Get on board with us

  • Facebook
  • Instagram
Sail with the Tadoussac Whales as a Navigation Officer


Sail with the Tadoussac Whales as a Navigation Officer

Sailing doesn’t always mean going away for months.

For Amélie, a Navigation Officer on the way of becoming a Captain at AML Cruises, it’s a daily adventure that allows her to meet the hidden wonders of the St. Lawrence River and then return to the comfort of her home every evening.

Discover a day in her life and her inspiring story.

The alarm clock goes off at 6:00 a.m. Another day begins.

I look out the window to see what the weather will look like ; a beautiful day, just enough sun. That’s great! Yesterday was chaotic, it will be nice for my sixth shift in a row and last day of the week.

Before leaving, I take a little jog and walk my dog Mora, a labrador. After a shower, I already have to leave, coffee and lunch in hand.

The Sacré-Coeur—Tadoussac drive is going very well, I get to the ship a little before 7:30 a.m., just in time to start my day. I make sure that the boat is in the right position and the gangway installed. I see some of my colleagues arrive and begin to prepare for the boarding of passengers.

As usual, I do a full visual inspection of the ship. After all, the safety of the crew and passengers is my priority in my job. After a good discussion with the Chief Engineer to make sure everything is in order, I then confirm that we have all the personnel required for today’s cruises and, in case of an emergency, assign tasks to all crew members. Then, I go up to the wheelhouse to start the navigation equipment and record the necessary data in the logbook, which I have to keep up to date throughout the day.

9:05 a.m.: Everything is in place, the ship is clean. We have plenty of time to drink a coffee, talk about our plans for the next three days off and have a good laugh with the crew. Then, it’s show time : the passengers are boarding. I stand at the gangway to greet the clients, take their boarding passes and make sure everything is going well until the boat leaves.

The two 3-hour cruises go smoothly, thanks to the weather: a few round trips between Tadoussac and Baie-Ste-Catherine, several maneuvers at the helm to find the best spots for whale sightings, and multiple follow-ups on the ship to make sure that the crew and passengers are doing well. When you’re sailing, there’s always something to do.

In the afternoon, we were very lucky : the clients had the chance to see great performances from the whales. Every time, it’s a roll of the dice, but between companies, we help each other find the best places to delight our respective customers. During the last disembarkation, I see passengers leaving with a smile on their face and a camera full of memories.

This is what I love about my job. On cruises, we make many people’s dreams come true, even mine. I remember the day we ran into a right whale on an expedition. They’re an endangered species, I know I came across a rather rare wonder.

At sea, every day is unique, every hour is an exception. Anchors aweigh, we keep problems at bay. When we’re on the water, we’re somewhere else.

Reality returns after the last disembarkation at 4:30 p.m. It’s time to clean the ship. With the new sanitary rules, extra care is taken to thoroughly clean and disinfect the vessel before leaving. This is a good time to unwind with the team, have a laugh or talk about what didn’t go so well. Once I made sure everything was in order, I lock the boat and raise the gangway.

I get home, tired, but happy. These are busy days, we can’t deny it. Still, I come back to my partner, also a cruise Captain, and we compare our days to see who has seen the best whale show.

I rest, satisfied to have offered a little dream to my clients and the sweet feeling of accomplishment. See you in three days.

Operations managers…at the heart of merchant marine transactions

Next article

Operations managers…at the heart of merchant marine transactions

Read article
Operations managers…at the heart of merchant marine transactions