Gaspar

Taken from from the bulletin Portrait de baleines, August 6, 2016

 Gaspar, known as Boom Boom River (BBR) in the Gaspé, is recognizable by the colour pattern on the underside of her tail. Her right lobe shows the shape of the famous ghost to which she owes her name. Also, her dorsal fin is curved and pointed in shape. Gaspar was observed in the Marine Park on July 29, 2016. Born in 2005, she followed her mother Helmet, a regular visitor to the waters off the coast of Blanc Sablon and the Mingan region. She first visited the Estuary alone the year after she was born. She has been observed there annually ever since. Gaspar is one of the young humpback explorers who have adopted the Saguenay-St. Lawrence Marine Park. She has been photo-identified by the Mingan Islands Cetaceans Society (MICS) and is part of their humpback whales identification catalogue.

Gaspar is a humpback whale, which is one of the species targeted by visitors. To spot humpbacks, one must watch offshore from land-based sites or aboard cruise ships, with the naked eye or with binoculars. Whenever large, powerful blasts are being blown into the air, it is a sign that large whales are in the area. This is also a good sign to identify them! Fin whale? Blue whale? Or humpback? A large column-shaped spout visible several kilometres away is that of either a blue whale (over 6 metres high) or fin whale (4 to 6 metres high). That of the humpback whale is wider and cauliflower-shaped. As for minke whales and belugas, their spouts are smaller, which makes them difficult to see, but not impossible! However, the weather conditions can easily fool us!

 

Taken from from the bulletin Portrait de baleines, August 13, 2015

Gaspar, known as Boom Boom River in the Gaspé, where she spent a considerable part of the summer, was seen in the Marine Park (Fosse à François sector) by the GREMM – Fisheries and Oceans Canada team on Wednesday, August 5 around 6 am. Since then, she has been seen every day, sometimes in the company of fellow humpback Aramis.

Gaspar-dorsale-bedBorn in the warm Caribbean waters in the winter of 2004-2005, this female humpback followed her mother Helmet for her first spring migration to the St. Lawrence. Helmet has been been faithful to the Blanc-Sablon and Mingan regions since 1990 (according to observations by the Mingan Island Cetacean Study, (MICS). The following year, 2006, Gaspar was already back exploring the Estuary without her mother. That summer, Gaspar was often seen swimming in tandem with Pi-rat, a young male born the same year as her. These associations between humpbacks are generally unstable and short-lasting. The following year, Pi-rat and Gaspar were still seen together, though much less often. Since this initial observation in 2006, Gaspar has visited the Estuary every year. She owes her name to the ghost-shaped marking on the upper side of her right fluke, in the white part. Another way to recognize her is by her highly curved and pointy dorsal fin.

Capture-depth-bedOn August 5 at 6:25 am, a VHF tag was installed on Gaspar’s back. In the course of this tracking, the tag recorded a feeding period in deep waters (up to 120 m), followed by a period of shallower dives with no signs of feeding. We recognize these periods as a function of the “shape” of the dives recorded by the tag. A V-shaped dive is a sign of an exploratory dive while a U-shaped dive characterizes a feeding period. A prolonged period at the surface reveals either a period of rest or travel.

Learn more:

Humpback whale data sheet