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Whales and Wildlife, Catamaran Style

Month: July 2007

We are all a little tired of the Fundy Fog!

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Hello everyone, it’s Danielle with Quoddy Link back after a great day on the water, even with the crazy Fundy Fog! Today we saw the fog move in and out so many times, on some parts of our trips we had no more 200 feet of visibility and then 5 minutes later we could see 2 miles in every direction. It really proves how quickly the weather can change on the Bay of Fundy.

We were able to see Finback whales on all 3 departures today, and great sightings on each and every one. Our 10:00 am trip was a foggy one but, with exceptionally calm seas, we were able to stop, shut our engines down and listen for the whales and we got many close encounters.

On both our 2:00 and 5:30 departures we were able to find some nice holes in the fog to view finback whales. The photo below is from our afternoon trip.

I also wanted to share this photo of a whale “footprint”. This smooth, circular patch of water is caused by a whales’ fluke (or tail) moving up and down just under the surface of the water. This “footprint” shows us where the whale was last, just as your footprints would in the sand or snow. These footprints can be very useful when looking for whales in the fog.

Thank You for checking in today. Tomorrow is another day…we can only hope for less fog and more great whale sightings. I’ll keep you all posted.

Fog, fog go away….please

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Hello everyone, it’s Danielle with Quoddy Link with a few days of sightings. The fog continues to keep the offshore areas out of reach and on some of our morning and evening trips the fog is just too thick in the Islands to try and go and see whales. We have gotten 4 of our last 6 departures in and all trips we have been able to show our passengers finback whales just off the northern tip of Campobello Island. And on this evenings departure we had a very nice sighting of a minke whale. Below is a photo of a finback whale I took on this afternoons trips.

The bird sightings continue to be great, the offshore fog usually brings in some of the offshore avian life to the excitement of our bird fanatics. Our regular inshore seabird sightings are great as well. Today we saw greater shearwaters, northern gannets, Bonaparte’s gulls, an Atlantic puffin (everyones favorite), bald eagles and black guillemots.

The weather isn’t looking very promising for tomorrow but you never know what Mother Nature has in store. I’ll keep you all posted and thanks for checking in.

Special Right Whale Trips

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Quoddy Link Marine would like to announce 2 dates for special right whale trips, September 16th and September 30th. Both of these trips will depart at 7:00am and we will travel about 35 nm from St. Andrews out into the open Bay of Fundy in search of the critically endangered North Atlantic Right Whale. With only 300-350 individuals left it is an absolute privilege to see and spend time with these amazing whales. We expect to be back between 1:00 and 2:00 pm. Below are some photos from one of last years right whale trips.

Basking sharks, can reach lengths of over 30 feet and are the 2nd largest fish in the world, are one of the other many type of marine life we man encounter. We may also see finback, humpback and minke whales, Atlantic white-sided dolphins, harbour porpoise and numerous offshore seabirds.

Please contact the office (506-529-2600 / 1-877-688-2600 or for more information, prices and reservations.

Finbacks and some HOT weather

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Hello everyone, it’s Danielle with Quoddy Link Marine back from a nice cool day on the Bay. The weather here in St. Andrews has been unusually hot but it remains cool on the water (so don’t forget your layers!).

The past 2 days have been great with finback and minke whale sightings. We still have 4-5 finback whales hanging off the entrance to Head Harbour Passage. The move a little to the East sometimes but overall have been very co-operative. Below is a terminal dive of a finback, note the tall, columnar blow and high arch of the back, both characteristic of fin whales.

Not sure about the weather tomorrow, maybe some rain but that doesn’t stop us. I will keep you posted on all of our sightings.

Cork and Finbacks…a great day!

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Hello everyone, it’s Danielle with Quoddy Link Marine back after a great day on the water. The morning started off a very foggy but it cleared in time for some great sightings of finback whales off Campobello Island. Below is a rare photo of a finback whales fluke (the whale in the middle, there are 3 finbacks in the photo). Finback whales do not typically raise their tails when they dive like humpbacks do, actually most whales don’t including the largest in the world, finbacks and blue whales. The whale in the middle here was rolling in its side, we can only guess what sort of communication was going on.

Our afternoon departure took us to a similar area, inshore, where we spent some time with finback whales.
Our evening trip was a special one. With a call from the Grand Manan ferry that they were seeing humpbacks in their track we headed offshore to see what we could find. It was a little choppy but we had eager passengers and when we arrived we found Cork, a 5 year-old female humpback that we know quite well at Quoddy. While we were waiting for Cork to resurface we saw a finback whale breach about a 1/2 mile away, not once but 4 times! Finback whales are not known to breach, just like they are not known to raise their tails. Below is a photo I captured, I know it’s a little blurry but I am still happy, it’s the first time I have seen a fin whale breach in my 6 years with Quoddy.

Thanks for checking in with us today, I hope tomorrow is just as good.

2007 season continues to be fantastic!

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Hello everyone, it’s Danielle back from a day of rest (and grocery shopping). The whales in our part of the Bay of Fundy continue to be fantastic. Both yesterday and today we saw finback whales on all 3 trips! They are still found consistently off the entrance to Head Harbour Passage and yesterday they were right up inside the passage off Casco Bay Island.

Below is a photo of 2 finback whales directly off East Quoddy Head Light on the northern tip of Campobello Island, NB. This is the entrance to Head Harbour Passage, a waterway that is at the heart of the fight to stop LNG tankards from entering Passamaquoddy Bay. We do what we can by documenting all of our whale sightings with photographs as well as recording lat/long data.

Here you can see 2 finback whales travelling together (there we 5 travelling in a herd). In the background is Deer Island, NB.

This is a bald eagles nest that we have the opportunity to visit on some of our departures. Here you can see 2 immature eagles in the nest, one silhouetted against the sky, the other is to the right, hunched over.

Harbour porpoise are a common sighting on all of our departures. You have to keep your eyes on the water to see them and don’t get to frustrated if you can’t manage to capture them on camera cause they are quite quick and unpredictable.

Yesterday we also had the chance to spend some time with both Hobo (pictured below) and

Cork, 2 humpback whales we have become quite fond of here at Quoddy Link Marine. John was out on our Scout Boat today and located Cork in the Grand Manan Channel but the weather turned and the fog rolled on in and he was unable to keep track of her.

For those of you who follow the blog on a regular basis I wanted to share that I got the grey seal identified that we saw on July 22nd with a brand mark on his back. He was born on Sable Island (160 km southeast of Canso, Nova Scotia) on December 30, 1997 and weaned on January 19, 1998 at 63.5 kg and 120cm. Also, he has been sighted in the breeding colony on Sable Island on January 26, 2005. Thanks to Mike Hammill (IML) and Don Bowen and Jim McMillan (BIO) for their help in identifying this seal.

Thanks for checking in, they weather man is calling for fog tomorrow…..I’ll keep you posted.

NO FOG and fin and humpback whales!

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Hello everyone, it’s Danielle with Quoddy Link Marine back from a great day on the water. We had NO fog and calm seas and lots of whales. Our morning trip took us off Campobello Island with 5-6 finback whales. We also stopped with some seals on the reefs surrounding Casco Bay Island and we saw a grey seal with a freeze branding mark (see photo below). Researchers will brand seals to permanently ID them so they can get a better understanding of the population dynamics. I’ve contacted seal researchers at DFO in hopes of determining where this male grey seal has travelled from.

Below is a photo taken this morning of 3 finback whales travelling side-by-side just off the entrance to Head Harbour Passage. You can see the blow of the whale on the right, which can reach 20 feet in the air and is easily identifiable as a finback blow because of its height and shape.

Our afternoon and evening trip took us offshore in search of humpback whales. With the help of Matt on our Scout Boat we found 2 humpbacks, Hobo and Cork (a 5 year old female). On both departures we were able to spend some time with finback whales as well.
This is Cork, a 5 year old female humpback whale we have been watching sine 2003.

This is Hobo, a humpback we have been seeing since 2004.

Thanks for taking the time to check in with us, we can only hope Mother Nature is good to us again tomorrow with both the whales and the weather.

Still foggy but had a great day on the water

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Hello everyone, it’s Danielle with Quoddy Link Marine back from a foggy day on the water but a good day nonetheless. We won’t always go in the fog, there are many other factors to consider such as wind, what the tide is doing, and feeding patterns of the whales. We decided to give it a try today because of where the whales have been feeding as well as our Scout Boat was out and found some “holes” in the fog. Both our morning and our afternoon trip took us off Head Harbour Light, at the northern tip of Campobello Island where we spent some time with finback whales (3 individual whales on our 10:00 am departure and 5 finbacks on our 2:00 trip). Below is a photo from our 2:00 pm departure of one of the large finback whales.
The birds seen below are greater shearwaters, one of the many seabirds we may encounter on our excursions. Shearwaters are typically an offshore seabird but with the foggy weather we often get a chance to see these species much closer to home.
Below is a photo I took of some seals on our afternoon trip. The large, dark coloured seals are grey seals where as the smaller, light ones are harbour seals. The easiest way to tell the difference between the two is to look at the shape of their heads, harbour seals have heads the shape of a dog while grey seals have heads the shape of a horse. The grey seals seen here are males. The reason I can tell is due to the colouration of their coats, male grey seals have a dark coat with small, light spots where as females have the exact opposite, a light coat with large dark spots. It’s much more difficult to distinguish between male and female harbour seals as the coats are the same for both sexes.

That’s all for today, thanks for checking in and I’m on the water tomorrow so I will keep you posted.

Finbacks and FOG!!

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Hello everyone, it’s Danielle with Quoddy Link Marine with some sightings to report from the past 2 days. The fog is still hanging around but our success rate with whales is still 100%, mostly because of a lot of patience, persistence and with the help of our Scout Boat. Yesterday and today we saw finback whales on all of our departures, and yesterday morning we also saw 2 minke whales. The photos below are of 2 different finback whales that we saw yesterday and today. We can tell one finback from another by the shape of their dorsal fin but this is just the quick and dirty way and isn’t completely accurate. The way that researchers tell the difference is by unique markings called chevrons and the blaze, both of which are white, swirl-like markings on the back of the finback whale. They also look for unique scaring on the dorsal fin, flanks and the caudal peduncle (where the body meets the tail). To have a 100% positive ID a researcher usually needs 8 photographs of the whale, 4 from the left and 4 from the right hand side and all must be taken on a terminal dive (a dive where the whale arches it’s back higher). The photos below are both showing terminal dives.

Thanks for checking in, I’m hoping the fog will go away very soon but I will make sure to keep you posted on all our sightings.

Finbacks in July

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Hello everyone, it’s Danielle with your Quoddy Link Marine update. Today was a great day with finback and minke whales. On our 10:00 am departure we got to spend some time with Breadknife (left), a mike whale who has come to mean a lot to the seasoned crew of Quoddy Link. It was a pleasure to see “her” today, and Breadknife was travelling with another minke whale, side-by-side….something we don’t get to see very often. After spending some time with the minke whales we made our way over to Head Harbour Light where we had 2 finback whales together. On our way home we got to see seals (both grey and harbour), a bald eagle, and stop at both a salmon farm and a herring weir. It was a fantastic trip.

Our afternoon trip had some of the best finback sightings of our season. We were back out off Campobello Island with a finback whale when we saw another finback charging our way. “He” was moving so fast “he” was almost porpoising out of the water. The 2 finback whales came together and made several close passes of the boat, allowing our passengers a clear view of their white, lower right jaw and their blazes and chevrons (both are unique, swirl-like markings on their back). Below are the 2 finbacks we spent some time with today.

Below you can clearly see the blowhole, or nostril of a finback whale. Finbacks are baleen whales, and all baleen whales have a double blowhole.

Thanks for checking in with us, and I am on the water all day tomorrow so I will keep you posted on all things Quoddy.