The Bay of Fundy Whales

A bucket list item?

We have been privileged in our lives. We have seen the Big Five animals in their natural African habitats. We have visited the famed Gorillas in the mist in the rain forests of Uganda. We have been able to witness some of nature's most wonderful creations. And we have lived among some amazing, diverse and interesting peoples. 

When we moved to Nova Scotia in January, as proud new owners of the Harbourview Inn, we knew we would soon be able to add one more natural wonder to our personal bucket list. We eagerly looked forward to the start of the whale watching season that is so rooted in this area. Our plan was to take a sailing or two before the season got too busy. 

Then Covid-19 put restraints on life as we know it. The Hospitality industry has been devastated by Covid-19 restrictions this year, and that affected the Whale Watching companies just as it did ourselves. Our plans to sneak in a sailing were thwarted. As the whale watching companies gradually started to open their doors, so did we. It seemed as if we would miss our window as visitors from our province started to arrive. 

Fortunately a gap opened up for us yesterday and we were able to go on a sailing with Petit Passage, one of the many highly experienced whale watching companies on Digby Neck. 

After a long period of warm, humid days, yesterday was foggy. As we waited on the dock, the boat appeared out of the fog in a ghostly fashion. 

Along with the other passengers we wondered if we were destined for a disappointing trip. But we were assured by the very friendly crew that sightings were to be had. 

The Bay of Fundy is a gathering place for a number of species of whales. Humpbacks, Minke, Finbacks as well as Harbour Porpoises gather from late spring to early fall. The Bay offers great protection and abundant food, so it is a preferred birthing destination. Whale watching season runs from June to October, but August is the prime month for whale sightings.

We sailed for around one hour before reaching the whale gathering area. Within no time we saw a spout of water being expelled, followed by the back of a Humpback whale rising majestically alongside the boat. 

We all know that whales are enormous creatures, but it's worth considering some interesting snippets of information to put in context just how large a creature we witnessed. 

  • A whale's skin can be up to 14 inches thick
  • Their eyes can be the size of grapefruits
  • The whale's heart can be the size of a car!
This immense bulk displays itself with gentle, hypnotic elegance. Unfortunately for us, this particular day the whales were not in playful mood. Often they are seen breaching - leaping out of the water, or spy-hopping - hovering with snout and eyes out of the water to "watch the whale watchers". They may also roll on the surface or smack their flippers or tails on the surface. 

But on our visit the whales were displaying their more serene natures. They rose and glided through the choppy waters. They swam alongside the boat and once swam under it, surfacing on the other side so that we all rushed from port to starboard - or starboard to port....

But then one would rise just a little higher, arch its back and dive steeply downwards. Then the tail would emerge for a moment, curve seductively and then dip into the water. Belinda captured one such moment of beauty....

We have had many guests at the Inn over the past few weeks who have waxed lyrical about their whale watching experience. Some were fortunate enough to see their dramatic, playful behavior. Others, like us, marveled at the elegance and grandeur of them. One thing every visitor will agree, is that this is a bucket list item that does not disappoint. You will walk away feeling richer than you did walking in. 

Thank you to Petit Passage. Your new boat is wonderful and the crew was fantastic. 


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