#6: Right whales, Fin whales!

After two full survey days, it was nice to have Saturday to catch up on office work and have a team meeting. Everyone went to bed pretty early because the weather for the next few days was looking great, and we needed to be well-rested and ready for it.

A small team, meeting in Saturday's sunshine.

So, on Sunday we pushed off the dock at 6:45 AM and ventured out into the Bay of Fundy. We've been noticing how few harbor porpoise we've been seeing- nothing to be be alarmed about, but usually our journey across the Grand Manan Channel yields a significant number of these little guys. After a few quiet survey hours, we started seeing right whale blows around 10 AM. Monica was our whale watcher for the day, working to identify individuals and communicate to the photographers and person at the helm. Some of the whales had not been seen on our prior surveys, and most of the whales were behaving pretty chill- not associating with each other, and briefly logging at the surface before going on 10 minute dives. However, the whales were scattered and it was not too easy to follow individuals.

Catalog #1332 "Dollar," was named for the head scar that looks like a dollar sign. Photo: Marianna Hagbloom

At one point in the day, Dropcloth (Catalog #1271) was seen. Dropcloth is a male who was first seen in 1978, but we don't know how old he is. He still needs to be biopsy darted for genetics, and although we tried to obtain a sample, we were not able to. Hopefully next time! We were, however, able to collect our second poop sample for the season. We were able to smell it before finding it, but got to scoop it up before it sank.

Dropcloth: seen, but not biopsied. Photo: Philip Hamilton

Around 4:15 PM, we wrapped things up and put the cameras away, but not before having photographed approximately 40 right whales! As we were surveying back through the Basin, very obvious fin whale blows were seen in the distance. We estimated eight fin whales traveling together, stampeding through the water. It was a fantastic sight, and we spent a short time with them before continuing back home. Check out the video below for a little taste:

Our attempts to survey far east on Monday with "light winds" were foiled by strong winds- after two hours on survey, we decided to turn around and head back home. Arriving back in Lubec, we had a meeting about our upcoming offshore voyage to Roseway Basin. On Friday, a team of six will head out for a two week long survey, so there is much to do before our departure!

- Marianna

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