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Whales and Wildlife, Catamaran Style

Month: July 2015

Annual Offshore Trip – September 13th

Join us on Sunday, September 13th for our annual Offshore Trip to search the open Bay of Fundy for North Atlantic right whales, humpbacks, pelagic seabirds and other incredible wildlife beyond Grand Manan. We have always called this a “Right Whale Trip” but since 2012 the NA rights in Fundy have been very inconsistent (lots of research into where they may be and why they are not in Fundy, check out the interview HERE with Moe Brown). So instead we are calling it an offshore trip and we do still hope to see rights but also humpbacks and other species commonly seen past Grand Manan. For more information and reservations please call our office at 1-877-688-2600/529-2600

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Breaching minke – July 25, 2015

Good evening everyone!!  We had quite an exciting morning departure…we had a breaching minke whale with 7 full breaches.  A breaching minke a rare sight in the whale watching world but in our little corner of the Bay of Fundy it is typically reported many times a season.

breaching minke

breaching minke

breaching minke

breaching minke

breaching minke

breaching minke

We did spend time on our 2 other departures with minkes as well, both trips we were in Head Harbour Passage.

minke

minke

We had a special seal sighting today, and for those of you who may follow this blog you know I have a huge affection for seals.  This pair was fascinating to watch.  The seal on the left is an adult female grey seal and the on the right is a harbour seal pup!  The pup was so curious with the grey, bringing her nose right up to the nose of the grey seal (nose to nose contact is extremely important during mother and pup bonding).  The female grey was so very tolerant of the pup, we only heard a few growls out of her.  They are so beautiful.

female grey seal on the left and harbour seal pup on the right

female grey seal on the left and harbour seal pup on the right

female grey seal on the left and harbour seal pup on the right

female grey seal on the left and harbour seal pup on the right

We are also seeing an increase in the number of mother and calf harbour porpoise pairs we are seeing.  The mother of this pair has a unique dorsal fin and I will try to see if we can see her again.

harbour porpoise mom and calf pair

harbour porpoise mom and calf pair

mom and calf harbour porpoise

mom and calf harbour porpoise

Thanks so much for checking in today!

Cheers,

Danielle

More minkes to be seen

Happy Friday everyone!  Thanks so much for stopping in and checking out how our sightings have been this week!

The past 2 days we have been spending time with multiple minke whales on each departure.  Check out the three unique dorsal fins on these three minkes.

minke

minke

minke

minke

minke

minke

Lots of porpoise and seals around!

Harbour porpoise

Harbour porpoise

Harbour seals

Harbour seals

We always try to get a good look at a bald eagle, it can be a highlight for many people.

Balf eagle

Balf eagle

Thanks again for stopping in,

Cheers,

Danielle

minke

minke

CBC Radio Interview

Hey everyone, I did a CBC radio interview for Shift about the disentanglement of the young minke whale.  If you want to have a listen check it out HERE

Thank You to everyone for your kind words since news of the rescue has gotten out, we appreciate the support more than we can say!

Cheers,

Danielle

 

Minke whales and fog

Good evening everyone, the past 2 days we have spent time on our afternoon and evening trips with minke whales, we had to cancel our morning departures due to thick Fundy Fog!

This minke was on the move!

This minke was on the move!

Slice

Slice

There have been lots of bald eagles around the Islands.

Pair od eagles

Pair od eagles

The gull chicks on Whitehorse are getting bigger every day.  We are seeing many swimming around in the water now but they are still dependent on their parents.

Touching to see parents feeding their young

Touching to see parents feeding their young

Young herring gull chick looking rather wet

Young herring gull chick looking rather wet

Thanks to everyone for joining us!

Cheers,

Danielle

The disentanglement of a young minke whale – July 20, 2015

Hello everyone, it’s Danielle with Quoddy Link.  Today’s post is going to be a little bit different as we had quite the experience yesterday and I am going to do my best to share  it with you all.  So, here it goes…..

It was a foggy day and when we are searching for minke whales in the fog it can be difficult.  Really, we simply move slowly through areas where minkes typically like to feed and we keep the communication with the other boats.  With no luck in the Islands Captain Mat decided to take us off towards Bliss Island to see if there was any visibility and maybe some whales up there.  We were not in the area for very long before Jolinne and Nick on the upper deck spotted a minke whale.  When we got a closer look we immediately noticed how small the whale was (our best guess would be 10-12 feet) and the behaviour we were seeing was unusual.  The whale would arch quite quickly and do a “terminal dive” but when he would resurface he would almost rest at the surface and bring the entire front part of his head, his rostrum, out of the water to breathe but not continue to dive, just sink back below the surface.  We immediately thought it was odd but also knew it was a young whale and wasn’t sure if he was just being curious.  It wasn’t until we managed to get a closer look and then the behaviour made sense….the whale had line wrapped around its lower jaw and the line extended down, most likely anchored or weighed down on the sea floor, he was entangled and it was very serious.

When we find a marine animal who is in distress or dead we immediately call MARS, the Marine Animal Response Society at 1-866-567-6277 and they have all of the contact information for any help that may be needed, in this case they contacted Mackie Greene with the Campobello Whale Rescue Team (CWRT).  We know Mackie well but it is always best to contact MARS first because they will most likely be able to get in touch with the CWRT before we ever could.  And this is where our part really comes in and when the emotions run high….it’s our time to Stand By

To stand by, to wait for whale rescue to arrive is so very important to the entire operation.  It’s not easy to stand on the boat and watch a young whale struggle to reach the surface to take a breath but without proper training someone could do more harm than good.  So by standing by we keep a close eye on the whale without adding any stress, with our height advantage of the upper deck we could get a clear view of the entanglement and be able to relay that information to the whale rescue team and we also had to ensure we did not lose the young whale in the fog!  I’m not going to lie, the thought crossed all of our minds to jump in that calm water and help that whale, to cut that rope any way we could but we know to leave that to the pros, it would be so easy to do more harm than good even with the best intentions at heart.  So we waited….and watched…and photographed….and Nick even sketched an image incase the CWRT wanted to have a look.

A sketch showing the entanglement of the young minke,  Thank You Nick

A sketch showing the entanglement of the young minke, Thank You Nick

I won’t keep you in suspense much longer, Mackie and his team arrived and they were able to get into position and cut the line and free the young whale in under 10 minutes.  When the line was cut all we saw were quick and strong flukeprints at the surface, a sign that the whale was free and swimming quickly out of the area.  The entire encounter, from finding the whale and calling MARS to the release took less than 2 hours, which is incredibly quick!

I have photos that I want to share from today….

minke whale

minke whale

The following photos show the way the minke would surface, struggling to take a breath

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rostrum

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minke whale struggling to take a breath

minke whale struggling to take a breath

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Little minke

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If you look closely you can see the line on the right hand side of the whales mouth (left side of photo)

rostrum out

rostrum out

The following photos show the line in the mouth, it was wrapped around the lower jaw.  You have to look closely and the line is dark cream in colour

If you look closely you can see the line in the water on the left.  Photo taken from lower deck.

If you look closely you can see the line in the water on the left. Photo taken from lower deck.

You can clearly see the line on the left (the right hand side of the whale).  Photo taken from upper deck

You can clearly see the line on the left (the right hand side of the whale). Photo taken from upper deck

The life is visible here too

The life is visible here too

 

The following 2 photos are on the opposite side of the boat so the lighting changed and you can see the whale very well.  You have to look close to see the line in the left hand side of the whale’s mouth

If you look closely you can see the eye and just below the line coming out the left hand side of the whales mouth

If you look closely you can see the eye and just below the line coming out the left hand side of the whales mouth

The young minke close to the Quoddy Link

The young minke close to the Quoddy Link

I can’t even begin to say thank you enough to our passengers who were more than willing to stay out and stand by that whale!!  You all played just as much of a role in this as we did!  SO THANK YOU!

And Thank You to the Campobello Whale Rescue Team (and IFAW for sponsoring them) and the Marine Animal Response Society for all that you do!!  Thank You isn’t enough…you guys all ROCK!!

The Campobello Whale Rescue Team.  This photo is unedited to give you an idea of the fog

The Campobello Whale Rescue Team. This photo is unedited to give you an idea of the fog

Thank You for taking the time to read more about this disentanglement.  I also did an interview with Shift NB on CBC radio and I will share a link soon,

Cheers,

Danielle and the Quoddy Link crew

July 9th – 18th

After a slow start to the season, bird activity in the West Isles area of the Bay of Fundy is starting to pick up. In recent days there have been groups of several hundred gulls feeding in the typical areas of tidal upwelling around Deer and Campobello and the Head Harbour passage area. BONAPARTE’S GULLS are the most recent arrivals to the area and I have seen a few groups of 50-100 birds. The BLACK-LEGGED KITTIWAKE chicks on Whitehorse Island appear to be doing well. We have counted up to 10 chicks but there is likely more that we can not see. It is interesting to note that 6 of these chicks are in three nests that are all within a small area of cliff. It seems to be a safe spot that has escaped the predation from the other gull species and the ravens that often visit the island to raid the nests. The herring and black-backed gull chicks are nearly full grown and beginning to test their wings for the first time. We have been seeing small numbers of RAZORBILLS and BLACK GUILLEMOTS on each visit and have even seen a few ATLANTIC PUFFINS near the island as well.

The two bald eagle chicks on Spruce Island are still in the nest but now are very vocal and beginning to pump their wings and jump from one side of the nest to the other. We have even seen them perched on branches outside the nest and we expect them to fledge any day now.

Sightings of interest by day:

July 11th – An adult PEREGRINE FALCON was seen perched in the tower on MacMaster island.

July 17th – 6 ATLANTIC PUFFINS near Whitehorse Island

July 18th – First NORTHERN GANNET of the year sighted off South Wolf Island

We also have just announced the day for our Pelagic tour, which will depart at 9AM on Sunday, September 27th. For more information and to reserve your spot please call the Quoddy office at 529-2600

Cheers,
-Nick

Black-guillemot on Whitehorse Island

Black-guillemot on Whitehorse Island

View of black-legged kittiwake colony on Whitehorse Island

View of black-legged kittiwake colony on Whitehorse Island

View of black-legged kittiwake colony on Whitehorse Island

View of black-legged kittiwake colony on Whitehorse Island

Nesting black-legged kittiwakes with chicks on Whitehorse Island

Nesting black-legged kittiwakes with chicks on Whitehorse Island

Atlantic Puffin

Atlantic Puffin

Black-legged kittiwake with nesting material

Black-legged kittiwake with nesting material

Peregrine falcon on Macs tower

Peregrine falcon on Macs tower

Herring gull and chick on Whitehorse Island

Herring gull and chick on Whitehorse Island

Black guillemots on Whitehorse Island

Black guillemots on Whitehorse Island

Razorbills on Whitehorse Island

Razorbills on Whitehorse Island

Razorbill and black guillemots

Razorbill and black guillemots

Herring gull and chick on Whitehorse Island

Herring gull and chick on Whitehorse Island

Razorbill with sand lance

Razorbill with sand lance

Bald eagle chick testing wings on Spruce Island

Bald eagle chick testing wings on Spruce Island

Bonaparte's gulls

Bonaparte’s gulls

Great black-backed gull

Great black-backed gull

Nesting black-legged kittiwakes on Whitehorse Island

Nesting black-legged kittiwakes on Whitehorse Island

Nesting black-legged kittiwakes on Whitehorse Island

Nesting black-legged kittiwakes on Whitehorse Island

Great black-backed gull in empty cormorant nest on Whitehorse Island

Great black-backed gull in empty cormorant nest on Whitehorse Island

Herring gull chicks on Whitehorse Island

Herring gull chicks on Whitehorse Island

Nesting black-legged kittiwakes on Whitehorse Island

Nesting black-legged kittiwakes on Whitehorse Island

 

 

 

A beautiful July day! – July 17, 2015

Good evening everyone, Danielle with Quoddy Link Marine here with sightings update from today.  We saw minke whales on both departures today and we got some great views on each trip.

minke whale

minke whale

minke whale

minke whale

This morning we had 2 very special sightings….

One was the second largest fish in the world, a basking shark.  Note the unique trailing edge of the dorsal fin.  This photo will be sent to the Shark Identification Network on Grand Manan and hopefully we can get a match!

Basking shark

Basking shark

And the second was the most requested bird sighting…the Atlantic puffin!

Atlantic puffin

Atlantic puffin

Atlantic puffin

Atlantic puffin

We also saw seals, porpoise and bald eagles on both trips today.  Thank You to everyone who joined us on the catamaran!

Cheers,

Danielle

First fin whales of 2015!

Good evening everyone, I have some great news, thanks to the keen eyes of Captain Mat we found our first finback whales of the season this morning!!  There were 2 large whales, not together and they were both doing some long dives but no one was complaining.

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First fin whale of 2015!

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Dorsal fin of finback whale

Fin whale

Fin whale

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Finback whale


We tried our hardest to relocate this afternoon on the ebb tide but had no luck.  We did find a minke whale in a popular feeding area affectionately known as the Happy Hunting Ground.

Thanks for checking in today and thank you to everyone who joined us aboard the catamaran,

Cheers,

Danielle

Multiple minkes and our first basking shark sighting of the season – July 13, 2015

Hello all, the minke whale sightings have become more consistent the past few days.  We have done a few searches of the offshore areas on good weather days but no signs of finbacks yet.  I keep in touch daily with our friends on Grand Manan at Whales n Sails to know what their sightings have been like and if there is any word of larger whales in our area.

Here are a few photos of the minkes we saw on July 13

 

minke

minke

minke

minke

We also had our first basking shark sighting of the 2015 season on July 13th!  Basking sharks are the second largest fish in the world and the most common shark we see in Fundy (not necessarily the most numerous but they are seen the most often because of their surface behaviour).

basking shark

basking shark

There have been some larger groups of grey seals around, especially at Black Ledge…and if you have been following the blog over the years you may know that I have a huge affection for all phocids but an extra special love of greys.

female grey seal

female grey seal

male grey seal

male grey seal

Male (right) and female (left) grey seal

Male (right) and female (left) grey seal

grey seals

grey seals

Thanks so much for checking in today,

Cheers,

Danielle