When you take a whale-watching trip, you need to be lucky to observe a breaching session. To watch two such shows from two different humpbacks in a single afternoon is nothing less than a privilege.

On Wednesday, July 19, as I was carrying out some surveying and photo-identification for the Mingan Island Cetacean Study off the tip of the Gaspé Peninsula, I followed the humpback whale H753 with its calf for about 3 nautical miles off of Gaspé Bay. The entire time, the calf was swimming ahead of its mother and breaching repeatedly. It made more than twenty jumps before it calmed down.

A few minutes later, much deeper in the bay, I observe a huge explosion on the water surface. It was another humpback – the adult H840 – who was engaging in the same antics. The latter carried out the full range of various leaps and flips that a humpback is capable of. This individual is an accomplished acrobat! Breaching and landing on its back or side, poking out its head to take a peak across the water surface (spyhopping), slapping the water with its pectoral fin and then with its tail (caudal fin). A complete show that lasted about twenty minutes! I was not the only one to attend, as there was a whale-watching boat on site and a few individuals were probably able to witness this display from the Forillon coast.

Here are a few photos.

Spray of water caused by H840
Spray of water caused by H840, on july 19, 2017, sector Forillon © René Roy
 H753 Bad Chemistry with her calf
H753 Bad Chemistry with her calf, on july 19, 2017, sector Forillon © René Roy
H840 breaching
H840 breaching, on july 19, 2017, sector Forillon © René Roy
H840 fluking
H840 fluking, on july 19, 2017, sector Forillon © René Roy
H840 pec slapping
H840 pec slapping, on july 19, 2017, sector Forillon © René Roy
H840 pectoral slapping
H840 pectoral slapping, july 19, 2017, sector Forillon © René Roy
H840 spyhopping
H840 spyhopping, july 19, 2017, sector Forillon © René Roy
H840 tail slapping
H840 tail slapping, july 19, 2017, sector Forillon © René Roy
H840 breaching
H840, july 19, 2017, sector Forillon © René Roy
Field Notes - 24/7/2017

René Roy

René Roy is an amateur cetologist who is passionate about the sea and whales; he resides in Pointe-au-Père, in the Bas-Saint-Laurent region. For the past few years, he has undertaken photo-identification expeditions for the Mingan Island Cetacean Study (MICS), mainly in the Gaspé, with a research permit. He also volunteers for the Quebec Marine Mammal Emergency Response Network. More pictures can be seen on Facebook.

Recommended articles

With the visitors… at the Marine Mammal Interpretation Center while it is COVID time!

Whether on water or on land, the research activities carried out by the Group for Research and Education on Marine…

|Field Notes 9/9/2020

With the belugas… photographed from shore

Since 8 o’clock in the morning, GREMM (Group for Research and Education on Marine Mammals) research assistant Mathieu Marzelière has…

|Field Notes 3/9/2020

With the Large Rorquals… New Mothers and a Whale Swimming Backward!

What a pleasure it is to cross paths with large rorquals! This week, we encountered two blue whales, nearly a…

|Field Notes 28/7/2020