Gros Cap, Madeleine islands

Gros Cap, Madeleine islands near Iles-de-la-Madeleine, PQ

This trail was given a rating of 4 out of 5 stars This trail was given a rating of 4 out of 5 stars This trail was given a rating of 4 out of 5 stars This trail was given a rating of 4 out of 5 stars This trail was given a rating of 4 out of 5 stars
13 kms
Sea Kayaking
Iles-de-la-Madeleine, PQ
User smburt

We planned this, our first kayaking trip in the Madeleine Islands, through Vert et Mer 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 trips.

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 instant gratification!

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 understand why.

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 on.

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 central island.

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 in a Yurt . Fancy that!


Take Route 199 from Cap aux Meules, and turn left toward Gros Cap.

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

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