Whitecaps and Blue Mountain at the Water Surface

  • © GREMM
    05 / 01 / 2016 Par Marie-Sophie Giroux

    On the morning of December 28, between 80 and 90 belugas were gathered in the Îlets Penchés area near Les Escoumins. Their spouts stood out against the horizon. Two GREMM team members went out to the site. According to them, the belugas were about 300-500 m from shore. The majority of individuals were adults, mostly whites but also some young grays.

    On December 21, a blue-gray “wall” emerged from the water, preceded by a powerful spout: a blue whale was plying the waters off of Franquelin in the North Shore region. No more than one kilometre from the coast, estimates our local collaborator, who could see the shape and size of the giant’s dorsal fin, the colour of its “dress”, and its tail that skimmed the surface before disappearing under the water. Additionally, throughout the holidays, she spotted several minke whales and multiple groups of harp seals, some of which numbered up to a hundred or so individuals. Farther upstream in the Estuary, fin whales have been sighted by St. Lawrence captains near the Prince Shoal Lighthouse off Tadoussac.

    On its Facebook page, the Mingan Island Cetacean Study (MICS) team reported on the latest developments in the satellite monitoring that has been conducted on one fin and one blue whale since last fall. On Christmas Eve, the fin whale seemed to still be in the Côte-Nord region, between Pointe-des-Monts and Sept-Îles, while the blue whale had left the St. Lawrence for the waters of the Atlantic, off the coast of Cape Cod. This scientific project is led by Fisheries and Oceans Canada, in collaboration with MICS.

    Lastly, one of our summer collaborators from the Gaspé region pointed out the excellent visibility and absence of ice in the Rivière-au-Renard and Cap des Rosiers regions as well as in Gaspé Bay… but he was out of luck, not having spotted any whales since the humpback whale and fin whales observed off Cap-des-Rosiers a month earlier.