By Pam Hobbs

Percé, Que:- It was a most endearing meeting, in this cramped and noisy place. From a thousand or more who looked pretty much the same to me, he spotted her without hesitation. Striding purposefully through the crowds, nudging aside his neighbors, he stood before his mate for life, mother of his children. With wings spread wide they stood face to face, rubbing beaks and emitting what I interpreted as joyous squawks, performing the spectacular ritual of adult gannets reunited after one of the pair had been away. Their greeting finished, she sank back onto her nest, while he went off to mingle with the hoards of gannets inhabiting these cliffs of Bonaventure Island off the coast of Percé in the rugged Gaspé region of Québec.

The gannetry, believed to be the world's largest, is just one reason to come to this pleasant island, with a surface area of little over two and a half square miles (6.5km²), quiet beaches, and derelict houses that prompt thoughts of hardy individuals who lived here two or three hundred years ago.

In summer months, boats leave Percé wharf every 20 minutes for a ride around the famed arched rock, and on to Bonaventure. Three quarters of an hour after leaving the mainland, they stop at this tiny island, where passengers are invited to go ashore or return directly to Percé. My advice is that you come in early morning, wear good walking shoes and bring a picnic lunch. In fine weather, you will want to spend the best part of a day here.

Soaked in summer sunshine, Bonaventure is an enchanting place, its grey weathered wood buildings contrasting with a deep blue sky, and cliff-top meadows smothered in daisies. Limestone cliffs are skirted by beaches, often deserted in spite of the countless tourists off- loaded throughout each day. Guided walks are conducted with commentary in French or English.

The 1,200 word article explores the history of this site and describes the gannetry, ending with:I

F YOU GO:- Percé is 480 miles (772km) from Québec City, via autoroute 20 to Rivière du Loup, thence rte 132, which circles the Gaspé peninsula. Boats ply frequently during the summer season between Percé and Bonaventure Island and you may catch any boat back, The last departure for Percé is 4.30 p.m. and overnight camping is not permitted.