After a rather dispiriting finish to the day yesterday, you’ll be glad to know that today was much better!
Gloriously sunny and clear day, albeit with a chilly wind.
First port of call was the local tourist office, which was an absolute mine of information. We came away with plenty to think about, so we did precisely that over an excellent coffee and pastry in a patisserie, served by a lady from Australia. We also booked a reservation for dinner tonight at a decent looking restaurant in what appeared to be a reasonably upmarket hotel. Percé is absolutely stuffed with motels of variable quality, but very few pure hotels.
One upshot was to purchase a ticket for a boat trip out to the Percé Rock noted yesterday, then around the Île de Bonaventure in the bay, with the promise of seabirds and seals.
The Rock is quite something, formed from erosion over millennia. It used to have two arches, but one collapsed in the late 19th century.
From here, we headed out to the Íle de Bonaventure.
It is actually home to the largest colony of gannets in North America – well over 100,000 birds at its peak. This became obvious as we headed round the northern part of this 4 square kilometre island. Evidence of just how bounteous the Atlantic Ocean is around here.
Spectacular stuff, although the commentary, delivered by a totally disinterested barrel of a Frenchman, was anything but.
After the boat had circumnavigated the island, it stopped to pick up people who had been dropped off on an earlier crossing and let people off who wanted to explore the island. We didn’t have time to do this, so stayed onboard to return to Percé harbour.
Well worth the trip.
Back to the patisserie for another coffee and a croque madame to fortify us for a visit to the Discovery Centre and a walk up to a headland called Mont Joli.
I wasn’t expecting much from the first, but it proved to be interesting. The economy of this area had for literally hundreds of years been based on fishing, mainly cod. I appreciate the snap below is not easy to read, but it might be worth your while to try as it explains a lot about the history of the area and also the derivation of the name of this peninsula.
It also featured a beautifully filmed video in French, depicting details of the life cycle of the seabirds in this area.
Time for a bit of exercise, then. We walked up towards the Mont Joli viewpoint, but in so doing discovered literally another side of Percé. It was beautifully clear – the light was a photographer’s dream.
Various storyboards appeared along the way.
We headed towards the church we’d seen earlier and got more of a sense of this place.
Reached the church which unfortunately was closed, but it was a) enormous b) relatively recently built. I know nothing about it, but it was impressive.
Another interesting storyboard materialised on the way back to the village:
We returned to the room to prepare for our previously reserved table at the hotel. The wind had dropped by now, and it was getting dark. Still a bit chilly.
The meal, I’m glad to report, was excellent, a real treat after last night’s disappointment. The wine was a very nice Québecois dry white. Must see if I can find some more of that…..
So endeth a really good day.
Next stop is Carleton-sur-Mer, our last in Québec province before we cross into New Brunswick. The next stage begins.
Hope you will follow us as we continue across this enormous country.