Travel responsibly and sustainably

Seasons in the Life of a Boat

Boats moored in the Magdalen Islands

To live on an island. To look for a way out, to peek at what's behind the horizon. To leave, far. To leave and never come back, or to leave for a day, or to leave in a dream.

Pleasure boats

When a family's livelihood revolves around fishing, seafaring or shipbuilding, the boats are naturally at the core of everyday life and often assume a significant role in that family's traditions. But this pull toward the sea reaches beyond the fishermen's families. Life on an island comes with the dream of owning a boat, one day or another.

What's in owning a boat?

Owning a boat opens up new options for letting off some steam after a long day at the office - yes, we do have long days at the office, even on the Maggies. And let's be honest, a meal enjoyed at sea while looking at the sunset tastes much better than a meal at the kitchen table with a view on the evening news. lay your ear on the still-warm wood, to hear that soft sound, barely audible*. Hear what the sea whispers to the wind, what makes the boats quiver since forever.

Sunday afternoons

Once the fishing season is over, and the boat has been cleaned and cleared of its rigging, we invite friends and family for a fishing trip, a hike on Entry Island or an outing to the Bout du banc beach. Many families often pick the same Sunday to do it all - we keep an eye on the weather forecast as not to miss the perfect day for it.

Boat-inspired Décor

Garden gnomes are often replaced with a captain or other maritime figures showcased with pride on the front lawn: miniature boats, anchors, lobster pots and rocky flowerbeds pave the way to the shed, where buoys and fishing nets can be seen hanging from the walls. For a sight not to be missed, head to Cap-aux-Meules during the festive season to catch the now-famous pleasure boat decked up in Christmas lights.

Living quarters

All summer long, the marina is shared between sailboats and former fishing boats, now converted into condos-with-a-view. The proud owners use these pleasure boats as cottages for the season - they cook onboard, sleep on board and, when the weather allows it, spend the day at sea or go on fishing trips. These makeshift vacation cabins bear happy names reflecting their purpose: Le petit bonheur, Le p'tit plaisir, La Valdrague... the storms have passed, and now there are only blue skies ahead. Like a tangible reminder that retirement deserves to be enjoyed.

The last season, when the boat goes to sleep

To board a landed boat is to step into a great seashell, emptied of its living soul, dried and washed by the passing of time*. Some ships stop going back to the sea and end their days in a field. When the wind shakes up the air, they can be seen floating and surfing on dancing waves of the daisies, irises and sweetgrass blades.

*Segments in italics are inspired by the French text À quoi rêvent les bateaux by Suzanne Richard.

Par Suzanne Richard

Suzanne Richard is an author, a speaker and a musician. She published a collection of short stories entitled La mer, trois kilomètres à gauche. Her conference — Les mots et la mer — is about maritime words and expressions commonly used in the French language.

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Les Îles de la Madeleine
Please note that all visitors aged 13 and over must pay a fee of $30 before leaving the archipelago for departures between May 1st and October 14th, 2024. Read more