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Whales and Wildlife, Catamaran Style

Month: September 2010

My day as a passenger on the Quoddy Link

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Good afternoon all,

I spent September 27th on the boat, both the AM and PM departures, to spend some more time with whales (YES, I work on a whale watching boat and I go out and watch whales on my day off….I’m sure there are some other naturalists out there like me). I wanted to share some of the photos that I took from that day and I hope you all enjoy.

Finback lunge feeding….have a look and you can see the baleen hanging down and the inside of the mouth…even the ventral pleats from the inside!


HUGELY extended ventral pleats


Finback, look at that lower right jaw!


and from the left side it’s all dark brown!


I also wanted to include some scenery pics I took so here is a herring weir, this one is just off Simpsons Island


A passenger having a close look at East Quoddy Head Light


On the way out a brave soul on the upper deck….it was very chilly that morning.

Thanks for sharing my day off with me, I hope you enjoyed!

Cheers,
Danielle

Fin whales in Head Harbour Passage continue to amaze

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Hello everyone, well, it is almost the end of September and the activity in Head Harbour Passage shows so sign of slowing down. We continue to have incredible finback sighting with dramatic surface feeding on almost every single trip.

I have a bunch of photos to share with all of you…the first 2 were taken on September 25th and the rest are from September 28th.

2 fin whales travelling together


A lunge feed with the left hand side of the whale facing towards the boat


Here is a series from a lunge feed, note the asymmetrical colouring of the lower jaw and the ventral pleats. When fins lunge feed on their side they often put their right, so their white side, down and this acts as counter-shading so the prey will not notice them as much.


Here you can see a fin whale on it’s side, again feeding. Note the small pectoral flipper.


A fin JUST about to surface through the bait ball


2 fin whale lunging through the herring at the same time.


I am hoping the fin whales stay close to home for the rest of the season. The wind has been strong the past few days and we have had some fog so we have not been able to get offshore to search for humpback whales.

Keep in touch for all of the latest sightings,

Cheers,
Danielle

Patience was required today…

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Hello everyone, well, like I wrote in the title patience was required today while watching whales, even more so in the afternoon. The whales, both fin whales and humpbacks, in the afternoon were doing some LONG dives, some over 20 minutes. Patience is always required while watching wildlife and today is we were all reminded of that.

Here are some fin whale photographs I took today.


On our afternoon trip we made our way out into the Grand Manan Channel and found Cork, who we have not seen since August 29th. She is an 8 year old female humpback that we are very fond of at Quoddy Link. Patience was required with Cork today.


We also got word there was another humpback off East Quoddy Head Light so we made our way there….we got 1 look at this whale and I do not recognize the tail (I have the fluke picture into PCCS for idea)…..Patience was required with this humpback.


Thanks so much for checking in,

Cheers,
Danielle

Welcome Back Siphon’s 2009 Calf

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Hey everyone….well, I had the day off but I just got a visit from Jolinne with some great news….they had the 2009 calf of Siphon on both the morning and the afternoon trip! This is our first sighting of this young girl for the 2010 season but she was seen earlier by the folks at Whales-n-Sails from Grand Manan. Something that is just fascinating about this young whale is that the black and white pigmentation on her fluke has dramatically changed since last year. After speaking with the director of the humpback program at Provincetown Center for Coastal Studies in Cape Cod it is estimated that 5% of calves will have this dramatic change.

This was taken today by Jolinne.


This is the SAME whale…this photograph was taken in September of 2009.


Thanks so much for dropping by,

Cheers,
Danielle

I Love My Job! An amazing afternoon with lunge feeding fin whales

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Hello everyone….what an incredible afternoon!! We only had 1 trip today, and we had a small, lucky group of excited passengers as we made our way to Head Harbour Passage (with 20 knots of NW it was a little too breezy to search offshore). The activity was obvious in the Passage, many active birds groups…all feeding….tonnes of harbour porpoise and lots of blue fin tuna as well. We sighted at least 2 minke whales and 3 fin whales but the best part of the trip was the lunge feeding from the finbacks….so powerful, engulfing huge amount of herring.

Here the fin whale lunged on it’s side, note the ventral pleats in the the last few shots.


This lunge was straight up out of the water, again you can see the ventral pleats and even the asymmetrical colouration of the lower jaw (the right hand side is white while the left side is dark brown).



Another lunge feed on the side, with both the pectoral and half of the fluke out of the water.


Thanks so much for checking in today,

Cheers,
Danielle

A first for me….lunge feeding fin whale just off the Old Sow

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Hey everyone! Well, I woke up this morning to some thick Bay of Fundy fog which we usually do not get much of in September but luckily it burned off in time for our 10 am trip. This morning was a first for me, we spent time just outside of the Old Sow (the largest tidal whirlpool in the Western hemisphere) between Eastport, ME and Deer, Cheery and Indian Island, NB with a very large finback whale. The fin whale did lunge feed once not far off the boat. There was a minke whale and a 2nd fin whale in the area as well.

Here in the finback with Eastport, ME in the background.


The same fin whale with Cheery Island


A minke whale not far off the Old Sow


We had 5 fin whales on our afternoon departure…one off Whitehorse Island, one on the way to South Wolf (we took a run out looking for humpback whales but no luck today) and 3 in Head Harbour Passage.

Thanks for checking in today,

Cheers,
Danielle

Beautiful September Saturday on the Bay of Fundy

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Hello everyone, what a beautiful Saturday in September! Today was calm, clear skies and amazing visibility and filled with some fantastic whale watching. On both our morning and afternoon departures we spent time with some finback whales and a humpback.

I took this shot of a large finback whale on our morning trip not too far from Whitehorse Island.


The humpback whale we saw on both our morning and afternoon trip was Lyrids, a young whale who we saw last year for the first time and was just named this past June. Below you can see the unique shape to Lyrids’s dorsal fin and the markings on the fluke that gives Lyrids his name (based on the white streaks that look like the Lyrids meteor shower).



Thanks for checking in today,
Cheers,
Danielle

Still whales in the Bay….September and October are great for whale watching

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Hello all, just wanted to send out a short message to let you all know we are still seeing whales…some people worry that whale watching isn’t great in the fall but September and October are usually great for whale watching in the Bay of Fundy.

We have been seeing fin whales on all of our departures….yesterday and today we had some great looks at a lunge feeding fin whale in Head Harbour Passage. This morning they were able to get offshore and they found 1 humpback, Lyrids, off South Wolf but this young whale was being very difficult to watch so they headed back inshore with the fin whales.

The weather forecast looks great right now for the coming weekend so if you are in St. Andrews join us on the Bay of Fundy 🙂

Cheers,
Danielle

Welcome Back Lyrids….where have you been for the past 3 weeks??

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Hello all, what a great day we had on the Bay. On both trips we spent some great time with fin whales off Bliss and South Wolf as well as time with Lyrids, a juvenile humpback we saw for the first time last season. We have not seen Lyrids since August 23rd….wonder where this young one has been??

Here are 2 photos I took today of Lyrids, note that the name comes from the white streaks on the tail….resembles the Lyrids meteor shower.


We also saw this gorgeous adult northern gannet on our morning trip off South Wolf and I just had to take a picture.


Thanks so much for checking in today….I am still waiting to hear on an ID of the new humpback whale we had yesterday.

Cheers,
Danielle

Rough weather & a missed right whale trip but still a great day with some special passengers

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Good evening everyone,

Well, this morning was our scheduled North Atlantic right whale trip and the weather forecast has been all over the map for the past few days but we thought we would give it a try….head out towards the Wolves and see what the conditions were like. And…..it was rough….and I want to thank all of our hearty passengers for holding on and being safe out there. The weather was just too rough to go any further….so we would not be able to make it out into right whale area. Our Scout Boat was out as well and we did find 2 humpback whales. Neither was being overly easy to watch…one was doing 15 minute dives and not raising it’s tail and the other was doing some long dives and making some big moves but I managed to get a shot of the dorsal fin and the flukes. We do not recognize this whale and I have the images into the Center for Coastal Studies and hopefully they will be able to get back to me with an ID.


I do want to thank everyone who joined us this morning, all of us at Quoddy Link really hope you enjoyed yourself. John decided to adjust the ticket price of the trip and refunded all of the passengers 50% because of the weather and because we were only able to get to the Bank.

Thanks so much for checking in today, I will post any info on this new little humpback when I hear from PCCS.

Cheers,
Danielle