Diary - June 2006
The 2006 season got off to a slow start in June.
Also, the great whales, fin whales (Balaenoptera physalus) and Blue Whale (Balaenoptera musculus) arrived at the end of the month and were spotted not far from Portneuf - Sur - Mer on surface feed. Not before.
For belugas (Delphinapterus leucas), Minke whale (Balaenoptera acutorostrata) or grey seals (Halichoerus grypus)Every time we went out, we had a chance to meet them.
To this end, every month throughout the summer I will be publishing a summary of all our observations made aboard our two boats (zodiacs). This work is indispensable and necessary for the follow-up of our sea outings.
This is a table containing information for our staff and for researchers.
At the end of the season, our comments will help the scientific groups to better understand the cetaceans of the St. Lawrence, their numbers, behavior, etc... We collaborate in the field with American and French biologists, and with the Swiss scientific group "bb", under Dany's supervision.
Attached is the table for June 2006.
Table of the month to download : Season.2006_JUNE
Portneuf-Sur-Mer, Quebec - Canada, June 2006.
Diary - July 2006
July was very different from last month.
The first few days were difficult for big whale watching, but slowly a few arrived.
The Minke whale ( Balaenoptera acutorostrata ) present in June disappeared this month! We were very surprised not to see it again. Used to eating fish, its food must have disappeared from our observation area.
On the other hand, "krill", the small shrimp that large whales need as food, was abundant at different depths and currents. This may explain the presence of some species and not others.
The Blue Whale ( Balaenoptera musculus ) was present throughout the month, but we're still a long way from its peak.
On our best days, we saw up to six whales at the same time and a pair swimming together. Pairs normally form at the end of the season, between September and October.
Fin whales ( Balaenoptera physalus ) were rarely seen and continued their journey opposite Tadoussac.
Seals, porpoises (Phocoena phocoena) and belugas ( Delphinapterus leucas) were very numerous on our outings.
The weather was difficult, and for three days in a row we were forced to stay at "La Marina", putting the brakes on a cash inflow. But we know the risks of this business.
Attached is the table for July 2006. The GPS points column is empty because I'm going to enter all the coordinates at the end of the season noted by our researchers.
Table of the month to download : Season.2006_JULY
Portneuf-Sur-Mer, Quebec-Canada, July 2006.
Diary - August 2006
All rights reserved "Croisières du Grand Heron 2006".
August 2006 was similar to July.
Whales that don't stop in front of the village, but continue on to Tadoussac. The company's motorboats (Zodiacs) have to spend a lot of fuel to meet them.
What's more, the weather this month was bad, with a lot of wind that prevented us from taking customers out. This didn't help the company, which wasn't making much money. A drop in customer numbers is a serious handicap for any small, isolated company in Canada. This one has been in existence for over 10 years, but pays few (and not enough) employees, and the managers are retired. It's obvious that a lack of communication, marketing, isolation, accepting people for free, etc., are not conducive to its emergence.
In fact, I was indirectly affected by the lack of money. Unfortunately!
This season, the village of "Les Escoumins" or "Tadoussac" saw an exceptional number of whales in their waters. For the past 5 years, the number of large cetaceans had been declining in this sector of the St. Lawrence River. And this year, we could find a dozen whales a day! and sometimes different species. What luck for them!
For us, we had to sail for about an hour (in calm seas) to meet them, and then return to pick up a second group. So not much time for whale watching. The 5-hour package at sea was the most appropriate for this season.
The Blue Whale ( Balaenoptera musculus ) was present throughout the month, as usual. I was lucky enough to see a Minke Whale ( Balaenoptera acutorostrata ), which hadn't been seen since June.
In any case, there were plenty of great moments, and we'll always remember the blue whales ( Balaenoptera musculus ) feeding on the surface, forced to stand aside, pectorals and baleen visible! All this at sunset! Magnificent!
Everyone will tell you that such behavior is rare in the world, and the St. Lawrence River makes it possible.
Let's make the most of it before it's gone!
Montreal (Quebec - Canada), August 2006.