Friday, July 3, 2009

Bay of Fundy whale sighting

Centuries ago, the Mi'kmaq believed the high tides of the Bay of Fundy were created by Whale. After Glooscap commanded Beaver to dam the bay so he could take a bath, he realized he had stolen water from Whale. Wishing to set things right, he asked Beaver to remove the dam, but it was Whale who broke the barrier with the mighty force of his great, powerful tail, causing a giant tide to begin sloshing back and forth in the bay.

It seems the Mi'kmaq knew, even then, what we know now - that the Bay of Fundy is a favoured marine environment for a number of species of whale. They mainly congregate in the Grand Manan area, south of here, where the bay widens into the Gulf of Maine. But this past weekend, a pod of 12-15 Atlantic pilot whales surprised a tour of kayakers with Baymount Outdoor Adventures, at the Hopewell Rocks. In the 13 year history of the company, this was the first such occurrence. One of the guides on the tour sent the link to this video, shot by one of the clients.

Traditionally, we've had very few reports of whales following schools of fish this far up the bay, as at low tide, the water is quite shallow. Just south of the Hopewell Rocks, the bay splits into two tidal rivers, so in this area, fresh water mingles with salt. (see map)

In the 1930's, before a causeway at Moncton blocked the river, about 20 pilot whales were stranded, most perishing, on the mudflats at low tide near Salisbury. Porpoises are common here, and a school of dolphins were also stranded on the mudflats a few years ago, but in the past few years, the odd whale has found its way further inland.

These tourists and guides were very fortunate to have played with this pod.


Terri said...

wow aweseome...a lucky thrill to be able to see whales (alive!!) this far up the Bay...!!

smith kaich jones said...

How incredible would that be??!! I just started to laugh out loud when I watched this little video - a gift from the Universe! Too wonderful! Thanks for sharing!

:) Debi

herhimnbryn said...

How very, very beautiful. To see whales like that and so close.

Art MacKay said...

We're in the middle of whale country out here at the mouth of the Bay and see whales daily...welllll when it's not foggy! But your sighting was really unique and the video was great fun.

You can see our whales at and I've got a record of a white-beaked dolphin from the Petitcodiac River back in the 50's that will be posted there shortly.


The Giraffe Head Tree said...

WOW! I've never seen a whale - that's on my "bucket list!"