In a few short hours, we can sail to a feeding area for seabirds, whales, seals and fish and experience a glimpse of an amazing ecosystem and share this with our passengers. The weather can change from restricted visibility to clear and from swell to calm seas. On July 28th, we got to experience all of these plus helped remove some threats to the marine animals and have a bit of a laugh.
We began by retrieving a poly-balloon used by fishermen to mark their fishing gear with 100 m (300') of sinking rope. The poly balloon and line had broken off its intended fishing gear and was drifting in the current. This loose line is dangerous to a whale because of risk of entanglement. Given the growth on the rope it had been floating for awhile. It is always best to remove loose gear to prevent this hazard. Sometimes it can be returned to the fisherman if there are identifying marks but not in this case. We then found a huge bunch of party balloons for someone's Sweet 16 birthday. When helium balloons are released they travel up into the atmosphere and are carried toward the coast. The air is cooler along the coast, some of the helium escapes, and the balloons usually descend into the ocean where they float on the surface mimicking jellies. They are mistakenly eaten by turtles and even whales and can cause the death of the animal from blockage. It is a sad way to die. Even though it looks pretty to see the balloons rise into the air, there are deadly consequences and this practice should always be avoided.
|Party balloons and a loose fishing balloon with sinking rope picked up while whale watching|
|Sooty shearwater in flight|
|Red-necked female phalaropes, some still in breeding plumage|
|Harbour porpoise calf and great shearwater|
|Herring gull with a herring|
The feeding aggregations can have many species including minke, finback and humpback whales, harbour porpoises, and harbour and grey seals. While photographing this minke whale, I was also fortunate to capture a harbour porpoise with its head fully out of the water. They are often swimming so quickly that they partly propel themselves into the air when breathing.
|Harbour porpoise in the background and minke whale in the foreground, the smallest toothed whale and baleen whale, respectively, in the Bay of Fundy. Great shearwaters and a herring gull are also in the photograph.|
Finback whales are slower to surface, given their larger size, and with the right lighting conditions, more of the whale can be seen underwater. Finbacks have an asymmetrically coloured face with the right side of the jaw being white and the left grey. This photograph show that.
|Finback whale showing the white right jaw (underwater)|
We finished the trip by being entertained by one of our passengers who brought his pirate costume along.
|One of our passengers dressed as Captain Jack Sparrow|
All in all, the Bay offers some amazing sights and with often calm seas in the summer, these can be enjoyed by all.