Luck and patience. These are the two key words if ones hopes to enjoy interesting sightings of marine mammals from shore in the winter. This December 2, I showed a great deal of patience and I was rewarded!
A half hour later, I scan the sea with my binoculars and I spot a large spout nearly 5 nautical miles off the cape. After about ten breaths, it dives and I can clearly make out a huge tail rising out of the water. It’s a blue whale!
A little to the west, I observe through my binoculars two minke whales who are surface feeding. Suddenly, one of these two individuals begins to head northeast along the coast, toward me! A few minutes later, it passes some thirty metres in front of me. It is followed a bit later by the second individual. That evening, Ursula Tscherter, researcher and specialist in the minke whales of the Estuary, sees my photos and identifies these two individuals! The first is Santafin, and the second, Riquiqui.
Let’s talk about Santafin. This minke whale was first photographed in 1999 by the ORES group. This individual has always been sighted in the area of the head of the Laurentian Channel, especially between the sectors of Cap de Bon-Désir and Pointe à la Carriole. And here it is again, faithful to its ways! On August 3, 2006, Santafin showed a very recent injury, a deep gash that caused the dorsal fin to bend to the right. On August 19 of that year, its dorsal fin was even more bent. In 2015, the injury seems to have scarred, but is still clearly visible.
Photos: © Renaud Pintiaux
GREMM research assistant from 2003 to 2009 and from 2012 to 2014, Renaud Pintiaux is a passionate observer and photographer. Year round and regardless of whether from shore or on the water, he takes every opportunity to observe the marine mammals and birds of the Saguenay–St. Lawerence Marine Park.