Whether watching through their binoculars, through the lens of their camera or with their own two eyes while squinting from the sun glare, observers scanning the waters of the St. Lawrence have been spoiled this past week. Caudal, pectoral and dorsal fins of several species were seen in multiple places, not to mention the blasts of a number of surfacing cetaceans.
In the Gaspé Peninsula, minke whales swam quietly near Gros-Morne and L’Anse-Pleureuse, while a lone seal basked on a rock. In Gaspé Bay, grey seals are still present in numbers, while two humpback whales were making a ruckus not far away, performing breaches on numerous occasions. Harbour porpoises and minke whales also made incursions into the bay. In Grande-Vallée, a minke whale was observed on October 25.
Window on the river
On the north shore of the St. Lawrence, in Sept-Îles and Gallix, the action is in full swing as minke whales, harbour porpoises, harbour seals and grey seals rub fins and flippers. In Franquelin, a marine mammal enthusiast tells of an extraordinary experience he had on Sunday, October 23: “There were humpback whales everywhere as well as minke whales. At one point, I was sitting and we could sometimes see 5 minke whales at the same time surfacing in front of us, in the little window on the river that we had. Every second, there was a whale emerging somewhere!”
Two blue whales – the largest animals in the world – were also observed in the area this week, not to mention a handful of porpoises and grey seals. A water sports enthusiast enjoyed a fortuitous encounter of a well-known humpback: “While I was out paddleboarding, I was able to see a few blasts offshore. Three humpback whales were present; one of them continued east, while the other two entered the bay to forage while following the tide rips. Ultimately, we were able to determine that it was Tic Tac Toe, probably accompanied by her calf!”
Farther upstream, in the vicinity of Les Escoumins, Les Bergeronnes and Tadoussac, several minke whales, humpbacks, harbour seals and grey seals were reported. On the afternoon of October 25, a group of a hundred or so Atlantic white-sided dolphins was spotted near Tadoussac.
From the marina of Saint-Siméon, one observer enjoys a few noteworthy sightings: “It’s always a pleasure to go for a stroll there and see seals, ducks and minke whales on a calm and majestic river.”
Curiosity on the beach
“It this a bone, or perhaps a tooth? Could it be from a marine mammal?” writes in a vacationer this week. Discovered on the river’s edge in Sainte-Anne-des-Monts, this unusual find actually appears to belong to a member of the deer family. Pierre-Henry Fontaine, retired biology professor and founder of the Skeleton Museum, confirms that it is the last phalanx of either a moose or a deer. This bone is located at the end of the legs and corresponds to the finger bones of humans. Mystery solved!