The Bay of Fundy Whales
In Micmac lore, it was a giant whale, who angered the god Glooscap and created such a splash with his mighty tail, that the water sloshes back and forth to this day.
In actuality, the story of the tremendous Bay of Fundy tides is no less the stuff of legends.
Some 350 million years ago, it was not Glooscap, but rather the sun and moon who conspired to create this awe-inspiring natural phenomenon. That is, some 100 million years before the first dinosaurs roamed the earth, this pulsing arm of the North Atlantic was formed, its unique shape amplifying the tides to staggering proportions.
New Brunswick's Bay of Fundy is an eco-attraction on par with such marvels as the Great Barrier Reef of Australia and the Rain Forest of Brazil. It's mighty tides are the greatest on earth. Every day, twice daily, one hundred billion tons of seawater roll in and out of the Bay. At low tide, you can literally walk on the ocean floor. At high tide, just six hours later, your footprints will be covered by the ocean. In some places, the vertical difference between high and low tide is 14 meters- roughly the same height as a four storey building!
Fundy's onslaught of water every 12 hours and 30 minutes is estimated to nearly equal the 24 hour flow of all the rivers in the world! How nutrient-rich are Fundy's waters? In just two weeks, sandpipers feeding on Fundy shores will double their weight! Bon appetit!! For many people , the only whales they ever see are in the movies, or in large tanks in aquariums. Come to New Brunswick and see them up close, in their natural habitat! The rich feeding grounds around the Fundy Isles in southwestern New Brunswick make the Bay of Fundy one of the world's most accessible sites for viewing marine mammals. Every summer whales of all sizes ( up to 15 species of toothed and baleen whales) come to the Bay of Fundy, one of the marine wonders of the world, to mate, play and feast on the bountiful supply of food churned up twice a day by the powerful tides. The stirring of deep nutrient-rich water into shallow surface water causes immense blooms of plankton - passively floating food that nourishes all marine life. That's more kinds of whales more often than anywhere else!
Whales in the Bay
Finback Whales The Bay of Fundy giant and the second largest in the world. It can grow to 24 meters (80 feet) and weight 73 tonnes (80 tons). Finbacks have a tall "blow" and are evenly distributed throughout the mouth of the bay.
Humpback Whales Often called the "clown of the sea", the humpback whale is appropriately nicknamed, as you'll agree when you see one play. It is a "bumpy" whale with a fleshy knob on its snout and bumps along the leading edge of long whitish flippers. It can grow to a maximum of 18 meters (60 feet) and may weigh 36 tonnes (40 tons)
Minke Whale Pronounced "ming key" this is one of the smallest of the baleen whales (a toothless whale with a unique food- filtering maw) It grows to nine meters (30 feet) and weights approximately nine tonnes (10 tons) The minke has a sharply-pointed snout that often emerges from the water before the body.
North Atlantic Right WhaleOne of the rarest whales in the world! There are fewer that 350 of these giants left in the world and they are known to mate in the Bay of Fundy. The right whale can be easily identified by its complete lack of dorsal fin and the bumpy whitish skin patches on its head. It grows to 15 meters (50 feet) and may weight 45 tonnes (50 tons)
The Sei Whale is a recent new comer to the Bay of Fundy on a regular basis. They feed by skimming small plankton, despite being able expand their mouth by inflating the throat pleats. They are fast swimmers and dive for about ten minutes. While at the surface, their path can be tracked because they leave "footprints" on the water surface. A whaling station operated at Blanford, NS until 1970, hunting sei whales but the population is not considered threatened.
The (Orca) Killer Whale although not recognized as a regular visitor to our bay, two pods of these most famous killer whales were spotted near Grand Manan and Brier Island in August of 2000. The last known siting of these whales was in 1985. We can only hope that this is a sign of change, and that we once again get to enjoy these wonderful animals in their natural habitat.
Blue Whale the largest animal on land and water is also considered one of the most gentlest. Although they don't visit the Bay on a regular bases, they are spotted during their migration periods some times following their food into the bay.
Whale Tales are stories taken from local New Brunswick Newspapers about the whales in the Bay of Fundy.
Whale Images Just a few images of whales, see if you can figure out what species each one is.
Whale Songs It's always fun to look at pictures of whales, but have you ever heard one talk? On this page you can download all sorts of different wav. files to listen to at your leisure.
Adopt a Whale Here's a way to not only admire these majestic beasts of the sea but to actually help in their cause. The right whale population is down to 350 whales, this is just a fraction of the original numbers. With your help maybe we can help build these numbers back up.
Code of Ethics This new addition to our site is designed to help you learn the proper way to behave when involved with a whale watching expedition. The information compiled here is for both the tourist and the tour operators.
Whale Links Here's a few links that we have found very informative on whales and other wildlife species.
Below the Bay We've showed you what swims in the bay, now how about a look at what is living on the bottom of the bay.
Dolphins in the Bay
Whale Emergency Network
Whale Emergency Network: currently being established in the Bay of Fundy. This team is primarily focused on right whales but will be capable of disentangling other species as the need arises. This is a co-operative program with a number of groups including the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, New Brunswick Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture, East Coast Ecosystems, New England Aquarium, Center for Coastal Studies, local whale watch companies, interested residents and the GMWSRS. The Department of Fisheries and Oceans provided the funds for equipment purchased. East Coast Ecosytems answers and maintains the toll-free number (1-888-854 4440).
Public comments are being solicited on the proposed recovery strategy for North Atlantic right whale (endangered) now protected under the Species at Risk Act (SARA):
Recovery efforts, as provided for under SARA, are being led by Fisheries and Oceans Canada for this species. The first step in the recovery process is the development of a recovery strategy which is intended to set out goals, objectives and the general direction of activities for the conservation and recovery of species. The proposed recovery strategy for the North Atlantic right whale has been posted on the SARA Public Registry for a 60-day comment period. The final version of this strategy will be posted following consideration of all comments, and will be used to direct the recovery efforts for the North Atlantic right whale.
To view this strategy and provide comments, please visit the SARA Public Registry at: www.sararegistry.gc.ca
Alternatively, please contact the Species at Risk Coordination Office in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia: Toll free: 1-866-891-0771 a
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