#9: Right Whales in our Backyard!

Last night, dinner was small and quiet; the reason is because half our team has gone! Yesterday morning at 4:30 a.m. half the team woke up and drove to Bar Harbor, Maine where they then caught a ferry to Nova Scotia. Once in Nova Scotia the team met up with the captain of the boat that has been chartered to conduct surveys out on Roseway Basin. Roseway Basin, an area located approximately 25 to 30 miles south of Nova Scotia. Roseway Basin is an important summer right whale habitat and we were fortunate enough to have funding this year to conduct surveys of the area for a short period of time over the summer. While the Roseway team is offshore, without Internet access, we will be able to update you with some ongoing news from Roseway Basin since we will have daily communication with them via satellite phone.

In the mean time with half the team gone and a thick blanket of fog cast over most of the Bay of Fundy the remaining team took advantage of a quiet house to catch up on some work. However, with the extended forecast not looking favorable for the next few days we all were starting to feel a little frustrated. However, just after lunch the house received a call from a friend who owns a local whale watch boat. "Right whales just off White Horse Island" I heard Philip say.

It was with excitement that we jumped at the chance to get on the water. The whales were only about half an hour from our dock which sure beat our typical two hour commute to work whales each day. We joked about how nice it was to be heading down to the boat at 12:30 p.m. instead of our typical 5:30 a.m. departures. We quickly arrived on site and chatted with a few local whale watch and recreational boats that were also very excited to see right whales so close.

Many of the whale watch boats that operate locally don't venture far offshore into the Bay of Fundy and typically sight many minke and fin whales so it was a great treat for them also to have right whales within their vessel's range.

We ended up documenting a mom/calf pair (Catalog #2791 and her calf) and a single whale a bit further to the east ("Tips" Catalog#1124). You can search for more sighting data and photos of these individuals on the North Atlantic Right Whale Catalog. Amy chatted on the radio to the whale watch boats about the IDs of the whales while I recorded data and Philip and Candace photographed from the Nereid's bow.

Today we sit in again in the fog and wind, with the forecast remaining much the same for the next few days. A few of us are holding onto a small amount of hope that tomorrow could turn out to be a day on the water while others just find some comfort in the fact that we got on the water yesterday even if for a short amount of time.

Photo Caption:
1) Catalog #2791 and her calf swim close to shore as onlookers get a rare treat.
2). Catalog #1124 "Tips"

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