May23

Exciting Encounters in Canada

Author // Lucy Babey Categories // Wildlife Officer Sightings

Exciting Encounters in Canada
A young blue whale surfacing right next to the Saga Sapphire

It’s only half way through the cruise, but everyone on board the Saga Sapphire has been treated to some exciting encounters! 

One of ORCA’s longest running partnerships is with Saga and since 2007, teams of four from ORCA have been invited on board Saga cruise ships.

In 2019, ORCA teams will be joining 11 exciting Saga itineraries ranging from Canada, to Britain and Spain. One of the cruises an ORCA team have joined is the Emerging Canada cruise on board the Saga Sapphire. The team set off from Dover on Monday 13th May on a mammoth itinerary visiting Newfoundland, Montreal, Quebec, Halifax and returning via the Azores.

Although it is only halfway through the cruise everyone on board has had some sensational sightings!

Last week in the mid-Atlantic fin whales, beaked whales, common dolphins and even a blue whale were seen! This week white-beaked dolphins became the 11th confirmed species of the cruise which were seen off the south coast of Newfoundland, along with distant humpback whaless and some fantastic iceberg sightings!

More white-beaked dolphins were enjoyed by guests on board, just off the south coast of Newfoundland, this time an inquisitive pod with one even syphopping, which is not a common behaviour for this species so was an amazing sight for all to see!

Spyhopping white beaked dolphin crop

On Thursday 23rd May there was a close encounter of the blue kind! As the Saga Sapphire was heading into Gaspé a loud ‘whoosh’ alerted those on deck to a young blue whale which surfaced and blew right next to the ship.

When we didn't think it could get any better, then the weekend brought even more sensational sightings. Minke, humpback and blue whales were spotted as the ship was leaving Gaspé Bay on Friday and on Saturday 71 belugas were seen in the St Lawrence River! 

Saga belugas

Beluga tail fluke

We look forward to hearing from the team about further sightings from this trip and remember to keep an eye on our social media channels for updates! The data collected during this voyage will help us to understand more about the range, distribution and density of the species recorded. It will also contribute to our annual report ‘The State of European Cetaceans’ which show just how important citizen science data is.