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Whales and Wildlife, Catamaran Style

Month: October 2006

Our 2006 Season…

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Hello there, it’s Danielle with Quoddy Link Marine. Well, our 2006 season has officially come to a close. I just wanted to give you a little summary of this very special season.

We started whale watching officially on the 24th of June, and were greated with thick and persistent Fundy Fog! We had our first minke whale sighting on June 19th, on a chartered trip, off the northern tip of Campobello Island at the entrance to Head Harbour Passage. The rest of June and the beginning of July continued with frustrating weather and scarce whale sightings but on July 4th our first finback whale was spotted off White Horse Island. With some offshore fog we continued to watch finback whales off Bliss and Pea Point Light. On a search around the Wolves on July 9th we were delighted to see our first humpback whale, Cork, a 4-year old female humpback we also saw in 2004. With some frustrating fog towards the end of July we were confined close to shore but the finback whale sightings were fantastic and we were able to see Cork every few days when we got a little break in the fog. But on July 31st we were very happy to see 2 new humpbacks, Hobo and Parachute, both familiar whales to Quoddy Link.

On August 4th we had our first North Atlantic Right Whale trip of the season. We usually do a few right whale trips each year that take us about 35-40 miles from St. Andrews out into the mouth of the Bay of Fundy. The trip was very successful with many whales sighted. The North Atlantic Right Whale is incredibly rare with an estimated population of about 300-350, so to have the opportunity to spend some time watching them is such a priveledge. August continued with sightings of finbacks and Parachute, Cork and Hobo and then on August 17th off the eastern end of Eastern Wolf were we ever in for a surprise, 5 humpbacks within a 1 mile radius, a rare treat for us. The humpbacks were ID’d as Hobo, Parachute, Repeat, and 2 unknowns (still yet to be matched to whales in the Gulf of Maine Catalogue). And on August 22nd 3 new humpbacks showed up in the same area; Godzilla, Sonogram (2-year old female) and Quarternote (5-year old male).

We had a few very special trips in August and one was on our evening trip on August 23rd. We could see a whale breaching about 3 miles away and when we arrived we found Sonogram, a 2-year old female humpback breaching and rolling over, slapping her long, white pectoral flippers on the surface, and lob tailing. This behaviour continued for over an hour and was still going on when when had to start making our way back to St. Andrews. And on August 27th, on our last scheduled evening trip we had one of the most amazing trips I’ve had in 5 years. We were treated to an incredibly close encounter by both Parachute and Quarternote, with both whales circling us, spyhopping very close to the boat, and not leaving our side for over 30 minutes. It was incredible.

September began and continued with great whale sightings of finbacks, humpbacks and minkes. On September 11th we had our last official finback whale sighting of the season, which is unusual for us but these incredibly large whales must have found a better food supply elsewhere as our numbers for finbacks were low for the entire season. On September 13th I was delighted to spot a new humpback, one that we watched for the remainder of the season and one that can not be matched to any humpback in the Gulf of Maine catalogue. All of our unknowns will be named at the Gulf of Maine Humpback Naming Conference in April of 2007. On September 17th we had our 2nd special North Atlantic Right Whale trip and, as in the case of the first trip, it was incredibly successful with over 15 whales sighted including 2 mom and calf pairs. The rest of September was filled with many amazing autumn trips and great humpback sightings.

The beginning of October was no different, great weather, especially for the fall, and great humpback sightings. Almost every day we were either in the Grand Manan Channel or off Southern Wolf with humpbacks. On October 6th we were very surprised to see a North Atlantic Right Whale in our area, but in the fall, during some seasons, we definitely see right whales in our part of the Bay of Fundy. On October 13th, 14th and 15th we saw atleast 3 right whales on each trip, all in the Grand Manan Channel. Our trip on October 14th was a fundraising trip to help the fight to stop LNG terminals and tankards from entering Passamaquoddy Bay. The trip was incredibly successful and we were able to show our passengers a right whale, in the proposed area where the tankards would be traveling. Thanks to all who came out and supported the cause. We did a whale survey of our area on October 17th and found Cork and 5 right whales! On our way out we had 1 right whale directly off East Quoddy Head Light on the northern tip of Campobello Island and about 2 hours later we had a small SAG (surface active group) of 3 individuals about 1/2 mile SE of East Quoddy Head Light. I have been providing this data to the right people to help with the fight against LNG.

Our humpback sightings this year included:

– Cork (4-year old female)
– Godzilla (first seen in 2002, never recorded as a calf)
– Hobo (first seen in 2002, never recorded as a calf)
– Parachute (I first photographed in 2003, never recorded as a calf)
– Quarternote (5-year old male)
– Repeat (first seen in 2004 of MA)
– Sonogram (2-year old female)
– 3 unknowns

I want to take this opportunity to thank everyone who joined us during our 2006 season onboard the Quoddy Link. For me, to be able to show our passengers whales and share in the experience is an absolute priveledge. Our guests is why we do what we do, why we go those extra miles to show you humpbacks, so thank you to all who came along for the ride. Come back and see us in 2007 and experience everything the Bay of Fundy has to offer…….Catamaran Style!

Below are just a few of my favorite pictures from the 2006 season, thanks to all who read my blog!


If you have any questions or comments please feel free to email me at danielle.m.dion@hotmail.com

A Whale Survey, 5 right whales and Cork!

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Hello everyone, it’s Danielle with Quoddy Link Marine. We headed out on October 17th to do a small survey of the whales that are in our area of the Bay of Fundy. Consistent with the sightings of the past week, we were not surprised to find the very rare North Atlantic right whale in the Grand Manan Channel but we were surprised to find a single right whale right off East Quoddy Head Light and another single right whale off Nancys Head, Campobello Island. We found 5 individual right whales in total and, on our travels around the Owen Basin, we also found a familiar whale, Cork, a 4-year old female humpback (above). On our way back we thought we would stop by the northern tip of Campobello Island at East Quoddy Head Light to see if that right whale was still around. To our surprise we found not 1 but 3 right whales about 1/2 mile south-east of the Light. The 3 whales came together in a small SAG (surface active group, a courting behaviour seen with right whales on their summer feeding/courting grounds). We are reporting our sightings to Fundy Traffic so the word can get out they we have right whales in an area where large ships carrying cargo often travel. The data is also being donated to help the fight against LNG in Passamaquoddy Bay.

Thanks for checking in!! We are planning, weather permitting, to have one last whale watch on Saturday, October 21st. I will keep you posted!
Above, a North Atlantic Right Whale directly off East Quoddy Head Light, the northern tip of Campobello Island.
Above and below, right whales together in a surface active group, known as a SAG.

RIGHT Good….again, again and AGAIN

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Hello there, it’s Danielle with Quoddy Link Marine. Well, the crew of Quoddy Link and our passengers have had the priveledge of watching the incredibly rare North Atlantic right whale on our last 3 whale watches, including our trip on Saturday, October 14th which was a very successful fund raising trip to support the fight to stop LNG tankards and terminals from entering Passamaquoddy Bay. We saw right whales on all 3 trips in the Grand Manan Channel. We usually have to go about 35-40 miles from St. Andrews to see right whales but in the fall we often have the pleasure of watching them a little closer to home. Such an amazing sight, to spend time with whales whose numbers are less than 350 world wide.

Thanks for reading and thanks to all who joined us on Saturday to help with the fight against LNG in Passamaquoddy Bay. Quoddy Link Marine is planning on doing one last whale watch next Saturday, October 21st, at 11:00 am. I will keep you posted!

The unique V-shaped blow of the right whale.

The right whale has a very high mouth arch. The roughened patches of skin on the front of their head are called callosities, and they are in unique patterns for each right whale and are used to identify individuals.

3 humpbacks and a minke whale, a fabulous fall day!

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Hello there, it’s Danielle with Quoddy Link Marine. Well, the season is coming to a close but the weather and whales were absolutely fabulous today. We headed out on our 2:00 pm departure with calm seas and clear skies. We made our way directly towards the Wolves Banks and quickly located 3 familiar humpback whales; Cork, Hobo and our “Unknown”. With close approaches from all 3 humpbacks and Hobo and the “Unknown” coming together for a series of shallow dives (above) before raising their tails it was an afternoon of fantastic sightings. On our way back to St. Andrews we stopped with a minke whales, some grey seals and a mature bald eagle. With sightings like we had today we don’t want the season to end!!

Thanks for reading and keep checking for more updates.

Hobo

the “Unknown”

Cork

Cork and Parachute on Thanksgiving Sunday!

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Hello again, it’s Danielle with Quoddy Link Marine. What a great Thanksgiving Sunday. We headed out on our afternoon whale watch and made our way into the Grand Manan Channel where we found both Parachute and Cork, 2 humpbacks we have been watching since July. The sightings were great with close looks at both whales and on our way back home we spent some time with a minke whale off the northern tip of Campobello Island. With harbour seals and 2 bald eagles it was a great way to round out our trip. Thanks for checking in and HAPPY THANKSGIVING!


Another GREAT fall day!

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We had another great fall day whale watching on the Bay of Fundy. With barely any wind and a warm autumn sun we headed out to the offshore feeding grounds in search of humpback whales. Our Scout boat was out ahead of us to help with the search and when we arrived in the Owen Basin we found our “Unknown” (right), a humpback we have been watching since September. With some great looks we headed down into the Grand Manan Channel to see of we could find our other humpbacks. We found Cork, a four year-old female humpback (below). We stayed for a few series and then made our way back into the islands to see if we could find a minke whale on our way back to St. Andrews. With the help of our Scout boat again we found 3 minkes in amongst the islands! A great way to end off our trip.

Thanks for reading and keep checking for more updates! Happy Thanksgiving!


RIGHT Good!

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What a great day! We left for our 2:00 pm departure with plans of heading offshore in search of humpback whales. On our way out we found a minke whale between White and Nubble Island. We didn’t spend too much time because we wanted get out and search for humpback whales. We made our way to the Grand Manan Channel, the traditional fall ebb tide feeding ground for humpbacks but we had no luck. As we continued around the edge of the Owen Basin we saw a blow and our captain quickly informed us it was a very rare North Atlantic Right Whale (photos below)! What a priveledge, with only 300-350 remaining, they are one of the most endangered large whales in the world. We don’t usually see right whales on our regular whale watches as their feeding/courting ground is in the open Bay of Fundy, about 35-40 miles from St. Andrews, and is out of our regular, 3-hour whale watch. With a few looks (right whales can stay under a long time and be a little difficult to watch) we continued our search for humpbacks. We found our “Unknown” (above left and right) in the same area as the right whale so with some great looks at the humpback we also got a few more looks at the right whale. We could see more humpback blows down in the Channel but we were running out of time and had to make our way back to St. Andrews. On our way past the northern tip of Campobello Island we saw another minke whale and got some great close looks. What an amazing trip!


4 humpback whales and calm seas!

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Hello there, it’s Danielle with Quoddy Link Marine. What a great day for whale watching! There was barely a breath of wind in the Grand Manan Channel when we arrived looking for humpback whales. We first found our “Unknown” and quickly saw 3 more blows a bit further south. When we made our way over we were pleased to see Cork, Parachute (upper right) and Hobo! With close approaches from all 4 whales it was a fantastic afternoon. We also spent some time with a minke whale in amongst the islands on our way back to St. Andrews. Below are the dorsal fins of the 4 humpback whales we saw today. Not only is the pigmentation on the underside of the tail of humpback whales unique but so is the dorsal fin.

Hobo

Cork

Parachute

The “Unknown” (picture taken on September 13th)
I just want to take this opportunity to say hello to a very loyal reader of my blog, Matthew Smith. Thanks so much for reading Matthew and we’ll see you next year!
Thanks for checking in, they are calling for some serious winds tomorrow but I will keep you all posted.

Humpback and minke whales, a great fall day!

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Hi there, it’s Danielle again, with Quoddy Link Marine. We had a great day whale watching again. Our morning trip took us to the Grand Manan Channel, the traditional ebb tide feeding ground for humpbacks in the fall. When we arrived we were very pleased to see 3 humpbacks; Parachute, Cork, and an unknown humpback we have been seeing in September. Sightings were great and our passengers were very happy.

Our afternoon trip took us out to the flood tide feeding grounds where we found Parachute. With about 10 knots of easterly wind it was a little choppy but our hearty passengers were great and were treated to multiple tail lobs from Parachute, another great fall trip.

Also, on our trips today we saw minke whales, a 30-foot baleen whale, in amongst the islands. We also saw many seals and fantastic bald eagles. Keep checking in for more fall updates!
Cork

Parachute

The “Unknown”