Not this week at least! On several cruises, observers old and young smiled as they discovered harbour porpoises, those small, fast and dynamic whales. Measuring between 1.5 and 2 m, they are the smallest cetaceans in the St. Lawrence.

On August 26, a glassy sea allowed us to see them parading along the water surface. Gregarious, they travelled in small groups, though they can sometimes be seen in pairs or alone. Their brownish-gray backs are topped with a triangular dorsal fin; their bellies are slightly paler in colour. They surfaced to take a few quick breaths before diving again for less than five minutes (though they are capable of remaining underwater for up to about ten minutes). When they surface to breathe, their spouts are loud enough that they can be heard if the weather is calm. Also of note, the etymology of the name “porpoise” means sea hog!

Being patient and alert is the key to success for observing whales and enjoying every moment in their presence, whether they are harbour porpoises or large rorquals.

Marie-Pier Poulin joined the GREMM team this year. As part of the photo-census program of large rorquals in the Marine Park, she collects photos and data on board tour boats. She also shares this information with the editorial team of Whales Online.

Field Notes - 4/9/2015

Élodie Lavertu

Renseignements en anglais

Recommended articles

The Belugas of Cacouna

“Hey look! Over there! A beluga!” Posted on our observation platform on the sacred mountain of Gros-Cacouna, Sami and I…

|Field Notes 20/9/2022

Invasive Aquatic Species Project

The week of July 11 to 15 marked the second year of sampling for our project in collaboration with Fisheries…

|Field Notes 18/8/2022

Marine Observation Activities

Since 1994, sampling has been conducted on nearly 3,000 excursionsin the heart of the Saguenay-St. Lawrence Marine Park by the…

|Field Notes 11/8/2022