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! 

Sylvie Savard and her dog Désirée L’Amour both live in Godbout. Endearing by nature, she owns a First Nations craft store and a cottage named “Thépi bec sucré”, just in front of the bay. The entrepreneur welcomes visitors from around the world to take advantage of the “tipi-and-whale” experience!

The B&B and the boutique have been open for almost ten years now. Her business and cherished tipi face Godbout Bay, close to the ferry crossing. She says she sees whales regularly, as do her customers! “My customers go nuts!” she says, proudly and enthusiastically. “The bay is very deep where the ferry docks to shuttle passengers back and forth to Matane every day. There are a lot of fish and the whales come in close to feed on them.”

“The bay is very deep where the ferry docks to shuttle passengers back and forth to Matane every day. There are a lot of fish and the whales come in close to feed on them” – Sylvie Savard

She doesn’t just see the whales, she hears them, too! “Once I was lying in bed and I heard something that sounded like someone crying. I couldn’t tell what it was. So I turned on the light to look out the window. That’s when I saw several whales next to the wharf that seemed to be playing,” she says. They kept her awake for a while.

Every so often, she is a bit startled by a loud whale blow! She compares whale spouts to the air brakes of a lorry. “But there are no trucks on the docks: It’s whales!”

According to her, the proximity of whales is what makes Godbout so special!

“Over there on the rocky outcrop, I saw a blue whale! It was so close I could admire its beautiful blue colour and texture! I’ll remember it for the rest of my life!” says Sylvie.

For her and many other local entrepreneurs, the bay is an important source of income. Featured in a European travel guide, her B&B hosts visitors who come to her home to have a chance to hear whales at night and observe them in the bay during the day! Thanks to cetaceans, many residents in Quebec are able to earn a living off this seasonal influx by showing off their little piece of paradise along the Whale Route.

 “Our cetaceans enable us to develop a dynamic tourism industry and a range of economic spin-offs for local and neighbouring communities. Just one more reason to protect our whales!” says Sylvie so well.

Observation of the Week - 30/10/2019

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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