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Whales and Wildlife, Catamaran Style

Month: August 2010

HOT in St. Andrews….COOL and amazing on the Bay of Fundy

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Hello everyone, well, we had another great 2 trips today….and again I have lots of photos to share 🙂

Our 10am trip took us off towards East Quoddy Head Light where we found a fin whale but the tide was starting to slack so we decided to take a run offshore towards the Owen Basin and see if we could find a humpback whale (our Scout Boat was out as well to help with the search). We didn’t have to look too long when we got a call from John W on the Scout Boat that he found a humpback and when we got there we quickly IDed the whale as EKG, a juvenile humpback we have been watching since 2006 (was IDed then as an unknown).


EKG was staying down for anywhere from 7-12 minutes at a time so we decided to stay for one more series….and then he did a partial breach and flipper slapped a few times. Then with not mich a tail raise he was under for another 8 mintues and then…..a tail breach! And then again with the flipper slapping, we even got a double flipper slap!!


The wind picked up in the afternoon so on our 2pm trip we stayed off Blacks Harbour with 6-8 fin whales. We got some AMAZING looks, the 40-55 foot whales were surfacing so close to the boat….it was great.

Thanks for checking in,

Cheers,
Danielle

An AMAZING trip with Arrowhead

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Hey there everyone…..what a trip we had this afternoon! We started off Blacks Harbour with atleast 6 fin whales and we got some great looks so John decided to run us off towards South Wolf and see if we could find a humpback whale. When we got there we found Arrowhead, an adult male that was first sighted in 1976, as an adult….which makes him most likely atleast 40 years old. We spent about 30 minutes with him…..at first he wasn’t raising his tail and then we got a nice fluke shot and John said we will stick around for one more surface……and then he breached fully out of the water!! And then 3 chin breaches…..and then he proceeding to tail lob to about 5 minutes and then another full breach….and then he slapped his pectoral flipper for about 20 minutes…..AMAZING!! I have a tonne of pictures I want to share with you….I hope you enjoy


Here you can see the ventral pleats on the belly side (allow expansion during feeding).


On of the best believed theories as to why humpbacks show this kind of surface behaviour during feeding season (and when they are not trying to stun their prey) is to knock external parasites off their bodies (also to attract mates during mating season…and maybe just for fun). Here you can actually see some blood on the pectoral flipper, most likely where the banacles were….first time I have ever seen evidence like this….so amazing and THANK YOU Jolinne for pointing it out! Oh….and Arrowhead was NOT hitting the water with his pec he was hitting himself!


Thanks so much for checking in today! Hope you enjoyed the photos,

Cheers,
Danielle

Photos from Jolinne…breaching minke whale!!

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Hey everyone, I wanted to share some photos with you taken by Jolinne, one of our marine biologist/photographer/naturalist. On August 25th on our 2pm departure off the entrance to Head Harbour Passage close to Spruce Island we had a breaching minke whale. Below are the photos that Jolinne got, great job Jolinne…..we had some wind and tidal currents, especially at the mouth of the passage but John was able to keep the boat comfortable and we got some great looks as the whale breached about 8 times!


Cheers,
Danielle

Amazing fin whales and Cork…a great way to end our evening departures

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Good evening everyone, well, tonight was our last evening departure of the 2010 season, we just don’t feel there is enough daylight left for us to do a proper trip leaving at 5:30pm (it was a great way to end the evening trips with so many feeding fin whales as well as a humpback off the entrance to Head Harbour Passage).

We had a fantastic day today, with 8-10 fin whales sighted on all 3 departures and we also spent time with Cork, an 8 year old female humpback on all 3 trips as well.


Here are 2 photos of Cork I took today.

Thanks so much for checking in today,

Cheers,
Danielle

Arrowhead, Cork and EKG…fin whales…minkes….a GREAT DAY

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Good evening everyone, WOW, what an amazing day we had today….lets take it trip by trip….

On our 10am departure we made our way offshore, passing 2 large fin whales and minke whale but with a call from our Scout Boat we put our “blinders” on went directly to South Wolf where we found Arrowhead, an adult male humpback that was first seen in 1976! This old male is such an amazing tail raiser….below are some photos from this morning.



This is Arrowhead’s dorsal fin


On our way back to St. Andrews a passenger spotted another blow….turned out to be another humpback and we were able to get a quick look at the tail….it was EKG! EKG is a juvenile humpback we saw first in 2006 and have seen every season since.


Our 2pm trip started with some engine trouble but with some patience (THANK YOU to all of our passengers) and a knowledgeable captain we were under way with only a short delay. We headed to Head Harbour Passage with word of a humpback there and the news that the winds had picked up some and the sea condition was not the greatest offshore. When we got to Head Harbour we found some boat traffic but with some more patience we got great looks at the humpback who turned out to be Cork, an 8 year old female who we saw this season back in July. We have been watching Cork since 2004 and it was great to see her again. We also got some great looks at a large fin whale and about 4 minke whales. The photo below were taken on our 2pm trip.


Our 5:30 departure was a special one….we made our way off East Quoddy Head Light and found Cork again and she did not disappoint this evening! She tail breached about 10 times to the delight of everyone on board. Below are the photos from this evening. We also spent some time at the beginning of the trip with Slice, a minke whale who is missing his/her dorsal fin.


Thanks so much foe checking in this evening,

Cheers,
Danielle

Do fin whales bubble cloud feed?

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Hey everyone,

The fin whale sightings have continued to be fantastic, I know, more “broken record” time. Tonight I want to share some interesting behaviour we see quite a bit here (and I know they do off Grand Manan as well, anyone else who watches fin whales on a regular basis see this behaviour). There is a fin whale charging into an area where there is a lot of feed and the it appears as if the fin whale uses a bubble cloud to help confuse his prey and feeds under the surface. Humpback whales are known to bubble cloud and bubble net feed on some of their feeding grounds but it is not documented (or published I should say) in fin whales to my knowledge.

I took this video a few days ago

Thanks for checking in tonight, I also want to mention we saw Lyrids, the juvenile humpback whale on our evening trip on August 23rd but that was our last humpback sighting so still no consistency.

Cheers,
Danielle

2nd Humpback of the 2010 season…Welcome Back Lyrids

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Hey everyone, well, we had a great surprise this afternoon with our 2nd humpback of the 2010 season sighted. I have tentatively ID’ed the young whale as Lyrids, an unknown from our 2009 season that was just named in June. I have sent the photos to the Provincetown Center for Coastal Studies in Cape Cod for verification. Below are some pictures that I took this afternoon.


On our 10am trip we had some amazing fin whale sightings in Head Harbour Passage with more lunge feeding and lots of bird sightings in the Passage. We also got some great looks at harbour porpoise and here is a shot I got this morning and you can see the single blow hole that is a characteristic of all toothed whales.

A BIG THANKS to a fellow whale watcher for the text message about the humpback sighting (sometimes boats will share info on cell phones and not the VHF radio to try to keep boat traffic to a minimum).

Thanks for checking in today,

Cheers,
Danielle

Don’t forget about the birds!

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Hello everyone, well, I know it has been a few days since my last post, I went home to Niagara for my Gramma’s 90th birthday but I have back now in NB and have been on the water for the past 3 days. The finback whales continue to be amazing (I know, broken record time). We are still seeing a number of fin whales off the entrance to Head Harbour Passage, we have not seen the mom/calf pair in about a week though. Below is a picture of a fin whale during a surface feed, the whale was feeding on it’s side and here you can see half of the underside of the fluke.


The birds have been amazing this season, they are here in the Bay of Fundy to feed, just like the whales and porpoise and I wanted to share a few pictures with you tonight.

These are northern gannets


These are greater shearwaters, they run on the surface to take off and it’s so neat to see




No matter how the trip is going we ALWAYS make time to stop with seals, here are a few grey seals hauled out on Splitting Knife.


Today there were some herring weir fisherman setting their wing for their weir off East Quoddy Head Light.


Thanks for checking in, just so you know our Scout Boat has been out on all of the good weather days to search the offshore areas for humpbacks, their have been reports and some scattered sightings in our area but still nothing consistent, I will keep you posted!

Cheers,
Danielle

Relaxing day with fin whales

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Hey everyone….well, I guess it is broken record time again but we had another great and relaxing day on the water with fin whales. Below are some photos from today, the lighthouse in the second picture is Bliss Island Light.



I will be away for a few days but I will make sure to update you when I get back to St. Andrews,

Cheers,
Danielle

More fantastic fin whales

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Hello everyone….OK, I even think that I am sounding like a broken record but the fin whale sightings continue to be fantastic! This morning and this afternoon we had a little variety and we found ourselves down off Bliss and Black’s. I took this video on our afternoon departure, about 2 hours into the ebb tide, and we had 2 fin whales just hanging out directly off Pea Point (you can see the Grand Manan IV leaving the harbour in the background).

Our North Atlantic right whale trip on September 12th is FULL but if you are still interested you can always call and put your name on the waiting list, there could be some cancellations. We are also considering having a second trip if there is enough demand.

Cheers,
Danielle