Magdalen Islands, Les Îles-de-la-Madeleine, QC
I am interested in hearing from anyone who has sailed to the Magdalen Islands. I am planning a trip there next summer and have a few questions:
We have a 33 ft catamaran and the crew is sixtyish. We are more into cruising than racing. If you have sailed to these islands, I would love to hear about places to see, to stay, to re-supply, etc.
Just spent a couple of nights there about 10 years ago. A beautiful place and worth staying longer. I think it would be a great place to have bicycles. We stayed at the yacht club at Havre Aubert (think it was called) at the south end of the island. Local sailors were surprised because most visitors go to Cap aux Meules which is sort of in the middle. I think there is another small harbour toward the north end of the island. Can recommend Havre Aubert, it is a lovely little spot with the tiniest Tim Hortons you will ever see. Protection from the seas is fine but the island is very flat and low and we got a gale there once tied up and there was little protection from the wind - we were on the correct side of the dock. Boat on the other side had his fenders completely flattened against the dock and was heeling 15° at the dock. The beaches are incredible but the water is not too warm, make that quite cool even in late July. They have (or had) a big sand sculpture contest that would be fun if you can arrange to be there at the right time.
Thanks for the information. Its appreciated.
I live on the north eastern island, in the municipality of Grosse Ile. I don't sail, yet but considering on buy a sea worthy vessel within the next two years.
As Killarney_sailor said, the southern island, Grindstone (Cap-aux-Meules) and Amherst (Havre Aubert) are more popular with visitors to the islands.
But it also depends on what it is your looking for when you come and the time of the year. In June for example, there is the lobster festival where food is a big attraction. The northern Islands have the National and Provincial Ecological and Wildlife Parks. Accommodations here can be slim pickings, though if I'm correct you won't be needing living space.
In July, the beaches and yes I too find the water cool unless you sail into the lagoon at Grand Entry (north island). The bay is bathtub warm.
The Acadian festival starts the first weekend in August and runs for about 10 days which highlights the funniest boat building contest and the largest sand castle event in North America, (So I'm told). Lots of accommodations on all the southern islands.
Music is a given everywhere and food. Islanders like to eat, lol. There are lots of visitor activities during the day and museums etc. to visit during wet weather.
Thanks for the response. We would spend at least a week visiting and you are right, we would not require accommodations as we like to anchor, but we would like to find a place to tie up once in a while to go out for dinner, have a shower, do some laundry and restock some groceries and water. We would visit both islands if at all possible.
I am trying to remember whether you can anchor at Havre Aubert. There were about five cruising boats there and all were tied up to the very substantial dock in front of the Club Nautique. There was a reasonably large bay next to the dock but I seem to remember that it was quite shallow. You could ask the locals about the actual depths since the chart was not very detailed.
It is lovely spot to visit, enjoy.
Hello from Prince Edward Island... and a part time resident of Havre-Aubert, Îles de la Madeleine, Québec. I am a former deep sea navigator (Arctic Canada, Greenland, Europe etc.) and power boat (former lobster boats) operator on PEI and in the Magdalen Islands. Havre-Aubert does have a fine, small marina with all the facilities you will need to access. I have been a member. It is located in a charming and very popular touristy community called "La Grave" which is well endowed with numerous shops, restaurants and cafés. The commercial & administrative centre of the archipelago, Cap-aux-Meules is on the next island, connected by a highway across a series of dunes about a 20 minute drive by car. The entire series of islands highway system is 82 km long however there are numerous other scenic & community roads well worth driving. It would take weeks to tour all the roads. Moped, bicycle and car rentals are available on the islands. Reservations for cars and mopeds should be made very early as there is extremely strong demand in July and August.
You should be able to anchor off the marina with out any challenges.
Here is the marina contact info:
Club Nautique Les Plaisanciers du Havre
c/o Réal Boudreau
984, Route 199
Réal should be able to provide you the latest information on depths, moorings etc. There is an expansion of the marina in the works. Communication during the winter may be challenging as many residents travel during this period.
I strongly recommend ordering a copy of the excellent little visitor's guide for the Magdalen Islands (available in English & French):
In pdf and hard copy ( I recommend ordering a hard copy plus the maps): Order our Brochures - Magdalen Islands for vacation and tourism in the Gulf of the St-Lawrence in Quebec, Canada
Should you have general questions about visiting the islands I recommend contacting the local Visitor Information Centre:
Tourisme Îles de la Madeleine
128, chemin Principal (corner Chemin du Débarcadère)
Phone : 418 986 2245
Toll Free : 1 877 624-4437
Fax : 418 986-2327
Email : firstname.lastname@example.org
The marina has a passionate & friendly membership and are very welcoming to visitors from away.
Caution... you will absolutely fall in love with this place :)
Thanks again for the info. My boat only draws 18" with the boards up and 5' with them down, so I don't need a lot of water to anchor. Appreciate the info, thanks again.
Wow...thanks for all the info and addresses, I will certainly order the brochures and maps.
After reading your post, I can hardly wait for summer to arrive.
With a maximum draw of 5' you will be able to tie up alongside the permanent wharf, space permitting, giving you access to power and water. In the map image below the Marina is near the bottom in "Site Historique La Grave".
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