Thursday, October 16, 2014

CBC Radio interview

Hello everyone, I did an interview with CBC radio "Shift New Brunswick" about our recent sighting of Old Thom, the adult male killer whale we sighted on our trip on Saturday, October 11th and I thought I would share it with you all!  Just click on the photo of Old Thom below and you will be taken to the audio clip!

Thank You so much for all of your comments and questions about Old Thom.  I still check chills when I see the video or his photo or when people stop me on the street here.


Tuesday, October 14, 2014

We met Old Thom....a lone sea wolf in the Bay of Fundy!!

I don't even know where to begin,,,,,we had the most amazing trip on Saturday, October 11th!!  We saw a killer whale!!

Let me start from the beginning, it was a beautiful October day and our plan was to run out towards our offshore area, off the Wolves Bank, maybe towards Whale Cove, Grand Manan to search for fin whales with hopes of maybe humpbacks.  So we headed out and we didn't see anything off the Wolves so we headed towards Grand Manan and still didn't see any whales so we had the option to head back inshore and watch minkes that we knew were in the Islands or head out, past Grand Manan towards Whitehead Island.  So we talked to our passengers, letting them know the options and that if we continued out into the open Bay of Fundy the trip would be longer (5-6 hours in total).  With everyone game and adventurous spirits we headed out, past Swallowtail (we did see a finback and a minke here but we decided not to wait) to search for humpbacks and possibly even North Atlantic right whales.  About 6 miles past North Head Nick saw a blow...and a was a humpback!  We slowed down and we waited for the humpback to resurface and something caught my breath caught and I knew John, our captain and the owner of Quoddy Link, saw the same thing....was it what I thought...or maybe it was a fluke of a right whale on it's side.  I told Nick to watch 10 o'clock position with us and then a 6 foot dorsal fin started breaking the surface and I orca!!  It was Old Thom, an adult male orca who has been seen in the Bay of Fundy in 2008, 2010, 2012 and 2014 as well as off Roseway Basin in 2009.  If you follow this blog at all you are aware how emotional I get and this was no exception.   I was shaking and the tears were flowing freely (as they are know as I remember the experience).  A killer whale sighting in the Bay of Fundy is incredibly rare and yes, they are typically seen in family groups, or pods, but Old Thom is somewhat of a loner.  We spent over 30 minutes with Old Thom as well as the humpbacks, IDed as Froth and Lacuna, that we were waiting for originally.

Here are a bunch of photos of Old Thom

 And the humpbacks, Froth and one point we had the orca on one side of the Quoddy Link and the pair of humpbacks immediately on the other...both at the surface at the same time!



Also, a video of our killer whale sighting that Nick took

I want to make sure I mention that we ended up 37 miles from St. Andrews, east of the Clarks Ground and way out of our typical range of our average 3-3.5 hour whale watch (it ended up being almost a 6 hour trip).  We took advantage of the calm weather, adventurous passengers and the desire to close out our 2014 season with a bang!  We were searching for humpbacks and right whales but were reminded you never know what you may find in the open Bay of Fundy!

This was my first wild orca sighting and is so incredibly special to me and is something I will never, ever forget!  THANK YOU to everyone who joined us on Saturday, October 11th...thank you for sharing your enthusiasm and this very special experience with us....THANK YOU to captain John for being willing to take us out into the open Bay of Fundy (I probably shouldn't share how many hundred litres of fuel we burned!!)...and to Nick, my other half on the water,...I still can't believe it...we met OLD THOM!!!!

And I am still shaking my head in awe and wonder....


Wednesday, October 08, 2014

The First Week of October

Good afternoon everyone, it's a rainy and windy day here in St. Andrews and our 1pm departure has been cancelled so I thought I would take the time to share with you some photos from our trips this past week.

We have been spending time with minke whales in amongst the Islands this past week, we have had quite a bit of wind to deal with but on Monday, October 6th the weather was calm and our Scout Boat headed out to cover all of the offshore areas and search for some larger whales but unfortunately John was unable to locate any whales within our reach of a regular whale watch.

Here are some minke whale photos from the past week

Minke whale, Slice

Minke whale off Wilsons Beach, Campobello Island, NB

On October 3rd, on the flood tide we did see a familiar fin whale off the mouth of Head Harbour Passage.  The same whale was in the area on October 2nd as well, we are still hopeful he may show back up

Fin whale at the mouth of Head Harbour Passage

Fin whale (Bliss Island Light in the background)

We have had some great bald eagle sightings as well this past week

There has been lots of feeding activity in Head Harbour Passage from harbour porpoise and gulls (great black back, herring and Bonaparte's as well as a few kittiwakes) and we have seen a few northern gannets as well in the area.

Harbour porpoise mom and calf pair

Northern gannet

Northern gannet

The sightings of harbour and grey seals continue to be great on many of the ledges and reefs in the area.

Harbour and grey seals on Black Ledge

Female grey seals

Female grey seal 

Female grey seal 

Young grey seal 

We still have departures scheduled on October 9, 10, 11, 13, 18, and 19th but departures will be available throughout the week if we have interest.  Just call 1-877-688-2600 for information and reservations.

Common loon 

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Our Annual Coastal and Pelagic Bird Trip

Good afternoon everyone, I wanted to share a brief update about our Annual Coastal and Pelagic Bird Trip which was on the morning of Saturday, September 27th.  The weather was perfect and the slower speeds due to oue of our engines being down was no issue with a trip like this!  The highlights of the trip were a 1st winter LITTLE GULL, huge rafts of eider ducks, jaegers, multiple great cormorants and 1000's of Bonaparte's gulls.  We also saw three minke whales, lots of porpoise and seals but our focus was on birds.   Look for more photos and an in depth description of our trip on Nick's Quoddy Link Bird Blog 

Here are a few photos that I took yesterday

A raft of eider ducks, there were more here, all I could get in 

Black guillemots in their winter plumage 

Bonaparte's gull

Bonaparte's gull showing characteristic white leading edge of the wing 

On the other trip we did yesterday we did was a chartered trip with a group of international students. We spent time off Spruce Island in Head Harbour Passage with a minke whale and we also saw lots of porpoise and both harbour and grey seals.

One harbour porpoise, the one on the bottom is a reflection 

Check out the characteristic surfacing of the minke whale!


Now for an update on the Quoddy Link herself, we have a mechanic coming down tomorrow (with the parts) and hopefully the boat will be up and running with TWO engines by tomorrow or Tuesday at the very latest!

Thanks you everyone for checking in and thanks to everyone for your patience over the last week with our boat troubles,


Friday, September 26, 2014

Still whales around!

Good afternoon everyone, well, we have had quite a frustrating week dealing with some engine issues.  We do have 2 engines, as we are a power catamaran, so we have been able to do a few trips on ideal weather days on one engine (longer and slower trips but with ideal weather is has been quite relaxing moving at a slower is NOT a safety concern).  Now that the issues with the engine have been sorted out and the mechanic will be down to help with repairs on Monday we are hoping to back up and running at full speed by next Tuesday or Wednesday.  We do have scheduled departures this weekend, and they will be on one engine and we will be paying close attention to the weather on Sunday afternoon.

We have done a few trips in the past few days and I wanted to share some photos with you of the life in Head Harbour Passage.

A small sampling of the gulls in Head Harbour Passage on the flood tide 

Minke whale surfacing amongst the gulls

Minke whale 

Minke whale 

We have our annual bird cruise this Saturday morning so I will let you all know how it goes!  I will also let you know when the boat is up and running at full speed!