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Whales and Wildlife, Catamaran Style

Month: September 2011

Yep, I really do LOVE my job

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Hello everyone, I know this is starting to sound “regular” for our sightings but it is NOT….we had another amazing afternoon with north Atlantic right whales!  We had word that maybe the rights had moved back South into the Bay of Fundy but our captain decided to look for himself, and as the tide had turned he decided to take a run offshore….and are we ever glad he did.  We found a mother and calf right whale pair about a mile inside of South Wolf first, we saw them once but choose to leave them be and make our way further out.  Here are some shots of the cow and calf pair (1 of 21 calves born in the world this year).

UPDATE:  Mom has been IDed as Legato RW#1802, and is actually a NEW mom and calf to the population….so that makes 22 calves for the 2011 season!!  


As we made our way past South Wolf Matt started see lots of blows a few miles ahead so we slowly made our way out.  There must have been ~15 right whales out there this afternoon, including a small SAG or surface active group….enjoy some more pics

Thanks for checking in today….no one can know for sure how long these rights will be close enough for us to see them out of St. Andrews….it has been such a privilege to seem them every day!


You know you love your job when…

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Hello everyone, you know you love your job when you go into work….just for fun….on your day off, yep, I went whale watching today!  With the right whale sightings we have been having how could I not go out….and today was another fantastic day!

Here are some photos from our 10 am departure

Our afternoon departure was not only filled with incredible right whale sightings… are some pics….

This whale was only breathing out of the left blowhole, possibly due to an injury to the right side

BUT…we also had this amazing encounter with a basking shark!!

AND…we had a very brief encounter with an ocean sunfish, Mola mola

Here is a video of the right whales from today, the right whale swimming alone on this video was injured somehow, a lot of scars on the whale, the right hand side seems almost to be compressed or “dented” and the whale was also breathing only out of the left blowhole.

THANKS for checking in today….No one can say how long these right whales will be feeding off and around the Wolves, there were at least 30 whales out there today.  Again, this is a VERY special sighting and nothing we would expect to see out of St. Andrews as we would usually have to travel many more miles out into the open Bay of Fundy to see rights.  We will enjoy them while they are close!

What a Monday….I LOVE MY JOB

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Hello everyone, we had another amazing day on the Bay of Fundy with right whales….memories of our 2009 season for sure!

On our morning trip we were out behind Eastern Wolf with about 20 right whales and to make the trip even more special Rick Mercer was filming an episode with Fundy Tide Runners that will air in the next couple of weeks….watch for it!

Rick Mercer on board Fundy Tide Runners

Rick Mercer on board Fundy Tide Runners


Rick Mercer on board Fundy Tide Runners

Moira Brown, right whale researcher

Rick Mercer waiving hello to the passengers on the Quoddy Link

On the afternoon departure we headed back out, this time closer to South Wolf where we found 20-30 rights, lots of surface activity in small groups and a number of full breaches, including a double breach where 2 whales breached at the same time!  I was  not able to get any breaching shots but Nick did!.

Check out the entanglement scars on this whale

All I got of the breaching

check out the nicks on the left fluke of this right whale

Here are 2 photos from Nick

A right whale eye

Breaching right whale

I have mentioned this before but I will say it again, this is SO SPECIAL, usually to see rights out of St. Andrews we have to travel 30-35 miles into the open Bay of Fundy but today we were only about 17 miles from town.  They are critically endangered with a world wide population of 470 and to see 20-30 whales in a small area is about 5% of that population!  There has been more than 140 right whales documented in the Bay of Fundy this season, check out this article in the Telegraph Journal.

Why not try your had at IDing right whales…..check this out!

Learn more about the North Atlantic right whale protection program,

THANK YOU for checking in today,



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Hello everyone, well, I get to bring you news of yet another very special trip we had this afternoon with right whales!

First, this morning we had an incredible trip off Blacks Harbour with 4 fin whales.  The fog had lifted some inshore, enough we could go towards Blacks.  The whales were charging around and there were lots of gulls and gannets in the area feeding on the herring as well.  Here are some pics from this morning.

This afternoon we started in shore with a minke whale off Whitehead Island.  There was some boat traffic starting and even though there was fog in the offshore area John decided to run us off towards Grand Manan to see if we could find a hole in Whale Cove and maybe a fin whale or a humpback.  So off we went, ran about 10 miles out through the fog and came into the clear by Grand Manan and we did find another minke whale but nothing larger….it was beautiful in there though and there were lots of birds and porpoise all around.  So John decided to take us towards the Wolves Bank and South Wolf….we slowed down to go through the area and a very special regular passenger (a GOOD LUCK passenger) stood up and pointed, she saw a blow and then a tail….and another tail.  We knew they were rights so we stopped right away, and waited….sometimes rights can do really long dives.  The fog started to lift more at that time as the SW wind picked up…and as we looked the the east we started to see a SAG, surface active group form, and then more right whale blows (a distinct V-shaped blow) to the east.  In total there were approximately 20-30 right whales in the area.

Here are some pictures from today

Mother and calf

Mother and calf

Mother and calf

right whale lobtailing

The splash from the lobtailing

Also a video I took of the SAG, we also saw some tail lobbing and I thought I was taking video but apparently I forgot to hit record (I was a little upset with myself but the wonderful passengers we had on the boat reassured me that the fact that I saw it with my eyes was the most important thing).

To learn more about SAG’s and right whales in general check out as well as some previous blog posts.

THANK YOU to everyone who joined us today, this was an incredibly special trip….to see right whales we usually have to travel 30-35 miles into the open Bay of Fundy yet today we were only about 18 miles from St. Andrews.



RIGHT Amazing

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Hello everyone, we had another exciting day on the Bay of Fundy that I get to tell you all about….

Our morning trip was restricted to 3 hours so we couldn’t run too far offshore but we found 6-7 finback whales a few miles off Bliss.  There were scattered and moving around a little bit but there were 3 that were traveling together that we were able to get some great looks at.

Here are a few pics from this morning.

This afternoon Matt decided to take us right offshore, we did pass a few finbacks and there was word of more finback whales pass Blacks Harbour but we knew if we wanted to attempt to show our passengers humpbacks we needed to run offshore.  So we made our way out to Wolves Bank and right away we saw a blow, then another….V-shaped blows….we had at least 2 right whales!  We slowly made our way closer and then the whales came up on our left hand side and immediately started courting (check out Saturday’s blog post for more on courtship behaviour in right whales).  We spent about a half an hour with them, then the separated and both started making their way towards the Grand Manan Channel.

Here are a bunch of photos from today

And a video as well


This was a VERY special trip, usually to see right whales out of St. Andrews you have to travel at least 30-35 miles out into the open Bay of Fundy, this is not something that would be seen on a regular basis.  Right whales are critically endangered (~470 remain in the world) and a large part of the population visit the Bay of Fundy in the summer months to feed, nurse their young and court.

THANK YOU to everyone who joined us today!!


Cruise for the Cure

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PLEASE join Quoddy Link Marine on our Cruise for the Cure on September 30 at 2pm.  This will be a regular whale watch and the cost is $50/person (taxes included) and $40 of that will be donated directly to the CIBC Run for the Cure.  We will also be accepting donations on the boat (tax receipts will be available for these donations) as 2 of our crew are participating in the Run for the Cure this year (one in Halifax and one in Fredericton).  

Please call the office to make your reservation at 529-2600 or toll free 1-877-688-2600.  Help us help fight cancer…and have a “whale of a time”.


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Hello everyone, we had our special critically endangered north Atlantic right whale trip this morning and it was incredible.  We started off a little tentatively because of the strong NW wind but with 30 eager passengers we made our way 32 miles from St. Andrews where we made our first stop with a mother and calf right whale.  We only saw them once, they surfaced, fluked up together and then John spotted some surface activity close by.  We decided to leave the mom and calf and make our way towards the larger group and were we ever happy we did!  There were about 8-10 individuals who were in a SAG (surface active group) which is a common courtship behaviour seen in the Bay of Fundy.  Here is a description from

Although the location of the breeding or mating ground for North Atlantic right whales is unknown, researchers believe mating takes place in the winter months during large courtship groups called Surface Active Groups or SAGs. Although SAGs are seen on the spring, summer and fall feeding grounds throughout the whales’ range, it is unlikely that these SAGs result in conception since females give birth between December and early March after a gestation period of 12-13 months. Therefore, actual mating must take place from November through February. Courtship groups on the feeding grounds have been known to last up to 6 hours. They include as many as 50 animals of which only one or two are females. Courtship groups are believed to be initiated by a focal female whose calls attract the males. The female then makes mating difficult by swimming on her back or diving away from the group. Males compete to reach her, actively pushing others away. When the focal female rolls upright to breathe, a male will attempt to copulate with her although copulations can also occur at the surface with the female upside down. Since multiple copulations take place during courtship groups, it is speculated that sperm competition plays a role in right whale reproduction. Supporting that theory are the size of the male testes and penis:  at >800 kg, the testes are the largest in the world and the penis is among the longest, up to 3 m. In both categories they are the largest relative to body size among baleen whales. Genetic studies have shown that female right whales mate and produce calves with several different partners during their reproductive lifespan.

Here are a ton of pictures from today…

Here is a video as well I took today

THANK YOU so much to everyone who joined us, it was an incredible trip!!  It total we saw about 15-20 right whales or ~5% of the world’s population!!


More info on our shark encounter

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Hello everyone, I just wanted to let you all know that based on the photos and video that I have sent to the shark experts it is believed that what we witnessed was a great white shark attack on a harbour porpoise!!  Here is a video that a passenger took, THANK YOU Charles for sharing.

I know I mentioned on my last post about Sharkwater but I wanted to share this preview for it, if you have not seen it….WATCH IT

Thanks for checking in,

SW and Slice

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Hello everyone, we have had some SW wind over the past 2 days and that has kept us relatively confined to the inshore area….we did do a quick run offshore yesterday afternoon and this afternoon just to check out the conditions but it was not suitable to try and search for humpbacks.

Yesterday morning it was calm enough to go offshore and we were able to find Sonogram, the 2004 female calf of Peedee.

We have seen fin whales on every departure the past 2 days and yesterday afternoon and this afternoon we had wonderful sightings of Slice, a special minke whale who has lost it’s dorsal fin.  Here is a picture I took today of Slice off Casco Bay Island.

We also had a great bald eagle sighting this afternoon.  An adult came in and landed with a mackerel in it’s talon and then started vocalizing as a young eagle came in the same area and fished.  Not sure if the juvenile was a the young of the year of the adult eagle but it was an interesting interaction to watch.  Here is a picture of the adult eagle calling, and note the mackerel in it’s talon.

Thanks for checking in,