Knowing that our survey on July 31 was going to be cut short by strengthening winds, our plan was conservative so we wouldn’t have to slog home through crummy seas. About one hour after leaving the dock, we found our first right whale off of Seven Days Work Cliff on Grand Manan Island. This geological wonder provided a beautiful backdrop as we worked around the whale.
We identified this whale as “Gemini,” Catalog #1150. Because Gemini was one of the first whales to be Cataloged (he was first seen in 1979!) and we see him often in the Bay of Fundy, we made him one of our sponsorship whales. After several of the dead whales discovered this summer turned out to be some very familiar individuals, seeing that he was alive brought us relief.
Thanks to genetic analysis, we know that Gemini is the father of three individuals: Catalog #2140 (“Peanut”), #2145, and #3130. We were devastated to identify one of this summer’s carcasses in the Gulf of St. Lawrence as Peanut. Like his father, Peanut was a frequent visitor to the Bay of Fundy. Peanut’s genes live on in his offspring, Catalog #3466, also a male.
A couple of hours later, we found our second whale of the day- Catalog #4014. We had seen him a few days earlier, but prior to this season his last sighting was in August 2014 on Roseway Basin. This male was born in 2010 to “Tripelago,” Catalog #2614 (who gave birth again this year, making her one of five mothers). We continued on our survey and held several listening stations, but we weren’t able to go far into the Bay and didn’t find any other right whales. The weather looked good for the next two days, so we would cover more territory then.