Tuesday, 31 August 1999
One more picture of a northern right whale's tail, in slightly choppier seas today.
Monday, 30 August 1999
More photos of tail flukes – if you love whales you never get tired of seeing that big tail roll out of the water, flip up and then slide back beneath the waves, but only the species with the thickest blubber need to do this (to overcome their buoyancy). Fin whales have (relatively) less blubber and so don’t show their tail flukes when they dive.
The day ended with calm waters and a beautiful sunset.
Sunday, 29 August 1999
However they have a saying here (and I’m sure in many other coastal parts of the world too) “If you don’t like the weather, wait a minute”. The fog did eventually lift and we set out on our first whale-watch on board a temporarily-converted lobster-fishing boat (for part of the year when the right whales are around, the lobster fishery has to close down to protect these endangered animals from entanglement, so the more enterprising boat owners scrub up their boats, fit seats and a canopy and take out whale-watchers).
The sea was rough and some people were seasick, but we saw whales! My first sighting was a northern right whale breaching in the distance, but soon we got closer encounters.
Photos of these strange whales can make them look like barnacle-encrusted rocks (their heads are indeed ‘decorated’ with barnacles), but when they dive and lift their tail flukes into the air, they’re more photogenic.
Saturday, 28 August 1999
Friday, 27 August 1999
On the ferry journey from Blacks Harbour to the island we keep our eyes peeled and I see my first 'cetaceans' (whales, dolphins or porpoises) – some diminutive harbour porpoises.
Thursday, 26 August 1999
A few months ago I decided to book a foreign holiday for the first time in 15 years. I chose a trip to the Rockies with a bit of horse-riding thrown in. Then a couple of months before departure the holiday company contacted me to say that the trip was cancelled – there was not enough demand. I could have a full refund or transfer my deposit to another holiday. So I looked through the brochure and for some reason chose a quite different trip - to the Bay of Fundy in eastern Canada, including four days of whale-watching.
I’ve never seen a whale before; I’ve never been on a small boat; but here goes.