WHALE WATCHING AT THE BAY OF FUNDY
Dip your toes in an unforgettable whale watching voyage
Ceaselessly churning and flushing, the Bay of Fundy fuels, nurtures and supports one of the greatest ecosystems of the world. The waters off the Bay of Fundy are the summer feeding ground for dozens of marine species such as krill, squid and schools of young herring. The presence of these species attracts the world’s largest marine mammal, the whale, which in turn makes Fundy the most preferred location for whale watching.
With a population exceeding 300 and ranging from 8 different types of species, whale watching has become an extremely popular daytime adventure. Hugging the coastline, feast your eyes on the spectacular acrobatics of the whales as they breech, lunge and cavort as they feed, play or simply show off. For a more intimate interaction with the marine mammals, consider a unique experience while joining a zodiac tour.
In the late spring, set your sights on the Finback Whales and Minke Whales as they are the first to arrive from southern breeding grounds. The return of the Humpback Whales is expected during June and look forward to the White-sided Dolphins later throughout the month. During the summer months, the Bay of Fundy also serves as home to many Northern Atlantic Right whales, the most endangered whale in the world. The Bay of Fundy offers an excellent vantage point for viewing some of the ocean's most graceful and colossal marine animals.
Other animals are commonly seen in the Bay of Fundy such as seals, a variety of sharks, flounder, crab and lobster. Learn more on Bay of Fundy’s marine wildlife with a variety of whale cruises.
Get familiar with the whales of the Bay of Fundy
The Humpback Whale is the most abundant whale in the Bay of Fundy. They are a playful and curious species, and often circle or follow boats in curiosity. It is this behavior that led to the extensive hunting of Humpback between the 18th and 20th century, which resulted in a population drop of roughly 90%. Humpbacks are often seen lunging out of the water or slapping their fins on the water.
Female Humpbacks are generally larger than their male counterparts. Adult females can range from 16-17 meters long, while males are typically 15-16 meters. Male Humpbacks are famous for their exotic, long and loud songs. These songs are often 10-30 minutes in length and are repeated several times.
One characteristic of the Humpback is its unique markings on the flukes (tail) of the whales. These markings are so unique, that researchers are able to identify the specific whale by these markings alone.
The Fin Whale (also known as the Finback) is the second largest creature on the planet, right after the Blue Whale. They can reach lengths of up to 25m, and over 70 000 kilograms. These whales are the "early birds", arriving early in the season, usually in May.
The Finback has a sleek, slender body, making it one of the ocean's fastest swimmers. Finbacks have been clocked at speeds up to 40km/hr.
Hunted for its size, the Finback was close to extinction during the 20th century, and remains on the Endangered list today.
The Minke Whale is one of the smaller whales, measuring a maximum of 10 meters long. These whales are usually identified in the Bay of Fundy by their small size and a white band running across its pectoral fins.
This whale is particularly pleasing to see. When the Minke surfaces, you see the entire length of their body, whereas with other whales you usually see the blowhole or tail. These whales can dive for up to 20 minutes, and only come to the surface for minutes at a time.
Minkes, like the Humpbacks, are very inquisitive. They often circle boats, eyeballing the strange object. However, they are shy animals and very rarely lunge out of the water. They swim close to shore, but are more likely to be heard than seen, as they are very loud when breathing.
The Bay of Fundy is the best area in the world to see these creatures. The Bay offers protection and abundant food supplies. These whales are the rarest whales in the world, with only an estimated 300 surviving today. The leading cause of death for these whales is collisions with ships during migration through busy shipping lanes on the Eastern Seaboard. This is what makes the Bay of Fundy their preferred area to migrate to.
Right Whales are the "Tanks" of the Northern Atlantic. They are up to 15 meters in length, but 9 meters around! 40% of their body is made up of blubber, which is less dense than water. This characteristic makes them float when they die, giving the whale its name. Hunters named the whale because it was the "Right" one to hunt because it was easy to catch, and did not sink when killed.
Right Whales are easily identified in the bay by white callosities (rough patches of skin) around their head. Although they are bulky, slow swimmers they are often seen leaping out of the bay, with almost ¾ of their body lifted out of the water. Being so heavy, they make quite the splash; ideal for picture taking.
Long and slender, the Blue Whale’s body can be various shades of bluish-grey dorsally and somewhat lighter underneath. Blue Whales were abundant in nearly all oceans until the beginning of the twentieth century. For over 40 years, they were hunted almost to extinction by whalers until protected in 1966.
This marine mammal is commonly referred to simply as the beluga or sea canary due to its high-pitched twitter. It is up to 5m in length and an unmistakable all white in color with a distinctive melon-shaped head.
Long Finned Pilot Whales
The long-finned pilot whale is part of the dolphin family and also known as blackfish. Pilot whales are jet black or a very dark grey colour.
Atlantic White-Sided Dolphins
The Atlantic white-sided Dolphin is a distinctively coloured dolphin found in the cool to temperate waters of the North Atlantic Ocean. The dolphin is slightly larger than most other oceanic dolphins.