Aquatic Stories (part 3 of 5)

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During the summer of 2007, I worked at Tadoussac, in Quebec, as a guide for whale-watching in various places. On my days off, I seized the opportunity to do more aquatic activities. In addition to taking part in a lot whale-watching excursions, I went with a female friend to another village, in the north-east, to see blue whales.

It was a special excursion, and yes, we were able to see them: the largest animal that has ever existed! We saw several ones, with their blue dotted bodies. It was very moving.

One night, we went out kayaking with the park rangers of the Parc marin Saguenay Saint-Laurent. It was prohibited to go out at night, unless accompanied by the park rangers. There we saw a phenomenon called “bioluminescence”.

It was like seeing thousands of little stars falling with each stroke. The phenomenon is produced in the water by microscopic algae that generate light. We also went to hear the minke whales breathing.

Despite having a neoprene wetsuit, I was very scared of falling into the water, since the temperature in those areas were 5 to 10 degrees Celsius… too cold! Luckily, we arrived on shore completely dry.

During those times, I didn’t have my diving certificate, but I wanted to try snorkeling in the cold waters to see sea urchins and starfish. My group went diving a little further, leaving me by myself, I had a dry wetsuit consisting of a neoprene wetsuit that was worn over clothing and with tightfitting sleeves and collar to prevent the water from penetrating.

The problem was that I was giving a male suit and I felt it was loose. But it was too late, I was already in the water. It was the only time in my life I felt like I was overwhelmed: between the suit, the current and the fact that I was all alone.

However, despite that, I still tried to manage until I saw the sea urchins, the starfish and the sea cucumbers. I think it would’ve been better to swim without all that suit, feel the cold and that’s it.

Author: Helena Aroyo

Amelie Delobel

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