BELUGAS AND WAVES!

It’s been a tough week for working out at sea. However, we have completed three surveys and logged over 20 hours at sea, including 11 spent with belugas: many wonderful encounters and a few frustrations. Here are a few excerpts!

Tuesday, July 28, 2015: We can already hear thunder, the waves are high and the weather forecast is calling for more storms to come. It’s a real challenge to find and track belugas in such conditions. Yet this is the reality of field work; we seek out every possible opportunity to be at sea with belugas… the season is passing by quickly! After an initial contact in choppy waters downstream from Île Rouge, we find a calmer area south of the island: a herd of adults and young is here. A female accompanied by a newborn attracts our attention and convinces us to pursue this new contact. Particular attention is paid to mother-young pairs. Before we can conclude that the newborn is indeed accompanied by its mother, we need to continue observing for a while. In fact, sometimes, a mother leaves her little one for a few moments, at which point it might be accompanied by another adult or even occasionally by a young beluga. However, the weather conditions prevent us from completing this observation. Fog closes in on the boat. We leave somewhat frustrated, but with images of a mother-young duo…to be confirmed.

Some of the whales identified this week include:

Céline – adopted in 1997 by Leslie B. Durst;

Blanche – adopted in 2014 by the municipality of Tadoussac;

DL0030 – available for adoption by participants of a collective adoption;

Aquabelle – adopted in 2014 by the Aquarium du Québec;

Miss Frontenac – adopted in 2008 by Fairmont Le Château Frontenac;

Dimitri, DL0393, DL1793, DL0595.

Field Notes - 3/8/2015

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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