Surprisingly, there are a handful of enthusiasts who continue to practise this sport even in the middle of winter in Sainte-Flavie, amongst the ice floes. And these surfing “die-hards” are not the only mammals who navigate their way through the ice. Harp seals have been spotted on the ice this week by several collaborators in the Côte-Nord region (Tadoussac-Les Escoumins, Longue-Rive, Franquelin) and the Gaspé Peninsula (Sainte-Flavie and Matane). A collaborator in Sainte-Flavie even mentions that “it’s unusual to see so many around here.”

Are these seals being observed on the ice experiencing difficulties or are they lost? Quite the contrary! Amphibious in nature, seals split their time between sea and land, or the pack ice in winter, depending on the species. With their webbed feet and surprising diving skills, they chase after schools of fish. On land or on the pack ice, they rest, reproduce and give birth.

What about the “great whales” in these early days of 2017? On January 2, a Whales Online partner posted at Cap de Bon-Desir discerns a very large spout through the sea smoke. It’s a fin whale. On January 7, he sees two more fin whales and hundreds of belugas near the wharf in Les Escoumins… an exceptional sighting! He even hears word of a blue whale that was supposedly seen a few days earlier in this sector… To be continued!

Observation of the Week - 12/2/2017

Marie-Sophie Giroux

Marie-Sophie Giroux joined the GREMM in 2005 until 2018. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Marine Biology and a diploma in Environmental Consulting. As Lead Naturalist, she oversees and coordinates the team working at the Marine Mammal Interpretation Centre and writes for Whales Online and Whale Portraits. She loves to share “whale stories” with visitors to the CIMM and readers alike.

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