Monday, July 30, 2012

Among the baleines

Got some great photos up off Tadoussac, Quebec ten days ago, where we'd taken a day trip from La Malbaie for a boat tour to watch whales on the St. Lawrence River and the Saguenay Fjord:

I of course have to confess that I didn't take those from the boat, but from the back-lighted display at the Centre d'interprétation des mammifères marins (Marine Mammal Interpretation Center), which we visited afterwards:

[More such images here]
    As my friend Ken Marks kindly remarked to comfort me: "If you get a good shot of a whale, you've had a damn lucky day. I once when out on a boat in search of orcas. Got nothing but a black flash here and a black flash there."
    Or, as the guide at le Centre d'interprétation des mammifères marins told, "It took three years to get the photographs for the 18-minute documentary you are about to watch."

A few of my own, modest photos follow, taken of and from the boat, using one or the other of our Nikon Coolpix cameras (my wife's P100 and my P300, which I use for digiscoping—all shots hand-held):

Our boat, as we waited to board

Zoom to the Hotel Tadoussac
(We didn't stay here; it was a day trip from La Malbaie)

One of twenty or so images in "sports" mode

Another one of twenty or so images in "sports" mode

Haut Fond Prince Lighthouse,
out in the St. Lawrence from Tadoussac

St. Lawrence coast east of Tadoussac
(the north side of the river)
Mouth of the Saguenay Fjord
(Tadoussac ferry harbor to the right)

A Minke whale (a baleine)
A couple of Beluga whales
we were told that they live here year-round
I tried to make movies, and did manage one that shows several belugas jumping (white flashes, to paraphrase Ken), but it's so jumpy I fear that you'd suffer eye strain or headache if I showed it to you.


  1. You really had me going with those opening photos. Until you told the rest of the story I thought you must have had the most epic whale-watching trip of all time!

    1. Know, my friend, that it was you (and Ken) above all others whom I hoped to pleasure with the joke.

  2. Don't know if these links will go active in your blog or if you will have to copy and paste, but here are a couple of my own pathetic efforts at whale photos. Taken off Point Gustavus, Alaska.

    Now you see why I was so amazed at yours...before I saw the joke :)

    Oh, and here is a photo as I head out for my whale watching "cruise" - yes, I am paddling solo in a 13-foot kayak.

    And there I am, the tiny red dot in the little yellow kayak, with pulse at red-line thanks to the humpback whale that just came barely underneath me, surfaced 20-feet away, and is now diving. Did I think to take a photo? No, I just did my best to keep the kayak from flipping and sat there in awe.

    Thank you for your whale-watching story and the memories it rekindled.

    1. Motomynd, thanks! I take it that you were so close to the whale that you didn't need to crop the photos? That alone makes the photos very special.
          No, alas, the links aren't active in the comment window (even though Google activated them in the notification I was sent). So far as I have been able to determine, you must HTML-code a link in a comment window to activate it: <a href="[URL]">[phrase, or URL itself]</a>
          Here are your respective URLs activated:

  3. Yep, I was fairly close at times, six feet or so. I had a telephoto on the camera I had with me because the outfitter who rented me the kayak said the whales wouldn't come within 50 yards. Next thing I knew five of them were rolling around so close it was as if they were using the kayak as a water toy. Seemed great fun to them, if moderately terrifying to me.

    The problem with them being that close isn't that they will intentionally hurt you, but if you get sideswiped by something that weighs as much as a trailer truck, there will be issues. Especially if you get dumped in 34-degree (F) water. At least the people on boats in the area got some great video and photos of the action, even if I didn't.

    1. Your very description of it is exciting! The thought alone....Yes, not that they'd intentionally hurt you, they could just be playing, after all.

  4. I thought you had actually seen whales, too. Unlike the time I went with you from Oxnard! That was a great joke, Morris, but I wish you had really seen them.

    1. Patsy, We did see whales, and I showed my two "best" photos. Further down. Yes, I enjoyed the joke, which was the only way I was going to be able to show any truly GOOD whale photos....