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Whales and Wildlife, Catamaran Style

Month: August 2008

A Morning Hat Trick

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Hello everyone, it’s Danielle with Quoddy Link. We were back on schedule today with our regular whale watching and both trips were fantastic. On our 10:00 am departure we had what we call a “hat trick”, showing our passengers all 3 species of whales commonly seen in our part of the Bay of Fundy. We had 3 finback whales between Bliss and Blacks and then we made our way offshore to see if we could find a humpback whale….and we found Mustache! Mustache was staying down for 8 minute dives so after 3 series we made our way into the islands where we found 2 minke whales.

Our afternoon trip started in amongst the islands with 2 minke whales and John decided to head offshore (our Scout Boat was out, had not relocated Mustache yet and there was a finback whale inshore but there was a lot of boat traffic being a holiday weekend). We found Mustache travelling doing some shorter 3-4 minute dives but not raising “his” tail unless he was going down for a longer dive (timed at 11 minutes each).

It was great to see Mustache on both departures today. They are calling for some wind over the next few days but I will keep you posted in the weather and Mother Nature! Cheers.

Our Amazing Mom and her Calf Identified!

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Good Morning everyone, it’s Danielle from Quoddy just getting out of the shower and checking my email and learning that our right whale cow/calf pair from yesterday that we shared such an amazing experience with yesterday has been identified! Thank You so much Laurie from the Grand Manan Whale and Seabird Research Station!! I’d like you all to meet RW#2330 and her calf ! 2330 was first seen in 1993, and not as a calf so she is of unknown age. Her first known calf was in 2004 and this is her second calf.
You can visit the North Atlantic Right Whale Catalogue which is maintained by the New England Aquarium. If you want to learn more about RW#2330 just select “search for individual whales” and then select 2330 from the catalogue no. drop down box and click on execute search. You can then see images of her and sightings from 1993-2008. I have included a photo of mom (top) and calf (below) that I took yesterday.

Thanks again to everyone who joined us, your enthusiasm and understanding on how special of an experience it was makes it all that much more enjoyable for us!

Right Amazing!

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Hello everyone, it’s Danielle back from another amazing day on the water. This morning we had our very special North Atlantic right whale trip and special was it ever! It took us just over 2 hours to get out to where we needed to be and our first sight of a right whale was a mom and calf pair. The top photo below shows a calf touching his or her mom on her rostrum with “his” pectoral flipper. We spent about 10 minutes with this pair then moved on to a single whale who was logging at the surface. After a nice dive (fluke shot on the left) we saw another cow/calf pair and made our way over…..and I’m so happy we did (continue below for more)!

We stayed with this mom and calf pair for over an hour, we drifted over 2 miles to the northeast and they both stayed with us… close. The top photo here is the calf and the next 2 down are the mom. I have sent the photos to the an expert at the Grand Manan Whale and Seabird Research Station in hopes of getting an ID. Right whales are identified by their callosites, the unique roughened patches of skin on their head.

This photo is of mom, the white part in the bottom of the photo is the bow of the Quoddy Link!

I have included 6 video clips of this experience, I know it is a little much and you really don’t have to watch all of them but I just wanted to share this experience with you. And….Yes, that is me crying again in the background…

On our way back home we stopped to get a look at a basking shark, the 2nd largest fish in the world!

I really can’t even put it into words what this right whale trip was like….to be so close, for so long, with a mom and her calf, to watch her nurse….it was an experience I will never, ever forget and such a privilege to spend time with an animal whose world wide numbers are less than 350. Thank You to all who joined us on this amazing experience!Check back soon for more updates from Quoddy Link Marine.Before I sign off for the day I want to send a big CONGRATULATIONS to Peter and Sara Morrison who were married today! Congrats you guys….Love your Quoddy Link Family!

I Will Never Forget This Trip!

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Hello Everyone, it’s Danielle with Quoddy Link back from a day on the Bay of Fundy that I will never forget. There are a handful of trips over my past 7 years with Quoddy Link Marine that I will always remember and this afternoon’s departure is one to add to that pile. With a call from Matt on our Scout Boat (Thank You Matty!) that he had found a humpback in the Grand Manan Chanel we made our way directly out on our 2:00 pm departure. Matt let us know that it was Mustache, a humpback whale we have become very familiar with over the past few years and when we arrived “he” was great to see, raising his tail nice and high for all of our passengers to see and then Mustache did this ….(click play on the video below)

I missed the first full breach on the video but I managed to catch the other 2 partial breaches. Everyone was so excited but “he” wasn’t done, this is what happened next….(click play on the video below)

That is me you can hear crying in the background! Mustache was so close I though we were going to get wet from the splash. One of our younger passengers, Emily, told me that Mustache slapped his tail 91 times! I wasn’t counting but it lasted well over 20 minutes. This was such a special trip and most certainly not something we see on a regular basis. Thank You to all of our passengers on board for being so excited and interested in everything today. Below are some photos of Mustache.

Thanks so much for checking in today. We are all getting excited about our special North Atlantic right whale trip on Saturday, don’t forget to check back and see how everything turned out……or better yet come and join us, we still have a few spots left!

Fall is in the Air

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Hello everyone, it’s Danielle with Quoddy back from a long day on the water. I am going to keep this short tonight but I do want to keep you updated on our sightings. The past 2 days have been spent with minke and finback whales, no sign of any humpback whales but we have had some weather to deal with. We have had everything from thick morning fog to strong winds in various directions but we have managed to have some great sightings! I want to share this video with you I took yesterday morning of 3 large finback whales travelling side-by-side. It was so beautiful…I just watched the video back and shook my head at how lucky I am to do what I do, every day. These whales never cease to amaze me.

OK, time for bed. Thanks for checking in, and check back soon!

Welcome “Home” Mustache

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Hello everyone, it’s Danielle again with Quoddy Link Marine. I seem to be making a lot of posts the past few days and I have more good news today. Another new humpback whale was seen today on both our 10:00 am and 2:00 pm departures (rather close to home, south of Bliss Island) and it was none other than Mustache! Mustache was first seen by us during our 2006 season and was ID’ed by Provincetown Center for Coastal studies as an “unknown”. This means that Mustache wasn’t in the catalogue of humpback whales that PCCS keeps and was never photographed before by anyone participating in their research efforts. Mustache was named at the 2007 Gulf of Maine Whale Naming Event for the obvious white marking on the right hand side of “his” fluke. His dorsal fin is quite unique being rather square (see the bottom photo).

I know I have mentioned before about how bringing your patience is one of the best items you can bring with you on a whale watch but today it was essential. We timed Mustache on a dive at 25 minutes! After we left our Scout Boat times him at 2 more dives over 20 minutes. It just reminds us that wildlife is just that…..wild and they simply do what they do. A dive that long is not common for humpback whales and it was impressive to witness.

I also want to mention that this mornings departure was our first “Hat Trick” of the 2008 season being able to show our passengers all 3 species of whales we can see in our little part of the Bay of Fundy (minke, finback and humpback). Thanks for checking in today. We hope that our humpback whale sightings continue as they are but I will make sure to keep you posted.

A Breezy and Beautiful Day

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Hello everyone, it’s Danielle back from a rather breezy day on the Bay of Fundy but nonetheless what a great day it was. We had a pair of finback whales which we saw on all three departures (there were others around but the pair is who we spent the most time with). The photo on the left is the larger of the 2, coming in at around 50-60 feet long! On our morning departure before the wind had picked up too much we made our way offshore and in almost the exact same spot as yesterday we were able to find (with the help of Matty on our Scout Boat) Cork, our 6 year-old female humpback whale! She never did raise her flukes today so I have included a photo of her dorsal fin. Just like fin whales, the dorsal fin on humpback whales is unique for each individual whale.

I mentioned she didn’t raise her tail but to the delight of our passengers (and our crew, me and Peter) she did a full breach, 2 partial breaches and a tail breach! This is only our 3rd trip with a humpback whale and our first breach of the season. Below is a series of one of her partial breaches, note her long, white pectoral flippers as well as her ventral pleats on the bottom photo.

Thanks for checking in today! Our humpback sightings are definitely not what I would call consistent but it was nice to see Cork 2 days in a row is the same spot on the same time of the tide. They are calling for some wind over the next few days. I’ll keep you posted so check back soon. Cheers!

Welcome “Home” Cork!

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Hello everyone! It’s Danielle with Quoddy Link back from a long day on the water but a great day. With the help of John on our Scout Boat we had our second humpback whale sighting of the 2008 season and it was none other than Cork! Cork is a humpback whale that has become very special to Quoddy, I have been watching her for 4 years now. She is a 6 year-old humpback whale, her mom is Mica, and even though she isn’t the easiest humpback to watch we really do adore her and it was fantastic to see her today. Our humpback whale sightings are still very sporadic but I will keep you posted as to how the season progresses.

We spent time on our afternoon and evening trips with finback whales and the sightings her great! This video is of a pair of finback whales travelling together, not something we see everyday. This was taken on our evening departure.
I also shot this little clip of a bald eagle on our 5:30 pm trip. It’s more the sound I wanted to share, the loud, high-pitched squeaks are eagles….the adult was eating a fish and a juvenile came over to “share” it.
This one is a young harbour seal porpoising out of the water, again not something we see all of the time. Also listen for the growling seals, a sign of aggression. I am assuming it was a grey seal but it might have been a harbour seal.

Thanks for checking in today, don’t forget to make your reservations for our special North Atlantic right whale trip on Saturday, August 30th, I am keeping my fingers and toes crossed for great weather….I really think we deserve it!

2 Great Days with Fin Whales

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Hello everyone, it’s Danielle with Quoddy Link. The past 2 days have been great! We have had finback whales consistently off Bliss and Blacks Harbour , sometimes seeing 6-7 individuals within 1 mile of each other. This afternoon we even had 4 finbacks travelling side-by-side! Below is a photo of a finback in the very first second of an exhale. This particular finback was exhaling so powerfully, the sound was just awesome.

It was so calm and sunny this morning I took advantage and climbed to the top of the wheelhouse to see if I could get some photos of porpoise. This photo you can see the single blowhole that all odontocetes (toothed whales) have. Baleen whales, like finbacks, have a double blowhole!
This is a pic of a mom and calf porpoise pair. It was so sweet to see them travelling together!
Matt was out on our Scout Boat all day checking out every offshore area, more than once, but no luck with humpbacks. He did find a pair of fin whales off Southern Wolf during the morning but we had more to see in the inshore area. Thanks so much for check in, and check back soon for more Quoddy Link news.

2 Days of Sun….What a Summer!

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Hello everyone, it’s Danielle with Quoddy Link Marine with a few days of updates. The past few days have been sunny….2 days of sun in a row, we were all pretty shocked here in St. Andrews. We have been seeing minke and finback whales on our departures. Our finbacks have spread our and are note feeding as consistently as they were a few weeks ago but we are certainly happy when we see them. Today our Scout Boat was out and about to see what he could find offshore, he didn’t see many whales offshore and he covered close to 100 kms! We are just coming off some big tides with a full moon so hopefully things will calm down a little….in the past we have noticed that the whales have been a little more difficult to watch on our larger tides. I do want to say that the minke whales have been great and so easy to watch yesterday and today, something minkes are not always known for.

I have been in touch with Jooke Robbins from the Provincetown Center for Coastal Studies about the humpback whale we saw last week and the identity is still uncertain. “He” was seen earlier this season in the southern Gulf of Maine and there has been no match yet in the catalogue. I will keep you posted if I hear anymore but as of now he is an “unknown”.

I do want to send out a big CONGRATULATIONS to Jill and Brent Anderson who were married on Friday, August 15th! Your Quoddy Link family loves you both and hopes your future is filled with lots of laughs and is a whale of an adventure (wow that was cheesy but I had to do it!).