Le Boréal Goes to the Birds

Once again, a gorgeous sunny day as Le Boréal heads towards Percé. From my balcony I can just make out Bonaventure Island at the tip of the Gaspé Peninsula. This afternoon I’ll visit the national park on the island, and I can hardly wait.

So far, my favorite photo subjects of all time have been the penguins on Antarctica, but today that may change, for the island is home to the world’s largest and most accessible gannet colony: 250,000 birds nesting, 50,000 couples of northern gannets.

Meanwhile, I’m just kicking back and enjoying the ship, typing this in my luxurious cabin. Breakfast was especially good this morning – was it the caffeine in the double espresso or the perfectly poached eggs that have made me so happy? Or maybe it was the long hot shower (did I mention that I can shower and watch the ocean and passing scenery though the sliding glass door of the bathroom?) – and the big fluffy robe.

I’m halfway through this 10-day cruise from Boston to Montreal, and already I’m wishing there were more days ahead.

To be continued…

After taking a tender into Percé, our tour group boarded another boat for the half-hour ride to Bonaventure Island. To reach the gannets, we had a longish hike ahead of us, between 45 minutes and a half hour to the top of a mountain. The grade was pretty steep and the dirt trail was rocky and loaded with tree roots.

It was a tougher climb than I’d expected and it took me the full hour. And then, all of a sudden, I could hear (and smell) them, thousands and thousands of birds beyond the trees. Fewer than I’d expected after the numbers I’d been given, but still there were about 65,000 of them, grooming, flying, and doing whatever gannets do in the period before they migrate – down to the Gulf of Mexico, I was told.

Our tour group put our cameras to work and probably would have kept shooting for hours if the guide didn’t eventually remind us that it was an hour’s hike back down to the boat and back to the ship.

Everyone was ready for a shower and a rest. Then, cocktails before dinner in the lounge on Deck 6, with Oleg at the piano.

The hands-down dinner favorite on the menu was Percé lobster. We’d seen huge mounds of them outside the kitchen earlier in the day, and now here they came, beautifully broiled with coral butter. And yes, our table did desserts, too, mostly raspberry ice cream and roasted peaches with caramel mousse.

Don’t you wish you could have joined us?

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