Friday, July 31, 2009

Head Harbour Passage is filled with life!

Hey everyone, what a frustrating few days we have had....fog....we can't control the weather but it would be nice if the fog would go away! Today there was still thick fog in the offshore area but the inshore stayed mostly clear, at least better than the past few days. We were able to watch minke whales on all 3 departures today and we even had a lunge feeding minke in the Old Sow on our evening trip!

The best part of today was to see all of the life in Head Harbour Passage, sometime when we have spring tides (big tides on a new and full moon...not in the Spring) the whales can be more difficult to find and we see fewer birds and porpoise. We are coming off of a big tide and the life was fantastic many porpoise and the birds were incredible! The seabirds we saw in or at the mouth of the Passage today are:

- Gulls (herring, greater black backed and Bonapartes)
- Arctic terns
- Phalaropes (by the hundreds....confirmed by T. Dean of the Huntsman Marine Science Centre)
- Jagers
- Shearwaters (greater and sooty)
- Wilson's Storm Petrels
- Northern gannets
- Cormorants
- puffins
- guillemots

Below is a photo from yesterday of some phalaropes.

I wanted to share a photo of a aquaculture site that we visited on a special charter. We are not stopping at salmon farms as often this year because most of the sites in our area are part of a management area that are laying fallow (empty) this year as part of a 3 year rotation to help clean out under the cages of organic matter and keep all of the salmon in one area the same age class.

Thanks for checking in today,

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Finback and minke whales

Hey folks, I'm back from a long day on the water but it was so nice to see the sun and not have too much fog to deal with. The past few days have been hard and the whales have not been making it any easier (we did miss a few trips where we didn't see any whales, it does happen but not very often, but we have a policy where if whales are not sighted we offer a free trip to come again or a 50% refund). This morning we had the least amount of fog of the day, once we got out of Passamaquoddy Bay and we found a large fin whale off Southern Wolf....but the fog closed in after about 20 minutes so we made out way inshore and watched a minke whale off Eastport, ME. We spent time with the same minke on our afternoon and evening departure (on our 5:30 trip we also saw 2 other minke whales!). Below is a photo of the fin whale from our 10:00 am departure.

The seal sightings continue to be great and we saw many bald eagles today, both adults and juveniles.

Thanks for checking in today,

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Finbacks and minkes and a day off because of weather

Hey there everyone, I'm going to keep this one short, I just got home from a long day on the water and tomorrow looks to be the same so it's time for me to go to bed.

We have been seeing both minke and fin whales the past few days. Yesterday we canceled all of our departures due to high winds and today there was a little weather to deal with but we were able to get on the water on 2 trips.

We have searched the offshore area a few days ago and still no signs of humpback whales but we are looking and keeping in contact with the folks on Grand Manan.

Below is a photo of a large fin whale, taken on July 23rd off Blacks Harbour.

Thanks for checking in today,

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Minkes and Fins and Fog

Hey everyone, I just wanted to share a quick update on our sightings from yesterday. We spent time with a minke whale on our 2:00 pm departure (even had a partial breach!) and a large finback off East Quoddy on the evening trip. Below are 2 photos from yesterday.

We also took a run up the Campobello shoreline during the afternoon and we saw a small group of puffins. Alcids, including puffins, are diving birds and use their wings to fly under the water.

I'm back to work tomorrow, check back for more updates!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Minke whales, a finback and an interview with CBC

Hey everyone, what a gorgeous day we had on the water! Our morning trip we spent in Head Harbour Passage with 3 minke whales, got some great looks....we even got to see the white bands on the pectoral flippers, affectionately referred to as "minke mittens".

Our afternoon departure took us up the Campobello shoreline pass Nancy's Head into the Grand Manan Channel as we followed a finback whale. The series of photos below show a terminal dive, the last dive in a series of shallower dives.

This morning I did a short interview with Chris Corday from CBC regarding Quoddy Link's contribution to Art MacKay's blog I love Quoddy WILD!. Below is a photo of all 3 of us in front of the Quoddy Link. It's great to be a part of I Love Quoddy WILD, and share our sightings with the readers.

Hopefully the nice weather continues tomorrow!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Fin whales, minkes, LOTS of porpoise...what a great day

Hey everyone, it's Danielle back from another great day on the water. We had some fog this morning but after that cleared we had some great whale sightings.

This morning we spent time with a minke whales between Campobello and Deer Island and then on the way home through Western Passage we stopped with a very large group of harbour porpoise. They were all feeding just on the edge of the Old Sow. There were lots of gulls there as well. The 2 photos below are from this morning, you can see a herring in the mouth of the gull. Also note the single blowhole, or nostril, on the porpoise (this is a trait of all toothed whales).

On our afternoon and evening departure we saw both minke and finback whales in Head Harbour Passage. What a great day!

Tomorrow morning I am doing an interview with CBC regarding our contribution to the I Love Quoddy WILD Blog, I will let you know how that goes.


Friday, July 17, 2009

Whale Watching in the Old Sow

Hello everyone, just a quick note on todays trip. With thick fog in the morning we had only one departure today at 2:00 pm. We found a fin whale in the Passage off Black Rock but only got a few looks and then he took off into the fog. We traveled up and down Head Harbour Passage looking for another whale and then we got a call from a fellow whale watcher out of St. Andrews, Fundy Tide Runners that they had a minke whale in the Old Sow, in Western Passage between Deer Island and Eastport, ME. The Old Sow is the largest tidal whirlpool in the Western hemisphere and runs hardest at 3 hours before high tide. We made our way there and what a great trip it turned out to be. There was so much life there, with many harbour porpoise and birds feeding in the same area, it was fantastic. Thanks to all the passengers that came out today who were hearty and were trusting as we took them out into the thick Bay of Fundy Fog!

Thanks for checking in,

Thursday, July 16, 2009

A cool July day

Hey everyone, it's Danielle with Quoddy Link back from a very cool July day on the water. On our 10:00 am departure we ventured offshore with no reports of fin whales around the islands. We traveled out to Southern Wolf and on the edge of the Owen Basin but we didn't see any finbacks. We spotted a minke whale off Head Harbour Island and "he" turned out to be very co-operatve and we got some great looks.

Our afternoon trip took us off Nubble Island where we spent some time with a fin whale. At first the whale was making some big moves and staying down a long time but with a little patience we managed to get some good sightings. The photo below is from today, Whitehorse Island is in the background.

We have been seeing lots of seals on every trip and I wanted to share 2 pictures from today of some hauled-out harbour seals.

They are calling for some weather tomorrow so we will have to see what happens then. Thanks for checking in,

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

EKG sighted in the Bay of Fundy!

Hey everyone. One thing I want to do is keep all of the regular reader of the Quoddy Link blog up to date on the humpback whales that we regularly see in our little part of the Bay of Fundy and I have some news! EKG was seen on the Brier Island side of the Bay of Fundy by our friends at Brier Island Whale and Seabird Cruises. I photographed EKG in 2006 as an unknown and he or she has been seen in our part of the Bay every season since. Hopefully EKG and others we know well will make their way into our part of the Bay soon....

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

More great fin whale sightings

Hey there everyone, Danielle from Quoddy Link back from a full day on the water. We spent time with fin whales on all 3 of our departures today (this AM we did take a run offshore in search of humpback whales with our Scout Boat but none yet...but you never know unless you look).

I took another video of the fin whales on the 5:30 pm departure, we were at the mouth of Head Harbour Passage and it was a gorgeous evening on the water.

We also had fin whales on all 3 trips on July 15th, another great full day on the water. We are also seeing lots of seals, both grey and harbour, bald eagles and harbour porpoise.

Thanks for checking in today!


Sunday, July 12, 2009

Amazing Fin Whales off East Quoddy Head Light

Hey everyone. We had such an amazing trip yesterday afternoon off of the entrance to Head Harbour Passage with finback whales. There were 3 individuals that we got to see, many times. We spent over an hour with the whales and it was amazing! I got some video today that I wanted to share with you. All of the videos were shot from the upper deck, in one you can see the railing of the boat and you can see me walking across the upper deck, we were so lucky and they whales came so close.

I also got some video of harbour porpoise, these guys are fast so the video is not very long but I hope you enjoy it. The second part you can see the porpoise under the water, it's a great view on the upper deck on a sunny day

I also got some photos from todays morning departure (I took this afternoons trip to just watch the whales otherwise I spend my entire season looking through my viewfinder, it's nice to have the chance to to just take it all in). Today there were a number of fin whales off Bliss and Black's Harbour on the flood tide.

Thanks for checking in today!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

10 fin whales counted within a 2 mile radius!

Hey everyone, it's Danielle with Quoddy Link Marine back from a long but great day on the water. We had fin whales on each of our 3 trips today and all 3 were fantastic (despite some morning fog). On our evening trip were were off the entrance to Head Harbour Passage and within a 2 mile radius of East Quoddy Head Light we counted 10 fin whales! Definitley a great day!

Below are some photos from today I wanted to share.

Thanks for checking in today! We will have to see what the weather will bring for tomorrow...

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Great Fin Whale Sightings Including a Cow/Calf Pair!

Hey everyone, it's Danielle with Quoddy Link Marine. We had another great day on the water with finbacks, and we saw a cow/calf pair today as well! Our morning trip took us towards Blacks Harbour on the flood and there were at least 6 finbacks in the area all actively feeding on herring (this female grey seal was watching us while we were watching the whales). John, captain and owner of Quoddy Link, was picking up herring on his fish finder from the surface 200 feet down. We saw the cow and calf pair in the morning but the calf was spending quite a bit of time on it's own while the adults were feeding.

Below is a shot of the cow/calf pair. Mom is on the right and she has a very distinct notch out of her dorsal.

Here you can see the white lower right jaw that is characteristic of fin whales.

On our afternoon trip we saw the cow/calf pair again, this time in Head Harbour Passage. After spending some time with the whales moved over to Casco Bay Island to see some seals and this bald eagle was on one of the reefs.

Thanks so much for checking in today!


Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Great Fin Whale Sightings!

Hey all, I just wanted to give you a quick update on our sightings from today. We had finbacks on both trips, again, just off East Quoddy Head Light. On our evening departure we had a special sighting, there were 4 fin whales traveling side-by-side! Baleen whales, like fins, do not live in family groups so we don't often see them traveling together but to have 4 that were feeding and surfacing together was great. There was a 5th finback we could see blowing as well.

Thanks for checking in!

Monday, July 06, 2009

Hey everyone, I just wanted to give you a quick update on today's sightings. We had finbacks on both departures in and at the mouth of Head Harbour Passage. In the pic below you can see Deer Island in the background.

Below is a shot of a herring weir, a local method for cathing herring (sardines). It's basically a trap where the herring swim in and then are unable to find their way back out.

We are seeing tonnes of seals around this year which is great. Below is a female grey seal, the larger of the 2 species of seals commonly found in the Bay of Fundy.

Thanks for checking in!


Sunday, July 05, 2009

Finback whales and NO FOG!

What a great day we had on the water! The sun was shining and there was no fog to be seen. It was also our first day that we had 3 departures and we saw finback whales on all 3! The whales were right off the entrance to Head Harbour Passage, only about 12 miles from St. Andrews so it was quick to get there and we were able to spend some time with them. There was a pair that was traveling together. On our AM trip we also followed a lone finback all the out to the Wolves but it was a little choppy that far offshore so we made our way towards Campobello Island.

The photo below shows the right hand side of a fin whale where the "blaze", the white from the lower right jaw extends over the head. The "chevron" markings are behind that. These markings are used for identification of individual fin whales.

Thanks so much for checking in, I wanted to leave you with this seal shot, the big seal in the middle is a male grey seal, the others are all harbour seals.

Friday, July 03, 2009

Still Foggy...but great minke whales today!

Hey everyone, it's Danielle with Quoddy Link back from another foggy afternoon on the Bay. We went out again at 2pm into the thick fog, cruising up Head Harbour Passage, taking some time to visit with some harbour and grey seals and a grogeous pair of bald eagles (they looked a little grumpy, they too are tired off the fog) but it was just too foggy to search for whales. We got the word from a fellow whale watcher that there the fog was starting to lift in some parts of the Passage so we headed out to the tide rip off East Quoddy Head Light and watching some diving northern gannets and harbour porpoise and then in the chop we spotted a minke whale! It turned out to be a great sighting with some really close looks and as we were watching this minke another smaller minke whale showed up!

On the way home, back across Passamaquoddy Bay we brought out our Touch Tank and showed our passengers some of the amazing sealife that resides under the sea and in the intertidal zone. Below is a photo of me and a sea urchin.

Thanks so much for checking in....I'm sure you can guess what the forecast is for tomorrow....more fog!

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

First Finback Whale of the 2009 Season!

Hey Everyone, it's Danielle from Quoddy Link Marine. First I want to wish everyone a very Happy Canada Day!

Now, on to the whale watching sightings for today....we had our first finback sighting of the 2009 season today off Whitehorse Island. Finbacks are the second largest whale in the world and the largest we get in the Bay of Fundy. The power of these whales never ceases to amaze me. There is a photo below taken today at around 5:30pm. Our departure went a little long but all aboard thought the extra time spent was well worth it.

We also had a fantastic harbour porpopise sighting off Casco Bay Island, with about 15-20 porpoise travelling together and coming very close to the boat. There were even some cow-calf pairs.

For the birders out there we also stopped at Whitehorse Island and I wanted to share this photo of a nesting pair of black-legged kittiwakes. We also saw some northern gannets again at the mouth of Head Harbour Passage.

Thanks so much for checking in today! It is sunny and clear here in St. Andrews right now...hopefully the weather continues.