Tale of a Hundred Whales

by Ralph Sabean
(Annapolis Royal,NS, Canada)

It was a beautiful day in the middle of August and I was on the beautiful Atlantic Ocean just perhaps twenty miles off the coast of Newfoundland. The reason I was there was a fishing trip starting off in Riverport a few miles from Lunenburg, on the La Have river in Nova Scotia.

I was a part of a crew of fifteen men including the Skipper (Captain), 1st Mate, Boatswain, Engineer and the rest were crew members. We started off dragging for fish in the middle of the channel between Cape Breton and Newfoundland and all we got there was a load of dogfish. The first mate approximated it to be around eighty thousand pounds in one haul back.

We only stopped there because another ship had got a really good haul just a short time previous to when we got there. I guess you can't always catch something already caught. We tried one more time a little ways further on and caught about five thousand pounds of Redfish the species we were fishing for, but along with it we had the entire cod end filled with a mess of Jellyfish. It took some time to clean up that mess and then we decided to head north, way up north about 300 miles north of Newfoundland.

This is the part of the journey that would ordinarily be very boring just going on watch for four hours then sleep. We would do a few things just to keep out of trouble, maybe play cards or watch a movie. This was a modern fish dragger with all the conveniences of home, even a shower room. We sure needed this after being in fish guts clean up to our elbows and splatters all over us.

It was during this time of inactivity that it happened. All of a sudden about a half mile away there was a whale that jumped clear out of the water and splashed tremendously. After a few seconds it repeated that and so we turned a bit towards it for a better view. Suddenly there were more and more whales doing every antic you ever saw on a whale watching episodes on TV.

They were flipping their tails at us, diving alongside us and swimming past us as we steamed along at about fifteen knots. It was incredible to see whales gliding along through the water effortlessly and yet they were 30 feet long, weighing many tons. The blue whale was said to be larger than any dinosaur that ever lived by several times.

In every direction we saw whales and if we didn't see them immediately we would hear them blow. It was the most incredible sight that I, in all the years I have lived, have seen on this beautiful earth. What I'm trying to say is if you ever get a chance to go whale watching by all means go and not just once but many times just in case you might have a chance to see even a few whales.

What I saw was so incredible because I saw as many as a hundred whales in about twenty or thirty minutes. While fishing over the years in the Bay of Fundy and in The Annapolis River Basin I saw many whales but never like that day in August many years ago. My only regrets are that no one had a camera so we can only reminisce about it in times passing with fading memories. Still we too have the reminders we get from viewing or being a part of whale watching tours, TV, in movie theaters or right here in these wonderful articles about our Nova Scotia home.

Wow Ralph, that was quite the story! What a sight that must have been to see, you are indeed lucky to have experienced it! Even without a picture I bet that sight will always stay fresh in your mind. Thank you for sharing this great experience with us.

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