Our first day on the water began promisingly! As I was standing on the bow sprit gazing out at glassy blue-black water and trying to remember all of the things I had just learned about marine mammal surveying in the Bay of Fundy, I saw a smooth, slender, dark form break the calm surface and rise tall, with a forked tip. My thoughts registered this foreign shape as a right whale fluke, and I cautiously gave the right whale symbol to the crew, aware that it was unusual to see right whales so near the harbor. No doubt the crew assumed it was a humpback whale and that my amateur eyes were overly eager to spot right whales. I certainly second-guessed myself too, during the ten minutes we waited for it to resurface from its dive. But, upon surfacing we all cheered when we saw the characteristic callosity pattern atop the rostrum, confirmation this was indeed a right whale!
Our day continued in much the same way—flat waters and abundant wildlife. And though we saw no more right whales, we saw many other creatures I had only read about or seen on television: breaching humpback whales, basking sharks, fin whales, and a mola mola. My experiences doing fieldwork off the coasts of Washington and North Carolina had offered many other surprises, but never these sights. What a beautiful place the Bay of Fundy is--I look forward to discovering more about what it offers!