Sunday, September 30, 2007

And again.....RIGHT GOOD!

Hello everyone, it's Danielle back from another amazing right whale cruise out into the open Bay of Fundy. What a privilege it is to see and spend time with these incredibly endangered whales, and today we had at least 2 cow and calf pairs as well 20+ individuals (counting all of the blows we saw towards the Nova Scotia shoreline)! I've included some of my favorite pictures below from this mornings adventure.

Here is a mom and calf surfacing together. Note the large, V-shaped blow characteristic to right whales.
Below is a mom and calf on their terminal dive. The mom's flukes are raised out of the water but are actually touching the calf (look closely to the right).Below, a mom and calf at the surface. The calf is closer to the boat, and you can clearly see the size difference. A calf, born at 1 tonne, would now be around 8-9 months old and still nursing. Below is a mom and calf raising their tails together (mom first, the calf just barley raises his or her tail out of the water).

I just want to thank everyone who joined us on this special trip and again it certainly wasn't the calmest day on the Bay of Fundy but everyone did fantastic! And a very special thanks goes out to Matt and Louise for their help in locating the right whales today. We are still whale watching until the 10th of October so stay in touch for more updates as well as some video clips from our trip today with the right whales!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

September continues to be great!

Hello all, it's Danielle with Quoddy Link Marine. We had another great fall day with humpback whales on both trips and 3 large fin whales on our afternoon departure. Our morning charter took us below where we thought we needed to be to find whales on the flood tide but we found 3 humpback whales; Cork, EKG (below) and our unknown from the other day, who still didn't raise his tail! While we made our way to FDR's summer home on Campobello Island, NB we sighted many mature bald eagles along the shoreline. Our afternoon trip we made our way to the Grand Manan Channel. With reports of 3 fin whales travelling together and calmer seas we headed directly out and when we arrived we found not only the fin whales but Mustache, a male (most likely due to markings on his belly) juvenile humpback! We got some great looks at Mustache before we had to start making our way back to St. Andrews. We made some time on the way home to stop and see a group of harbour seals hauled out on one of their favorite reefs.
Thanks for checking in today, the forecast doesn't sound great for tomorrow but we never know what the weather man will bring us!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Thank You Cork!

Hello everyone, it's Danielle with Quoddy Link Marine back from a very choppy afternoon on the Bay of Fundy (I didn't even take any photographs today because I was trying to set a good example and hold on at ALL times!). With about 20 knots of Sou'west and on the ebb tide we knew it would be choppy in the Grand Manan Channel but we decided to give it a go anyways. With reports of minke whales in the calm shelter of the islands we still decided to head off and see if we could find humpback and finback whales and if we were not successful we would make our way back inshore and join the others. With some keen eyes and patience we found Cork, a 5 year-old female humpback whale and a fin whale on the edge of the Owen Basin. Cork was amazing, staying at the surface for about 7-10 minutes each time and even surprised us with a dramatic tail thrash quite close to the boat. She was easy to follow between each breath because we could see her long white pectoral flippers under the surface of the water (they glow neon green because of the algae). After some time with Cork we made our way back to calmer waters and found 2 minke whales and we able to watch....and smell them for about 10 minutes.

They are calling for some calmer seas tomorrow! Check back for more updates from Quoddy Link Marine.

Choppy but great sightings!

We can definitely feel fall in the air when we are in the Grand Manan Channel and there is 15+ knots of Sou'west on an ebb tide. We had a choppy day yesterday but with great sightings. We had 2 humpback whales (Mustache, left, and Cork, below) and at least 4 finback whales. Some excellent looks at the whales and hardy passengers helped to make the trip a good one. They are calling for some more wind today, I'll make sure to keep you posted on how are sightings are. Don't forget, this Sunday, September 30th is our second special trip in search of the critically endangered North Atlantic right whale so check back Sunday evening for some photos (and hopefully video) of our adventure (there is still room on the trip, if interested please call 506-529-2600/1-877-688-2600)!

Monday, September 24, 2007

1 new face (almost) and 3 familiar ones!

Hello all, it's Danielle back from another day on the Bay of Fundy. The whales have been fantastic over the past couple of days and today was no different. We made our way out into the Grand Manan Channel, the traditional ebb tide feeding ground for humpback whales in the autumn. When we arrived we found 4 humpbacks as well as a few finback whales! I've included photos below of the humpback whales we saw today.

This is Cork, a 5 year-old female humpback.

This is Mustache, most likely a male.

This is EKG, a juvenile humpback of unknown age and sex.
And this is our new "face". This humpback never raised his tail but their dorsal fins of humpbacks are all different and this is not one we recognize. I hope in the next few days to get a fluke shot. I'll keep you posted!

Thanks so much for checking in with us today. I've left you with a photo I took today of one of the fin whales we saw. What a great day!!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

A little breezy but...

Hello everyone, well, it was a little breezy today but we still managed to venture offshore and found 3 humpback whales. We spent our time with Hobo, and we could see the blows (exhale) of the other 2 humpbacks but with 15+ knots of sou'west we just kept our position and waited for Hobo to surface again. On our way back home we stopped and spent some time with 5 finback whales off the northern tip of Campobello Island. There was a group of 4 finbacks travelling together! It was so beautiful to see all the blows coming up at the same time. Below is a video Melanie (one of our naturalists) took today of the 4 finbacks travelling together.

Thanks for checking in for my short post today, more to come tomorrow!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

GREAT whales and GREAT weather!

Hello fellow whale watchers! It's Danielle back from a fun day on the Scout Boat. My goal today was to get some photos of the Quoddy Link and some of the whales we have been watching all season. It was a gorgeous day on the water, with 3 humpbacks (Mustache (left), Cork and Hobo) and 5+ finback whales. From what I heard the guests on the Quoddy Link also got a close look at a small school of bluefin tuna! One of the highlights of the trip was when Cork came very close to the Quoddy Link and from the reactions of our naturalists, Louise and Melanie, it was AMAZING! It was so calm and sunny today, with fantastic visibility in the water you could see all of the humpback whale, she even poked her head out (spyhopped) to have a closer look at the boat!

Below is a photo of the Quoddy Link and Mustache.

On our way back into St. Andrews John stopped off the northern tip of Campobello Island to have a look at 3 finback whales that we travelling together and while they were very close to the boat one of the individuals decided to roll over and bring his tail right out of the water! Below is the Quoddy Link with a pair of finbacks taken today off Campobello Island.

Thanks so much for checking in with us today. I'm leaving you with a photo of the Quoddy Link returning to beautiful St. Andrews after a great day out on the Bay of Fundy.

Sunday, September 16, 2007


Hello everyone, it's Danielle with Quoddy Link Marine back from another great day on the Bay of Fundy. This morning we had the first of our special North Atlantic Right Whale trips which took us about 37 miles from St. Andrews out into the open Bay of Fundy in search of these critically endangered whales. On our way out we did pass a few finback whales and stopped to see Mustache, a humpback whale. Our sightings of the right whales were fantastic and probably the most special part was that we had 2, if not 3 cow and calf pairs! The image below shows one of the calves bringing it's rostrum out of the water with its mouth wide open (note the baleen plates hanging down). This calf stayed close to the surface and didn't move far from the boat while its mother was down feeding.

Below you can see a mom and calf diving together. Note the smooth, triangular flukes that are characteristic to North Atlantic right whales.
On our way back to St. Andrews we got the chance to stop with 3 finback whales who were travelling side by side. I want to thank our passengers who joined us on this very special trip, everyone did great with some lumpy sea conditions! If you are interested in our next right whale trip it is on September 30th at 7:30 am (1-877-688-2600).
Our afternoon whale watch was great as well. We left St. Andrews at 2:30 and headed offshore to find Mustache, the same humpback we had this morning (left and below). We followed him for about 15 minutes doing almost 5 knots and taking us further and further from home. John decided to turn around and look for some other whales. We found a few finbacks as well as EKG, another humpback we have been seeing over the past few days. EKG breached (jumped fully out of the water) 2 times! It was fantastic. The picture on the bottom shows the splash from the second breach (and a pectoral flipper if you look closely)!
Thanks so much for checking in today. I'll let you know how everything goes tomorrow, another early morning with 2 charters and a whale watch in the afternoon. Cheers :)

Friday, September 14, 2007

Another great day with 4 humpback whales!

Hello everybody, it's Danielle with Quoddy Link back from another great fall day on the water. On both our morning and afternoon departures we found ourselves in the offshore area with humpback whales (we did get a chance to spend some time with a pair of finback whales on our morning departure). This is Hobo on the left seen on the 2:00 pm departure.

This is EKG, seen on both our morning and afternoon departures. EKG was named at the 2007 Humpback Whale Naming Event because of the black marking the lower right hand side of the fluke that resembles an EKG reading.

This is Mustache, also seen on both our morning and afternoon departures. Mustache was also named at the 2007 Humpback Whale Naming Event because of the white mark on the upper right hand side of the fluke.

We also saw Cork, a 5-year old female humpback whale on both our morning and our afternoon trips. On our morning trip we could see another humpback whale blowing about 2 miles away but due to time restraints of the charter we were unable to make the run further offshore to get an ID. Below is a terminal dive from EKG, note the upturned fluke tips...a unique characteristic.

Thanks so much for checking in today. They are calling for some rain tomorrow and we are keeping our fingers crossed for good weather this Sunday, it is our first scheduled trip out to see the critically endangered North Atlantic right whale! Keep checking for more updates.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

2 new humpack whales!! What a fantastic day!!

Hello everyone, it's Danielle with Quoddy Link Marine back from a GREAT day on the water! We left St. Andrews for our 10:00 am departure with a little bit of swell in the water from the high winds we had yesterday. We made our way behind "The Horse" and spent some time with a pair of finback whales. After some great looks our captain, Matt, decided to venture off further in search of humpback whales. About 5 miles offshore we found our first humpback, Mustache! This is our first sighting of Mustache this season. I photographed this whale last year and quickly found out it was an "unknown", an adult or juvenile whale that currently isn't in the Gulf of Maine Humpback Whale Catalogue. Mustache was named this year at the 2007 Humpback Whale Naming Event and was named because of the obvious white marking on the right hand side of the fluke (researchers usually like to use black, positive markings but sometimes the white markings are very clear). The photo on the left is of Mustache and was taken today. After spending some time with Mustache we saw 2 more humpback blows close by and were pleased to see both Hobo and Cork, 2 humpbacks we are quite fond of at Quoddy Link Marine.

On our 2pm departure Matt took us directly offshore to look for the humpback whales we left. On our way out we saw a humpback whale blowing, only about 14 miles from St. Andrews, a little closer than we usually find them. As we got a closer look I quickly saw that is wasn't one of the 3 humpbacks we had this morning and I did not recognize this new whale! It's always very exciting to see a new humpback and it's one of my favorite parts of my job to photograph and figure out who these new whales are. After I got home this evening I looked at the fluke pictures and I am pretty sure this is EKG, another "unknown" from our 2006 season that was named at the 2007 Humpback Whale Naming Event. The contribution that Quoddy Link Marine makes to Provincetown Center for Coastal Studies (PCCS) is essential to learning and studying the Gulf of Maine population of endangered humpback whales. If we did not send our photos and data to PCCS these 2 whales may not be part of the catalogue and every individual is important to help protect this endangered species.

This is a photograph of EKG (still waiting for confirmation on the ID) that I took today.

After spending some time with EKG we made our way further offshore in search of the 3 humpbacks we had this morning. On our way out we found 3 large finback whales. These whales may not raise their tails like humpbacks but they are much larger, reaching over 65 feet in our area.

We continued further and saw some splashing ahead of us and went to check it out. I was very pleased to see Mustache again but this time he was behaving in a way I have only seen on TV! He (I'm not sure if Mustache is a "he", I just don't like to say "it") was blowing a cloud of bubbles under the water, almost in a circular pattern but not large enough to "net" the fish and then he would swim, sideways, through the cloud of bubble, sometimes with half his fluke and one pectoral flipper out of the water. There is a possibility he was bubble cloud feeding on schools of fish (the bubble cloud will confuse the fish and make them school tightly) or maybe just playing. Below you can see the bubble and Mustache coming up in the middle.

Below is a video that Melanie took on the boat today of Mustache.

Mustache was also raising his tail and gently slapping it on the surface. It wasn't a hard slap as if to stun prey. It was very gentle and so amazing that such a large animal can be that graceful.

A high tail raise from Mustache
A pectoral flipper and note the scalloping edge on the flipper, a characteristic trait of humpback whales.
My favorite picture I took today. Mustache brought his tail out and then raised his body high out of the water (like a synchronized swimmer would do, upside down in the water). It was amazingly beautiful.
Thanks so much for checking in today and reading about our very special day. I'll let you know if my IDing is correct for these 2 humpback whales. Keep checking often, you never know what other surprises this fall season may have in store!