Havre St Pierre, North Quebec

If approaching from the west or south west the Mingan Banks constitute a significant hazard. The pilot warns of rough seas over these banks in strong  easterly winds. This is perhaps an understatement. Even on an otherwise mirror calm day with zero wind, the chop over these banks was sufficient to take 3-4 knots off our boat speed and almost bring us to a halt. The easterly entrance to the Mingan Channel, the Chenal Warlus was much calmer. 

The entrance to the Have St Pierre marina is sheltered but very narrow with a strong cross tide of up to 3 knots. It is also significantly shallower than charted and a yacht drawing 2m or more would probably need to wait until half tide before attempting to enter. However once inside the basin there is at least 3m at low water and plenty of turning room. The pontoon on the eastern wall of the marina is reserved for fishing boats  but visitors can use any vacant spaces on any of the other pontoons. The pontoon straight ahead after entering is probably the most suitable one for vessels over 30ft.

This is a full service marina with wifi, water and electricity on the pontoons, a fuel pontoon, and showers, toilet and a launderette in the marina service building. Ashore there is a bar, cafe, a couple of restaurants and a small convenience store with basic provisions.

For those not wanting to use the marina, Anse Desire, a mile to the SW of the harbour entrance offers good shelter in wooded surroundings. Likewise the nearby Mingan Isles offer a variety of very scenic anchorages. However the whole area is a heavily policed national park and it would be wise to check on current anchoring and landing regulations before venturing out to explore the area by boat. 

Havre St Pierre lies on "la route de baleine" and is a popular whale watching spot. If you dine in one of the waterfront restaurants you may be able to watch them breaching as you dine, and you will almost certainly spot them on entering or leaving the harbour. 

In contrast to some of the other harbours further north on the Quebec shore which are English speaking and have a very "Newfoundland feel" about them, Havre St Pierre is very definitely French. No Canadian flags to be seen flying here, only a version of the French tricolour with a single gold star in it - the Arcadian flag. If it wasn't for the numbers on the GPS it would be easy to believe that one had got caught in a warp and somehow ended up somewhere on the Brittany or Normandy coast. 

CAUTION: The information above is selective and reflects conditions at the time of visiting. It is not definitive and may be changed or revised without notice. To the extent permitted by law, the RCC Pilotage Foundation and contributors do not accept any liability for any loss and/or damage howsoever caused that may arise from reliance on information in this Cruising Note and any attached files. The RCC Pilotage Foundation would welcome additional information or corrections to the information in this note. Please click here if you want to provide feedback on this or any other notice.