Hello everyone, it’s Danielle with Quoddy Link Marine. As we gear up for another season I thought we could start the year off by taking a look back at some of the highlights of 2014 through video.
Let’s start in July where we had an incredibly rare and exciting sighting of a great white shark only 1 mile out of St. Andrews Harbour! We were able to get photos and working with the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy our sighting has been added to their catalogue and the shark has been named “Quoddy”
Here is a video of our sighting, a BIG thanks to Dave Hannett for sharing this video
Nick also did an interview with CBC radio Shift about the sighting and you can check out the interview here
We had more great shark sightings in 2014 including basking sharks and porbeagles. The Shark Identification Network on Grand Manan even did a blog post on our sightings and you should check that out here
OK, let’s move on from the white shark sighting and talk about minke whales. We saw many minke whales through out the season, with minke whale sightings on almost every departure. Minkes are not always the easiest to watch but they are so beautiful and we do have a particular minke whale in the area who is known for his acrobatics. We spent time with Gonzo at the beginning of August while he was breaching many times. Gonzo was first picked up by my co naturalist Nick while he was captaining a zodiac and he got this video
Here is a photo that I took when we arrived
Next I want to look at fin whales. We had fewer finbacks in our area than previous years and they were later to arrive as well. Most likely this was due to the lower amount of their preferred food, Atlantic herring, in the area possibly due to record warm temperatures from 2012. In 2014 we did spend a few weeks with a very special mom and calf fin whale pair (one of three pairs we documented). Not only was the calf incredibly beautiful with unique markings but this “little” one was very curious making many close inspections of the boat, not a behaviour you often see from finbacks.
Here is a photo of the mom and calf pair, it will be very exciting to see if this young whale returns to the area this summer.
Here is a video of the pair
Nick was also able to get some underwater footage of the calf!!
Now let’s move away from whales, we will come back to them, I promise, but I want to take a look at our incredible sightings of the Mola mola or ocean sunfish. The Mola mola is the heaviest known teleost (bony fish) with a weight of more than 1000kg! They are active swimmers and not passive, planktonic swimmers at the mercy of the oceans currents like once believed. They move by simultaneously stroking their dorsal and anal fins (they lack a caudal fin altogether) and they make substantial vertical movements in the water column. They are neutrally buoyant without a swimmer bladder due to a low-density subcutaneous gelatinous tissue. This tissue does not compress with depth and has been reported in some deep sea fishes. They live on a diet of nutrient-poor jellyfish so they must consume an immense amount to maintain their size.
Here is a video I took from the upper deck of the Quoddy Link
Here are 2 underwater videos that Nick took during 2014
OK, on to humpbacks, I would the say the favourite of many who join us on the water. We didn’t have very many humpback sightings during 2014 but here is the breakdown
– On September 15th and 16th we spent time with a yearling humpback, the 2013 calf of Apex. It’s very interesting to document this young whale in the Bay as Apex has never been recorded in Fundy.
– On September 7th, our annual offshore trip where we would hope to find right whales (no rights and hard to search due to weather) we found a trip of humpback; Foggy, Whistler and Vee
– On October 11th we found a pair of humpbacks, Froth and Lacuna.
Here is a video of the 2013 calf of Apex taken on September 16th, This young whale was very active and we were lucky enough to catch the end of the activity.
OK, now on to the highlight of my season, and one of the top five moments in my 14 years with Quoddy Link Marine. On October 11th we headed way offshore with a boatload of eager passengers looking for humpbacks and possibly right whales. Well, we found humpbacks (Lacuna and Froth as I mentioned above) but we also found Old Thom, an adult male orca!! Killer whale sightings in Fundy are rare but Old Thom has been seen in 2010, 2012 and 2014 off Grand Manan, NB as well as off Brier Island, NS. This sighting is something I will never, ever forget, if you have ever doubted that the wild is the ONLY place where whales belong please watch this video and maybe you will think about it again.
I also did an interview with CBC radio NB Shift, please check out the interview here. I get butterflies in my stomach when I think about this sighting and a huge smile comes across my face!
Thank You so much for checking in and reading our 2014 year in review by video. Let me know if you enjoy reading this blog either here or on the facebook post, I love hearing back from our readers.
I can’t wait to start bringing you sightings from our 2015 season, it’s just around the corner!!
Welcome back Danielle. I'm looking forward to another exciting year. I've been whale watching out of Briar Island twice, though not recently. We didn't see much the second time. I so enjoy your photos and Nick's videos, (and of course, the Seals!). If I was younger, I would love to be out on the water every day watching the wonderful sights. Thanks for sharing them. Have a great season. Perhaps there will be more humpbacks this year, and hopefully Old Thom will return.
Thank You so much Bonnie for you comments, they always make me smile. We are hoping for a great season and with the cold winter it could help with the feed. Thanks again,