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Whales and Wildlife, Catamaran Style

Month: October 2010

6 humpbacks, another great October day on the Bay of Fundy

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Hello everyone, today was a day off for me but like a lot of people that work on whale watching boats…..what do we do on our days off, well, we go whale watching of course! And what a great day we had on the Bay today. John took us directly offshore (we stopped with seals at Splitting Knife first) and headed out towards the Wolves Bank. We did pass a fin whale off South Wolf but when we arrived just South of the Bank we found 6 humpbacks; Lyrids, EKG, Sonogram, Mahjong, and 2 unknowns (one didn’t raise it’s tail).

Below are all photos taken from today….I hope you enjoy

This is Lyrids, a juvenile humpback named this past spring for the white streaks on the tail that looks like a meteor shower.


This is EKG, another juvenile whale named in 2007.


This is Sonogram, a 6 year old female and the 2004 calf of Peedee


This is Mahjong, the 2007 calf of Lacey



This is an unknown whale we also saw on October 3rd


This small humpback never raised it’s tail so an ID is highly unlikely

We also saw quite a few northern gannets today, lots of birds feeding on the bank with the humpbacks as well as at least 3 minke whales


Thanks for checking in today, they are calling for some pretty serious weather over the next few days so not to sure if we will be able to get out at all but stay in touch

Cheers,
Danielle

Right Whale Mother and Calf Identified

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Hey everyone, I just wanted to share with you that thanks to Laurie at the Grand Manan Whale and Seabird Research Station our mom/calf North Atlantic right whale pair has been identified as NARW# 3123 and calf!

Here is a little bit of background info on 3123 and her calf from Laurie (read more on right whale news on her blog)

On September 6, we went looking for humpbacks and sperm whales and ended up with right whales. One of the mothers and calves was #3123, daughter of #1123, Drippy-nose or Sonnet, and grand daughter of #1142 Kleenex. This mother calf pair had been seen by the Center for Coastal Studies research team on August 22 south of the September 6 location.
Kleenex has one of the larger right whale families with eight offspring, seven grand calves (two born in 2010) and five great grand calves (one born in 2010). Kleenex’s last calf was born in 2009.
Her female offspring keep up the Bay of Fundy tradition by also bringing their calves to the Bay of Fundy in their first year.

This is the first calf for 3123 and if you want to learn more about her sightings and migration pattern look her up in the North Atlantic right whale catalog. The image below is from the catalog and shows the callosity pattern of 3123.

I also wanted to let you all know that the humpbacks seen yesterday have been confirmed with the ID’s of the 2008 calf of Clamp and Sonogram.

We are hoping for some calm weather for tomorrow so we can head back offshore….keep your fingers crossed.

Cheers,
Danielle

A RIGHT day in October

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Hello everyone, what a special day we had on the Bay today. We had one departure at 1:00 and we headed directly offshore in search of humpbacks. We did pass a large finback whale on the the way out but we put our “blinders” on and continued offshore. As we made our way to the Bank John spotted a whale so we slowly made our way over…..well….turned out to be a mother and calf right whale pair!! This is so special for a number of reasons….1st, right whales are not commonly seen whale watching from St. Andrews, you usually have to go at least 30 miles into the deeper, open Bay of Fundy to see rights. 2nd, this number of right whales have been very low this season in the Bay (check out the New England Aquarium’s right whale research team’s blog for more info on this). And 3rd, the North Atlantic right whale is critically endangered with a world wide population estimate of 415. This was such a special day….

I took these photos of the mom and calf pair today, you can see the callosities (roughened patches of skin on the head of the whales which appear in the same location as male facial hair). The callosity patterns are unique to each whale and these photos have been sent out for identification and if we get a positive ID on them I will let you know. Also note the mud from the seabed on the head of the large female.


The mother did raise her tail, here calf beside her.


To learn more about the North Atlantic right whale check out this fantastic website, rightwhale.ca

We not only saw right whales this afternoon but there were at least 10 humpbacks in the area as well. I was able to get ID shots on 4 whales, 2 of them new for Quoddy Link this season.

The unique dorsal fin of the 2009 calf of Siphon


Lyrids


The 2008 calf of Clamp (waiting for confirmation on this ID)


Sonogram, a 6 year old female and the 2004 calf of Peedee (waiting for confirmation on this ID).


Thanks so much for checking in, the weather looks OK for tomorrow and great for Thursday before another stretch of serious wind comes through.

Unknown Humpback IDed….Welcome Wheat to the Bay of Fundy

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Hey there, we have been confined to the shore due to high winds for the past 2 days but I have some great news, thanks so a blog reader “Jelly Doughnut” one of our unknown humpback whales has been IDed. I would like to introduce Wheat, the 2007 calf of Sickle.


Hopefully the weather will improve soon but if you are coming to St. Andrews the tall ship “Bounty” is in town….check it out http://www.tallshipbounty.org/

Thanks again Jelly Doughnut

Cheers,
Danielle

Amazing day in October

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Good evening everyone, what a fantastic day we had….and once again the weatherman was oh so wrong. This morning we had a little wind to deal with, enough that kept us confined to the Islands but that was no problem at all. We spent time with 2 fin whales and 2 minke whales in Head Harbour Passage and we got to see both minkes and finbacks lunge feeding!

Below are photos from this mornings trip

Minke whale lunging through a bait ball


Fin whale feeding, look at the extended ventral pleats


We also had an incredible bald eagle sighting on the shore of Casco Bay Island.


This afternoon we headed back out to Head Harbour Passage but with the beautiful weather there was some boat traffic there and also the fin whales were staying down a while and making some big moves. We got word that there were some humpbacks offshore, but quite a ways out….John decided to go and off we went. We stopped off South Wolf with 3 large fin whale travelling side-by-side and then continued another 5 miles out. When we came to a stop we were 21 nm from St. Andrews and had at least 6 humpbacks around (3 close by and another 3 we could see at a distance). With the time we had I was able to get ID shots on 3 humpbacks.

We had the 2009 calf of Siphon, here you can see her diving


Welcome back Meristem, an unknown we had for the first time in 2008 and we also saw last season.


And we had this humpback, currently an unknown for us, I will let you know if I am able to get an ID.


Thanks SO much to all of our passengers that joined us today and thank you for checking in,

Cheers,
Danielle

Offshore with 3 humpbacks!

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Good evening everyone, well today is October 3rd and it was suppose to be our second North Atlantic right whale trip of the season but again due to the weather forecast we had to cancel. The weather turned out to be beautiful but the other reason we canceled was due to the extremely low number of right whales documented in the Bay of Fundy this season. To read more about this check out the New England Aquarium’s NARW research team’s blog.

We did have 2 regular whale watches today though. On our 10:00 am trip we made our way to Head Harbour Passage and with some patience we found 2 minke whales and 2 finback whales. We did take a run into the Grand Manan Channel looking for humpbacks (a typical fall ebb tide feeding ground) but had no luck.

On our afternoon trip John decided to run us directly off towards South Wolf and search for humpbacks there, as the tide was now well into the flood and the Wolves Bank is a good feeding ground on the flood tide. On our way there we passed 2 fin whales and then stopped with 4 large fin whales off South Wolf. With trained eyes John spotted a few more blows about 3 miles away so we made our way out onto the Bank where we found 3 humpback whales; EKG, the 2009 calf of Siphon and an unknown whale.

This is EKG


This is the 2009 calf of Siphon


And this very young humpback is an unknown for us and the first time we have seen this whale. I have sent the photos down to PCCS for identification and I will let you know when I hear something.


Thanks so much for checking in today,

Cheers,
Danielle