Sunday, July 20, 2014

Beautiful Calm Weekend on the Water

Hello everyone, this is Danielle with Quoddy Link Marine, we have had some beautiful days on the water recently with calm seas, clear skies and unlimited visibility.  We have been spending time with minke whales in the Islands (still no sign of larger whales within our reach but we are hoping the feed in the area will pick up and attract some finners and even humpbacks to our offshore areas)

This is a minke we have seen the past 2 days, note the very unique dorsal fin (the dorsal will differ from whale to whale and can be used for individual ID)




There have been some great bird sightings, and always remember, the more you watch the water and shoreline the more you will see....some birds will fly by very quickly

Black legged kittiwake nesting pair

Black guillemot with a fish

Double crested cormorants 

Seals are always one of the favortie parts of the trip!

Harbour and grey seals 

Harbour seal (back), male (middle) and female (front) grey seal

Thanks for checking in everyone,

Cheers,
Danielle

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Frustrating Bay of Fundy FOG

Good evening everyone, well the past few days have had some very frustrating moments...we have had to cancel some trips due to wind and fog and we have had a few trips where whales were not sighted (we do offer our passengers a voucher for a free trip to come out with us again).  And today was one of those days...the fog just never fully lifted and we did manage to get a few very brief looks at a minke whale but we did not consider it a sighting.

I did manage to take a few photos today, first dat camera has been out in a few days because of the rain.

Even with the foggy conditions we have been able to find schools of feeding porpoise

Bald eagle on Casco Bay Island 

The weather looks like it will be turning around tomorrow and I hope have better whales sightings for you!

Thanks for checking in,

Cheers,
Danielle

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Minkes on all three trips

We had three lovely trips today on the Bay and spent time on all departures with minke whales including Slice on all three trips


We also saw lots of seals and porpoise on every departure and made the time to stop at Whitehorse to visit the nesting colony there.

Harbour seals on the ledges off Casco Bay Island 

Great cormorant on Whitehorse Island 

We found this young bald eagle on our morning trip, a new fledgling of this season.  You can see that the underparts are all wet and this was most likely the first flight of this young bird and he had some difficulty and landed in the water and had to swim to this ledge.  We visited the area again on our evening trip and there were 2 adults in the same spot and they were calling and seem distressed.  Our fear is that the young wasn't able to make it off the ledge and the parents were looking for him/her.  We can't know for sure and will keep our fingers crossed for this little one.


Thanks to everyone who joined us today and thank for checking in!

Cheers,
Danielle

Friday, July 11, 2014

Offshore search

Good evening all,

With incredible weather we decided to start to search the offshore feeding grounds today!  So this morning on the flood tide took us off towards South Wolf and back along the edge of the Owen Basin, unfortunately we were not able to find any whales on our 10am departure (our passengers did receive a free pass to join us again) but we did see lots of puffins, seals, porpoise and a porbeagle shark!

Love the feet of the puffin as he takes off 

This afternoon took us further south towards to the northern tip of Grand Manan off the Whistle where we found a familiar minke whale and got to spend some time with our friends from Grand Manan, Whales n Sails Adventures.  We also saw porpoise and seals and a few puffins offshore.

Whales n Sails Adventures off Grand Manan, NB

Characteristic wave created by the rostrum of the mink whale


The scenery on Grand Manan is breath taking 


Thanks to everyone who joined us today,

Cheers,
Danielle

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Finback whale sighted on all three departures!

Good evening everyone, we had a wonderful day on the water!  We started off in the fog on our morning trip but it lifted fairly quickly in the Islands.  We first spent time with 2 minke whales and after we decided to take a look off Head Harbour Light to see what we could see and we are super happy we did because we found a large finback!  This is only our second fin whale sighting of the season and we spent time an all three departures today with the same fin whale

Slice off the bow of the Quoddy Link


Fin whale we spent time with on all three departures

On our morning departure we saw some puffins right in Head Harbour Passage


The seals were great today, especially on the lower tides.


Thanks to everyone who joined us today aboard the Quoddy Link,

Cheers,
Danielle

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Southwest wind, haze and Slice

Good evening everyone, we just had one trip today, an afternoon departure and we spent time with 2 minke whales including Slice.  Today was one of those day where it paid off to have a good sniffer!  Minke whales have a nick name, Stinky Minke because of the strong and unplesant odour their breath has and we were able to smell the minke whales before we could see them.  I am always paying attention to the smells and sounds out on the Bay while we are searching for whales just as much as I am to the sights.

This is a photo of Slice who we saw today


We stopped with seals on Splitting Knife, where we saw both greys and harbours.


We also saw a wonderful group of feeding porpoise in Head Harbour Passage.

Thanks so much to everyone who joined today,

Cheers,
Danielle

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Welcome to our 2014 season...Our 20th season at Quoddy Link Marine!

Hello everyone, it's Danielle with Quoddy Link Marine back for another season.  It is my 13th season with Quoddy and our company's 20th season in the Bay of Fundy!

We have had a great start to the season with minke whales sighted on every departure, the majority of our time has been spent up off Eastport, ME in the upwelling waters of the Old Sow (the largest tidal whirlpool in the Western hemisphere off the southern tip of Deer Island, NB).

Here are some minke whale photos from June 28-July4



Slice

Slice





There have been lots of harbour porpoise feeding in the turbulent waters of the Old Sow as well.



The nesting seabirds in the area are in full swing and the activity on Whitehorse is ever changing with the black-legged kittiwakes and blackback and herring gulls all nesting with chicks.  Don't forget to check out Nick's Bird Blog for more info on everything ornithological in the Bay of Fundy!

3 blackbacks chasing a herring gull

Double crested cormorant 

Atlantic puffin

We are seeing more and more seals everyday on the ledges in the Fundy Isles...both harbour and grey seals.



Thanks so much for checking in and check back daily for updates and special promotions for our 20th season!

Cheers,
Danielle

Thursday, July 03, 2014

Our 2014 season has begun!

Hello everyone, it's Danielle with Quoddy Link Marine back for another season.  We have been running for about a week now and I want to apologize for the lack of posts and pictures but they will be coming once I get all settled in.

Just a quick update, we have been seeing minke whales on all departures and yesterday evening we had our first fin whale sighting of the season, a mother and calf off Head Harbour Light!  There are lots of porpoise in the area and we are seeing both harbour and grey seals on every trip.

Check back next week when the posts will be daily again...looks like we have some pretty extreme weather coming for the weekend!

Stay safe everyone,

Cheers,
Danielle

Saturday, May 24, 2014

A look back at our 2013 season and towards 2014, our 20th season on the Bay of Fundy!

Hello everyone, it's Danielle with Quoddy Link Marine!  It was a long, cold and snowy winter but I am super excited to be back once again with Quoddy Link for another season, it will actually be my 13th season on the catamaran!  I will be continuing with my photography and videos as well as collecting as much data as possible for various research organizations (Allied Whale in Bar Harbor, ME, Provincetown Center for Coastal Studies in Provincetown, MA, NEAq Right Whale research team out of Lubec, ME (but part of the NEAq, Boston, MA),  the Grand Manan Whale and Seabird Research Station in Grand Manan, NB).  The data collection is something I have been doing since 2006 and it really is a privilege to donate our sightings to these organisations and to be a part of understanding the movements and population structures of these animals on a larger scale.  As we come into our 20th season (officially opens on June 21st) I though I would take a photographic look back at our 2013 season so here we go....

June

Out season started off wonderfully as we were seeing minke whales on every single trip and we even saw our first fin whale earlier than previous year, on June 24th.  There were great seal sightings on various ledges and the nesting birds looked to have a healthy population on Whitehorse Island.

Herring Gull and some young chicks 

minke whale

2 eaglets in the nest on White Island 

Finback whale 

Female grey seal with harbour seals 

Young harbour seal pup
July

July started off with a bang....on the 3rd of July we had the privilege of watching a breaching minke off the northern end of Campobello Island, a rare sight for the most seasoned whale watcher.


The seabirds were still nesting during July and we saw the young hatchlings grow on Whitehorse Island.  We also continued to see both harbour and grey seals on the popular haul out sites around the Islands.

Harbour seals 

Gull chick on Whitehorse Island

Black-legged kittiwake trying to keep cool

Male grey seal

Black-legged kittiwake and chick


By the end of July the nests were looking very crowded 

Great and double-crested cormorant 

Harbour porpoise 

We were seeing minke whales on almost every trip and finbacks as well towards the second part of the month.

Slice, a minke whale everyone in the area is quite affectionate about 

Finner

Finner

Minke whale off Head Harbour Light 

Finback whale 

Fin whale off a herring weir 

On July 22nd I got a text from our friends at Whales-n-Sails on Grand Manan that they were with a pair of humpbacks off Long Eddy Light, about 20 nm from St. Andrews but withing our reach on a regular whale watch (the Quoddy Link is the fastest of the large boats in St. Andrews and is an incredibly stable platform with it's double hulls).  When we arrived the pair appeared to be sleeping, maintaining their position in the tide rip but we were patience and spent some time with them and got some great looks at both of their tails (the pigmentation on the underside of their tails is used for individual ID and this is part of the research I am involved in).  The one humpback was IDed as Hat Trick and the other is still classified as an "unknown" and not part of the Gulf of Maine Catalogue.  To our surprise this was our only humpback sighting of the 2013 season....we are hoping more humpbacks feed in our area this season and I will keep you posted (typically we see more humpbacks in our area from mid-August-October but each and every season is very different).


Hat Trick 

Unknown humpback 

August

August continued with fantastic sightings of both minke and finback whales, porpoise, seals and a variety of seabirds.  All of the feeding activity was contained in the inshore area although we did check out the offshore grounds off the Wolves and towards Grand Manan on a regular basis.

Immature bald eagle soaring over Whitehorse Island 

2 female and 1 male grey seal 

minke 

finner

Bonaparte's gull feeding on krill

Fin whale lunge feeding, you can see the ventral pleats extended on the left hand side of the image 

Finback whale showing blaze and chevron 

Great black back gull and herring gull

Fin whale 

Minke 

Razorbill father and chick 

Finback whale 


Fin whale approaching the Quoddy Link 

1000's of gulls in Head Harbour Passage 
On August 12th we had a memorable encounter with a finback at the mouth of Head Harbour Passage, it was such a calm and peaceful morning and this video describes the experience well,




Our only basking shark sighting on 2013 was on August 20th a few miles off Whitehorse Island.  All of our basking shark sightings are submitted to the Shark Identification Network on Grand Manan Island, NB.


August 29th was my most memorable day of our 2013 season, on all three departures we spent time with North Atlantic right whale 3513 and her 2013 calf.  3513 was born in 2005 and this was her first calf.  North Atlantic right whales are born down south, off the coast of Florida and Georgia and they migrate north with their calves to the feeding grounds in the Guld of Maine.  There were very few right whales documented in the Bay of Fundy during 2013 so this sighting was extra special...and also was in a very unexpected area....right up Head Harbour Passage, off Eastport, Maine.  The pair travelled between US and Canadian waters (the regulations are different depending on where you are with regards to how close you can be) and there was some boat traffic through out the day so we were patient and ecologically conscious with our sightings. It was a very special day and was so great to share with all of our passengers.

Right whale research team from the New England Aquarium photographing 3513 and her 2013 calf 

North Atlantic right whale 3513 

3513


3513 and her 2013 calf 



September

September continued in much the same way as the rest of the season, with consistent sightings of both minke and finback whales on every departure (the number of whales and species would obviously vary from trip to trip).  Towards the end of September we had a number of days were 8-10 fin whales would feed together, quite aggressively off South Wolf and just as quickly as they would come together they would separate as soon as the tide began to slack.  The seal, porpoise and seabird sightings continued as well, although the number of shearwaters and gannets in our area was much lower in 2013 than in previous years.

a fin whale and a passenger on the foredeck 


Northern gannet 

Looking at the nostrils, or blowholes, of a finner

Pair of fin whales 

female grey seals in the evening light 

Pair of finbacks 
On September 20th we again had the privilege of seeing a breaching minke whale!  This time the whale as up Head Harbour Passage, right off Wilson's Beach, Campobello Island.  There are some whale researchers who may go their entire career and never see a minke whale breach but we have a few individual whales in our area who are quite active at the surface.




October

Our final few weeks of whale watching continued with minke and fin whale sightings and the surface feeding increased in high tidal areas like the mouth of Head Harbour Passage.  We were seeing lunge feeding fin whales on the flood tide on almost every departure.  Seabirds, seals and porpoise also continued to be abundant during October all the way to the end our 2013 season.

Finback blow off Campobello Island 

Lunge feeding fin whale 

Watching fin whales in Head Harbour Passage off the upper deck of the Quoddy Link 

Minke whale and harbour porpoise 

harbour seal 

Young male grey seal and small harbour seal 

As I look back on our 2013 season I want to thank everyone who joined us aboard the Quoddy Link and who took the time to read this blog.  I will be continuing the blog for 2014 and if there is something different or anything specific you would like to see here please feel free to leave a comment.  We are all excited for our 2014 season, our 20th season on the Bay of Fundy which will officially begin on June 21st.  We are already getting reports of whales in the Bay of Fundy including humpbacks and fin whales south of Grand Manan and off Brier Island and minke whale sightings off Eastport, Maine!!  And for all of you birders out there we will be doing bird cruises as well this season and don't forget to follow Nick's Quoddy Link Bird blog for all of your Bay of Fundy ornithological information.   Don't forget to like our facebook page to get up-to-date information on whale sightings, interesting ocean facts and contests to win whale watching passes!

Thanks for checking in and we are looking forward to introducing you to the Bay of Fundy catamaran-style!