We planned this, our first kayaking trip
in the Madeleine Islands, through
the very same morning.
Due to changing weather conditions, one
must always be flexible. The great thing
about paddling here is that in most cases,
there is always a location suitable for
paddling of one kind or another.
We parked near the campground, and
unloaded our gear. One of the staff from Vert
et Mer would shuttle our car to the take out
near fatima. What a great convenience that
was, saving us from having to paddle loop
With our plan in place, we set out on the
water. Just around the first corner at Cap
Rouge, we hit beautiful sea caves, carved out
of the red sand stone. Some were simply
hollowed out caves, while others you could
paddle around and come out somewhere
else. So right off the bat, this route gave
The sounds of the waves inside the caves is
remarkable. The crashes seem to be
amplified by the walls and curved hollowed
sections. They also call these caves
amphitheaters, and judging by the sounds, I
Sea stacks are also prevalent on this side,
and was also the site of a photogenic keyhole
locally named Elephant rock. The rock
formation has long since collapsed, but the
marketing pictures you see make it live
this section of coast is very popular to
touring operators. We saw several zodiac s,
touring cruisers and kayak tours headed our
way after we explored the caves. We timed it
well and then moved on before things got a
little too crowded.
All along the coast, you see evidence of land
loss. Fences set back safe areas, and from
the water's vantage point, one can see
where land use to be, now crumbled rock
and the occasional bit of turf. I'm not
sure what the rate of land loss is, but if they
get the same weather patterns as we do on
PEI, it's several feet per year.
As we left Gros Cap, the hills lessened in
severity. Approaching Cap aux Meules,
things became more like an urban paddle.
We could see the town scape above the hills,
and see the break water of the large
commercial warf where the big ferries dock.
We re routed further away from shore so as
to avoid crossing any suprise boat traffic.
Just past the government warf, we could see
grey colored hills that were around 15
meters high. they seemed to be made of
something different than the rest of the
landscape. Perhaps that is where the "
grindstone" name originates for the
About 3.5 K beyond the water front takes us
to Havre aux Maisons bridge where we would
enter one of the Islands' lagoons
(Lagoon du Havre aux Maisons). To be sure
we didn't over paddle, I had to check
my map and refer to my GPS's
navigational waypoints. Otherwise, we were
about to set a course toward Cap Alright.
Something to be aware of when you paddle
the region is that you can cover ground quite
quickly, even when you dawdle in the caves
and coastal features.
After entering the Lagoon, to our left lies Ile
Rouge, a small bump of an island home to
mainly cororants and other birds. Totally scat
covered, you may want to hold your nose as
you pass by, or pick a course up wind of the
landmark. Be weary of fishing boat traffic, as
the passage is fairly narrow.
Upon finding our car (a thankfully easy task)
we loaded up and headed back to Cap Aux
Meules to try the shark burger sat Pas
Perdus, a popular bistro in town. I second the
recommendation! tonight we were off to stay
. Fancy that!
199 from Cap aux Meules, and
turn left toward Gros Cap.
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