July 24, 2020
The Bay of Fundy is one of the Seven Natural Wonders of North America, and it’s easy to see why. It’s home to the highest tides in the world, beautiful rugged shorelines, and a wonderfully diverse group of whales. In fact, some of Canada’s most illusive whales call the Bay of Fundy home every summer—making it a perfect time to pay them a visit. But before you start planning your whale-watching adventure, let’s take a closer look at a few of these magnificent creatures to learn more about them, when they visit, and where the best whale-watching spots are located.
One thing that’s great about whale watching on the Bay of Fundy is the variety of whales you’ll see in the waters. Every summer, the Bay of Fundy welcomes massive fin whales, ever-popular Humpbacks, small fry minkes and the once rare northern right whale.
The fin whale is one of the largest whales swimming in the Bay of Fundy. At an impressive 79 feet and 265,000 pounds, fin whales are an absolutely amazing sight to see (from a safe distance, of course!). Beyond their size, their most distinguishing features are their streamlined appearance and the ridge along their back dorsal fin. While fin whales are fairly common around here, but it is very rare to see them outside of the Northern Hemisphere.
The Humpback whale is probably the most famous of the whales that visit the Bay of Fundy. At a typical length of 50 feet and weight of 90,000 pounds, they are known for their generally dark grey or black colouring with white patches on their stomach and knobs covering their head. Whale watchers in this area are quite familiar with the humpback, as these massive mammals frequent the Bay of Fundy more than most other whale watching areas.
The minke is among the smallest whales swimming the oceans. In fact, only the pygmy right whale is smaller. Of course, small by whale standards is still quite impressive, and minkes typically measure between 25 and 30 feet in length and weigh 12,000 pounds. Besides their smaller size, minkes have a white band on each flipper that contrasts with their dark grey top colour, which is very cool to see in person.
At one point, not long ago, the northern right whale was one of the most endangered whales swimming the seas, with a count of only 300-350 living. Luckily, through the dedication of conservationists, we can happily report that their numbers are now growing every year. Northern rights have stocky, black bodies and rough patches (called callosities) on their heads. While their population is growing, they are still rare whales to see, but your best bet to catch a glimpse is on the Bay of Fundy!
So, now that you know who you’ll see, you’ll want to know when to see them! In general, whale season starts in the spring and ends in late fall. For humpback whales, the season begins in the early days of June and really starts to pick up steam by mid-month. If you have your heart set on seeing the rare northern right whale, your best bet is to plan an excursion in the late summer, as they show up fashionably late and leave early!
The best days to go whale watching are sunny and warm. In addition, the late summer offers fantastic sightseeing opportunities as the conditions are less foggy—meaning there’s a higher possibility of seeing a wide variety of whales during this time.
While sightings from the mv Fundy Rose are always possible, we recommend reserving a spot with one of the many local whale watching businesses throughout New Brunswick, including Sea Watch Tours and Jolly Breeze Whale Adventures. Of course, if you’re taking the mv Fundy Rose from Saint John to Digby, there are also whale watching opportunities in Nova Scotia, including Brier Island Whale and Seabird Cruises and Ocean Explorations.
Looking for a whale of a time this summer? Start by booking your passage on the mv Fundy Rose! Then, explore the waters for some of nature’s most majestic creatures. Will you have a rare sighting of the right whale? Maybe wave back at a minke or humpback? There’s only one way to find out—get out there and explore!
And if you’re interested in more animal encounters during your Maritime adventure, here are some other ways you can meet our region’s different wild residents!