Let me start from the beginning, it was a beautiful October day and our plan was to run out towards our offshore area, off the Wolves Bank, maybe towards Whale Cove, Grand Manan to search for fin whales with hopes of maybe humpbacks. So we headed out and we didn't see anything off the Wolves so we headed towards Grand Manan and still didn't see any whales so we had the option to head back inshore and watch minkes that we knew were in the Islands or head out, past Grand Manan towards Whitehead Island. So we talked to our passengers, letting them know the options and that if we continued out into the open Bay of Fundy the trip would be longer (5-6 hours in total). With everyone game and adventurous spirits we headed out, past Swallowtail (we did see a finback and a minke here but we decided not to wait) to search for humpbacks and possibly even North Atlantic right whales. About 6 miles past North Head Nick saw a blow...and a tail..it was a humpback! We slowed down and we waited for the humpback to resurface and something caught my eye....my breath caught and I knew John, our captain and the owner of Quoddy Link, saw the same thing....was it what I thought...or maybe it was a fluke of a right whale on it's side. I told Nick to watch 10 o'clock position with us and then a 6 foot dorsal fin started breaking the surface and I screamed....an orca!! It was Old Thom, an adult male orca who has been seen in the Bay of Fundy in 2008, 2010, 2012 and 2014 as well as off Roseway Basin in 2009. If you follow this blog at all you are aware how emotional I get and this was no exception. I was shaking and the tears were flowing freely (as they are know as I remember the experience). A killer whale sighting in the Bay of Fundy is incredibly rare and yes, they are typically seen in family groups, or pods, but Old Thom is somewhat of a loner. We spent over 30 minutes with Old Thom as well as the humpbacks, IDed as Froth and Lacuna, that we were waiting for originally.
Here are a bunch of photos of Old Thom
Also, a video of our killer whale sighting that Nick took
I want to make sure I mention that we ended up 37 miles from St. Andrews, east of the Clarks Ground and way out of our typical range of our average 3-3.5 hour whale watch (it ended up being almost a 6 hour trip). We took advantage of the calm weather, adventurous passengers and the desire to close out our 2014 season with a bang! We were searching for humpbacks and right whales but were reminded you never know what you may find in the open Bay of Fundy!
This was my first wild orca sighting and is so incredibly special to me and is something I will never, ever forget! THANK YOU to everyone who joined us on Saturday, October 11th...thank you for sharing your enthusiasm and this very special experience with us....THANK YOU to captain John for being willing to take us out into the open Bay of Fundy (I probably shouldn't share how many hundred litres of fuel we burned!!)...and to Nick, my other half on the water,...I still can't believe it...we met OLD THOM!!!!
And I am still shaking my head in awe and wonder....