Waves, fog and wind await me off of Tadoussac. Even before boarding the zodiac, I know that today will not be the easiest of days, but I refuse to let myself get discouraged by this obstacle! My optimism pays off. Immediately after having departed the marina, we spot belugas in the distance in the mouth of the Saguenay. The journey from Les Bergeronnes to Tadoussac is not the warmest or driest, but everyone had a smile on their face after seeing these first white whales.
Our arrival in the Fjord is not only punctuated by the first whales of the day, but also completely different weather conditions. The sun is shining, the wind is weakened by the mountains and the water is calm: the perfect weather to venture into the Fjord for a few hours. We encounter belugas, harbour seals and even a minke whale surface feeding.
By early afternoon, the shroud of fog is beginning to lift. It’s time to go back out into the St. Lawrence Estuary off the coast of numerous North Shore villages. Despite the waves and wind, a few minke whales and one fin whale are sighted off of Cap Granite. The fin whale is identified as Bp942, also known by the nickname Piton. We spot it three times and it even shows us a small tip of its tail during one of the observations.
After these observations, it’s back to the marina. Despite the somewhat scary weather early in the day and our completely drenched clothes in the late afternoon, the day was rich in observations! Which just goes to show you that the weather is no indication of what you might see when offshore.
Catherine Chassé 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.