L’Anse a Beaufils

We departed Gaspé on Sunday morning, with a less than favorable forecast; in fact we had stowed our power cable, and were considering hauling it back out and re-connecting when the cloud cover began to break and we spotted a small patch of blue sky. Close enough, off we went! The 32 mile run would put us in L’Anse-a-Beaufils by 1630. Low clouds and showers stayed with us, and as we rounded Pointe Ste. Pierre, the winds kicked up as the front pushed through. We passed the magnificent Roche Perce, the most photographed location in Canada, and took a number of photos of our own. We ran the last two hours in about 4-5 ft. on the port bow. Not our preferred conditions, but not a terribly uncomfortable ride. We phoned the dockmaster at Beaufils, and secured a spot for the night. Notes on the ActiveCaptain site indicated that spaces fill quickly in windy conditions, as all the tour boats from Roche Perce head there when the winds pipe up. Jacques, the dockmaster spoke better english than my french, so a space was waiting for us.

The cruise guide and ActiveCaptain notes all led us to beleive that we’d be tying up to other cruise boats, but when we turned into the harbor, we were surprised to see relatively new floating docks outfitted with water and 30 amp power. Jacques was waiting for us, and as dockmaster, ambassador, and mini-tour guide all in one, made us feel very welcome! What a gem of a spot! Not much in the way of services, but the facilities were clean, docks were new and in good shape, and 8 ft. of water in the basin. Adjacent to the docks is located Pit Caribou, a Gaspesie micro-brewery. They brew beer there for the local bars, and have increased their capacity five-fold over the last 4 years, and are still running out of beer in their high season! They sell beer directly from the brewery, so we tested it out, excellent!

Monday morning dawned with sparkling clear skies, and we decided to head to Ile Bonaventure, part of a national park, and home to a colony of gannets, purportedly the largest such colony on the Atlantic coast. We anchored off the beach near the tour boat wharf, and dinghied in to shore. Bonaventure had beginnings as a fishing outpost, at one time the location of a large cod operation where cod filets were salted and dried, and over the years dating from the 1800’s, a location for recreational fishing. Today it is a preserve, the gannet colony is located on the east side of the island, and a 3 km walking trail leads visitors from the interpretation center across the island to view the colony. The trail leads up and over the pine stands that cover much of the island, and the air is filled with the scent of sweet pine. It’s a different scent than our Pennsylvania forests, difficult to define how, but to my sensitive sniffer, it just smells a bit sweeter.

Perhaps it’s the infusion of wildflowers, but it’s a very pleasant experience, and a wonderful prelude to the gannet colony, which has a very different smell, as one might imagine. The racket was… like thousands of birds all in the same place. Lots of bird sounds! Not enthusiastic birders, we were still glad we had the experience of seeing the colony. The bazillion flies that came with the experience we could have done without, but we had the return hike to set things right in the olfactory department! During our visit, clouds increased and we had some light showers, and winds started picking up, typical of afternoon weather patterns, so we hoisted the dink back onto the pitching deck without incident, upped anchor and headed back to the tranquility of Beaufils. More boats filled the docks after we arrived, and Molly burned off some energy swimming off the pier. We took the short walk to the restored general store and visited it.

The store provides a very interesting look into the rugged past of this coastal area with period costumed interpreters with lively presentations inside the store (in french). Afterward, we strolled to the beach to allow the pups some romp time while we sifted through the beach gravel in search of agates. The area is reknowned for its abundance of the semi-precious stones, and we shared the beach with a number of agate enthusiasts, some of whom departed with gallon-sized bags of stones. We now have more ballast. OK, some of them are purty.

The local fish house has been converted into “La Vielle Usine”, now a venue for an art gallery, concert hall, and bistro. The bistro has a patio cafe popular with locals and vacationers. They of course sell Pit Caribou, “it’s what we drink here”… and have a short menu of local seafood and other light fare, typical of the region. We had supper (here, dinner is anything before 4PM, supper is the evening meal) there Monday night, and our waitress suggested their fish soup, a specialty. I acquiesced and ordered the soup. A combination of local salmon, halibut and cod in a tomato base, served with croutons, a mayonnaise spread and grated frommage on the side. The runner presented it and explained in broken english that the mayo is spread onto the toasted bread slices, you put le frommage on the mayo and then place in the “water of the soup” to- how you say….? I got the idea! It was magnifique! There was no doubt that the ingredients were fresh, there was nothing “fishy” about it. I also had Le Homardier, or lobster open-faced sandwich, also fresh and very delicious. The admiral sampled an appetizer of melted goat cheese, presented on grilled fresh bread with a sprinkling of nuts, her entree, a grilled poulet sandwich on fresh made bread. All accompanied by glasses of Pit Caribou porter and red draft. A bit of local flavor on several fronts. Excellent! and reasonably priced. Meals here are served at a distinctly slower pace. NO ONE hurries through a meal, so if you’re anticipating snappy service, go home. When in Rome…… It is a pace that once embraced, adds to the overall dining experience, a good lesson for the “wired”…. hmmmmm… who???

We departed Beaufils Tuesday morning 0700 under sparkling sunny skies, bound for Shippagan, our first port of call in New Brunswick, and our farewell to French-speaking Quebec. We’ll encounter French Acadian heritage, and more of the Scottish influence here as the language begins to transition to primarily english. This also marks our passage east into the Atlantic time zone, so we’re an hour ahead of folks on Eastern time, and we’ll be running longitude numbers lower than we’ve seen in any of our cruising thus far. We’ll also be entering the region known as “the Maritimes” and in a few days we’ll enter the waters of the Northumberland Strait with some of the warmest saltwater north of Virginia. Stay tuned.

3 Responses to “L’Anse a Beaufils”

  1. Kelly Reider on 28 Jul 2010 at 11:16 AM #

    Seafood looks yummy!

    Just got back from Ocracoke – dare I say, I believe it is starting to lose some of its charm. Sad to say it. Probably didn’t help that Keira decided to be sick the whole week.

    Keep up the posts – feel like I’m there…. 🙂


  2. Steve on 28 Jul 2010 at 11:51 AM #

    I seem to remember spending time with a certain screaming kid on Ocracoke one year, wonder who that might have been???

    Paybacks, Kelly!

  3. joyce & chris on 03 Aug 2010 at 6:31 AM #


    just finished a book by tom lewis, ‘sunday’s child’, takes place in the outer banks, pea island, actually, but talks of ocracoke and surrounds. brought back happy memories of our trip there.