we have salt water in it. – [Ken] Gotcha. The definition of a fjord is that it has saltwater. – [Mathieu] Yeah, exactly. And also we have one of the longest fjord
in the world. Just a bit more than 100 kilometers long. So that’s why we can do five days trip on
this fjord. It’s a very long fjord. – [Ken] Well, I’m excited to be back here. It’s been six years since I’ve been in the
region. I loved it the first time and driving in here
I remember why. This place is beautiful. – Yeah, it is, huh? – [Ken] I feel like Kayak en Fjord’s been
doing this for a long time. – Yeah, yeah, exactly. It’s about 23 years ago that they started
the company. – Different kinds of trips. First of all we we do a short tour, 2-hour
tour which is our busy tour. Also we do an entire day tour. So it’s about 6 hours of paddling and also
we also do expeditions. So we have two-days, three-days, and four-days expedition and we can also go up to five-days. – It’s been an amazing summer touring around Québec and seeing some of the world’s most stunning landscapes but one of the most enjoyable parts of the journey has been sharing that experience with people that are totally passionate about their region. Mathieu is another perfect example of someone who is truly stoked to share his backyard. The other great thing about Mathieu is that
he considers a big part of the Saguenay fjord experience to be the food. I’m hungry and this looks good. – Yep, it is, huh? We always try to have good food because we believe in it and we always try to use local food as much as we can with our partners around the village. Bon appetit – So we’re in a national park
right now. – Yep, yeah we are, in fact we are in two
national parks. – Oh really? – Yeah, because now we are at the beginning of the marine park, which is the Saguenay–St. Lawrence Marine Park. The park was created to protect the Beluga
whales and also on each side of the fjord all the cliffs on each side are also protected by another national park which is the Parc national du Fjord-du-Saguenay. – [Ken] Well, I’ll tell you what, this cliff
over here that area looks like one of those places you just have to go explore. – Yeah – [Ken] Should we start over there? – [Mathieu] Yeah, I think we need to go there. – [Ken] Everywhere you look, doesn’t matter
which way you look, 360 degrees of awesome. – [Mathieu) Yeah, It’s been pristine, more
that 75% of the territory is pristine and untouched. – [Ken] And we got it all to ourselves right
now. It’s easy to see why the region is often referred to as ‘The Land of Giants’. Everything about this landscape is huge and there isn’t a better way to get a real sense of the size, than paddling along the base
of the cliffs. There’re beautiful and impressive to look
at from shore but looking up from below it’s hard not to feel a little overwhelmed and
a little insignificant. It’s easy to imagine how glaciers sculpted
the U-shaped valley over thousands and thousands of years but the scale of everything is mind-boggling. While kayaking has always been one of my favorite ways to explore a place, it has one obvious disadvantage. You just can’t cover distance quickly. Considering that the fjord is over 60 miles
long you need to have some serious time and a lot of ibuprofen in order to paddle the
whole stretch. Unfortunately, I don’t have the time and so
I’m meeting up with Sophie Drolet, a captain for Voile Mercator, a company that offers
sailing lessons and vacations through the Saguenay fjord. Our mission is to reach the most famous and dramatic bay on the Saguenay River, La Baie-Eternite. Our trip starts slowly as the light winds
push the boat through the waters slowly and smoothly. It’s been over 20 years since I’ve sailed. So it’s a good chance to get reacquainted
with the workings of a sail boat. But it’s not long before a weather system
approches. As the wind picks up the sunny skies are replaced by thick clouds and a fine mist. Right away, the boat jumps to life. I’ve always been a huge fan of gravity-fueled sports or sports that use the power of Mother Nature. And so for me, that’s the amazing thing about sailing. It gives you a real taste of Mother Nature’s
strength and an appreciation of the fact that she’s in control. All we can do is learn to play with that power. And then, as if on cue, the wind dies down
as we reach a narrow bay surrounded by the highest cliffs of the fjord. We reached La Baie-Eternite, otherwise known as Eternity Bay. The crowned jewel of Saguenay National Park. It’s amazing how quickly the excitement of
the run down the fjord is replaced by the calm of the bay. It really is a magical place and the clouds
and mists that hover around the mountains gives it all a surreal “Lord of the Rings”
like feel. I’ll be honest, I wasn’t expecting this sailing
trip to be one of the highlights of my summer and boy was I wrong. Following the Saguenay River upstream, we
leave the fjord behind and make our way towards the Lac-Saint-Jean region. Lac-Saint-Jean is a huge lake with a number of vibrant communities around it. It also hosts some of the most beautiful rivers that you’ll find anywhere which makes it an outdoor and whitewater paradise. To get my feet wet in some of the rapids,
I’m meeting up with Shéril Gravel, co-founder of the Pink Water community, a nonprofit organization
who’s main objective is to encourage women to participate in whitewater activities. – [Shéril] Today we are on the Riviere Aux
Sable, the part of the river is called *unknown* and it’s a very thin section to practice laps. This river is very accessible because it’s
in the middle of the town but you have many portions of other sections and river in Saguenay Saint-Jean. Very accessible also. We are very lucky to live here. Seven years ago whitewater changed my life. It gave me a lot of confidence because you
don’t have control of water you have to respect the river. And then from the moment that you can do it well then you’re so proud. It gives you a very good feeling. I was working in a rafting company during
the summer and I was a safety kayaker. So, I was going down the river with girls
that were very scared at the beginning of the day they were telling me no it’s not possible. I cannot do it. I’m too scared. I was telling them I promise you that your
nails they will be broken at the end of the day and maybe you will have mascara here,
but you will have stars in your eyes and that’s what I want to see. And I promise you that you will have a good
time. And that you will be very proud of you after
that. We started Pink Water in 2014. It’s a movement to encourage girls to get
into the whitewater community and the message that we want to send them is that it’s possible for the girls also. – [Ken] If there’s one thing I’ve learned
in all my years of whitewater kayaking it’s that as amazing as it is to push your own
limits there’s nothing more personally satisfying than helping someone else reach their goals or push themselves do to something they never thought they could. I’m sure that’s one of the things that made
this day with Sheril so special. We both share that passion for pushing and inspiring others to try new things and take advantage of and take care of the incredible natural playgrounds that surround us. Once again today is further proof that paddling is only partly about the places you go and the things you see. It’s about the wonderful people you meet along the way. Well that does it for this episode of Paddle
Tales, thanks for watching. I hope you enjoyed it and if you did give
it a big thumbs up. Also, leave a comment down below if you’d
like and subscribe to Paddle TV if you haven’t already so you get notified the nect time
an episode goes live. Last but not least, stay tuned for a sneak
peak at next weeks Paddle Tales adventure. – [Ken] Next time on Paddle Tales. I’m heading to an adventure filled region
of Québec that gets its name from the chain of mountains that runs through it, the Laurentians. A wilderness paradise with beautiful rolling
hills, countless lakes, and wild rivers. The Laurentians has enough adventure travel options to satisfy any appetite. Join me as I explore the islands of Lac-Poisson Blanc by sea kayak before putting my whitewater kayaking skills to the test on one of eastern
Canada’s most popular whitewater rivers. The Laurentians is truly a world class outdoor destination. And you won’t want to miss it.

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