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Paddle Tales: Sea Kayaking in Gaspésie, Québec

Ken Whiting: My name's Ken Whiting. I'm a world champion white water paddler, and I've led trip and taught kayaking around the world. As an athlete an explorer, my lifelong has been to challenge myself, meet interesting new people, discover beautiful places and share these experiences with others. This is the story of these adventures. This is Paddle Tales. Ken Whiting: Hey, everyone. I'm Ken Whiting and this is the first episode of Paddle Tales. In this series, we're gonna be going to some of the most amazing places in the world. Now, we're gonna be going on cool paddling adventures while we're there. Because, for me, paddling is one of the best ways to meet cool people and to see a place from a unique perspective. Now, before we get started please subscribe to Paddle TV so you get notified when new episodes are uploaded. Ken Whiting: We're gonna kickstart the series by exploring Canada's largest province. Quebec is one of my favorite places in the world, and not just because they have amazing bakeries and they invented poutine. What I love about Quebec is how big and rugged the landscape is, which means there's endless opportunities for outdoor adventure. The French culture is also very unique to North America, and the people are extremely friendly and filled with [French 00:01:32] or a love of life. Ken Whiting: To kick things off, we're flying to the eastern edge of Quebec to a place where the mountains and rivers meet the sea, forming a unique and exceptional setting for travelers to explore. In this episode of Paddle Tales we're visiting Gaspesie. Ken Whiting: The Gaspesie region is the cradle of Canada where the first European explorers landed on Canadian shores more than 300 years ago. Located in East Central Quebec, a massive peninsula is surrounded by the waters of the Gulf of St Lawrence and the Saint Lawrence river. My trip begins in the charming village of Perce. Now, having just sat down with my triple-triple, extra sweet, no-foam latte, I'm already fall in love with this place. Ken Whiting: Perce bustles with summer activity. The village features boutique shops, ice cream parlors, restaurants and pubs, including a wicked micro brewery, and a newly installed boardwalk which is particularly nice for those that just can't leave Mitsy back at home. Those searching for adventure don't need to look far either, as the mountains and ocean that surround Perce provide lots of opportunities for play. Ken Whiting: Although I am excited to hit the water and explore the coast by kayak, one of my favorite things to do in a new place is get a bird's eye view of the area so that I have a better understanding of what I'm seeing from water level. And so, I've met up with Renaud Camirand from the Perce Geo Park, which recently receive the prestigious designation as the first UNESCO Global geo park in Quebec. Renaud explains what this means to ... That it's a unified geographical area where sites and landscapes are managed with the wholistic concept of protection, education and sustainable development. Now, that's enough to make your head spin. Bottom line, it's a cool place with awesome rocks that you need to check out. Ken Whiting: Before long, we approach our ultimate designation, one that isn't for the faint of heart, a vertigo inducing glass platform that's suspended more than 200 meters above the ground. Ken Whiting: Oh, cool. Speaker 2: Nice, kind scary. Ken Whiting: Really? You scared? Speaker 2: No. Ken Whiting: But I'll tell you what, those brave enough to conquer their fear of heights are richly rewarded with a dramatic view of the village of Perce, and of course the icon of the region, Perce Rock. Ken Whiting: Wow, what a view. Speaker 2: Yeah, it's pretty nice. The geo park, it's coming into project. It started first in 2012. And here, on this suspended glass platform, was finished building in 2017, last year. And in 2018, this year in April, we add the global geo park [inaudible 00:04:34] school label. So, yeah. It's pretty nice. Ken Whiting: What's so cool, for me, is how many different looks you can get at this area. We're getting this incredible bird's eye view, but the village itself gives an incredible view of the rock and the surrounding countryside. But, apparently, one of the best views of the rock is by kayak. Speaker 2: Yes. It was my job in Perce, sea kayaking guide. So, you'll see, it's pretty nice. Ken Whiting: Awesome. I'm looking forward to getting out there. Speaker 2: Yeah. Ken Whiting: I'm excited to see this monumental rock up close, so I quickly assembled my track kayak and meet up with Jeffery Bond of Avolo Plein Air, who knows the waters around Perce as well as anyone. Jeffery Bond: My name is Bond, Jeffery Bond, and I'm a sea kayak instructor. I'm a sea kayaking guide, and also a whitewater and lake water canoe instructor. Ken Whiting: Okay, so what is our plan for this afternoon? Jeffery Bond: So, our plan is going to the nicest place in the world. Ken Whiting: I like the sounds of that. Jeffery Bond: It's Perce Rock. They have, really, lots of wildlife around and the scenery's really beautiful. So it's a big, big rock with big cliffs, 100 meters high. Ken Whiting: Wow. Jeffery Bond: And 400 meters long with a big hole in the middle. It's really a neat rock because a lot of history and the formation is always moving. Rocks are falling, so- Ken Whiting: And a lot of birds. Jeffery Bond: Lots and lots of birds. Ken Whiting: Paddling Perce Rock is a special experience that I would highly recommend to anyone who plans on visiting Gaspesie. Not only is it a fun adventure that provides an unrivaled look at one of the coolest natural phenomena you'll ever see, but it really solidifies the importance of Canada's national parks. Not only because they protect the natural beauty of these places, but also because they provide a safe home for the plants and animals that reside here. When one is confronted by such an unbelievably imposing geological feature, it's easy to lose sight of the fact that Perce Rock is also a refuge for a gannet colony and hosts more than 120 thousand of these birds from April to October each year, making it one of the most important gannet habitats in the world. Ken Whiting: I have the best job in the world. I get to paddle in places like this. Ken Whiting: Knowing that I've only touched the surface of what there is to see and experience around Perce, it's hard to leave so soon. But I'm excited to move further down the coast and meet up with Kamill from [French 00:07:24] who has offered to show me down the pristine Bonaventure River. Ken Whiting: Cool. Kamille Brideau: Yeah. Ken Whiting: So, the Bonaventure River. Kamille Brideau: Exactly. Ken Whiting: Tell me a bit about the section. Kamille Brideau: So, today we're gonna do the first portion of what we call the famous store, to be able to see the beautiful rapids. Nothing too big, just really fun. And mostly, also, flat water. So, it's gonna be just a mix of the two, just fun enough for our paddle board. Ken Whiting: Looks pretty much as clear and clean as water gets. So, I'm looking forward to this. Kamille Brideau: Yes, I'm looking forward too. Ken Whiting: Shall we hit it? Kamille Brideau: Yeah. Ken Whiting: All right. This is definitely Cime Adventure's primary- Kamille Brideau: Activities. Ken Whiting: Activities. Kamille Brideau: Definitely. So, basically Cime Adventure is a resort. Our primary activity is the river, river for a day. We have the famous tour, which we are doing today, and we have also a shorter run, which is called a family trip. On top of that, Cime Adventure also has shelter. We have little camp shelter in the tree. Kamille Brideau: Oh, are you okay? Kamille Brideau: And we have Teepees. We have camping, camp sites. We have [inaudible 00:08:33]. So, yeah. And also, we have snorkeling. We have paddleboard. We have [sup 00:08:40] yoga, yoga on a paddleboard. Ken Whiting: Oh, cool. Kamille Brideau: Yeah. Ken Whiting: I think the coolest thing about standup paddling is the high vantage point you get. Kamille Brideau: Yeah. Ken Whiting: And it's so different from kayaking and canoeing, being able to look down on things. Kamille Brideau: Yeah, the gravity center is much higher. I mean, it's totally different. You see the river. You have a better view of the river. It's amazing. We're very fortunate, especially with this beautiful river. Ken Whiting: Yeah, this is something else. I mean, it is crystal clear water. Kamille Brideau: Yeah, it's got this green, blue, turquoise, it's just fabulous. As soon as you step on ... Me, I step on my paddleboard, and I'm just like, "Ah." I'm completely relaxed. It feels good. Ken Whiting: Although I love the ocean, there's something about paddling downriver that has always captured my imagination. For one thing, even though countless people might have passed this way before you, every bend in the river feels like a new discovery. You just never know what you'll find on the other side. Ken Whiting: What do we got up here. Kamille Brideau: So, we ... It's called a [French 00:09:49]. So, it's basically rapids level two, nothing too intense, just fun. It's basically waves. There's no rocks or anything to hit but ... And if you fall on the water, there's no big deal. There's just fun. The water is amazing. Ken Whiting: All right. Kamille Brideau: Yeah. Ken Whiting: Well, after you. Kamille Brideau: Oh, right. I'll go first. Ken Whiting: As a lifelong whitewater paddler, I've challenged my skills and nerve in countless class five rapids. But one of the things that I really appreciate about the Bonaventure River is that it features gorgeous and friendly class one and class two rapids that most beginner paddlers can enjoy. I can say this with complete sincerity, because if my six foot three butt can weeble wobble its way down the rapids on a standup paddleboard, then anyone can get down via canoe or kayak. Ken Whiting: Well, that was far from graceful. I felt like a newborn giraffe taking its first steps. Ken Whiting: The Bonaventure was definitely the highlight of the Gaspesie experience for me, and when you consider we only paddled a mere four mile length of the river that's saying a lot. For another 60 miles this river snakes smoothly over it's pebbled bed with a watery grace that is nothing short of magical. The glassy clarity of the water makes your imagination run wild above the other sites, sounds and wonders one might experience along the Bonaventure's entire length. I look forward to returning here one day and exploring this wonderful river from end to end. Ken Whiting: Well, that does it. That brings the first episode of Paddle Tales to an end. Thanks for watching, and I'm hoping we were able to show you that Gaspesie really is a remarkable combination of mountains, rivers and ocean. It's definitely one of the coolest places that you'll ever visit. Ken Whiting: Before you go, please give this video a thumbs up. Subscribe to Paddle TV, if you haven't already, so you get notified about the next episode of Paddle Tales. And last but not least, stay tuned for a quick sneak peek at next week's Paddle Tales adventure. Ken Whiting: Next time on Paddle Tales, we'll be visiting Abitibi-Temiscamingue, a region of Quebec that features thousands of beautiful lakes connected by winding and, at times, thundering rivers. We'll hike the trails of Canada's newest national park, paddle around magnificent island landscapes and challenge ourselves in the epic whitewater of the Kipawa river. Abitibi-Temiscamingue region is truly a vast playground for the outdoor adventurer to explore. You won't wanna miss it. Sea Kayaking in Gaspésie, Québec Paddle Tales.txt

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