We were heading towards a humpback whale that Matt spotted about a 1/2 mile away and they spotted a dead harbour porpoise in the water so we decided to go over and check it out and maybe even pick it up (skeleton collection is rare and we had some Huntsman people on the boat so why not, if the porpoise was in good condition the skeleton would be a great teaching tool). When we got close we noticed that the tail was gone and there was a lot of blood freely flowing from the wound, the lower jaw was twitching as well....both of these told us that this porpoise was VERY recently killed. As we were looking down at the porpoise Nick noticed the shark under the water and yelled, "Hey everyone, look at that shark...can you see it, look how big it is". And as we adjusted our eyes and looked under the porpoise we could see a LARGE shark (conservatively 12 feet, maybe even 15) swimming under. Nick made the wise choice not to haul the porpoise on the boat and we drifted off. We then watched the shark circle the porpoise, we could see the dorsal and the caudal fin come out of the water many times. After a short time (maybe a minute) the shark came to the surface and pulled the rest of his prey under the water...and was gone....and we never saw the shark or any piece of the porpoise again. We waited a good 5 minutes before we moved on, and we didn't move far as a humpback surfaced very close to us (Chevron, the first sighting of the 2011 season).
Here are a few pics Nick took showing the dorsal and the caudal fin
|Porpoise and dorsal fin of the shark|
|Porpoise and caudal fin of the shark|
Here is a shot by a passenger showing the rostrum of the shark.
|Rostrum of the shark as it takes down the rest of it's prey, an adult harbour porpoise|
The ID on the shark is still in the works but thoughts are it was either a very large short fin mako or a young great white....either way it was a once in a lifetime experience to see a large predatory shark take a marine mammal, it's natural prey, in the Bay of Fundy.
For more information on shark conservation in Canada check out the Canadian Shark Conservation Society website. Also, if you have not seen Sharkwater I strongly suggest you see it, these animals are AMAZING and DESERVE our protection and respect.