Province/Territory: Quebec

Be a marine scientist on a floating lab at sea.

  • 01 floating lab at sea
  • 13 species of whales in the Gulf of St. Lawrence
  • 18-passenger covered zodiac ride

If you’ve ever dreamed of becoming a marine biologist, hop aboard JV Exploramer for an eco-tour to sea. Feel the fresh sea air on your face as you set off aboard a covered zodiac vessel to explore the Gulf of St. Lawrence, the world's largest estuary. From plankton you can hardly see, to whales you can hardly miss, today the entire sea is your lab. Time to get your hands wet.

Using a special net, you’ll catch plankton-- tiny organisms that form the basis of the marine food web. You’ll take water samples, making note of temperature, water clarity, salt concentration, ocean current speed and depth. Like any marine scientists you'll inspect your samples under a microscope back at Exploramer. Next up, help haul a crab trap or whelk trap (sea snail) out of the water. Hold a snow crab in your hands while your guide tells you more about it, then release it back to the sea. Your data is compiled by a biologist and directly contributes to better understanding one of Canada’s most unique marine ecosystems.

Why you should visit
  • Enjoy a fascinating 18-passenger covered zodiac ride to uncover the secrets beneath the waves of the Gulf of St. Lawrence.
  • Identity fish species, from crabs to plankton, then release them back into the sea.
  • Ask about the 13 species of whales found here, like the Minke whale and Humpback. Who knows? One might happen to surface on your trip.
  • Work alongside a biologist to collect data that directly contributes to marine science in the Gulf of St. Lawrence.
  • Take part in other Exploramer sea excursions, including fish harvesting.
  • Marvel at the marine species like sea ravens and Atlantic wolfish in the aquarium's undersea gardens, dip into the touch tank, and take in special exhibitions.
  • Enjoy local seafood and snacks on the seaside terrace at La Mer à boire café.
  • Pick up a sea-themed souvenir at the on-site gift shop.


  • The Quebec Maritime region is known for its 3,000 km of coastline, white-sand beaches, cliffs, and charming villages. High season in mid-June to September bringing summer activities from paddling to hiking. Spring, from late March to early June, marks the start of the fishing season and is generally quieter with milder temperatures. Expect snow from November to early March, when skiing, skating, snowmobiling, and ice fishing adventures abound.
  • Discover local weather information. Research local weather patterns at Environment Canada’s Canadian Climate Normals Website.
Visitor information
When to go
  • Laboratory at Sea excursions set sail daily from early June to late August when the weather is generally hot and pleasant.
  • Sainte-Anne-des-Monts is the gateway to Gaspésie National Park and the Chic-Choc Mountains, so you can enjoy river and sea paddling,explore two mountain chains, 13 species of whales, and countless birds and other wildlife.
  • Whale watching season in Quebec is May through October.
Need to know
  • Sturdy shoes are recommended.
  • Wear warm clothing including a raincoat or windbreaker which you can remove if the sun comes out.
  • Laboratory at sea tour is 90 minutes long.
  • To see all of Exploramer, plan to spend a half-day.
  • All activities and exhibitions provided in English and French.
Getting Here
  • Situated between the Chic-Choc mountains and the sea, Exploramer is located in Sainte-Anne-des-Monts, on the south shore of the St-Lawrence River estuary.
  • Gateway to Gaspésie National Park, Sainte-Anne-des-Monts is about a three hour drive from the cities of Rimouski and Gaspé; a six and a half hour drive from Québec City; and a seven and a half hour drive from Moncton, New Brunswick.