Old Harry to Grande Entree, Madeleine Islands

Old Harry to Grande Entree, 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
14 kms
Sea Kayaking
Iles-de-la-Madeleine, PQ
User smburt
NTS Map: 011N11

One of the highest frequencies of sea caves per area can be found along this coast line. So said one adventure-guide who takes groups in to the sea caves in sit-on-top kayaks and wet suits to swim in and explore their sub terrainain world.

We launched from an area called Old Harry, formerly known for its harvesting of native walrus. The herds have long gone, but a small fishing wharf and boat skid remain, along with similarly labeled place names like Seacow Bay. This is at the upper tip of the archipelago, and is about 50K from Cap aux Meules.

The sea-worn sandstone in the area gives one a glimpse at what to encounter along this paddling route. The rock is soft, even easily etched or drawn on with a stick. I even noted someone's artful rendering of a well endowed mermaid!

As we poked in and around the various caves and formations, we tag-teamed a couple who were hiking the coastline's cliffs and beaches. so we each got a unique perspective of the land features, with their added bonus of seeing beautiful kayaks in the water. With the sea conditions not withstanding, I think we got the better point of view.

This afternoon was touch and go from the start. First, we were late heading out. Second, I forgot to pack shannon's paddle, and the spare, meaning I had to either go back to Cap Aux Meules to get them (an extra hour at least) or try to find an outfitter who would rent one. Luckily, with one near by, I opted for the later option, and less than 3 K up the road, was able to find her a paddle! Finally the last thing in our derision was the fact that the winds were blowing fairly hard against us with swells to match. We discovered this as we rounded the point at Old Harry. With no white caps, we decided to press on.

The original plan was to paddle the coast, and then at Grand Entree point, turn in land, into Havre de la Grand Entree. We would paddle all the way back up that body of water, and into Old Harry Bay, with only a bit more than a 1 Km walk to return to the car. Combining the difficulty of paddling into the wind and waves, with our delayed start, we ended up cutting that plan in half.

All along the coast, there were few places to land a kayak, but on the other hand, there were small alcoves where one could enter and be sheltered. With high cliff walls all around you, the visual experience was unique. Depending on the time of day, picture taking can be difficult due to the sun and shadow contrasting on the cliff walls. Some of the smaller keyholes you could paddle through if you timed the swells correctly. Most of the sea caves were just too dangerous to enter due to the wave swells. One spot in particular was a huge rock arch formation. that was the money shot of the day.

We continued down the coast, and visibility added to the difficult paddling conditions in terms of finding our point to turn inland. the coast follows a southwest curve, and the land turns to a more flat featureless dune. We ended up pulling in on a beach along Ile Boudreau, which was a section of sand separating Bassin aux huitres. There, we found our map position, and plotted the final details to get around Grande Entree Pointe via GPS.

By the time we made it to the large Government wharf at Grande Entree Pointe, it was nearing 7 PM. We decided to cut our trip short, even though the return would be in more sheltered waters. We bumed a ride back to our car back at Old Harry. The first group we asked at the wharf were more than happy to give us a lift. By car it was only 5K, but we paddled 14 to get here! If we had left earlier in the day, and if the conditions had better suited us, we would have been able to paddle the entire loop. Never the less, I think what we covered was by far, the more picturesque.

Shannon Burt

east Coast editor for Trailpeak.com


Follow Route 199 to it's North eastern tip,

and turn off toward Old Harry wharf. You can

launch from the boat skid.


For other nearby trails click:

Iles-de-la-Madeleine, PQ

List of Similar (difficulty) Province Wide Trails:

Belle Anse, Madeleine Islands...

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

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