Killer whale sighted off Brier Island

Jonathan Riley, Digby Courier
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Whale watchers get photos of breaching and tail slapping

[Updated with other sightings Wednesday, Sept. 19, 11 a.m.]

Whale watchers off Brier Island spent an hour watching with a killer whale.

Roy Small captains the Island Link for Brier Island Lodge and Welcome Aboard Whale Watching Tours out of Westport on Brier Island.

He says passengers on the afternoon trip today, Tuesday, Sept. 18 were already having a fantastic trip.

“There was a lot of seabird activity, we saw dolphins, several humpbacks, fin whales, minkes, it was already the trip of the year,” says Small.

Then about 12:30 p.m. while watching a pod of six humpbacks about 12 km northwest of Brier Island, they noticed a high dorsal fin a little farther off.

“As soon as we saw it we thought it must be a killer whale,” says Small. “There just isn’t anything else with a dorsal fin like that.”

The passengers on the Island Link spent the next hour and half watching a whale you rarely see in the Bay of Fundy.

Small has never seen one in 22 years on the water as a lobster fisherman and whale watch captain.

He says another Brier Island boat saw one two years ago and he believes this may be the same one.

“It has a little nick in the dorsal that they use to identify it,” he says. “It looks like the same one but it wasn’t anywhere near as active last time as it was today.”

Small says the whale fluked, tail slapped and even breached four or fiver times.

Small hung on to the whale until a boat from Mariner Cruises Whale and Seabird Tours arrived.

Penney Graham of Mariner Cruises says she had told the passengers what they were headed for.

“But when we saw the fin, they all started screaming. It was a very exciting day on the water.”

The same whale was also spotted off Grand Manaan last year.

In 2000, Ocean Explorations Zodiac Whale Cruises saw a pod of four killer whales, Mariner Cruises saw a pod of eight that year. Gordon Wilson of Culloden saw two near the shore in front of his house in 2008. (Courier story about this sighting.)

see more photos on Facebook at

Geographic location: Brier Island, Westport, Bay of Fundy

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Recent comments

  • Stewart Franck
    September 22, 2012 - 14:11

    I really don't care what you call is big and beautiful!

  • jriley reporter
    September 19, 2012 - 07:06

    Jane Doe, I checked the CP Style Guide (2004) which is how we at the paper decide which words and spellings to use. It makes no reference. A quick survey of CBC shows they use both, as does the Chronicle Herald and virtually every other news organization across the country. I checked COSEWIC - the committee on the status of endangered wildlife in canada - they list killer whales but not orca. It seems killer whales are called killer whales. Jonathan Riley

    • Scott
      September 19, 2012 - 12:22

      She's correct, they are Orcas. They are not whales at all, in fact

    • The Reporter is Right
      September 19, 2012 - 17:51 Point in case. Reporter wins. Fail.

  • Jane Doe
    September 18, 2012 - 21:58

    they are called Orcas not killer whales.