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By: Thomas Leszkiewicz

It is always a heart racing experience to encounter a whale in the wild. May it be snorkeling, diving, kayaking or just plain whale watching. However, none is more thrilling personally then being on a paddleboard when they appear! The mixture of keeping your balance and nerve in check makes for an exciting time.

 A personal experience of mine took place while working in the north coast of Quebec. There, is a tiny town called Tadoussac situated at the confluence of the Saguenay and Saint Lawrence. Being Frances first trading post in the New World, its name derived from the indigenous word meaning “bosom” …with reference to its two round and sandy hills located on its west side.  The key attraction in the area however is the abundance of whales migrating to its shores during the summer.

 After a good coffee in the morning to warm me up, I put on my wetsuit, booties and lifejacket and jumped into the water hoping for the best. Thermal gear is imperative in the area since waters in the Saint Lawrence tend to be quite cold. With perfect conditions it doesn’t take long for you to spot whales breaking the mirror image of the surface, which was my case!

 It is truly a surreal experience to be paddle boarding next to these gentle giants. On that specific day, I was blessed enough to see mink whales, humpback whales, dolphins, beluga whales and curious seals bobbing their heads around for a closer look. I also spotted a blue whale in the distance, the largest animal to have lived on earth! 

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