A week with Marguerite
"It is with a heart filled with excitement, joy and emotions, that I look back on this dream come true thanks to Stephan."
Today, we decided to dedicate an article about a woman who left her mark on our 2022 season. A woman who joined us at MICS during her session week, but whose smile was indelebile: Marguerite. The poetry of this woman begins with her name, because in reality Marguerite's name is Nathalie Désy, but she was inspired to call herself « marguerite » meaning « daisy » in english.
Marguerite has kindly accepted to tell us about herself. Here are her words, and with it, her kind / warm / sparkling smile.
"I am 51 years old, mother of two handsome boys and married to my husband for 30 years. I have lived in Lévis for 11 years, but I come from Boucherville, a suburb located on the south shore of Montreal."
Marguerite works in an art supply store, and when she is not drawing or gardening, she devotes her time to her other passion: the whales of the St. Lawrence.
"As far as I can remember, I have always been attracted to whales. In my twenties, I used to go on annual whale watching cruises, and when our sons grew up, it seemed even more important to visit these great animals, to teach my boys the importance of caring for the St. Lawrence, for which we are all responsible."
For the past 30 years, Marguerite nourished her passion by going on annual cruises at Tadoussac, and keeping herself informed by reading and watching whale documentaries. She also expresses herself through art: drawing and painting these animals is a way for her to be in touch with them. It was while reading MICS’s website a few years ago that she discovered the existence of the sessions, where participants can join in the research we carry out. Immediately, she started talking about it, then dreaming about it.
"Why did I want to take part in this session? Because cruises no longer nourished me. On the contrary, they frustrated me: being surrounded by people complaining about the weather, the frequency of animal sightings, talking incessantly rather than trying to hear breaths... Basically, I felt like visitors were expecting a visit at the zoo. Also, after reading several docuents concerning the damage caused by acoustic pollution, I decided to stop going on cruises."
As a privileged witness to his wife's passion, Stephan planned to offer Marguerite her dream for her 50th birthday. Two years later - and with her husband having saved enough money by quitting smoking - they arrived at the station with a big smile on their faces. Marguerite confied in us that she had been "counting the days" like a child for many weeks.
"It was on Saturday, August 6 that I arrived and was welcomed as a new participant. With my head and heart wide open, I was ready to live these moments I dreamed of so much. I was surprised to be the only participant for that week : what a privilege it would be to have the team all to myself! What I was expecting during MICS’s session was to be surrounded by whale-loving marine biologists who could teach me about these animals and introduce me to them if we were lucky enough to encounter some. I knew that the trips to sea would be at the weather’s whim, but that I would be in good hands with the team if weather was unfavorable. I spent quality time with team members who showed me the area and answered my many questions, I even had the chance to participate in the assembly of a porpoise skeleton during a rainy afternoon at the station!"
Then the sun came out, it was time to put on the floater suits, board the boats and head out to sea.
"The challenges of wearing a heavy suit and staying still on the boat didn't take away from the great happiness I felt living those days at sea. Did I see any animals? Yes, I did! Who can say they had the chance to eat a great sandwich in the middle of the sea while a humpback whale feeds a few dozen feet away from them? Me! I also saw a humpback whale pooping while it was diving, showing its flukes. I thought that only unicorns made pink poops! I was lucky enough to see biopsies done with great respect and care. The best memory I will keep is the encounter with a basking shark. And the evening when we were coming back to port, the sky dark grey, the clouds saturated with rain and a red sun tearing the sky apart to insert itself into the gorgeous landscape. We were sailing north of Grande Île when I spotted two porpoises and one minke whale up front. I mentioned the sighting to the crew, who stopped the engine. Suddenly, multiple porpoises surrounded our boat and several minke whales appeared. We were amazed to see these animals so calm and so close to us. To see Brian's smile, contemplating so many of his favorites at once was very touching."
Marguerite's expressive wonder also touched us very much. It is true that being in the wilderness, surrounded by these creatures of the sea, can bring tears of happiness.
"The week went beyond my expectations. And it went as it did, because I saw these whales through the eyes, knowledge and humanity of each team member, who were so generous to me. Thank you again for this wonderful stay, and I hope that all whale enthusiasts have a chance to live a session at MICS one day.
I want to see you again.
Nathalie "Marguerite" Désy."
Thanks to Marguerite and her beautiful testimony. Do not hesitate to commmunicate with us if you would like more information about the sessions at MICS, our team will be happy to answer you. Each session is a unique experience full of surprises!