Friday, August 24, 2007

What a great day!

OK, just when I thought things couldn't get any better....but on Wednesday, August 22 we decided to conduct an all day research cruise to determine just where the larger numbers of humpback whales have been hanging out. We have been seeing quite a number of humpbacks on our regular 3 hour whale watch cruise but we wanted to get a general idea of just what was out there. We left port at 6 AM and headed south to an area called the McDormand Patch, but were forced to go elsewhere when the fog shut in and we were glad we did! It wasnt' too far into the cruise when we spotted 9 whales in the vicinity and all were involved in surface feeding. We were able to determine that they were feeding on krill, a small shrimp-like crustacean. Once we documented and photographed the individuals, we headed further and found more humpbacks. As the day progressed we were able to record 39 individual humpback whales, including two mother and calf pairs! They were identified as Knuckles, Foggy and Vector. Other whales that we photoidentified and sighted for the frist time in 2007 were: Mallard, Stub (Who we haven't seen here in the Bay since 1988), Hopper, Sequin, Ditto, Dapple, Spy, Porthole, Bungee and Cat's Paw.
We also recorded a number of Pilot whales in the area as well. This species is not native to the Bay of Fundy but will occasionally wander into the area chasing prey. The most interesting behavior that we witnesses was when Sunburst and his companion charged after the Pilots, as if protecting their territory. Maybe there is a reason why these smaller toothed whales do not come into the Bay!
Sunburst chasing Pilot Whales

To top things off , Gremlin and Luna flipper slapped next to the boat and for the grand finale, Gremlin breached so close I could almost touch him.

I felt so fortunate that day to have a job that I love, where I can observe these animals in their own habitat and for them not to feel threatened by our boats. Things sure have come a long way since the whaling days when boat were a definite threat. Now these creatures can approach these boats, investigating the occupants within and not feel that threat, instead we are in awe!

1 comment:

Swift said...

How exciting that must have been and what a great shot!

Can't wait to visit your area soon.