Mingan Island Cetacean Study
And Optional College Credit from
WhaleNet/Wheelock College
Boston, MA



Information on sessions

Each year from June 15 to October 15, MICS offers the public the opportunities to participate in marine mammal research through 7 day Research Sessions in the Mingan Island region along the north shore of the Gulf of St.-Lawrence. Our 1997 program offers a wide choice of plans and activities. Clean sand beaches extend for miles east and west along the St.-Lawrence, capelin and sand lance abound along these shores; it is these abundant fish that attract humpback, minke and finback whales to this part of the world. In addition these plankton rich waters team with krill, the shrimp-like prey most desired by the largest animal in the world, the blue whale.

Through research sessions, we offer our guests the opportunity to observe and contribute to the study of blue, finback and humpback whales from 24 ft rigid-hulled inflatable boats. Each day, weather permitting, we leave from the docks at Mingan and spend 6 to 10 hours seeking the various whales of the area. Our research sessions provide unique wildlife experiences, often at close quarters. Harbor porpoise, Atlantic white-sided and white-beaked dolphins, as well as harp and gray seals, all abound in this productive ecosystem.

In addition to our marine-mammal studies, we will soon offer diving; the tens of different marine birds in the area provide good bird watching.

Activities included in all of our programs:

Participation in field work on the water with the research team or, in case of bad weather, in the Interpretation Center taking part in activities related to research.

Evening is a good time for lectures, slide shows and videos, especially on bad weather days. If people have incurred a run of bad weather and have had several evening lectures, we will take them to dinner at a restaurant outside Longue-Pointe and it is sometimes possible to find live music in Havre St. Pierre.

Activities related to research:

Interpretation of the murals and exhibits, introduction to our research techniques, (brief overview of different topics, detailed lectures on different subjects ), slide shows, humpback matching tests, photo-identification workshops and work in the darkroom.

Participants will have the opportunity to get acquainted with biopsy techniques, genetics, marine mammal classification, acoustics, feeding and migrating patterns evolution and adaptations of whales to their environment, diving physiology, toxicology, social behavior, whale anatomy and whaling history. All of these activities are conducted in our Interpretation Center.


First date available: Monday June 16, 1997
Last date possible: Monday September 29, 1997

All sessions start on a Tuesday morning and end the following Monday late afternoon. People taking the American or European plans and wishing to stay on the last day of the session (Monday night) will be charged accordingly.

Option A. Independent Traveler Plan (ITP)

Activities: all activities included in the program. Guests will enjoy participating with our research team and will be allowed to get close to the whales.

Equipment: we provide Mustang Suits (floatation suit to protect you from the wind and cold). Guides: whale researchers-naturalists on a daily basis whether at sea or on land.

Option B. American Plan (AP)

Includes all the above plus:

Lodging: 7 nights in a motel from Monday to Sunday inclusively; the motel is located in the village near the Interpretation Center. Rooms are comfortable with private bathrooms, cable TV. and telephones. Accommodations may vary according to availability during peak season.

Transfers: transfers from and to the airport and some transfers in the area (to and from the dock).

Food: breakfasts only. Lunches can be prepared on request for an extra cost.

Option C. European Plan (EP)

Includes all the above plus:

Food: all meals with the exception of dinner on the day of departure (Monday). Dinner is generally served at the motel (set menu only). Picnic lunches are prepared by the team and only a set lunch will be offered when not going at sea.

Option D. Spring & Fall Plan (SFP)

MICS will give a 10% discount to people wishing to participate in all of June and September sessions. This rate is applicable to all the above plans.

Option E. Student program. (SP)

In order to encourage young people to participate in our research and to enjoy team work, MICS offers students a new 97 program. This seven day session includes: facilities at Longue-Pointe's camp ground (8 nights), all the activities related to research at sea or on land, the use of equipment (mustang suit) all transfers in the area (to and from the dock, the camp ground and the Research Station). Does not include camping equipment and food. Restaurants and stores are within walking distance. Air transportation and assistance while in transit in Montreal can be arranged upon request.

MICS 1997 RATES (in Cdn$)

Single Occ. $840 $1275 $1530 10%$922
Double Occ. $840 $1165 $1410 10%$922

MICS plans to offer programs from and to Montreal including return flights Dorval / Havre-St.-Pierre.


There will be no refund due to bad weather; MICS offer participants a contingency when not at sea. Only a 50% deposit will secure your place.

Bad weather contingency plan.

If the weather is likely to be poor our team has a "bad weather contingency plan". Even if the wind is moderate the group can go out in the sheltered waters inside the island. If it is absolutely impossible to go out in the boats, we then divide the day in half, spending the morning occupying the participants with activities related to research (see list above). We can also arrange for a picnic lunch and an outdoor activity for the afternoon. We prefer to keep the group in Longue-Pointe for the morning because then it is easier to get them to the dock and out on the boats should the weather improve.

In case of strong winds, fog or rain, the team members will organize different outdoor activities according to weather conditions: walks along the beach, seal and bird watching - The Mingan archipelago is a unique site for the observation of migrating birds. Visits of the Mingan region: small fishing villages such as Magpie, the Mingan falls where you can watch salmon going up river, the Innu Community of Mingan, kayak trip down one of the many rivers of the area, are also possible. If the weather is good enough to go out but stay inshore, it is possible to land and have lunch on Ile aux Perroquets where you can watch seal and birds from the old lighthouse or stop on Ile Nue to admire the monoliths or again on Quarry Island where you can observe carnivorous bog plants, birds and enjoy a walk across the island.


Climate on the Quebec North shore can be cool, even in the summer months and the expeditions can last as long as ten hours; it is important to bring :
  • Sunblock/lip protection
  • Sunglasses
  • Lots of layers for warmth (wool, polypropylene, pile etc)
  • Woolen hat and gloves (very important)
  • Waterproof clothing is provided; our mustang suit will protect you against the
  • wind and the rain but you need a good pair of running shoes or rubber boots.
  • Take precautionary measures if you have a tendency to get seasick.
  • Lunches are prepared by the team.
  • Optional:

  • Camera (lots of films)
  • Binoculars (as useful as a camera)
  • Remember that personal items like video cameras have to be protected against water and bumpy conditions.
  • Special conditions

    Because of the sometimes rigorous sea conditions, we recommend that people with minor health problems get in touch with us before making a decision. Anyone with physical limitations like epilepsy, severe heart and back problems should have their doctor's permission before participating. Children under 12 and pregnant women cannot be accepted on board. Remember that while on board, it will be strictly forbidden to smoke, drink alcohol and stand up in the boat unless told otherwise. INFORMATION: Mingan Island Cetacean Study (MICS) Inc.

    June - Oct
    124 Bord de la Mer
    Longue-Pointe-de-Mingan, Qc
    phone/fax : (418) 949-2845
    email: rsblues@polysoft.com
    285 rue Green
    St. Lambert, Qc
    phone: (514) 948-3669
    fax (514) 948-1131
    email: rsblues@polysoft.com
    new email: rsblues@polysoft.com
    tel: (514) 948-3669
    fax: (514) 948-1131