When we boarded the boat at 11:30 a.m. on June 28, I had noticed the layer of fog that was shrouding the mountains along the river, but I was hopeful that it would dissipate quickly, as I had just one mission in mind: photo-identification! The waves were light, winds were non-existent, but as for visibility, I had to admit: taking photos would be challenging.

Indeed, once we stopped at our first observation site, a thick fog envelops us and above, not a trace of blue sky. We can’t see absolutely anything. But sometimes it’s when one of our five senses is no longer useful that the others seem to kick into high gear; soon we can hear the familiar sounds of whales blowing all around us. It would have been easy to be disappointed since we couldn’t see anything, but, like many other observers out there, I prefer to enjoy this unique listening experience. Silently and attentively, we listen to these powerful breaths.

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© GREMM

A short while later, before heading to a second site, I was pleased to recognize fin whale Bp913, which dove just off the side of our Zodiac, allowing us to recognize it the despite the fog. This gave it a particularly mysterious aura…

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Audrey Tawel-Thibert 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 - 11/7/2016

Équipe du GREMM

Led by scientific director Robert Michaud, the research team of the Group for Research and Education on Marine Mammals (GREMM) studies St. Lawrence beluga whales and large rorquals (humpback, blue and fin whales) at sea. The Bleuvet and the BpJAM leave the port of Tadoussac every morning to gather valuable information on the life of the whales of the St. Lawrence Estuary.

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