This article is part of a series of portraits of people involved in some way with whales on the North Shore. Of Quebec As part of the Whale Route Documentation Project, meet these colourful characters who define the face of the region. Discover their stories that will bring you to life or relive the wonderful stories of the St. Lawrence River and its giant marine creatures! 

It’s been 13 years since Jane-Anne Cormier, more intimately known as Jae, left Havre-Saint-Pierre to pursue her studies. She’s been coming back to spend her summers for three years now.

A former athlete and contemporary dancer, Jae embarks on the entrepreneurial adventure by founding Les Vagues, the first paddle board school in the Mingan region. Her goal: to diversify and revive the local economy of Havre-Saint-Pierre. She brings a breath of fresh air into the Havre-St-Pierre landscape.

“Thanks to the proximity of the water, the paddle boards provide an intimate view of the landscape. It’s relatively common to see whales of all kinds offshore.” – Jane-Anne Cormier

She is developing a one-of-a-kind excursion known as the SUP Marteau, where she accompanies tourists to Île au Marteau by paddle board for a day or a weekend. From late June to early September, she consistently sees whales, porpoises and seals. When paddle-boarding, she says she enjoys wonderful observations of marine mammals at the surface from these silent, engine-less craft.

She is proud to offer peaceful, non-invasive excursions, especially to observe marine fauna and discover the islands around Havre-St-Pierre. “Thanks to the proximity of the water, the paddle boards provide an intimate view of the landscape. It’s relatively common to see whales of all kinds offshore,” says Jae with sparkling eyes. Her environment and the proximity of the sea are what drive her.

One day as she was approaching Île au Marteau with her group, she heard a funny sound. “I could hear a strange noise coming from the rocks, a sort of constant howling,” she says. When she approaches, she realizes that these sounds are actually seals basking on the rocks and howling in unison! [Phot gauche phoque à capuchon]

It reminds us that fishermen in Havre-St-Pierre refer to seals as “sea wolves”. Thanks to their wolf-like howls, Jae can now understand why local seamen call them this way.

Her business, the paddle boarding sport and the return to her hometown has allowed her to reconnect with the marine environment of her childhood. It’s a sweet melody punctuated by the tides and blowing whales that now colours her summers in Havre-Saint-Pierre.

Reconnect, transcend and explore the islands differently, in complete harmony with the environment.

Observation of the Week - 31/10/2019

Anne-Marie Asselin

Anne-Marie Asselin joined the Whales Online team in the summer of 2019. With a Master’s degree in environmental science and ocean and coastal zone management, as well as a Bachelor’s degree in marine ecology, it is an honour for her to be able to learn and share stories about marine mammals and the St. Lawrence ecosystem. As founder and editor-in-chief of the Blue Organization, she believes that environmental communication and popular science are essential for the protection of our oceans and our cherished St. Lawrence.

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