RIGHT WHALE RESEARCH

Cape Breton Callisto: out.

Written by Monica Zani

Not a bad view. Heading out on our last day of survey. Photo: Monica Zani

Before we knew what had happened, the two weeks and our work based out of Cape Breton were coming to an end.  We started strong and really wanted to finish strong, with one last solid day of effort. We awoke to the forecast that had eluded us for the past five days- light winds all day!  We might have made record time getting out the door and onto the water that day, the anticipation was killing us.  I was anxious as I wanted to survey an area closer the north end of the Magdalen Islands, a 55 mile run from Cheticamp! It was going to be a huge transit so we planned on doing it quicker than our normal survey speed of 12 to 14 knots- after all, this was our last chance to find right whale(s) here this summer.

Heading far offshore we came across this interesting cloud of fog. Photo: Monica Zani
The approaching fog. Photo: Monica Zani

We were making good time and distance for the first hour and half of our morning. The clouds seemed to hang low in the sky and the sun soon disappeared into the cold, gray sky. The light wind shifted from southeast to northwest just as forecasted.  We added a layer (or two) to keep warm and hoped that our disappearing horizon was just a figment of our imaginations. A few more miles and it was undeniable- FOG.  NO!! We had such big plans for this day (secretly hoping to be the first of all three survey teams to find right whales). We retreated and the fog relentlessly followed us all day. In the end the day was not a total bust as we ended up putting in a full day of survey.

Departing Cheticamp Wharf and bound for Boston. Photo: Monica Zani
A Mysticetus map of our overall effort off the coast of Cape Breton.

Although we didn’t find right whales during this expedition, our entire right whale team was proud of us for working so hard and having surveyed so many miles in such a short amount of time. We returned to Boston for a couple weeks, and now have our sights set on our next trip: surveying the Gaspé Peninsula in the Gulf of St. Lawrence.