Monday, August 31, 2009

Fins, Humpbacks, Minkes and Rights...and all INSHORE

Hello all, what a fantastic day it was...if you had asked me at the beginning of the season if it was possible to see all4 species of whales within 12 miles of St. Andrews I probably would have said "nope"....well, today I would have be proved wrong. For the past few days we have had reports from other whale watching companies of the whales in the inshore area (we have been offshore with the large aggregation of North Atlantic right whales) and today, with the NW winds and large swell offshore, we saw the inshore wildlife for ourselves. On both our 10:00 am and 2:00 pm departure we saw minke, finback, humpback and right whales....and all within a few miles of Head Harbour Passage!

The fin whales were awesome today! There was approximately 10-12 individuals in Head Harbour Passage alone! On our afternoon trip we stopped with 3 fins inside the Horse and then made our way over to the Passage. Below are a few photos of fins I took today. You can see Deer Island in the background as this fin whale charges through a school of herring.

Humpbacks...all passengers love humpbacks, they love to see the tail....and 3 different tails were seen today. Humpbacks are individually ID'ed by the black and white pigmentation on the underside of their flukes. Part of what we do at Quoddy Link is document every whale sighting with lat/long co-ordinates and photographs. The top photo is Cork (with East Quoddy Head Light), a 7 year old female humpback. The middle photo is an unknown whale (not matched as of yet to a humpback in the Gulf of Maine Catalog) we saw first on August 25th. The bottom photo is Inlet! This is our first sighting of Inlet in the 2009 season. Inlet was first seen last season and was an unknown and named at the 2009 Gulf of Maine Whale Naming!

On the morning and afternoon trips Cork and the unknown shown above were taveling together. Humpbacks, like all baleen whales, do not live in family groups but they can form loose associations with one another and travel together. On some feeding groups humpbacks can also feed co-operatively.

We did spend some time with the critically endangered North Atlantic right whale on both trips today as a few individuals have been hanging out in the inshore area. This afternoon we saw Tips (NARW 1124), an adult male of unknown age who was first seen in the Bay of Fundy in 1980!

What a fantastic day! The weather forecast for the next few days is great...that can change quickly but hopefully we will be able to get offshore and see if the large groups of right whales are still there.

Thanks for checking in today!

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