Saturday, October 18, 2008

EKG and a Save Passamaquoddy Bay Trip!

Hello everyone, it's Danielle with Quoddy Link Marine. This morning we did a special trip to support the effort to Save Passamaquoddy Bay. We took many locals of Charlotte County and some supporters from across the border out into Head Harbour Passage. This passage way is at the heart of a battle to prevent LNG tankers from entering Passamaquoddy Bay. Head Harbour Passage is such a vibrant and alive place, the strong tidal currents create upwelling, bringing the cold, nutrient rich water from the ocean floor to the surface which feeds the plankton, which feeds in the krill, which in turn feeds the herring and the herring feeds most of the predators including seals, porpoise, many seabirds and whales. In my 7 years with Quoddy Link Marine we have documented finback (including a mother and calf pair) and minke whales in Head Harbour Passage every summer and on a few very special occasions we have seen humpback and even a critically endangered North Atlantic right whale right up Head Harbour Passage! It is such an amazing place and thank you to all who joined this morning, your support is greatly appreciated!

Our afternoon trip was a regularly scheduled whale watch which turned out to be a Hat Trick! We saw EKG, a humpback whale we have been watching since 2006, 3 finback whales, all close to the entrance of Head Harbour Passage and a very young minke whale between White and Nubble Island. It was a great trip! Below is EKG, note the distinct upturned flukes.

Thanks for checking in today. Tomorrow is our last day, they are calling for some NE winds but I hope we can get out. Cheers!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Humpback, Finback and Minke Whales...All Still Here!!

Hello all, it's Danielle with Quoddy Link Marine, still whale watching and still seeing lots of whales. Today we went out in some crazy October fog but with a little help with the visibility we were able to find 2 humpback whales, EKG (left) and an unknown we also saw on October 11th. Both humpbacks were great to watch, this beautiful tail raise from EKG and the unknown whale did a few tail breaches and rolled over a few times and showed us "his" pectoral flippers (no photos of that...raining). On our way back we stopped with a few minke whales at the mouth of Head Harbour Passage and then we found a finback whale, between White and Nubble Island and we got to see a beautiful lunge feed! What an amazing much more than we could ever ask for at the middle of October. The other sightings are still great as well, there are so many bald eagles around as well as many species of seabirds. We are also seeing lots of seals, both grey (top) and harbour (bottom).

Thanks so much for checking in today, we have 3 departures left;
Friday, October 17th @ 10:00 am
Saturday, October 18th @ 2:30 pm
Sunday, October 19th @ 1:00 pm
Come and join us!! Cheers.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

Hello everyone, it's Danielle with Quoddy Link Marine with a quick update of today's sightings. We decided to have a whale watch this morning instead of this afternoon so we could give our guests enough time to have their turkey dinner!! We headed right offshore this morning and we passed some finbacks on our way out but when we got there we found EKG and the young humpback that was disentangled in December of 2007 off Grand Manan (pictured below). After we spent some time with the humpbacks (and got a very close look at EKG!) we made our way back towards the islands where we stopped with 4 finback whales. Our passengers were amazed at the size and power of the finback whales, the second largest whale in the world, and the ones we were watching were at least the length of the boat at 55 feet! There was also tonnes of birds this morning and we stopped at The Spectacles where we saw 7 bald eagles!

We still have a few more trips this week;

Tuesday, October 14th-Thursday, October 16th at 1:00 pm

Friday, October 17th at 10:00 am

Sunday, October 19th at 1:00 pm

Thanks for checking in today, Cheers!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Another Great Day on the Bay!

Hello there, it's Danielle with Quoddy Link Marine back from another amazing October day on the Bay of Fundy. With great weather again today we made our way directly offshore in search of humpback whales in the same area where we were yesterday. We found 5 individuals, 4 of which I got tail shots of to ID (we had Spinnaker, EKG, the December entanglement whale, as well as the unknown with the hooked dorsal). We had a very close look at EKG, the photo on the left shows "his" double blowhole and the tubercles (the bumps on the rostrum, each one has a thick hair growing out of it which serves a sensory function). On our way back to St. Andrews we stopped with 3 finback whales and a minke whale! The 2 photos below are Spinnaker (top) and the unknown whale with a hooked dorsal fin (below).

I also wanted to include this photo of EKG and Spinnaker travelling together. Baleen whales do not live in family groups but they can be social animals and form unstable groups which can last for a few minutes or even a few days.

Thanks for checking in today. We are going to be running whale watching trips all week, there are lots of whales around and we aren't quite ready to stop! Come and join us and see the Bay of Fundy with Quoddy Link Marine!!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

I do LOVE my job!

Hello everyone, it's Danielle with Quoddy Link Marine with some amazing sightings to report. It's so hard to believe that it is the second week of October but with the first day in a few with calm seas we sent Matt out on our Scout Boat to see what he could find a little further from home. With a boat load of eager passengers we got a call from Matt that he had found at least 5-6 humpback whales and about the same number of fin whales all within about 1/4 mile of each other! Needless to say we made our way directly offshore towards our Scout Boat. We passed a few finback whales off the northern tip of Campobello Island but we had to put "blinders" on and continue offshore but it was well worth it! There were blows in every direction....both finback and humpback one point we had 5 humpback whales on the forward right hand side of the boat and a finback on the other, and then a finback surfaced so close to the boat that a few words that are usually not part of my interpretation came out! In my 7 years I don't remember seeing so many humpbacks and finbacks on one trip. Now to the details.....As I have mentioned before we photograph the humpback whales we see (humpbacks are IDed by the pigmentation of black and white on the underside of their flukes) and I was very busy today. I managed to get photos of 6 individual humpback whales (I am SURE I missed a few). 3 are ones I could identify, 2 are new (one of the new whales is pictured above left) and 1 is a familiar "face" from last season! The photo below is EKG.

This is Cork, a 6 year old female humpback.

This is one of the new humpbacks we saw today...also a familiar face (I'm almost positive, I have the photo into PCCS to be confirmed)...this is Spinnaker, a 4 year old female.

This is the other new humpback that I do not recognize.

We also saw the humpback that was disentangled in December/07 off Grand Manan. I have included a drawing of the entanglement (the entanglement was made worse as it happened during a winter storm). This whale has yet to be matched to a previously catalogued whale, if it cannot be matched it will be put up for naming next spring.

I wanted to leave you with a photo I took the other day of 2 minke whales travelling side-by-side, not something we see very often. Thanks for checking in today, I will keep you posted as I hear about the ID's of our new whales....and I hope to have more great sightings for you all tomorrow! Cheers.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Six Humpback Whales on Our 2:00 pm Departure!

Hello everyone, it's Danielle with Quoddy Link Marine with some great sightings to report. Today on our 2pm departure we sighted 6 individual humpback whales as well as 4 fin whales! Also, of those 6 humpbacks, 2 were new individuals to us. With word from Fundy Tide Runners, a fellow whale watching company out of St. Andrews that there were humpbacks in the same area where we were yesterday afternoon we made our way directly offshore, even passing 2 large fin whales on the way! The sea conditions were certainly not perfect but with some great passengers who were willing to hold on we spent about an hour and a half watching 6 humpbacks and 2 fin whales in the offshore area. There very well may have been more humpbacks around, there were many blows in all directions but I did photograph 6 individual humpbacks. The first one here is a new whale to us and I have sent the photos down to Provincetown Center for Coastal Studies to see if we can get a positive ID.

This is Cork, a 6 year old female humpback we are very familiar with at Quoddy Link Marine.
This is the humpback we saw for the first time yesterday that was seriously entangled last December and rescued by the Campobello Whale Rescue Team. Have a look at yesterdays post for more info.
Here is an unknown that we saw yesterday as well as on September 21st.

This is EKG, a young whale we have been watching since 2006.

This last whale is our 2nd new whale of the day. We never got to see the fluke so all I got was a shot of the dorsal fin but as the dorsal fin is different from whale to whale I do know this is a new individual for us! Hopefully we can get a tail shot and see who this is in the next few days.

Thanks for checking in today. I hope to have more great news for you over the next week. Cheers!

Sunday, October 05, 2008

4 Humpback Whales in One Trip!

Hello everyone, it's Danielle with Quoddy Link Marine back from another great fall day! It's hard to believe that our whale watching season is scheduled to end in 1 week and I have a new humpback whale to report....and we saw 4 individual humpbacks on our 2pm departure. Our afternoon trip took us our towards to Wolves Bank where Matt, on our Scout Boat was reporting 2, maybe 3 humpback whales as well a few finback whales. On our way out we were stopped, unexpectedly, by a humpback whale. It turn out to be the unknown we had on September 21st on our 2pm trip, pictured below. This whale has yet to be matched to an individual in the catalogue, I will let you know if that changes.

With a few good looks at this young humpback we made our way out towards our Scout Boat. As we arrived we found EKG and a new humpback whale! As we got a better look at this new humpback we very quickly saw some serious injury marks, I have included a photo below in which you can see the scarring on the tail stock. This young humpback has been IDed as humpback that was disentangled in December of 2007 off Grand Manan! This humpback has not been matched to a previous entry in the catalogue as of yet but with these new images the researchers at PCCS are hoping to make a positive match. This was the first sighting of him since his successful release. I have included a news clip that was posted on You Tube by IFAW.

Thanks for checking in today, I have included a photo below of Cork (the 4th humpback we saw today) and our Scout Boat. I don't want to forget to mention that we also had some amazing finback whale sightings on both our morning charter and afternoon departure!

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Another Amazing Day with Cork and EKG!

Hello everybody, it's Danielle back from the cold waters of the Bay of Fundy with video and pictures from another incredible day! On our 2pm departure John decided to take us immediately offshore in search of the humpback whales that we spent time with yesterday. As we arrived, Fundy Tide Runners, a fellow whale watching company out of St. Andrews had located EKG, a humpback whale we saw yesterday for the first time in 2008. EKG was travelling from "his" flood tide feeding grounds towards the Grand Manan Chanel, which has been known to be an ebb tide feeding ground for humpbacks in the fall. As "he" started travelling he would stop every now and then and roll over and slap his 6-8 foot pectoral flippers on the surface! It was our first sighting of pectoral slapping this season. This is a normal surface behaviour for humpbacks and it was awesome to see! The Zodiac that you see in the videos is Fundy Tide Runners.

After spending some time with EKG we spotted another humpback towards the Chanel and when we arrived we found Cork and......just like yesterday she decided to get curious with the boat! Today I took some video from the lower deck. The second video is Cork fluking, or raising her tail, after her close encounter.

On our way back towards St. Andrews we stopped just off the entrance to Head Harbour Passage at the northern tip of Campobello Island with 1 fin whale and a few minke whales. Everyone was feeding very happily on herring. The finback did a few lunge feeds, one very close to the boat. I didn't manage to get any pictures or videos...I tried though.

Thanks for checking in, today was another fabulous fall whale watch. Check back often for more updates with Quoddy Link. Cheers!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

A Very Close Encounter With Cork and a First Visit with EKG

Hello everyone, it's Danielle with Quoddy Link Marine back from an absolutely amazing day out on the Bay of Fundy. Our morning charter was a lovely 2 hour nature cruise through the islands and we were able to spend some time with minke whales, bald eagles, seals and porpoise. We had a little extra time and had some fun in the Old Sow, the largest tidal whirlpool in the Western Hemisphere.
Our afternoon departure was a regular whale watch and with word from our Scout Boat that there were 2 humpbacks in the Grand Manan Chanel we made our way directly out. We were stopped on our way to the chanel by a large group of feeding birds, a few minke whales and a very large finback. After some great looks at the minkes we continued on our way. When we arrived we first found Cork, a 6 year old female humpback that we are very fond of at Quoddy Link and we have been watching her for 4 years now. Cork, to the delight and amazement of our passengers, decided to get curious with us and spent about 15 minutes just circling us, incredibly close to the boat! She even spyhopped one time as you can see in the 2nd photo down (a spyhop is when a whale emerges out of the water vertically and some whales can spyhop so half their body is out of the water). IT WAS AMAZING!
To make the trip even more fabulous we made our way over to the 2nd humpback and we quickly noticed it was not one we had seen this season. The whale has been identified as EKG (John and I assumed this was EKG but the ID was confirmed by PCCS), a humpback I first photographed in 2006 and was labeled as an "unknown" and put up for naming at the 2007 Gulf of Maine Humpback Whale Naming Event. This was our first sighting of EKG for the 2008 season. The photo above I shot today of EKG.

Thanks so much for checking in today. I hope to have more great news for you tomorrow! Cheers.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

More Fabulous Finback Whale Sightings

Hello everyone, it's Danielle from Quoddy Link Marine back from a few days away from Blogger! I wanted to share our fantastic fin whale sightings with you and a few video clips that I have taken. A few days ago we had 4 finback whales travelling side-by-side....they were so powerful and beautiful to watch and you know what, if we hadn't been as patient as we were, waiting for all of the other boat traffic to leave, we never would have got the sightings that we did. Patience really does pay off when you are watching wildlife! Below are a few pictures from that trip.

The video that I am sharing is from our departure yesterday. We searched....and searched for a humpback whale and with some word of right whales not too far from Swallowtail we made our way WAY offshore. With no luck we worked over towards where some fellow whale watching boats left a pair of finback whales. We found only one but it was an incredible sighting. This young whale lunge fed 2 times right close to the boat giving our passengers an incredible view of the awesome power of these whales. I wasn't able to catch the feeding on video but I did catch a partial tail raise on the video below. If you watch the videos note the exhale and inhale of the fin whale and look at the size of the smaller harbour porpoise compared to the finback! There were also LOTS of birds (mostly gulls and northern gannets) in the area, also feeding on the prey that the finback was after

On a sadder note, we had to cancel our North Atlantic right whale trip for tomorrow due to the impending stormy conditions. As of right now we have no plans to reschedule due to the unpredictable fall weather but I will let you know if that changes. I do want to share a post from the Bay of Fundy Blog, National Geographic just published an article about North Atlantic right whales and there is a link to it on Terri's blog (if you haven't checked out her blog, have a look, it's fantastic!).

For all of you bald eagle fans.....the sightings have been great! We have had some trips where on small islands we are able to see 5-10 eagles, both juvenile and adults. This photo below is from Nubble Island, there were 2 adult eagles perched on one corner of the island and we could see 3 juveniles soaring above.

I know I do this blog to inform you of whale and wildlife sightings with Quoddy Link Marine but I wanted to share an experience I had on Thursday. I took the day off and had the pleasure to go sea kayaking with Bruce Smith, a dear friend and owner of Seascape Kayak Tours on Deer Island, NB. I have spent 7 years on the waters of the Bay of Fundy and while paddling with Bruce I was able to experience those waters in a whole new way. I really was was incredible. If you ever have the opportunity to visit our area and you want to try kayaking take the ferry out to Deer Island and paddle with Seascape, it truly is an amazing experience. If you do not want to drive around Quoddy Link Marine and Seascape kayak have a partnership where we can shuttle you from St. Andrews on our Scout Boat to Northwest Harbour, Deer Island where you can paddle with Bruce and his staff and we will pick you up when you are finished and take you back home to St. Andrews. It will save you 45 minutes of driving and a 20 minute ferry crossing (and any wait in the ferry line)!

Thanks for checking in today, the weather forecast is not the greatest for the next few days but I will keep you posted! Cheers!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Fantastic Fin Whales

Hello everyone, it's Danielle with Quoddy Link Marine with a quick update from the past few days. The weather has been so incredible lately we wish we never have to return to port! We have spent the past few days with finback whales and the sightings have been incredible. Yesterday we had 6 individuals off Bliss and today we had 3 fin whales travelling side-by-side! We have been venturing offshore in search of humpbacks but we have not seen any yesterday or today, I'm sure they are around, they are just being consistently inconsistent! I have included 2 videos I took over the past 2 days, I hope you enjoy.

Thanks for checking in today, Cheers!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Another Great Fall Day and Another New Humpback Whale!

Hello again, it's Danielle with Quoddy Link Marine back from another great day on the water. Our morning took us offshore where we located 2 large fin whales in the Grand Manan Chanel but we were looking for humpback whales so we made our way towards The Wolves and we located Cork, a 6 year old female humpback. We got some great looks at her and the photo on the left is showing her, on her side, as she made her way through a large amount of feed, most likely herring. She also brought her pectoral flipper out of the water but I missed that in the photo.
Our afternoon trip took us directly back offshore, and with word from Fundy Tide Runners, a fellow whale watching company out of St. Andrews that there was 2 finback and 2 humpbacks we made our way straight out. When we arrived we quickly ID'ed one of the humpbacks as Cork, the same humpback from the AM charter. As we got a look at the second humpback we quickly noticed that we had another new humpback! This humpback was seen earlier this season by Provincetown Center for Coastal Studies during their survey of the Bay of Fundy. This humpback has yet to be matched in the catalogue so keep checking, I'll post info as I hear.

The bird sightings were also great today. I have included 2 photos from today. The top photo is of an immature northern gannet and the lower is an immature jaeger (note the herring in the jaeger's mouth.....which was stolen from a gull!!).

I have been in touch with Shelley from Brier Island Whale & Seabird Cruises and she provided me with a photo of Six (below), the mother of the young humpback we saw yesterday and the day before. Six was sighted in 1984 and the little humpback we have been seeing is her 5th known calf! Thank You Shelley for your help! I also want to mention that the folks on the Brier Island side had a very special sighting yesterday, an Orca was spotted in the Bay of Fundy!!

Thanks for checking in today! I'll keep you posted when I hear more about the humpback we sighted today. If it turns out to be a new individual we are going to have to think of a name suggestion for this one as well!