Today I hopped onto another boat tour of the Witless Bay Ecological Reserve.

Last time my tour started out under clear skies but quickly turned overcast, but today the weather was excellent and so was my tour of the Reserve. The ocean was beautiful, there was great music and atmosphere, and I saw lots of cool animals:

Puffin comes up with capelin – Witless Bay Ecological Reserve

Puffins were present on the water and in the air, flying in from all directions with capelin in their little orange beaks:

Puffins with capelin – Witless Bay Ecological Reserve

One puffin had caught something unusual and upon closer photo-inspection it turns out he had a beakful of shrimp! Another rare sight was a Leach’s storm-petrel, a bird that’s usually nocturnal. I also saw a greater shearwater, a bird I hadn’t seen before:

Greater shearwater – Witless Bay Ecological Reserve

Of course the main idea of a whale watching tour is to go look for whales, and that pretty much means that as soon as a whale is spotted the boat launches into hot pursuit. This exact thing happened today for example, just as I had found a bunch of adorable and photogenic puffins on the cliffs, the engines roared to life and we left the island to give chase to a distant blow.

I didn’t mind today though, because we got super close to 2 finback whales! I hadn’t seen these guys from up close and personal before, just from the cliffs, and now we got to within 10 m, one of them just sort of swam up to the boat before making a terminal dive:

Finback surfacing – Witless Bay Ecological Reserve

What you’re looking at here is the whale’s rostrum, you can just see the tip of his mouth underwater on the left. An amazing close encounter with a whale that was much bigger than the boat I was on! 🙂