Field Courses, Sailing Cruises, Day Trips, Bird Watching, Outreach

  • Courses: In 2019, we are again offering field courses in marine mammal biology and related topics at our field site on the St. Lawrence north shore to students and the general public. Our base, the Mériscope, is situated close to one of the most important feeding grounds for the great baleen whales of the North Atlantic.

  • Sailing cruises: The majestic Saguenay Fjord and the Gulf of St. Lawrence are among the most beautiful sailing areas of the Atlantic coast of Canada. With our "Sails and Whales" program, we are offering one-week sailing cruises in the Saguenay-St. Lawrence Marine Park and the estuary. Come and discover the picturesque coastal waters on board of our sailboat, guided by an experienced crew with a skipper and a marine biologist.
    There are no Sails & Whales cruises in 2019.

  • Day trips: From June to mid-October, we are offering day trips suitable for the general public. These trips are guided by marine biologists and last 5-6 hours depending on weather conditions. We are located close to the centre of the blue whale and humpback whale feeding area and we are the only scientific excursion boat in the St. Lawrence Estuary.

  • Bird watching: The St. Lawrence is also renowned for its bird life. A multitude of habitats provide resting and breeding areas for a diversity of sea birds and wading birds. We offer dedicated bird-watching trips and interesting packages for groups, tailored to your needs.


These courses last 12 days and include 5-6 day trips at sea, accommodation, meals, 5-6 talks on the biology, acoustics and ecotoxicology of marine mammals and two lab session on photo identification of minke whales. For the general public, a one-week option is available within the dates of the regular courses. Guided by a team of experienced marine biologists, you will not only observe these magnificent animals and learn more about the marine environment, but you can actively engage in ongoing research projects. Our staff speaks English, French, and German.

Our approved rigid-hulled inflatable boats are the only scientific excursion boats in the Saguenay-St. Lawrence Marine Park. We are a member of the Quebec Marine Mammal Emergency Network and the Corporation for University Services of the Western Sector of the North Shore (CUCN).

Dates 2019:  July 22 - Aug. 3
  Aug. 12 - 24 (students)  
  Sep. 9 - 21 (general public)  

Prices: General public CAD 3'000 incl. taxes (CAD 2'195 for one week), students CAD 2'700 incl. taxes (student identity card required). Transportation to and from the field site is not included. Since group size is limited to six participants, we strongly recommend that you make a reservation as soon as possible.

Please download our course brochure for more information (pdf, 1.5 MB):


Travel along one of the most beautiful coastal landscapes of Canada with a sailboat, discover baleen whales and belugas, assist in an on-going research project, follow the rhythm of the tides and the wind – is there a better way to enjoy the sea with all its facets and to support a research project on marine mammals at the same time? Our sailing tours will lead us to one of the most important feeding grounds of the large baleen whales of the Atlantic, a spectacular sailing area, and our tours are guided by a local skipper and an experienced marine biologist.

With our 34 foot sailboat, an Aloha 34, we will be cruising through the habitat of the whales for six days, we will be collecting data for several research projects and at the end of each day, we will dock our boat in one of the many romantic marinas of the St. Lawrence. Our cruise begins and ends in the Saguenay-St. Lawrence Marine Park, the first marine park of Canada.

Dates 2018: There are no Sails & Whales cruises in 2018


Please contact us the day before to know if we are doing the trip on the next day and what the schedule is. We are only going on the water with good meteorological conditions. We will provide you with a thermo suit, but you have to bring warm boots, warm cloths, sun protection, and your lunch. There is a toilet on board of our comfortable 22 foot rigid-hulled inflatable boat. Day trips last 5-6 hours depending on weather, sea state, and the location of the whales. Tickets are 135 $ for adults and 105 $ for children (taxes included). Since group size is limited to 8 participants, we strongly recommend that you make a reservation in advance - please contact us by email or phone:

Contact and shuttle departure:
833, rue du Quai
Portneuf-sur-Mer, Qc.
G0T 1P0
Tel. + 1-581-323-1027
Email: infoATmeriscopeDOTcom


Several students who have joined our team as assistants have conducted a field project at the Mériscope as part of their university degree.
  • 2017: Biodiversity assessment in a tidal ecosystem of the St. Lawrence Estuary. Jeanine Brantschen, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Zurich, internship report.
  • 2015: Mériscope Marine Research Station: education, research and the biopsy project 2015. Gessica Gambaro, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Zurich, internship report.
  • 2015: Minke whales in the St. Lawrence Estuary: sightings, data management and distribution. Andreas Baumann, Zurich University of Applied Sciences, internship report.
  • 2013: GIS study of minke whale sightings and photo ID catalogue of minke whales of the St. Lawrence estuary. Sandra Striegel, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Zurich, undergrad project.
  • 2012: GIS study of beluga sightings and photo ID catalogue of belugas of the St. Lawrence estuary. Anne Mancosu, Univ. Zurich, undergrad project.
  • 2010: Spatio-temporal distribution of blue whale sightings in the St. Lawrence estuary in 2005 and 2007. Marylou Feat, Univ. du Québec à Trois-Rivières (UQAR), undergrad project.
  • 2008: Data base development and GIS mapping of blue whale and finback whale sightings in the St. Lawrence estuary. Stephanie Kalberer, Univ. of Zurich, undergrad project.
  • 2006: Analysis of invertebrate fauna in the intertidal zone of Portneuf-sur-Mer. Johan Decelle, Univ. Pierre-et-Marie-Curie, Paris, France, undergrad project.
  • 2004: GIS analysis of blue whale habitat in the St. Lawrence estuary. Dan Zeh, Univ. of Texas at Clear Lake, undergrad project.


Please contact us if you need experienced marine biologists with a strong background in marine mammal research for a travel program or for an event, for courses at your school or for an organization. As part of our commitment to raising public awareness about our marine environments through education, we have given lectures and courses at various schools and universities, both in Canada and in Switzerland.
  • 2017: Quark Expeditions, Antarctica: Expedition of the Sea Adventurer to the Antarctic Peninsula and the islands, Jan. - March 2017.
  • 2014: Voile Mercator, Saguenay, Canada: Educational sailing cruise in the Saguenay-St. Lawrence-Marine Park, with primary and high school students.
  • 2013: CoTravel Discover East Canada: Talk « Belugas and blue whales in the focus ».
  • 2013: Kuoni Travels, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada: Call of the Whales, guided marine mammal tour.
  • 2012: Expo-Science, Bergeronnes, Québec, Canada: stand on marine bioacoustics.
  • 2011: Talk at the ALCOA Baie-Comeau aluminum smelter, Québec: « Blue whales in the scope ».
  • 2010: Talk at the environmental NGO La Libellule, Geneva, Switzerland: « Marine science and ecotourism - a model for sustainable development ».
  • 2007: Course in marine bioacoustics and ocean noise. In collaboration with the Swiss Youth Science Forum, the Paul Scherrer Institute, and the Zoological Museum of the Univ. of Zurich.
  • 2006: Series of six lectures on marine mammal biology at the University of Zurich, Switzerland. In collaboration with the Swiss Whale Society.
  • 2006: Course in integrated management of coastal areas. In collaboration with the Univ. of Québec at Rimouski (UQAR), Dept. of Geography).
  • Talks on the biology of marine mammals at several primary schools, high schools, and colleges in Canada and Switzerland.