After weeks of few sightings we finally found some whales! On July 8th the weather held up enough for 3 boats to go out to work with the whales. Rafale headed southwest early in the morning, while Mistral and Sirocco headed east to cover as much area as possible. A bit of an overcast, but bright morning gave way to a warm, sunny day with hardly a breeze on the water. Several minkes and grey seals were spotted as we passed through theArchipelago between Grande and Quarry Islands. It was so calm on the water that we could hear the minkes each time they came up for a breath, even though some surfaced further than 500m from the boat.
Moving southeast, we saw quite a few harbor porpoises in small groups of two to five, but still no sights or sounds of the large whales. Though the visibility and audible range was excellent, the first few stops we made to scope yielded only a few minkes surfacing in the area. Finally, as we moved farther southeast and closer to Anticosti Island, large spouts appeared on the horizon. After the first sighting, suddenly there were spouts all along the coast in the distance towards the east. Heading towards the nearest group of spouts we met a pair of fin whales and a pair of humpbacks. One of the humpbacks approached the boat and stayed for several minutes, only inches from the pontoons, spyhopping and maneuvering gracefully around the boat throughout the "eye-to-eye" encounter. The giant white pectoral fins, appearing green beneath the surface of the water, spanned the length of our boat and all the nicks and scratches on his/her back were visible in fine detail. We were even treated to a shower of whale exhalation as he/she surfaced right next to us.