Multiple Species in a Single Glance

  • © GREMM
    01 / 11 / 2019 Par Marie-Ève Muller

    For his last outing of the season, a recreational fisherman sets out in La Tabatière, in Quebec’s Basse-Côte-Nord region. While his line is dangling in the water, he spots two large spouts that nevertheless appear tiny in the distance. That’s where the fish must be! He slowly steers his craft in that direction when about fifteen white-sided dolphins arrive. In the wake of his boat, the dolphins are active. “They were leaping into the air, swimming under the boat, darting back and forth in every direction!” he exclaims. A short while later, the triangular fins of harbour porpoises appear and disappear in the blink of an eye. Suddenly, a powerful exhalation occurs just behind the stern of his boat. A humpback whale dives just a few metres away. A second one emerges. “Their spouts were huge! I had totally forgotten about them, as I was too wrapped up watching the dolphins!” A quick scan of the horizon makes him realize that even if his season on the water is over, the whale season is still going strong!

    Sept-Îles, October 28: six or seven blue whales reveal their long mottled blue-grey back. “Farther offshore, we’re seeing spouts in good numbers. There are still many animals of a variety of species,” says Jacques Gélineau, who collaborates with the Sept-Îles Research and Education Centre and the Mingan Island Cetacean Study. What surprises him is a sighting of two pairs of blue whales showing their tails. It is estimated that between 14% and 18% of blue whales visiting the St. Lawrence lift their tails out of the water when they dive. So, to cross paths with four at the same time, what luck!

    On October 30, off the wharf in Les Escoumins, two humpbacks bring a smile to those working there that day. The day before, a minke whale and harbour porpoises were noted. Near Tadoussac, belugas and minke whales are still the daily stars being observed from the marina or the Marine Mammal Interpretation Centre.


    Marie-Ève ​​Muller is responsible for GREMM’s communications. As Editor-in-Chief for Whales Online, she devours research and has an insatiable thirst for the stories of scientists and observers. Drawing from her background in literature and journalism, Marie-Ève ​​strives to put the fragile reality of cetaceans into words and images.