A Majestic Monolith
BY AWAKE! WRITER IN CANADA
FOR CENTURIES, fishermen and navigators have used it as a trusted landmark. Poets, writers, and artists have immortalized it. One source describes this monolith as “enigmatic and fascinating.” At the eastern tip of the Gaspé Peninsula in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, Percé Rock stands majestically in the shimmering blue water of the Atlantic Ocean. The rock is some 1,420 feet [about 430 m] long, about 300 feet [90 m] wide, and over 290 feet [88 m] high.
At one time, daring locals would scale the face of the rock and gather eggs from birds’ nests. However, to preserve and protect the rock as well as the birds that seek refuge on its heights, in 1985 the Quebec government declared Percé Rock and nearby Bonaventure Island bird sanctuaries. Bonaventure Island is a refuge for the second-largest northern gannet breeding colony in the world.
Some claim that long ago Percé Rock was attached to the mainland and that it may have had as many as four arches. Today, though, only one arch exists—over 90 feet [30 m] wide—in the seaward end of the rock. At low tide a sandbar connects the rock to the mainland. During an interval of about four hours, the courageous at heart can walk right up to the base of the rock and then grope and splash their way along it for about 15 minutes to reach the arch.
For those adventurers, there is a word of caution. One sightseer who clambered over fallen slabs of rock to reach the opening relates: “Every few minutes you can hear a frightening ‘voosh’ of rocks entering the water like miniature bombs. Some rocks fall on one another, like the crack of a gunshot.”
As many visitors have noted, Percé Rock boasts a beauty that is breathtaking. Yet, it is only a sample of the many splendid sights that our fascinating earth offers. How varied and numerous they are! When seeing them, perhaps you too have been moved to “stand still and show yourself attentive to the wonderful works of God.”—Job 37:14.
[Picture Credit Line on page 23]
© Mike Grandmaison Photography