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Whales and Wildlife, Catamaran Style

Parachute and light north west winds

Parachute and light north west winds

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Hello there, it’s Danielle, senior naturalist and photographer with Quoddy Link Marine. We had a great day with Parachute, a humpback we have seen every year since 2003 on all three trips. We also saw 2 finback whale on our 10:00 am trip, and a minke whale on both our 2:00 pm and 5:30 pm trips. The day was clear and light NW winds, you couldn’t have asked for a better whale watching day on the Bay of Fundy.

Some offshore fog but 3 great trips

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It’s Danielle, senior naturalist and photographer with Quoddy Link Marine. We had a very nice day on the water. On our morning and afternoon trips we had offshore fog and in the afternoon we also had strong SW winds against and ebb tide creating a choppy sea. We had 3 minke whales on both trips in Head Harbour Passage where it’s protected and calm and we had many great sightings. On our evening trip (picture shown here, beautiful lighting and the rain didn’t start until we returned back to St. Andrews) we had a finback whale inshore, off White Island. The passenger here is on the upper deck waiting for a finback whale to surface.
This is the finback whale we had in the evening. It’s a whale we have seen before, the dorsal fin looks familiar. They are calling for good weather tomorrow and I will keep you posted on our sightings

Back from a few days away…

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Hello everyone, sorry for the lack of posts over the past few days, I was on vacation. Today was a great day on the water. On our 10:00 am trip we had a minke and a finback right in Head Harbour Passage. On the 2:00 pm trip the same finback had made its way to the south eastern edge of Campobello Island and we also saw a few minke whales. On our evening trip we had a “hat trick” seeing all 3 species of whales we commonly see in our section of the Bay of Fundy: minke, finback and a humpback whale. I wasn’t on the evening trip but the whale was tentatively ID’d as Hobo, but I will keep you posted. I don’t have any pictures from today, today was the day when I put my camera down and just watched the whales. I make myself do that once in a while just to make sure I don’t spend my entire summer looking through my camera.

On August 4th we made a very special trip about 35 miles south in search on the incredibly rare North Atlantic Right Whale. We left at 7:30 am and with the help of our Scout Boat (which left at 5:30 am) we reached a large group of right whales in just under 2 hours. There are only about 350 individual North Atlantic right whales left in the world and a large part of that population comes to the mouth of the Bay of Fundy to feed, nurse their young and court.
Here you can see the high arch of the lower jaw and the callosities (the roughened patches of skin) on the whales head. These callosites are unique to each whale and help ID individuals.

Their pectoral flippers are spatulate shaped. Here is a pair of right whales that were very active at the surface, rolling over and around each other. At this time of the year right whales can been seen in SAG’s, surface active groups. Right whales mate and court in large numbers with their reproductive strategy based on sperm competition. One of the right whales “claim to fame” is that testes of the male weigh up to 1 ton combined, the largest in the animal kingdom.The large, smooth, deeply-notched tail is distinct and helps make the right whale easy to identify. They also have no dorsal fin, callosities on the head and a tall, V-shaped blow. We may end up doing another right whale trip in September, so I will keep you posted. I plan on taking my camera out tomorrow, and I will let you all know what we are seeing.

Another amazing day with humpbacks

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Another day with good visibility and amazing whales. Our morning trip took us out into the open Bay of Fundy, west of the Wolves Bank. With the help of our scout boat we were able to spend some more time with Hobo, a humpback we had seen yesterday. And again today, at the change of the tide, Hobo became very active with full and partial breaches. This behaviour is a special sight and certainly isn’t seen on every departure, we have just had 2 very special trips. On our afternoon trip we were surprised to find a pair of humpbacks, Cork and Parachute, traveling together at the mouth of Head Harbour Passage. It is very rare to see humpbacks this far inshore. On our evening trip we followed that pair out to the Wolves, where humpbacks are more commonly seen. Hopefully the season continues like this, keep checking for more updates.

Humpbacks!! Meet Hobo and Parachute

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Hello, it’s Danielle again, senior naturalist and photographer with Quoddy Link Marine. What a day! Again, no fog, light winds and unlimited visibility. On our morning trip we had the pleasure of watching a very active humpback. “He” was breaching, partial and full as well as slapping his fluke on the surface of the water. This behaviour was a special sighting as it isn’t seen on every trip. Here you can see the rostrum, or top of his head. The small bumps around the edge are tubercles and there is a small, coarse hair growing out of each believed to have a sensory purpose. The large bump in the middle is his blowhole.

Here is the underside of the fluke of the breaching humpback. The identity has been confirmed as Hobo.

This photograph was taken today while Hobo was slapping his fluke on the water. We also saw Hobo during the 2005 season.

On our evening trip we saw another humpback whale. This is Parachute, a whale we have seen for the past 3 seasons. We couldn’t have asked for a better day, it reminds me why I love my job. Thanks to Jooke Robbins at the Provincetown Center for Coastal Studies in Massachusetts for help in identifying the humpbacks.

Unlimited visibility and finback whales!

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NO FOG!!! The first day in many weeks with NO FOG. We had unlimited visibility and could see the Wolves and Grand Manan. With light northerly winds and a bright sun we had 3 great trips on the water. The morning trip we had 4 individual finbacks, 3 coming together at one point surfacing at the same time.
On the afternoon and evening trips we were just past Blacks Harbour and had great looks at a pair of finback whales. Here you can see the blaze and chevron of a finback whale. These markings are used to help ID individuals.

Here you can see some scars on the left side of this finback whale. These marks can also be used to help ID individual whales.

Our scout boat here with passengers had a close encounter with a finback whale. You can see the “blow” here, the whales breath that isn’t really a spout of water but simply hot air and with a little sea water that was on their nostrils when the whale surfaced.

You can see the size of the finback compared to our 22 foot scout boat. Our scout boat will go out on some mornings to “scout” for whales and we can take a few passengers for a personal trip, and then they join the Quoddy Link to warm up and take the return trip home through the islands.

The forecast is good again tomorrow, I’m keeping my fingers crossed and I will keep you posted.

Finbacks and LESS fog

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Hello there, it’s Danielle from Quoddy Link Marine. We had a great day today, finally a day with less fog and we got to see finback whales, and not too far from Bliss Island, only about 10 miles from St. Andrews. I have sent my photos to Allied Whale in Bar Harbour so they can try and identify the individual finback whales.

Yesterday we were in the islands with minke whales, 3 great trips. On our evening trip there was a lot of activity in Head Harbour Passage, hundreds of gulls and plenty of porpoise all actively feeding in herring. Here you can see a harbour porpoise with it’s triangular-shaped dorsal fin. They are incredibly difficult to photograph because of their speed and unpredictability.
The forecast is good for tomorrow, I’ll keep you posted on our sightings. Thanks for reading.

And the offshore fog continues

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Hi there, it’s Danielle, senior naturalist and photographer with Quoddy Linke Marine. Well, the fog still looms offshore but we had 2 days of great inshore trips with atleast 4 different minke whales. Here you can see 2 individual minkes, notice the difference in the shape of their dorsal fins, the fins on their backs.
Both of these whales were photographed in Head Harbour Passage, between Campobello and Deer Island.

The minke whales have been SO GOOD to us, my personal favorite whale, I just have to root for the “underdog”. They have saved the day more than once. A highly under-rated whale, minkes may be a smaller whale (if you consider 30 feet and 20,000 lbs small) but they are a special part of the wildlife found here in the Fundy Isles. No matter how much I love minke whales I am still hoping the fog will disappear soon so we can head offshore in search of finbacks and humpbacks.

Fog and southwest winds…

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We had a day of fog in the morning and strong southwest winds in the afternoon but it was warm and calm in Head Harbour Passage. We spent a nice amount of time with minke whales on both trips. On our afternoon trip we had a great eagle sighting, with a few adults and atleast 5 juveniles all soaring and flying together. They are calling for less strong winds tomorrow so we will see if we are able to get offshore to look for finbacks and humpbacks. I will keep you posted, check back soon.

Minkes on the 23rd, finbacks today!

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We were fogged into the Islands on the 23rd of July but we had 2 very nice trips with minke whales in Head Harbour Passage.

Here are some grey seals hauled out on some reefs that have been exposed by the ebbing tide. At Casco Bay Island we often see grey seals as well as harbour seals (in the background). They will haul out right beside each other.
Today was a good day on the water, it was my day off but both finbacks and minke whales were sighted. I’m back at it tomorrow, and I will keep you updated.