Few years have passed, since the last time I dove in the Saguenay River. In 2017, during the trip to the End of the Road, Matt Wills and I made a dive at the Quai de l’Anse-de-Roche and another one at the Sainte Rose du Nord.
Although we utterly enjoyed ‘em, those shore dives cannot be compared with boat excursions. I really wanted and hoped to return for more, but other destinations occupied my schedule and I had to wait for another chance.
Flabellina verrucosa. 2017 Trip to Saguenay
For the very first time, I dove at Saguenay in 2013 at the Quai de l’Anse-de-Roche. And at first, to tell the truth, I wasn’t too captivated. I remember that It was very dark, very cold and the only thing, that left an indelible impression, was a fantastic, reddish light, glittering above our heads.
Brown psolus (Psolus phantapus). 2017 Trip to Saguenay
In 2014, if I’m not mistaken, when I was diving at Les Escoumins, I’ve met Pascal Tremblay, who told me, that if I’m looking for awesome new places to explore, I should try diving in the Saguenay. I was a bit surprised, but his stories and descriptions were so enticing, that I gladly excepted his invitation to investigate the river with him. And since then, each time I had a minute chance, I drove back to Saguenay full of pleasant expectations.
Tribute to Pierre Lavoie .Hommage à Pierre Lavoie L’Anse-Saint-Jean
Those, who are following ToDiveToday pages, familiar with my very objective 😉 view about this gorgeous part of northern Quebec. Therefore, I won’t dwell describing the beauty of a 65 miles long Saguenay Fjord. But just let you know, that I was very lucky to get this fall an invitation from Lucie Tremblay and her lovely family to join them at the Camping de l’Anse for a few days of diving off their Bombard RIB.
Saguenay near L’Anse-Saint-Jean
Camping de l'Anse
My small tent at Camping de l’Anse
View on Saguenay
As you can see, the placement of my tent was just perfect. And since we were returning from our dives no later than 2 maybe 2:30 in the afternoon, I had an ample time to enjoy vicinity of the campground.
Bird view on the Camping de l’Anse.
Here is what my tent looked like from the inside. Thanks to Jasmin, Lucie’s husband, who gave me a small heater, I felt warm during the nights and slept well.
Inside of my tent
I also used the borrowed plastic box as a makeshift table for charging all my gadgets. The only inconvenience, that I could think of, was the low height of my tent, about 4 feet. Otherwise, I loved staying on the campground, eating outdoor and when the sun disappeared behind tall mountains, sit with others around a campfire and listen to Jimmy’s guitar.
My first attempt at astrophotography
Lucie’s “Explorer” is long and wide enough to conveniently accommodate at least 4 divers. The river, during all three days, was remarkably calm and getting to dive-sites was fast and easy. But this boat, as I have seen many times, could cut through rough, choppy condition like a knife through the melting butter. Upon return from a dive trip, Jasmin drove the RIB to the parking lot where we prepared and loaded tanks for the next day.
Cathy L. is getting her gear ready for the next day
In the morning, after breakfast, the boat was launched off the L’Anse-Saint-Jean Pier and we were on our way to the first site.
Pier of L’Anse-Saint-Jean
During this trip, I visited a few sites at which I dove before and a few that I explored for the very first time. In previous trips, as for me, Pascal’s Wall was the most impressive place in regards to the amount and diversity of marine life. Hence, I thought that nothing can beat Pascal’s Wall … and that how I thought until I was shown the Régis’a Wall.
Sea strawberries (Gersemia rubiformis)
Despite that I had with me my wide-angle setup, I was photo-hunting Big-fin bobtail squid, so at each dive, my camera was equipped with a 100 mm macro lens. Therefore, to my regret, I’m unable to exhibit an incredible parade of all kind of representatives of the marine fauna blooming at Régis’s Wall.
Bobtail squid (Semirossia tenera) Picture is taking during 2015 Trip to Saguenay
Recently, after my february trip to Norway, thanks to Tine Kinn KvammeI, I acquired a very powerful, 5000 lumens underwater torch (WISEONE) with a narrow beam of light, capable to illuminate subjects at considerable distances, especially if the water is as clear as it was in the Saguenay. At 70 feet, I switched to the highest power, all 5000 lumens, and I pointed the light down. As far as I could see, at least 120-160 feet, the wall was copiously covered with all sorts of aquatic life. And I may be wrong, but it seemed to me the deeper it was, the larger were marine organisms.
Skeleton shrimp (Caprellidae)
For example, in waters of Massachusetts, I’ve seen fairly large Bushy backed nudibranchs (Dendronotus frondosus), but in Saguenay, they were reaching 5-6 inches in length. Often, I’ve heard that some nudis grew to a foot in length. And witnessing quite sizable species myself, I had no doubts in the validity of such claims. But as of today, I did not see it with my own eyes … yet
Bushy backed nudibranchs (Dendronotus frondosus)
Robust Frond-aeolis (Dendronotus robustus)
Or take Hedgehog amphipod (Paramphithoe hystrix). If normally, this macropredator can be hardly seen at all, and, due to its microscopic dimension, it’s very difficult to photograph, then in Saguenay you won’t need to strain your eyes, here they are as large as half of your thumb.
Hedgehog amphipod (Paramphithoe hystrix)
All shrimps, especially Aesop and Polar lebbeid, are very big and almost all of ‘em carrying eggs.
Polar Lebbeid (Lebbeus polaris)
Polar Lebbeid (Lebbeus polaris)
Once, between the dives, I’ve mentioned to Lucie, that the last time I was diving at Saguenay with Jimmy, I saw turquoise colored anemone.
Northern red anemone (Dahlia Anemone) Picture is taking during 2015 Trip to Sagueany
Yes, she knew exactly what I was talking about, but then asked if I ever saw yellow ones? I did not. Thus, we glided over the calm surface of the river to our next dive site where I found completely yellow anemones.
Northern red anemone (Dahlia Anemone)
What else can one observe in the Saguenay? Walls, that are practically from top to bottom covered with Sea strawberry soft corals.
Sea Strawberry gets consumed by Northern red anemone
Large areas of Northern cerianthid (Cerianthus borealis), surrounded by fields of Rugose anemone (Hormathia (Chondractinia) nodosa)
Northern cerianthid (Cerianthus lloydii)
Rugose anemone (Hormathia nodosa)
Numerous counts of the Pink-Bearded Snailfish. Someone, on a Facebook, observing the photo of this fish, asked me how deep was I diving. And that someone was pleasantly surprised with my answer. Well, then it was my turn to ask why it was hard to believe that I was able to photograph it going no deeper than 70-80 feet? And his answer was that normally, these species dwell at the depth of 2.500 feet (795 meters.) and other lives 3 miles (5 km) deep.
Pink-Bearded Snailfish (Careproctus trachysoma)
Large regions on the wall thickly covered by Stalked jellyfish.
Stalked jellyfish (Hyalocytes salpinx)
A Wolfish guarding its precious eggs.
Atlantic wolfish with eggs (Anarhichas lupus)
Beautiful Basket stars, so intricate in design and enormous in their sizes. And much, much more.
Basket star (Euryalida)
You don’t have to wander into the abyss of the Saguenay, to enjoy a display of an amazing aquatic life or make new personal discoveries. You’ll be overwhelmed at very manageable 50-80 feet. Therefore, second of all, you need a full tank (preferably a Nitrox), a warm dry suit and a good light.
But first of all, you must be very lucky to have friends, who, upon your arrival in Canada, will make you feel at home. And who, open-heartedly, will share with you their delicious food, sincere smiles and passion for diving.
From left to right Jasmin, Lucie and Jessica
Thus, I want to express my gratitude to all whom I knew before and whom I’ve met for the first time. The memory of your genuine care and authentic kindness will stay with me until my sanity remains intact.
Thank you, Lucie, Jasmin, Jessica, Jean-François, Cathy, Jimmy and all others … you, guys, are awesome!!!
Ever since I was a child, I wanted to learn to scuba dive. But only in 2009 in Playa del Carmen (Mexico), my dream finally came true. And from that auspicious summer day, when for the very first time, I’ve plunged to the bottom of the ocean (about 45 feet :), I couldn’t stop dreaming to do it again and again.
A bit later, I bought my first camera and underwater macro photography quickly became my favorite hobby. So now, with great enthusiasm, I’m looking forward to the next trip, so I can pack my gear and set on the path of new discoveries.
The only purpose of Todivetoday – is to show to those who do not dive yet, a phenomenal world, hidden below a shoreline. And I truly believe, that by showing to a fellow man a breathtaking beauty of the deep, I can inspire some to preserve and to protect “blue blood of our planet”.
Safe diving and happy new discoveries to all.