Dec 4, 2017

Saguenay Fjord

John and I were fortunate to visit Saguenay Fjord National Park as part of our cruise with Blount Small Adventures. A fjord is a long, narrow, deep inlet of the sea between high cliffs and I always thought they were exclusive to Norway. We joined the cruise in Oswego and left at 4 a.m. We were out on the lake to see a glorious sunrise.  I would have liked to have sailed closer to the shore so I could make out more places I know such as Mexico Point Park.  The cruise continued through the St. Lawrence Seaway to Montreal and Quebec then up the Saguenay Fjord. 

Sailing between the high hills was beautiful.  I realized that it was part of the deep sea water when I saw ocean-going cruise ships at the cruise dock in Chicoutimi.   Luckily the cruise ship and its 1000s of passengers was just leaving. We were greeted on the dock by costumed ladies, jugglers, and, inside the terminal, a duo provided music for the shoppers – yes, there were plenty of kiosks offering souvenirs and locally made products.    

John and I enjoyed a hop-on bus tour of Chicoutimi that stopped at La Petite Maison Blanche (The Little White House). The small square house was constructed in 1900. When the nearby dam overflowed due to an employee mistake (there goes his bonus) the house remained but the big flood came in 1996.
The dam overflowed causing widespread destruction to the town of Chicoutimi and wiped away every building surrounding the Little White House.   The flood waters raged all around the base of the house for four days and when it was over, the Little White House remained for all to see. It is a symbol of perseverance. The house is now a museum and a small park has been built around it. 

In 1893 several citizens of Chicoutimi visited the World’s
Colombian Exposition in Chicago. They were mesmerized by the “electricity faery.” They wanted Chicoutimi to be the “Chicago of the North.” One far-thinking citizen was able to convince the local government to modernize the city with electricity and public water. That in turn led to the creation of the Compagnie de pulpe de Chicoutimi, the paper company that brought prosperity to the region. There are sign boards telling about the rise and fall of the industry. 

There were other things to see but I was most enthralled as we
sailed back down the fjord and saw beluga whales. Beluga whales are my favorite whale because their bright white color made them easy to spot. There were other whale watching boats which were very crowded; our ship was not plus we had an on-board authority
who showed a video the night before about the belugas.  The belugas are called the “sea canary” because they make a variety of sounds from whistling to barking. They have a well-developed hearing because they cannot see well in the darkness of the deep water. 

Lighthouse lovers will enjoy seeing the unique Prince Shoal Lighthouse which serves as both a lighthouse and buoy. Also unique is the statue of the Virgin Mary high on a cliff that was erected by a merchant as a thank you for having his prayers answered.  He fell through the ice on the frozen Saguenay River and implored the Virgin Mary to save him only to become very sick as a result, and he again turned to the Virgin Mary for help. Prayers answered.