North Shore And Gaspé (Blue Whale)
The decision to go on the water or to stay on shore is made by the captains depending on the weather conditions observed in the morning and announced by Environnement Canada. When permitted, we leave from the dock at Ekuanitshit (Mingan) at 7.30am on a 22 ft. rigid-hulled inflatable boat spending 6 to 10 hours searching for the whales, perhaps even 12 hours if permitted by the animal distributions. Participants will have the opportunity to observe photo-identification and biopsies of whales while also assisting in the collection of data at sea. Researchers on board the boats will provide information about the biology and ecology of the whales and how to identify species and individuals based on their characteristic markings.
During your stay, you will listen to an interpretation at the Museum and be introduced to the research being done at the station and see the work behind the field trips at sea. It will include a learning process to identify individual whales based on photos, through a technique called 'matching'. It will help you understand the different steps from transmitting the data collected on logbooks to filtering and importing the photos into the MICS database. You will have access to our library and our researchers will always be at your dispersal to answers any questions you may have.
When the conditions do not allow us to go on the water, activities are being organized on land for you to discover the Mingan/Anticosti region with visits and walks along the shore (e.g. Magpie waterfalls, BBR, Grande Pointe, Havre-St-Pierre) and cultural immersion into the Innus lives.
-- CANCELLED IN 2021 DUE TO COVID-19 SITUATION LOCALLY --
This beautiful archipelago, an autonomous region of Portugal, is a unique haven situated in the middle of the North Atlantic Ocean, pushed up from the bottom of the sea above the Mid-Atlantic Ridge millions of years ago. The result is a string of islands, each different from the next, with a sub-tropical climate, that also acts as a refuge and a pit stop to many oceanic species.
In the spring, many blue whales will pass through the archipelago and can be observed fairly close to shore. It is a perfect time for Richard Sears to go record individual blue whale IDs through photo-identification, in order to continue the monitoring work he started over 20 years ago in this part of the world.
A week in the Azores with Richard Sears on Pico Island is a unique opportunity to learn more about the largest animal on Earth while getting a chance to see it up close. Additionally, the incredible biodiversity will have you observing many other marine mammal species such as Sperm whales, Risso's dolphins, and common dolphins.
On-land activities are available for poor weather days, including a visit Lajes and the towering spectacular volcanic peak of Pico, as well as museums and a jaunt on the neighbouring island of Horta.