In the Gulf of St Lawrence between the Jacques Cartier and Honguedo straits, the remote 220km-long Île d’Anticosti was once known as the “Graveyard of the Gulf”, as more than four hundred ships have been wrecked on its shores. The island’s vast expanse is made up of windswept sea cliffs and forests of twisted pine, crisscrossed by turbulent rivers and sheer ravines. Known as Notiskuan – “the land where we hunt bears” – by the aboriginal people, and a walrus- and whale-fishing ground by the Basques, Île d’Anticosti became the private domain of Henri Menier, a French chocolate millionaire, in 1873. He imported white-tailed Virginia deer, red fox, silver fox, beaver and moose in order to gun them down at his leisure. Today, a less exclusive horde of hunters and anglers comes here to blast away at deer from the back of four-wheel-drives and to hoist the salmon from the rivers. For other travellers it presents an opportunity to explore an untamed area that’s still practically deserted, with a population of about 280.
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