A dozen or so humpback whales have been observed in Gaspé Bay over the past week. A few individuals approach the marina, some are spotted opposite Cap Gaspé while others stay farther offshore, near the submarine bank known as Banc des Américains.

Several minke whales, hundreds of harbour porpoises and Atlantic white-sided dolphins were also reported. Capping it off were two fin whales, which have been rather discreet this year. “Customers are dwindling, but whale numbers are the rise!” chuckles one captain/naturalist. A little farther east, a few harbour seals rest on a rock in Baie de Saint-Yvon.

North Shore

On the other side of the Gulf of St. Lawrence, on the shores of Quebec’s Côte-Nord region, minke whales and harbour porpoises have been showing off their dorsal fins in a number of places. In Port-Cartier, mariner Jacques Gélineau reports the observation of a haulout containing about thirty grey seals: “I think they spent the summer there,” he remarks. “I saw them a month ago and then again this week. Before that, I only ever saw grey seals occasionally. I’ve been here 20 years and I’ve never seen a grey seal haulout prior to this year.” Harbour seals were also spotted around Sept-Îles.

In Gallix, one marine mammal enthusiast watches pinnipeds: “At around 11 a.m. on October 8, I was able to observe five grey seals at the mouth of the Sainte-Marguerite River.” His watchful eye then shifts to the birds: “Yesterday was great. In addition to the seals, I saw around thirty gannets, hundreds of red-breasted mergansers and several hundred gulls. A few sanderlings and American golden-plovers were also present.  Unfortunately, all that was missing was the whale spouts!”

 

 

 

 

In Pointe-des-Monts, on Saturday, October 8, a local resident observes a distant humpback whale through the lens of his camera. The next day, an adult and a calf are seen swimming in the same area, not to mention a few minke whales.

In the Saguenay-St. Lawrence Marine Park, two or three humpbacks have been regularly observed. On October 6, one humpback even approached a cruise ship. A dazzled marine mammal enthusiast comments on the scene: “We were able to observe it […] offshore, with the immense and incredible good fortune that this humpback spied on us for a long time while passing under the boat, surfacing on one side and then on the other… It was surreal! It even made a semi-circle manoeuvre, emerging quite close on one side with its mouth agape, then gliding across the water around the back to the other side.”

Magical moments

At sunset on October 9, a minke whale executes a series of twenty or so breaches near the Saint-Siméon marina, much to the delight of a family enjoying a weekend getaway together. One member of the clan describes the scene in amazement: “The minke whale was breaching to the right of the wharf at a considerable distance… Over half its body was visible as it hurled itself vertically out of the water. We lost sight of it for 3 or 4 minutes where it was swimming in circles, then it jumped vertically with its mouth wide open. It was simply magical. The whale must have breached a good twenty times before approaching and swimming alongside the docks. We even saw fish jumping and wriggling in front of her…”

Weekly sighting map

These data were reported by our network of observers. They give an idea of the presence of whales and do not represent the real distribution of whales in the St. Lawrence. Use them for fun!

Click on the whale or seal icons to discover the species, the number of individuals, additional information or photos of the sighting. To enlarge the map, click on the icon in the upper right corner. The map works well on Chrome and Firefox, but not so well on Safari.

To display the list of sightings, click on the icon in the upper left corner.

 

Want to share your observations and contribute to citizen science? Use the marine mammal observation tool.

Observation of the Week - 13/10/2022

Andréanne Forest

Andréanne Forest is the editor-in-chief of Whales Online since may 2022. After studying in environment and biology, she turned to science communication with the goal of making science both accessible and fun. Andréanne wishes to highlight the process of acquiring knowledge while transmitting the desire to learn.

Recommended articles

Belugas in color and minke whales in action!

This week in the St. Lawrence, beluga vocalizations accompany the northern lights, while minke whales attract attention with their spectacular…

|Observation of the Week 16/5/2024

Minke Whales Disguised as Orcas

Between the splashing waves, we spot a couple dark fins moving. We can definitely recognize the signs of a large…

|Observation of the Week 10/5/2024
Béluga du Saint-Laurent

The Excitement of White Whales

Increasing numbers of groups of belugas are being spotted in the estuary, swimming amongst the quietly returning minke whales. Harbour…

|Observation of the Week 2/5/2024