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Field story 9


The sun sank behind the northern mountain range, the sunny sky changed from a light blue to dark orange, then purple, then dark blue again. Everything became magic. We were the last boat. The whales were on their own.
 

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We just sat on the boat and let the peaceful scenery sink into our hearts and memories. The silence was only interrupted by the relaxed sounding blows of numerous finback, humpback, and minke whales surfacing in the distance.
 

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Special story

Next day we headed out west along the shore in search for minke whales. From far we witnessed a unique speactacle, two breaching humpbacks. Slowly we made our way against the choppy waves while the humpbacks put up quite a show for the whale watchers. Breaching, flipper slapping and lobtailing. The minke we discovered in the waves was difficult to track. Then we were taken by surprise as the humpback whales moved inshore and right towards our position.
 

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There was not much to do than staying in place avoiding to move into the whales path. Of course we enjoyed the power and strength of the lobtailing giants. Repetitively they slapped their black flukes onto the surface while passing our boat at close range.


Whale sightings (highest # per day)

Minke whales: 48

57 individuals identified: Badaud, Bisou, Boomerang, Bringgeli, Bubbler, Bushmills, Calanus, Calvin, Cassis, Chap-Chap, Chubby, Cleo, Coin-Coin, Crab Claw, Funambule, Glenfiddich, Harley, Honeycomb, L'Onde, Loca, Lutin, Mamillon, Man-in-the-Moon, Monticule, Mûre, Nichon, Obelix, Ohnifin, Ondine, Otter, Owl Eyes, Parus, Patapouf, Picasso, Rataouille, Santafin, Sawcut, Scratchy, Senzafin, Shawne, Speedy, Stubby, Suss, Têtard, Tin Whistle, Trident, Witche's Hat, Zinzin.h Eleven, Speedy, Stubby, Suss, Teapot, Tin Whistle, Whalerider, Witche's Hat, Zinzin.


Other species

Finbacks: 15+
Humpbacks: 3
Belugas
Harbour porpoises
Grey seals
Gannets
Loons

 

Field story 10

As we can’t work in heavy waves we usually head home when the waves build up ahead of a coming storm. Well, this week we changed our strategy and were waiting in the waves to witness how minke whales deal with high waves.
 

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First, we stayed in the choppy sea east of S5 collecting data on surface feeding Loca, Speedy and Bubbler. As the waves got higher and higher, eventually reaching more than 5 feet, we wondered if the heavy wave action wouldn’t affect the fish thus the hunters’ behaviour.
 

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But just as in calm water, Loca applied her typical head slaps and Speedy her strong and fast multi-directional surfacings and rolls to the right. And most amazingly Bubbler applied her unique underwater exhale followed by her ever powerful ventral arc throwing her belly upside down into the waves throwing dozens of capelin fish into the air.

Special story

It was that evening when the captains told me about more than a dozen minke whales breaching later that day in the heavy waves build up by the 30 knots of South-westerly winds. 

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Next day we went there ourselves, and as if following our script, the wind picked up from Southwest building up waves of 5 to 6 feet. We resisted our urge to head home and waited for what was hopefully to come.
 

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Suddenly, like on command, minke whales not visible before started to breach everywhere. We could hardly keep up recording the times, orientations and body planes.

It seemed as if they had turned the Estuary into a huge playground.


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A warm thank you to Johnny, Michèlle, Cindy
and Maya of our team 4!


Whale sightings (highest # per day)

Minke whales: 35

30 individuals identified: Artiste, Badaud, Bisou, Bushmills, Chap-Chap, Chubby, Cleo, Coin-Coin, Crab Claw, Drapeau, Échelon, Funambule, Goliath, Harley, ,Lutin Mamillon, Monticule, Parus, Picasso, Piccola, Ratatouille, Shawne, Slash Eleven, Suss, Teapot, Tin Whistle ,Top Notch-alike', Witche's Hat, Zinzin.


Other species

Blue whales
Finbacks: 15+
Humpbacks: 2
Belugas
Harbour porpoises
Grey seals
Common seal
Gannets
Loons