LAND OF PIONEERS AND ADVENTURERS...
It is a wide territory stretching from the north Arctic’ s glacier areas, to the United States’ borders up south, from the Atlantic coast of Gaspesie with its breathtaking sceneries, to the Thousand Islands region, neighbor of the province of Ontario. Come to browse the St. Laurent shores and find the history of its pioneers, to do a cruise on its waters to observe the rich and exceptional marine world, or whales, beluga whales and seals shall offer you a majestic show, and to discover its culture and its history exceeding the imagination. It’s an area appreciated by tourists from around the world. It is a magical place which will not leave you indifferent and won’t stop surprising you, with its stunning landscapes, of a beauty and of diversity or with sceneries that will take your breath away.
Magdalen Islands - A beautiful country
For the visitor who lands in the Magdalen Islands, the effect is immediate and disorientation complete. The landscape consists of islands and dunes which get married, separate and stretch as far as the eye can see, all down along with the current. The islands look like a miniature country animated by the green of the glens, the golden sand of the long beaches, the red of the sculptured cliffs and the variety of blues and greens which the omnipresent sea and the lagoons borrow from tints of the sky and from aquatic life.
Landing in the islands, it’s changing country; it’s discovering another rich and fragile ecology by its elements, but also by its dimensions, its origins and its evolution.
The sweetness of the relief, the harmony of colors, and the freshness of places seduces the visitor. It is very easy and much pleasant to discover this country to the bend of a road, by foot, by bicycle, on horseback and by car.
An Archipel in the gulf
The archipel of the Magdalen Islands is situated in the heart of the Gulf of St. Laurent, more exactly at 215 km of the Gaspe Peninsula, at 105 km from the Prince Edward Island and at 95 km from Cape Breton Island. All the islands form a lengthened crescent on a distance of 65 km directed southwest /northeast, in latitude comparable to La Malbaie (Charlevoix) or La Tuque (Mauricie). People of the Magdalen Islands live on the Atlantic time, which is one hour later than Quebec.
The archipel includes a dozen islands, among which six are bound between them by narrow sand dunes. They are, from north to south, île de la Grande Entrée and the Grosse-île, île aux Loups, île du Havre aux Maisons, îles du Cap aux Meules and île du Havre Aubert. Two other islands of important surface are added to those already mentioned: île d’Entrée at 10 km east of Havre Aubert and île Brion at 16 km north of Grosse-île.
Other small islands and islets complete the picture: the Rocher aux Oiseaux, île aux Loups marins, île aux Cochons, the Rocher du Corps Mort and others besides.
A maritime climate
The climate also increases the difference. The maritime climate softens the winter and refreshes the summer, which makes the islands the place of Quebec having the least frosty days during the year. It is not rare to see the soft and sunny weather of the summer going on till the end of September. However, the ices which encircle the archipel from the end of January contribute to delay the beginning spring.
It does not prevent the water bathing the islands in summer to reach temperatures of the order of 17C. The low amplitude of tides, but especially the fact that the archipel is situated on high funds, contributes to warm the water of lagoons and the sea around islands. In comparison, the bathing water is hotter than the banks of the St. Laurent.
Ancestral earth of numerous native Nations, British Columbia is the most western province of Canada. In 2014, its population counted about 4,61 million inhabitants (British Columbians).
Life-size ground offering a luxurious range of contrasted landscapes tumbling down the Rocky Mountains towards the spectacular islands of the Pacific ocean. Majestic glaciers, rainy and boreal forests, uncountable lakes and rivers, lands covered with ranches and vineyards and with orchards.
British Columbia is a paradise for all nature lovers Of a surface of about 948 000 km², British Columbia extends from the Pacific to the Rocky Mountains, over 901 km and 1 467 km of the Southwest point to the Northeast point, where the North end goes along the 60th parallel for over 816 km up to the Triangle de Haines. Finally, at West, the coastline along the ocean is over more than 27 000 km.
Victoria, on the Vancouver Island, is the capital of British Columbia, named so in honor of Victoria, Queen of Great Britain from 1837 to 1901.
Conditions for scuba diving
Forget everything you know about the marine life : what you going to see in these waters looks like nothing you’ve seen under more tropical heavens. In a fresh and clear water (7° to 9°), you’ll discover forests of laminarias and fields of anemones sheltering the huge octopuses of the Pacific (Enteroctopus dofleini), spotted wolffishes (Anarhichas Minor), sea lions, lords and benches of rockfishes.
Back above ground, it is not rare to meet herds of orcas and porpoises. Sea otters and grey whales can also be observed. Furthermore, the amateurs of miniatures in blazing colors will not be outdone because an impressive variety of nudibranches and invertebrates live with crabs and shrimps among sea sponges and soft corals.
The main regions where diving will seduce you are : Sidney, Nanaimo, Campbell River and Port Hardy in the north of the island.
Campbell River is one of the best worldwide destinations of dive in cold water. The strong tidal currents crossing Discovery Passage offer an amazing choice of marine life. The abrupt walls of the canal are covered with a colorfull collection of invertebrates, anemones, sea sponges and soft corals and supply shelters for a variety of fishes, from the tiny to the big sea bass of eight feet long (ocellatus d’Anarrhychthys), which was the favorite of the divers during more than fifteen years.
Hurst Island - Strait of Queen Charlotte
GOD'S POCKET RESORT
Removed in an attractive bay of the uninhabited island of Hurst Island, 12 miles north of Port Hardy, is a small dive shop named God’s Pocket since 18 years, which can welcome you in a comfortable and family atmosphere.
The divers will be the only population of the island during the length of their stay. Only 8 rooms grouped in 2 typical wooden buildings, constructed on stilts, with a beautiful view on the bay. Every room has private toilets and a bathroom, arrangements and of course, a heating. A dayroom (the Club House) is used for relaxation, video projections, and long discussions in the heat of the big wood stove. Outside, the terrace is equipped with a spa and with a lounge corner around a fire.
The meals, served in the dining room, are prepared on the spot. The table is generous and homey, with European and American notes: breakfasts are copious (pancakes with maple syrup or chocolate, omelets, coffee or tea, toasts, jams, etc.) just like lunch and dinner (plotted dishes, oven fish, seafood, mixed vegetables and tasty desserts). Vegetarian meals can be prepared on request.
To note: even though water, tea and coffee are free, alcoholic drinks, as well as sodas and junk food (chips, crackers, etc.) are not available on the spot. It is possible to buy some during your stopover at Port Hardy. Kayaks are given free of charge to those who wish to explore the neighborhoods of the island, to observe the ballet of the fish eagles, to locate otters or the on-surface breath of the orcas passing in off the coast. With a fabulous surrounding set and its ambient conviviality, God’s Pocket is among the rare « small heaven on Earth».
Bill and Annie, the owners are nature lovers, committed ecologists, who do not stop to educate visitors of the beauty and the fragility of the islands of the strait of Queen Charlotte. Since their arrival on the Island, all of their infrastructures and all of their activities were designed by taking into account an almost total respect for the environment: renewable energies, limitation and systematic treatment of wastes.
Somme exceptional dives
Doubtless the most recognized site of the region for its wall which goes down very deep. The latter shelters a crowd of invertebrates : sea sponges, starfishes, nudibranches, pearly snails, purple and green hydrocorals, anemones, soft red and white corals. The whole forms an impressive kaleidoscope of colors which take advantage of the nutritional wealth of waters. We also find some beautiful concentrations of kelps where cavort black and yellow rockfishes.
God's Pocket Cove
The creek in which is situated the God’s Pocket Resort is encircled by rocks offering plenty of cavities to be explored. The latters hold some treasures such as purple, red and green sea urchins, octopuses, nudibranches, shrimps, imperial crabs « Puget sound » and numerous anemones.
Another famous site in the region of Hurst Island and Port Hardy, which consists in 2 impressive secs, separated by a channel and covered with marine life. We frequently observe spotted wolffish (Anarhichas Minor), with an unusual appearance, huge red octopuses, big starfishes. The atmosphere is particular and the profusion of life so intense that we mesure at this moment all the potential of scuba diving in this region.
Barry Islet (ou Barry Rock)
A site sloping gently where we observe magnificent gorgons from 25 meters deep. We also cross on this site the famous Lion’s mane jellyfish (Cyanea capillata), regular customer of cold and temperate waters, its very appreciated by the photographers for its colors. Caution however, because its particularly urticant and can cause burns to sensitive people. Note that this specie can reach surprising sizes : the biggest fished specimen (Bay of Massachusetts, 1870) had a diameter of more than 2 meters and tentacles over 30 meters long !
Seven Tree Island
A big wall which drills the gaps along which we slide without efforts thanks to the current. Slopes become milder the more and more we progress to end up in sandbank by-passing the nearby island. A rare occasion to observe such a variety of marine topology. Except the population of invertebrates and sea sponges living on the falling, we observe white and red lords who compete by imitation among anemones, giant red octopuses and sometimes sea lions. Sandbanks, as for them, welcome red, yellow and orange cnidaires, as well as a beautiful collection of red sea urchins
Wreck of Themis
Situated not far of Hunt Rock, this wreck is lying by 35 meters down and is a refuge to numerous groupers and spotted wolffishes. In several rifts and other cavities around the wreck, we observe huge red octopuses who can reach impressive sizes (some can weight up to 50 kilos). The place sparkles of colors thanks to the multiple anemones and the invertebrates which recover the shell of the boat.
A dive not to be missed if the weather conditions allow it. This is the site where we recorded the fastest tidal currents of the world : 22 knots, Guiness Book of records indicates. A dive « just for fun » to taste the pleasure of marine winds.