The last day of the Bay of Fundy field season that we had a significant number of right whales turned out to be August 1. With good weather in our favor, the team found whales to the north and were able to photograph 14 individuals, with an additional four whales unphotographed.

#4093 at the surface. Photo: Monica Zani
"Ravine" looks a bit thin. Photo: Bill McWeeney

The whales found in the afternoon were difficult to photograph, as they were acting a bit unusual for the habitat. Rather than surfacing for at least several breaths before going on a terminal dive, these whales would surface for one breath and dive. Some of them had their mouths cracked slightly open, so perhaps they were scouting for food but not finding it, which is likely why they appeared to abandon the area.

Close look at "Portato." Photo: Monica Zani
"Magnet" on a dive. Photo: Megan McOsker

August 2 started off on an interesting note- not too far from the NE side of Grand Manan, the Nereid’s oil pressure was reading high and the team stopped to investigate. While Monica and Philip were busy with the engine, the rest of the team spotted two right whales. Once the Nereid was underway, the two whales were photographed.

Not the first time this has happened!
Catalog #3903 with mud on her head
#3903 with mud on her head. Photo: Johanna Anderson

Soon afterward, we hit fog to the south and had to change direction of the survey. Although part of the track allowed the team to explore the area searched the day before, only two other right whales were found (just one could be photographed). It’s possible that the majority of individuals had moved down into the basin, but it was shrouded in a thick fog that blocked our ability to satisfy our curiosity and left us feeling frustrated.

An example of the fog we encounter.