Located at the seaward end of the Saguenay fjord, Tadoussac is a very popular destination for both cruising sailors from Quebec and land based holiday makers. For both the attraction is the magnificent scenery of Saguenay fjord and whale watching in the turbulent tidal waters of the river mouth. You cannot fail but see the whales as you enter or leave the fjord, including the rare albino white beluga whales. On our visit we were treated to the sight of a whale the length of our boat leaping fully clear of the water like a salmon before crashing back into the water no more than 50 metres away from us.
Timing your arrival at the mouth of the river is critical, as the ebb tide can run at up to 7 knots and the whole river entrance is subject to tidal races and vicious overfalls in wind over tide conditions. In a north westerly the wind funnels strongly down the fjord even when conditions are calm outside giving a rip tide on the flood and in a fresh north easterly one should avoid the area altogether at the end of the ebb when the mass of water pushed by the wind is no longer held up by the ebb current and is released to form steep and especially dangerous waves. In settled weather the entrance presents no great difficulties although it is generally still wise to enter and leave around slack water.
The marina is spacious and deep enough for all normal sailing vessels and can be safely entered at all states of the tide. It has all the normal facilities including fresh water electricity showers and a launderette. The fuel berth is only accessible at half tide or above although you can fill up by jerry can at any time. Like so many popular marinas there is wifi on the pontoons but it is so slow and intermittent as to be practically useless for anything other than picking up email.
If you have arrived from the relative wilderness of the outer St Lawrence then arriving in Tadoussac may come as a bit of a culture shock - we were certainly shocked when the first thing the berthing attendant did after coming alongside was get the tape measure out to check our length so we couldn't cheat on the mooring fees. We were even more shocked to be told that what we had always thought was a 38 ft boat was 39.5 ft when it came to paying the mooring fees - but that's the price you pay to visit what is possibly scenically the most spectacular destination on the St Lawrence river!
Ashore there are a number of lively bars and restaurants, many of which were serving average fare at above average prices, and in summer a vibrant live music scene. The town centre is 15 minutes walk from the marina and has a small grocery store and convenience store as well as countless gift shops.