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Whales and Wildlife, Catamaran Style

Month: June 2009

Enough fog already!

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Hey everyone, it’s Danielle again with Quoddy Link. Today we did get out on our 2pm departure and with some thinning fog and some blue sky showing through we thought we would make a little run up off Bliss light, not before spending about 20 minutes with a young minke whale (only about 10 feet long). We made our way over, the fog thickened, but with calm seas we shut our engines off and started to listen….large whales, like finbacks, you can hear blow (exhale) over a mile away. We listened for about 5 minutes but didn’t hear anything but you never know unless you “look”. We made our way over to Whitehorse Island, a bird nesting site and were very happy to see a huge number of black-legged kittiwakes! After spending some time with the birds we went up to Head Harbour Passage and watched a few minke whales, adult sized this time! We made our way back to St. Andrews through Western Passage and the Old Sow (the largest tidal whirlpool in the Western Hemisphere). All in all it was a great trip!

Thanks for checking in today, tomorrow is Canada Day, eh! I hope we get some nice weather!

Fog, fog go away!

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Hey everyone. Well, it’s still foggy here in St. Andrews but we were able to get out on the water today at 2pm. We had a very nice sighting of atleast 2 (maybe 3) minke whales. On our way to Head Harbour Passage we stopped with 2 adult bald eagles on Nubble Island, a great sighting! We spent some time with the seals on the reefs off Casco Bay Island and also saw quite a few harbour porpoise. We have also been seeing quite a variety of seabirds in the inshore area and today we saw a puffin, a storm petrel, a group of Northern gannets and a small group of greater shearwaters! All of those birds off the entrance to Head Harbour Passage is a great sign that there is lots of food in the area….now if only the fog will lift!

Thanks for checking in.

Minke and Fundy Fog

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Hey all, it’s Danielle with Quoddy. I just wanted to give you a quick update on today’s trip. We had a nice afternoon whale watch, the fog again pushed off enough (with the help of a little wind) and cleared Head Harbour Passage. We saw atleast 3 individual minke whales (there may have been 4 in the area). We also had some interesting bird sightings….we saw a good number of northern gannets (both mature and immature), a puffin and a storm petrel! These birds are here because there is food to eat, has to be a good sign and hopefully when the fog clears we can start to explore some of the offshore areas.

Thanks for checking in today!

The 2009 season has officially begun!

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Hello everyone, it’s Danielle with Quoddy Link Marine back for another season on the Bay of Fundy. I arrived in St. Andrews and we saw nothing but heavy rain for 3 days but we got out on the water today and had a great whale watch this afternoon (the fog cleared just enough for us in Head Harbour Passage). We saw 2 individual minke whales (there was a 3rd a little further up Head Harbour Passage).

We also saw lots of grey and harbour seals as well as a common murre sighting (pic below).

I will keep you posted on all of our sightings! You can follow us on Twitter, our tweets will keep you update on all of our sightings.

Four Things EVERYONE needs to know about sharks

Hey there, I wanted to share this article with you all. I know that a lot of people have a great fear of sharks but these amazing creatures do not deserve this stereotype and are so vital to the health of our oceans.

Reposted from

Four things EVERYONE needs to know about sharks

2009 May 10

by whysharksmatter

WhySharksMatterWhile I could talk forever about why sharks matter (I am, as frequent readers know, literally writing a book about the topic), there are a few things that I would like for everyone to know. I do mean EVERYONE. I know that my blog posts reach a pretty small percentage of the world’s population, but some of you guys are pretty passionate about protecting the oceans. Please tell a friend. Please tell your parents. Please tell your children. Please tell your teachers, please tell your students, please tell your classmates. You get the idea… I really would like for EVERYONE to know these few important facts about sharks. I fervently believe that sharks are threatened today because the majority of the world doesn’t know that they are important, and not because the majority of the world wishes them ill, and that public education on a massive scale is key to saving these animals. I can’t do it without you. 1) Sharks do not represent a serious threat to human beings. Yes, some people have died as a result of shark encounters, and any human death is a tragedy, but it is important to keep in mind the relative risk of a shark attack. Of the over 500 species of sharks worldwide, fewer than a dozen have ever been known to kill a human. In an average year, over 650,000 Americans die as a result of heart disease, giving me a 1 in 5 chance of dying of heart disease in my lifetime. In an average year, over 550,000 Americans die from cancer, giving me a 1 in 7 chance of dying from cancer in my lifetime. In an average year, over 40,000 Americans die in car accidents, giving me a 1 in 84 chance of dying in a car accident in my lifetime. In an average year, 1 American dies from a shark attack, giving me a 1 in 3,748,067 chance of dying from a shark attack in my lifetime. Again, any human death is a tragedy, but when you have a 1 in 5 chance of dying from heart disease and a 1 in 4 million chance of dying from a shark attack, should we really be so concerned about the threat to us that sharks represent? Millions of Americans spend time in the oceans each year. Sharks have been evolving incredible sensory systems, part of what makes them such incredible hunters, for over 400 million years. They can also swim a great deal faster than we can. If they wanted to attack humans, a lot more than one American a year would be killed by a shark. Sharks are simply not a serious threat to us.

If this guy wanted to hurt you, you couldn't outswim himIf this guy wanted to hurt you, you couldn’t outswim him. Fortunately for you, sharks don’t usually attack people

2) Sharks are important to the health of the oceans. Without them, many ocean ecosystems, including several that are vital to the economy, are in danger of collapsing. This collapse would have devastating ecological and economic consequences… and some of these consequences have already started to happen. In addition to providing natural selection pressure and allowing only the fittest to survive by preying upon the weakest, sickest, and smallest fish, sharks are also important to marine ecosystems in other ways. In the Outer Banks of North Carolina, tiger shark populations have declined over 97% since 1972. One of their prey items, the cownose ray, has skyrocketed in population without tiger sharks to eat them. These cownose rays eat scallops… and with so many more rays, the scallop population of the Outer Banks has all but collapsed. This is bad news not only for the numerous other organisms that eat scallops, but also for the thousands of people who used to work as scallop fisherman. A similar event took place in Tasmania. Massive declines in shark populations led to an increase in octopus populations, since there are so many fewer sharks preying on them. These octopus eat, among other things, Tasmanian rock lobsters. The Tasmanian rock lobster fishery is now almost completely gone. A more complex shark decline related ecosystem destabilization, this one taking place in coral reefs, has led to a decrease in algae-grazing parrotfish populations… and a huge increase in algae. Algae in the Caribbean is starting to take over reefs, killing coral. Coral reefs are home to thousands of unique species of fish and invertebrates, and they generate billions in ecotourism dollars worldwide. This algae takeover is one of the biggest threats facing coral reefs, and food chain destabilization as a result of shark population declines is one of the biggest causes of algae takeover. Losses of sharks are directly related to the destruction of coral reefs.

These guys help keep the oceans healthyThese guys help keep the oceans healthy

3) Sharks are in serious trouble. Many shark species have declined in population over 90% in the last 25 years. Bycatch is one of the biggest threats facing sharks. While fishing for other species, sharks are caught by accident and are killed. Another major threat facing sharks is finning. Sharks of many species are caught, their fins are cut off, and the still-living rest of the shark (far less valuable than the fin) is dumped overboard to bleed to death or drown. This brutal and unsustainable practice provides material for shark fin soup, a Chinese delicacy associated with celebration. The fins, which are made of cartilage, add absolutely no flavor or nutritional value whatsoever to the soup. By some estimates, over 100 million sharks a year are killed for their fins.

These guys are in big troubleThese guys are in big trouble

4)Human beings are better off with sharks than we are without sharks, and we are in danger of losing them forever… but you can help! The absolute most important thing that you can do to help, you are already doing just by reading this. Learn all you can about sharks, their ecological and economic importance, and the threats they face. Pass on what you have learned to others. Public education will help far more sharks than these guys ever will. The more people that know about this, the better off sharks will be!

If we teach people about sharks, we can save themIf we teach people about sharks, we can save them

~WhySharksMatter All photographs of and by the author

Thanks for reading. Our whale watching tours are scheduled to start on June 20th! Stay tuned for more information!