whale watching in the bay of fundy

Posted by susan on October 17th, 2011. Filed under: getaways, go green.

I made it seem like I was done posting about our summer road trip through Canada with that last one, didn’t I? Well, sorry about that. As I mentioned, we built the latter part of our travels around going on a whale watch in the Bay of Fundy and logistically, that brought us to beautiful St. Andrew’s.

I tend to avoid ‘bucket lists’ or setting ‘travel goals.’ They add anxiety to my already wound up existence and I can’t take the pressure imposed upon myself despite the fact that I’m driven by discipline and goals. I just can’t bring that dark side of me to my travels. [Yes, that’s a taste of what it’s like to be in my head, have I scared you off yet?]

If I had to name one ‘soft’ goal, though, it would be going on a whale watch in the Bay of Fundy. The opportunity to see such a diversity of creatures and hopefully, right whales, is something that has always been in the back of my mind. Sadly, we didn’t see any right whales, but that doesn’t mean I look back on my trip with dismay. We saw whales and had an amazing experience. Plus, the New England Aquarium does a good job of providing me updates on what’s going on up there with their Right Whale Research Blog, so that sometimes makes up for it. Check that out, you’ll be blown away by some breathtaking photos and videos.

For the trip, we chose the Fundy Tide Runners because they take you out on a zodiac, a speedy raft that would bring us up close and personal with the whales. Also, it’s what they use in Whale Wars to pester the Japanese whaling fleet and I’ve always wondered what that’s like (disclaimer: we didn’t pester Japanese whaling fleets on this tour).

whale watching

Fundy Tide Runners also have you wear a full blown life jacket that will make anyone look badass, which my father accomplished quite successfully with his token Bruins hat and sunglasses. His sarcasm coupled with his Boston accent and banter with Dave, our witty captain who had a love/hate relationship with Boston, also helped.

Dad whale watching

Once we got out onto the water it became clear that the Bay of Fundy is a special place. I’ve been on a lot of boats, swam and paddled through many bays, but there was something about this place that I’m having a hard time pinpointing. The smell was different, it was fresh and crisp. I’ve never seen such a boldness of color in the blueness of the ocean and the dark green trees hugging the bay. The water at times, looked like glass.

Bay of Fundy scene

At one point during the trip, we even had a little biology lesson. David’s little girl (who was about ten, very talkative and absolutely adorable), spotted krill in the water and snatched it up so we all could take a close look.


Obviously, I couldn’t get my camera to focus on the right thing here, but you get the idea.

After a series of communication with some of the other whale watching boats out in the bay, we began tracking signs for a good sighting. What was great about being in a zodiac was our ability to speed to wherever the last spotting was to catch a glimpse of a whale before they departed.

I didn’t take many photos because I’m not very good at catching a moving target, especially while I’m moving. So I kept my camera on video mode hoping that I would capture something. In this video I found a whale that had sadly lost part of its dorsal fin.

Have you ever gone whale watching in the Bay of Fundy?

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