#7: They have finally arrived!

Over the past two days we have had both the R/V Nereid and R/V Callisto offshore surveying the Bay of Fundy for the elusive right whales. On Sunday, teams from both boats saw a couple of right whales but again they were very difficult to work -- single animals staying at the surface only briefly and traveling long distances between each surfacing. Neither boat was able to collect any photos for our right whale identification catalog. Our impression was that the right whales were searching for food but weren't finding anything. But at the end of the day on Sunday, our colleagues working out of the Grand Manan Research Station called to report they had found a mother/calf pair in the Grand Manan basin (where right whales are typically found) which was exciting news. Maybe this was a sign that things were shifting.

On Monday when the Nereid crew got back out to the basin, it felt like the Bay had come alive! We began to see right whale flukes in all directions and the bird life was incredibly active: storm petrels, shearwaters and gannets were there in droves! There were also many fin whales, minke whales, basking sharks and harbor porpoise in a very small area perhaps just a few square miles in size. It seemed to be a feeding frenzy! Over the course of the day the Nereid crew photographed seven individual right whales including #3390 and her calf, one of only seven calves documented this past winter calving season off the southeast U.S. coast. The Nereid crew is out again today and hopefully will be out over the next few days as the fog has finally lifted and the winds are calm.

Stay tuned for videos and updates from the Nereid crew!

#3390's calf was seen breaching and flipper slapping as he waited for his mom to return from a feeding bout. 
Photo: Maria Hall


  1. That calf is too cute! Thanks for sharing that amazing photo!

  2. Great photo, Maria!