A Sailor's Idyll
© Parks Canada / Éric Leblanc
Here you can cast anchor in the calm waters at day's end and discover the pleasure of visiting an island in its natural state, an island where Neptune has left his lasting signature.
This diadem of islands and islets stretched round the north shore of the Gulf is a paradise for boaters. The deep bays offer superb anchorage and the local villages provide for all the visitors' needs.
To experience the most from your stay, plan your trip well and make sure your preparations are adequate.
The Mingan Archipelago is situated along the north shore of the Gulf of St. Lawrence, between the towns of Longue-Pointe-de-Mingan and Aguanish. This region is known as being very difficult to navigate due to its combination of an irregular seabed and strong tidal currents.
While the islands can provide shelter during bad weather, not all of the bays are suitable mooring spots. You must therefore ensure you study the navigation and tide charts while planning your stay in the archipelago, and be able to modify your itinerary according to weather conditions. More information is available at our reception centres or at your nautical chart suppliers.
You can obtain up-to-the-minute weather forecasts by dialling (418) 949-2912 or by tuning into radio frequencies VHF 162.4000 and 161.775 Mhz (83B).
Decreasing your ecological footprints
The great outdoors can sometimes make us forget that were are not the only ones sharing the same space. A few small gestures can make all the difference in the conservation of these exceptional environments. Use four-stroke engines as much as possible, watch for small gasoline spills in the water, do not throw anything overboard, collect your garbage and, finally, be sure to respect the code of ethics for navigation and seabird observation.
In the Western Sector of the archipelago, between Longue-Pointe-de-Mingan and Havre-Saint-Pierre (39 km), distances between the islands and the continent are longer (1 to 3 nautical miles), and the water is affected more by winds and tides. Multiple itineraries are possible due to camping, picnicking and hiking facilities on several large islands. To get from one island to another, it is recommended to take the channel north of the islands. The south shore of the islands is more exposed, and you sometimes have to sail far out to sea as the long rocky flats, which are submerged at high tide , can extend 1 nautical mile outwards from the islands.
In the Eastern Sector of the archipelago, between Havre-Saint-Pierre and Baie-Johann-Beetz (60 km), there are no facilities or rescue services once you have passed Île à la Chasse . Navigation in this area is made more difficult by strong winds and a lack of cover. However, the area near Baie-Johann-Beetz has a continued shoreline and deep water.
Between Baie-Johan-Beetz and Aguanish (53 km), the landscape becomes a veritable labyrinth of islets and bare reefs. Navigation is made difficult by the fact that the territory is fragmented, the islets and reefs are near the coast and the marine charts are on a large scale. Islets appear as small points on charts of this scale and it is difficult to differentiate between them and the continent. Warning: the water is shallow here.
Information and Safety
The Havre-Saint-Pierre Marina
Havre-Saint-Pierre has a very pleasant small marina, next to the fishermen's wharf. It provides a number of services, including supplies of drinking water, electricity and fuel, and there is a harbour master's office in the vicinity.
Since space is limited, you would be well advised to check in advance that there are pontoons available.
Club nautique de Havre-Saint-Pierre
1020 Promenade des Anciens
Telephone: (418) 538-1679
You would also do well to obtain nautical charts from the Canadian Hydrographic Service for the Mingan Archipelago region (Nos.4432, 4455 and 4456), along with a local tide table .
Due to its cold waters, the archipelago is subject to fog. Fog can take you by surprise: it can roll in very quickly and last for days. If you must cross a shipping lane, be as visible as possible and make your presence known on the VHF 16 band. Give accurate information regarding your position, time of departure and route followed. Above all do not forget to signal once you have reached your destination.
Be careful: sea kayaks are numerous in the waters of the archipelago and can also be taken unawares by fog. In the event of fog, it is advisable to reduce your speed considerably as this type of craft can only be seen at the last minute.
Cellular telephones only work in the central section of the archipelago and the reception is not uniform. The VHF 16 band is manned 24 hours a day by the Canadian Coast Guard in Rivière-au-Renard, and during the day by the park's staff. In case of emergency, you can call :
PARK EMERGENCY: 1 888 762-1422