Wind and Water

So here are another two sites that we visited in Cap Chat.


First, the Nordais wind farm, one of the largest in North America.


We first became aware of the wind farm because of the gigantic trucks carrying gigantic turbine blades and related bits and pieces. Then we found out that the wind farm was open to the public, so we took a drive out to see for ourselves.

In order to see the wind farm you have to take a tour. Fortunately, a staffer was available and willing to show just the two of us around. He was very well informed and nearly bursting with enthusiasm for his job.


The vertical axis turbine is named Éole, after the Greek wind goddess. It’s over 300′ tall, and guess what – you can climb to the top. I think our guide was disappointed when we declined the opportunity.


We did however, go into the base of the turbine, where we found a large number of dials and switches.



Here’s a view of Éole from just outside the base.


There are also 133 of the more common (and much smaller) vertical axis turbines. The turbines are operated mainly by computer from a nearby location. Drones are used to check on maintenance needs.


Cap Chat also has its own aquarium and ocean museum, Exploramer. Its mission is to promote conservation and public understanding of the St. Lawrence waterway.


It’s aquarium is devoted to the creatures who inhabit the nearby waters. This particular fellow looks quite concerned about the future.


And this one didn’t look too friendly.


Shrimp – yum! Exploramer is involved in promoting consumption of less well-known sea creatures in order to reduce pressure on the most popular. Some of the species they are promoting include waved whelks, ocean pout, and sea urchins. They might want to come up with some new names, though.


Outside the Exploramer there is this sculpture made of driftwood logs.


For the next post, we’ll show you some pictures from the Reford Gardens. In the meantime – have you ever visited a wind farm, or eaten an ocean pout?

48 Comments on “Wind and Water

  1. Amazing to see those windmills up close. I wonder how people around there feel about the windmills being placed in their community? (maybe not many people around?) We stayed on a farm in Yorkshire with windmills very close by and we did not hear them at all…..however, it was in the dead of winter and the walls of the farmhouse were very thick!
    My cousin will soon have windmills near her, and is not happy about it.

    • We were told that initially there was some resistance, but it faded away. The turbines are very quiet, there is almost no sound at all even when you are just beneath them.

  2. I shall look forward to your post about the Reford garden, we were there about 10 yrs ago and that was where my love affair with Meconopsis started!

  3. How interesting. I new about the wind farm but not the aquarium. I will have to try to see it when we next are in the area.

  4. I haven’t eaten ocean pout but I’ve had sea urchin several times, it’s a speciality here and quite expensive because they aren’t that common so I’m interested that it is proposed as an alternative in Canada. It is especially popular in Sicily, I didn’t realise it lived in such cold waters or perhaps we’re talking about a different species with the same common name.

    • I’ve never eaten either. Perhaps sea urchin is much more common in the North Atlantic, or perhaps it is a different species, as you say.

  5. There are mixed reports over here with wind farms and concerns that when badly sited they can affect bird populations but we need to find alternative energy sources too.

    • Birds and bats are a concern here as well. I think the vertical axis turbines are considered less dangerous to birds because they see them as a solid object; it seems perhaps there would be less impact on bats as well.

    • Yes, there have been problems with bird fatalities. Our guide said the key to preventing bird deaths is placing the turbines far enough apart.

  6. No and no! But yay for the wind turbines—2015 was the warmest year on record—and I would certainly try ocean pout.

  7. Have driven by wind farms and even seen turbine blades on the highway (yikes they are huge!) but did not know about this one open to the public. Curious about whether they are in any way noisy?

    • They were really remarkably quiet. We were obviously up very close, and you had to listen carefully to hear the turbine you were standing by. I am in the camp of thinking they are kind of artistic, though I wouldn’t want them in the middle of a picturesque landscape.

      • That’s amazing. I know what you mean about artistic, they do sort of tend to look like a big art installation, but I think we need to still be able to see some of that flat plain uninterrupted space.

  8. There are quite a few wind farms here in Texas. It’s common (or used to be) to see those big fans being carted on trucks to South Texas along I37. We opted into wind energy for our electricity some years ago and we also have solar–we have no fossil fuel providing for our electrical needs. We still drive and fly though….

    • Good for you! Seems like hybrid and electric cars are becoming more and more practical. Not sure if there will ever be a fix for flying. Perhaps if we ever get high speed rail.

  9. We drive through wind farms when we visit family in Idaho. Never have gotten that close though. You took full advantage by taking that first stunning photo.

  10. It is amazing to be at 32,000 feet and fly over a field of these modern “windmills” and to be able to see them rotating. Most folks have no idea how large they are.

  11. I likely am in the minority, but consider wind farms to be oddly beautiful. We saw many when we were traveling out west and they seemed almost like moving sculptures to me. We also saw trucks carrying the blades and were astonished at how large they were. Nice that you had someone to show you around.

    • I agree, they have a certain beauty. I wouldn’t want them everywhere, or in protected areas or historic gardens, but I don’t mind them otherwise. I expect we will eventually get used to them, like telephone poles or power lines.

  12. I sure hope they don’t promote eating whelks and sea urchins. There doesn’t seem to be so many of them around. I would hate to think we would eat them all.
    Those wind turbines are fascinating. I would love to tour them to get close. I have seen from afar people doing maintenance. They have to be very brave to strap themselves to these huge things and dangle down the blades, sides etc working on them.

  13. I have never seen the first type of wind turbine! There is a substantial wind farm along I39, which we drive frequently to avoid Chicago while getting to Michigan. Is this new, larger, type safer for birds?

  14. I never even heard of ocean pout and I have taken a tour of a wind farm along with a nuclear generating facility (Three Mile Island) a long time ago when they started using both for energy. I doubt tours of the nuclear facilities are common today. My husband has worked in a few of them on the east coast and security is extremely high. It was very nice you had someone offer to take two of you. I remember both of my tours had quite a few people along.

  15. Gosh, I wouldn’t have climbed that either!!! How interesting to get to visit a wind farm and ocean museum, oh my…..some odd looking creatures there!!!
    We are having a wind farm built by us, 12 155ft turbines will dominate the scenery in a few years, I’m not sure why they can’t be built offshore here, but it’s undoubtedly because it more

  16. Interesting. I like that driftwood sculpture. We have wind farms near here now. I’m always amazed at how they seem to stretch on forever on the horizon. They seem like a great idea except for the bird kill. Always a trade-off, I guess. Thanks for sharing these highlights from your trips!

  17. This is so fascinating! I wish that there were more of these across the country as they just make sense! My sister took me to the wind farm in Bloomington Illinois which spans a large area and looks like an art installation. Great post Jason! And on another topic I’m sorry if you got an old blog post from me…seems an old post went out from last year..I have no idea why. I hope you have a great weekend! Nicole

  18. Interesting post but I am afraid I am not a great lover of wind farms, there are big questions over just how efficient they are and in parts of the UK they very definitely spoil the landscape. They may be more easily absorbed in large countries with plenty of land at their disposal but here in the UK they tend to stick out like a sore thumb.

  19. I love the windmills but I wonder what preventative steps have been taken to keep the birds from being caught up the drafts of churning air.

    • The guy there talked some about that, he said you can prevent a lot of bird deaths by spacing the turbines a little further apart. I hope so.

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