#23: One Last Peek at the Bay

We took advantage of fair weather on September 28 to relocate our research vessel to its winter home at James Rich Boatyard in West Tremont, Maine. The good folks there have been taking care of the R/V Nereid since the mid 1990s.  During the off-season, the Nereid will get her usual painting and buffing and as well as a new depth sounder.

The last weekend in Lubec was spent packing up all the research equipment and data. The team headed back to their offices at the Aquarium in Boston on October 1, eager to finish up the season's photo analysis to determine how many individual right whales were accounted for in Fundy. Two of us stayed on for an extra week, hopeful for one more clear day to sneak back out into the Bay to see if there were any lingering right whales. Wednesday, October 3, dawned clear and bright, although with a little more wind than forecast. Amy and Moe borrowed the FRC (Fast Rescue Craft) from the Campobello Whale Rescue Team for one last survey.

Amy (left) and Moe on the 24 foot long FRC Hurricane used by the Campobello Whale Rescue Team to respond to entangled whales in the Bay of Fundy. The sailboat to the left is the Jolly Breeze, a whale watch boat from St. Andrews, NB. Photo: Chris Slay.

Our efforts were rewarded with the sighting of two right whales! The two whales were travelling together, and Amy collected photos before they disappeared from sight.

Two right whales in the Bay of Fundy, October 3, 2012. Photo: Amy Knowlton

Near the end of the day, we joined up with the S/V Jolly Breeze and friend Chris Slay on the R/V Jupiter to enjoy some time with a rare species in the Bay of Fundy, an orca!

Old Thom in the Bay of Fundy. Photo: Amy Knowlton.

This lone male orca has been seen several times in the Bay of Fundy in 2012 and was seen during our surveys of Roseway Basin in August 2010. A male as determined from the large dorsal fin, this whale is identified by the two knicks in its dorsal fin near the top, and is an individual known as "Old Thom." A catalogue of orca sightings in the Atlantic is maintained in St John's Newfoundland. This rare sighting rounded out a season of unusual observations, including a bowhead whale, sperm whales, blue sharks and white beaked dolphins.


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