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Get to know our whales! | Croisière Escoumins


The Great Blue Whale

The great blue whale may be observed in the St. Lawrence River from May to June, but has a greater presence in August and September. It is the largest of all the whale species. It is a “sea mammal” that can exceed 30 metres in length and could weigh between 80 to 100 tons. It is the largest known living animal on the planet.

The long thin body of the blue whale can take on different shades of bluish-gray on its back, with a little lighter colour of blue on the underside.

There are at least three distinct sub-species of blue whales; those living in both the North Atlantic and North Pacific; those living in the Antarctic Ocean; and those living in the Indian Ocean and the Southern Pacific Ocean.

Like the majority of whales, the blue whale feeds mainly on krill, a small crustacean, but also has been known to devour fish and squid.

There were thousands of blue whales in all of the oceans before the beginning of the 20th century, but the blue whale was almost hunted to extinction for its oil, used to fuel the industrial revolution, before being protected by the International Community in 1966. Today the species is still considered to be threatened.


Humpback Whale

They are mainly seen in the lower St Lawrence river in the summer in June and July, and sometimes from August till October.

The humpback whale is the favorite subject for whale watching tourism as it often performs spectacular leaps out of the water, called breaches.

Adult individuals are usually 11 to 13 metres in length and may weigh between 25 and 30 tons.

The humpback whale is easily recognizable. The top of the animal is entirely black or dark gray and the underside is rather white.

It has large pectoral fins and a black and white caudal tail fin that come out of the water when the whale dives.

Humpback whales are known not only for their spectacular breaches, but also for their long complex songs that they perform during their mating season. (so it is assumed that these are songs of seduction).


Fin Whale

After the blue whale, it is the second largest living animal on the planet, with a length of about 20 metres.

The fin whales migrate each year to the Gulf of St. Lawrence in May and can be most frequently seen from July to October, but sometimes even as late as November.

Although there is no official weight measurement for a normal adult fin whale, it is estimated that a 25 metre long adult weighs no less than 40 to 50 tons. Its long streamlined body allows it to move quickly through the water.

This whale species may commonly live for one hundred years, (the oldest one known was about 111 years of age). Yet they are still considered to be a threatened species today. The population of fin whales in the northern hemisphere is estimated to be about 40,000 animals.


St. Lawrence Beluga

Also called the white porpoise, the beluga is very well known in Quebec. This white cetacean from the Arctic Ocean is very well adapted to life in cold waters. It has a thick layer of fat under the skin, which serves as insulation and energy reserve. It can measure between 3 and 5 meters and weigh from 1 to 2 tons. It is the only cetacean resident year-round in the waters of the St. Lawrence, in which it feeds and breeds.

The population of the St. Lawrence Estuary is geographically isolated from other beluga populations. It is possible to observe them easily from May to October. The St. Lawrence beluga population is estimated at about 1100 individuals (compared to 10 000 before 1885). Pollution from human activities greatly impacts on beluga whales’ health. According to a Canadian researcher, there would be twice as much mercury in belugas and some fish than twenty years ago.

The beluga population in the St. Lawrence is probably the most endangered among beluga populations in the world.


Minke Whale

The minke whale is easily observed in the St. Lawrence from May to October. With an average length of 6 to 10 meters, the minke whale is the smallest baleen whale. It can weigh from 6 to 10 tons. The minke whale is one of the most frequently observed species when whale watching (especially between Tadoussac and Les Bergeronnes).

From March to December, minke whales travel to the coastal waters of the estuary and the Gulf of St. Lawrence to feed. During summer, minke whales abound at the mouth of the Saguenay Fjord. This small whale has a global distribution, from the tropics to the polar regions. It is common to observe in coastal areas and estuaries. Its world population is estimated at several hundred thousand individuals.


Harbour Porpoise

These are small cetaceans, measuring from 1.5 to 2 metres long, and thrive in cold waters. They are often seen in the St. Lawrence from late June to late September.

While they are by far the most widespread cetacean species, their numbers are decreasing. Their health is impacted by ocean pollution and human activities, (such as boat and ship transportation). They are therefore considered to be a vulnerable species. In the Gulf of St. Lawrence, the population is estimated to be more than 20,000 individuals.


The Seals

Three different species of seals can be seen along the shores of the St. Lawrence River and the Saguenay Fjord. Gray seals and harbor seals are present throughout the year, while the harp seal usually visits the St. Lawrence in winter.


More About the Whales

Sea mammals have always fascinated mankind. The best known ones are without a doubt the whales. Every years, these magnificent animals perform the longest migrations of all known animal reign. In the Northen hemisphere, they leave the western coast of Mexico, where they spend the winter, and travel as far as 9,500 km to reach the icy waters of the St. Lawrence River, or the Arctic Ocean. The reason that the whales come to this area in particular is because the fresh water from the Saguenay river, mixes with the salt water of the Gulf of St. Lawrence to create brackish water, (partly salt partly fresh) and the fish they feed on thrive in this environment. Late in autumn, except the belugas, all whales leave the Saguenay-St. Lawrence Marine Park.

Fortunately for us, most whale species make a feeding stop during their migration, in the waters of the Lower St. Lawrence River and the mouth of the Saguenay River. The St. Lawrence Marine Park is the best place to observe them, as this is their summer feeding area. No less than thirteen species of cetaceans can be observed, including the great blue whales, the fin whales, the famous humpback whales and the friendly beluga whales. The St. Lawrence Estuary and the Saguenay Fjord are the ideal places to witness this phenomenon of nature. Sometimes you can even see them from the shore.

When you are searching for the specific location of a pod of whales, the first visible sign is usually their breath. They breathe through a vent orifice on the top of their head, expelling a cloud of vapour and air on an irregular basis, sometimes casually, sometimes almost explosively.

It is important to avoid disturbing the whales while you are observing them. Our whale watching
adventures all comply with the rules of the Saguenay – St. Lawrence Marine Park and our vessels are specifically designed to be quiet, eco-friendly and safe for both the whales and our passengers.


Got some free time ahead?
Bring your lunchbox and benefit from our private rest area!
You must check-in 30 minutes prior to departure.
Wear trousers, shoes, and a warm sweather.
Please, take note that weather on the St.Lawrence River
will be 10°C/18°F cooler than on the shore.
We provide you warm clothes...
and you dream's whale watching cruise!
Trip length of at least 2 hours.
CA / USA 1-866-225-3463
FRANCE 08 05 32 10 54


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Présentez-vous à la billetterie 30 minutes avant le départ.
Portez un pantalon, des souliers fermés et
un chandail chaud (pull-over).
Notez qu'au large, la température est en moyenne 10°C plus basse
que sur la terre ferme.
Nous fournissons les vêtements chauds...
et la croisière baleine de vos rêves!
Durée minimale de 2 heures.
FRANCE 08 05 32 10 54