As you may recall, Mon Amour and I take turns secretly planning our anniversary trips. This year, being an odd number (5!) it was Mon Amour's turn to plan. Mon Amour seems to get stuck with the tricky years (year 3: I am due 4 days before our anniversary. year 5: we have a small one, not yet ready to be left behind). This year, add to the small-chid-factor, the fact that we couldn't do much on our actual anniversary (it being the inaugural anniversary of a good friend) and our alternate date options were limited by his travels.
But, it was clear to Mon Amour that we would have to celebrate our anniversary in Canada since we were already planning on being that close. I mean, how cool is it to say "For our 5th anniversary, we went to Canada for an overnight". Yup.
You already know we went to Riviere Du Loup to explore. But, anniversary trips (for us) are about an activity, not just a destination. And what sneaky surprise did Mon Amour have up his sleeve for Anniversary #5....
Which is hilarious, cause back on our 1st anniversary, we were playing 20-questions as I tried to figure out what Mon Amour had planned. Based on Mon Amour's very clever answers, I had no idea what we were doing, and my best guess was whale watching. (We actually went to a rodeo...I was close, right? large animal watching??) And, wouldn't you know it, 4 years later, that's what we do!
Hibou, ready to set sail. With no idea how cold its going to get. The captain actually, half jokingly, but mostly serious) said that if you fall over we won't come back for you, cause you'd basically freeze in a couple minutes. The water was that cold.
The tide was out when we left which meant that all the little boats in the docks were sitting in the mud...when we returned three hours later, they were level with the pier above them. Crazy.
So, the good news is, we saw some whales - "Fin Whales". The bad news is, they were sleeping, which means that every 15 minutes or so, they come up for air and you get to see this...
It was still pretty impressive despite the lack of jumping or tail-fin-sighting.
Here is rosy-cheeks-Hibou while we warm up below deck.
We did see a lot of Beluga "Whales". Which are not technically whales, apparently they are more closely related to dolphins. But they were really cool to watch. They got really curious about the boat at the end (which apparently they don't usually do) and swam up really close. There were also a bunch of baby Belugas, some of which, the guide told us, were probably just a couple weeks old. Beluga's are born dark grey, but become white as they mature.
It was a fantastic trip! Whale watching, if you have never been, is a must! Even though the fin whales were sleeping, its crazy to see them in person and realize just how big they actually are.
And, just for fun, a picture of the harbour when we returned, at high tide. The tides here are ridiculous!
The whales were the planned coolness on this trip, but on our way back to Maine, we decided to stop at another amazingly cool place. In this tiny town (literally, a population of XXX, where one block past Main St, the roads become gravel) in Quebec, we visited a Maple Sap Farm where they make "Maple Sap Alcoholic Drinks". I.E. (unofficially) Maple-Wine!
We took a tour, and learned lots of fun things about the maple industry, and also discovered that this is the first place in the world to turn Maple Sap into "wine". (Officially its not wine. alcohol from grapes is wine. Alcohol from wheat is beer. Alcohol from maple sap is "acer". This place coined that term). And it is delicious! I may be slightly biased though, I love all things maple.
Here is the gravel road leading that runs through the Maple Farm. In case you are wondering, that is a 20something% grade on that road. I am pretty sure that in the U.S. they put warning signs up for a grade that is like 5%...this was much much steeper than that.
Maple Syrup making barns.
Everything this place made was delicious...maple syrup, maple jelly, maple wine. Needless to say, we splurged a smidgen on some "souvenirs".