By Corey Sandler
The Gulf of Saint Lawrence is considered the largest estuary in the world;
An estuary is a tidal inlet, a partially enclosed body of water that is influenced by rivers flowing into it as well as the open ocean.
The Saint Lawrence estuary begins at the eastern tip of Île d’Orléans, just downstream from Quebec City, the highest reach of ocean tides on the river.
At Sept-Iles, the river is considered to meet the Atlantic Ocean.
The town, now greatly dependent on natural resources and tourism, is the meeting point of French and Innu cultures.
The city of Sept-Îles extends along a natural bay whose entrance is protected by a natural rampart of seven islands: Grande Basque, Petite Basque, Corossol, Petite Boule, Grosse Boule, Manowin, and De Quen.
I went out today by inflatable Zodiac boat to visit a mussel farm on Grosse Boule. It was an exhilarating trip, briefly interrupted by sightings of two whales in the river.
Here is some of what we saw on the island today:
The scenery on the river is attractive, and there are many excursions for tourists. But Sept-Îles is primarily an industrial town; about 25,000 people live in the city, many of them directly or indirectly employed by the iron ore shipping or aluminum smelting industry.
Extraction of iron ore began in 1954 at a mine in Schefferville, more than 250 long and lonely miles to the north. The Schefferville mine closed in 1982, although new technologies and increased demand may result in a reopening.
Today most of the iron ore comes from Labrador City in far-western Labrador on the border with Quebec.
There are few roads into the wilderness; the ore is transported to Sept-Îles on the privately owned Quebec North Shore and Labrador Railway, loaded on ships and sent to processors around the world. The iron company is primarily owned by Rio Tinto.
All photos and text Copyright 2019 by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved. See more photos on my website at http://www.coreysandler.com
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