No sooner do we exit Tadoussac Bay when we spot a herd of belugas between Ilet-aux-Morts and Pointe-Noire. It was almost as if they were waiting for us!

Nevertheless, we decide to continue our course, since if the weather offshore takes a turn for the worse, we’ll probably be able to relocate this herd later in this same area or farther up the Saguenay.

Calm sea, no wind, a beautiful blue sky… it feels great to be back on the water!

It’s in the vicinity of the Prince Shoal Lighthouse that we have our first encounter. First, we observe with binoculars from a distance, after which we approach different groups to photograph those animals with markings. Then comes the time for detailed accounts describing the characteristics and behaviours of the herd… In the end, studying belugas at sea is like riding a bike: it’s hard to forget how it’s done.

Out of the corner of my eye I spot an animal that seems familiar, I watch it again through my binoculars… it’s Blanche, easily recognizable by the protuberance on her left flank.

Later, in a different encounter, a uniform-coloured beluga attracts our attention; I hesitate between Néo and Pascolio. Subsequent observations allow me to make the ID: it’s Pascolio.

This first day with the belugas ends at Baie-des-Rochers (Charlevoix coast) with a small but scattered herd. It’s official, the field season is underway!

Field Notes - 19/6/2017

Équipe du GREMM

Dirigée par Robert Michaud, directeur scientifique, l’équipe de recherche du Groupe de recherche et d’éducation sur les mammifères marins (GREMM) étudie en mer les bélugas du Saint-Laurent et les grands rorquals (rorqual à bosse, rorqual bleu et rorqual commun). Le Bleuvet et le BpJAM quittent chaque matin le port de Tadoussac pour récolter de précieuses informations sur la vie des baleines de l’estuaire du Saint-Laurent.

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