Belle Anse, Madeleine Islands

Belle Anse, Madeleine Islands near Iles-de-la-Madeleine, PQ

This trail was given a rating of 5 out of 5 stars This trail was given a rating of 5 out of 5 stars This trail was given a rating of 5 out of 5 stars This trail was given a rating of 5 out of 5 stars This trail was given a rating of 5 out of 5 stars
13 kms
Sea Kayaking
Iles-de-la-Madeleine, PQ
User smburt
The Belle Anse stretch of coast line is one of the most popular and beautiful areas for sea kayaking. No wonder many commercial tours center around its waters. Attracted to the sea caves and several beach launch sites, this is a fairly safe region to paddle, given calm wind and wave conditions. Other big attractions include an old barge, as well as an Island in the same area. Our lunch stop and wrap up finished at white sandy beaches. We had a great place to park our car and launch behind a set of break waters around Anse de l'Etang du Nord. Fanny, from Vert et Mer, (the people who route planned for us) would shuttle our car to Fatima, near Cap L'Hopital.

Our first attraction could be right around the corner from the break water. Ten years ago, a two barges were being towed by a tug during a storm. One was taking on water, and being too close to shore, and too heavy to drag, had to be cut loose. It grounded near the shore on private land. The other, landed further North on crown land. Consequently, the Government paid for the removal of the later, leaving the former; the barge grounded here at cap Brillant, to be dealt with at the expense of the land owner. Needless to say, the barge still stands.

Although this sounds like a tragic story, the barge has since turned red, no doubt with rust, and now lends itself to the surrounding although contrasting organic landscape. It serves as a huge attraction for kayakers and land-lovers alike to come visit the area. We were told not to paddle too close, as the vessel can potentially shift. In its front, you can see gaps in the hull, probably large enough to paddle in through. After exploring the barge, we were drawn to a small island called Ile aux Goelands. Because there were no winds at the time, we could paddle around it, "sans aroma" from bird scat. These little islands lend themselves to cormorant and other winged habitation.

As we headed North, we began to see the red cliffs emerge, with ever bigger holes being revealed. by the time re rounded Pointe Herrissee, the caves were large enough to explore. We donned our headset lamps with hopes of seeing what lay inside. No doubt due to mid day sun, our eyes simply couldn't adjust to what our lamps revealed. It was a good idea, in theory anyway.

By the time we finished a beach snack, (what an undignified landing that was!) and passed Cap au Trou, the water turned rougher, allowing us only to spot caves, but we dare not venture in. Swells would potentially sweep us against the rocks with out let up. We saw waves crashing against the rocks which gave us ample warning.

We finally rounded Cap l'Hopital to find calmer waters, and with the swells now at our backs, had a mild but fun surf ride into the beach. The water was crystal clear and warm! It was so cool to watch shannon surfing a wave by carving a rudder turn with her paddle. Mucho style points for her!

This is a really nice route to paddle in the variety is has to offer. Caves, sea stacks, a small island, grounded barge wreck, beaches, rich green turf topping a contrasting red rock cliffs. All in around 3-4 hours of paddling at an explorer's pace.

Shannon Burt east coast editor for


Leaving Cap aux Meules, take the 199 South,

and turn onto Chemin de L'Etang du Nord.

Look for Ch. Delaney and launch frm there.


For other nearby trails click:

Iles-de-la-Madeleine, PQ

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Please check the bottom of the Description (above left; click) for the author's written directions.

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