Monday, September 24, 2007

Great Day in the Fog!

Calf breaching next to our boat, the Cetacean Search
Fog certainly does not stop us from having great cruises and September 22nd proved just that. Our boat, the Cetacean Search was just heading out when we received a call that our other boat, the Mega Nova was with two humpback whales. On foggy days, the whale watching boats work
together to make it easier for others to locate the whales. Usually we rely on our ears to find them in the fog and this process can take us a bit of time. The first two whales we watched were Shark and her calf which were travelling. We watched them for a bit then decided to go and find something else. We then found Flash and her calf and an adult male named Cloud, who is the oldest whale of known age. He was born in 1977. Shortly after we started watching them, the calf started to breach......and breach......and breach for two hours straight. At one point, the calf breached so close that it it got some of our passengers wet. Our crowd went wild, and we even had our very own cheerleading section! It is indeed the whales and the people that make for a great cruise and in the 18 years that I have been whale watching, I have to say that this was the best day that I have ever experienced!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Another new species for 2007!

The high dorsal fin of a Sei whale!

Hi Everyone! Whale watching continues to be at its finest on the Bay of Fundy. We are still seeing a fair number of humpback whales in the area as well as some visitors to the Bay of Fundy. On September 18, our research boat, the Cetacean Search, went out on a short research cruise to locate other humpback whales that may be just outside our usual viewing area. We covered quite an area and when approaching one of the usual spots, we sighted several spouts in the distance. We were very excited thinking that we had found more humpbacks and that possibly we would be documenting some new ones. As we got closer, we noted the dorsal fins to be quite high and immediately identified them as Sei whales! This species is normally found further offshore and are not indigenous to the Bay of Fundy. They are though, a baleen whale and feed on the same food, copepods, as right whales. We were not surprised to see a right whale nearby. After recording the 16 Sei whales in the area, we continued up the Bay only to find a large pod, well, 50 or so, Pilot Whales. You may recall in an earlier post that we had sighted this species previously in the season.

North Atlantic Right Whale

We added a few new individuals since the last post as well. New to the Bay of Fundy are Owl, Kalimba and Raindrop's 2005 calf.

Humpback whale named Owl.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

September is so far, so good!

Mocha's 2007 calf coming in for a close look!

I can't believe it's been almost two weeks since my last post. I'm so terribly sorry for keeping everyone waiting! The month thus far has been full of activity and more humpback whales being added to our sightings list. 2007 has proven to be a record year for sightings of individuals and of calves. The highlight was Mocha's calf who was very curious of the boat. This always makes for a special occasion as whale watchers become awed at just how intelligent these animals really are. The calf circled the boat and spy hopped several times so that everyone could see her. Calves are born in the Caribbean during the winter, making them about 9 months of age at this time of year.

Our count is now at 156 individual humpback whales. The whales that we have identified within the last two weeks have been: Tab, Blanco, Cone, Pyramid, Decimal, Chromosome and Quote. We also sighted Mr. Burns close by, who is one of our favourites! Mr Burns received his name from us because his doral fin resembles the nose of a character on a popular cartoon series. We have since found out that his "real" name is Ibex and he was born in 1988 to Petrel. He will always be Mr. Burns to us.

The highlight of the weeek was our short cruise to the Grand Manan Basin to take one of our volunteers to see the right whales, which she has never seen before. There were still a few in the area including one mother and calf pair.

We are looking forward to the upcoming weeks, as we never know what it may bring. We are hoping to conduct several more dedicated research cruises and try to find some of the individuals that have yet to be found.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Close Encounters of the Whale Kind!

Hello everyone and thanks for checking in! We are very pleased to report that we have been seeing many whales in the last few days, mainly humpback whales but also a few fin whales and minke whales. On August 28 we were pleased to sight North Atlantic Right Whale, the rarest large whale in the world. They are considered to be critically endangered.

Tigris coming in for a closer look!

Each cruise does indeed offer something different and on a few occasions the humpbacks approached the boat to examine the occupants within by spy hopping next to the boat. This is when they lift their head out of the water to see what is above. This curious behaviour does not happen very often but when it does, it is quite memorable! Each humpback whale seems to have their own personalities and there are some who are more prone to come close to the boats such as Peajack, Tigris and Lacuna.

Peajack and Tigris approaching our boat the Cetacean Search.

On top of a humpback's head, you will notice that they have a lot of bumps there and they are called tubercles. Each one has a hair growing from it that has a sensory function. So probably very sensitive to its surroundings. At times we will see humpbacks playing in rock weed streaks, raising their heads through the rock weed, seeming to like the feel of it on the tubercles. Lacuna was amusing us by doing this on August 30. It was fun to watch how whales will play with the kelp the same way a kitten plays with a roll of string!

We continue to add to our calf list. It has turned out to be a record breaking year with the arrival of 19 calves! This number is far better than our typical 3 or 4 that we usually see during the summer. The latest mother that has arrived in the Bay has been Wigwam.