Mr. Elusive, the Humpback Whale

He’s only small at 7 metres but he has certainly captivated the attention of locals and tourists. Yes, a humpback whale managed to find its way through the sluice gates into the headpond at the Nova Scotia Power Plant. This isn’t the first time it has happened as two years ago a different whale came in to feed off all the mackerel in the area.

We were in Annapolis Royal today and decided to make a trip down to the plant to see what all the fuss was about – along with tons of whale watchers, tourists, Americans and locals. The roads around the gates are blocked off so you can’t park on the street over the gates, mostly because officials want to keep it quiet for the whale so he will hopefully leave on his own accord and also for the safety of the public.

The headpond is quite deep and can certainly hold a whale; and he put on quite the show on Tuesday and also today for tourists, doing acrobatics and flip flopping around. We didn’t see anything but the photos I took are of the area where he was seen and also of the gates that he managed to find his way through during high tide.

On Wednesday he was quite elusive and spent the day hiding behind an island several kilometers up the Annapolis River. He can’t go very far up the river because eventually the salt water will run out and he will no longer be able to survive.

The theory is that the whale followed fish into the area and is now living in the lap of luxury getting his food for free with little stress and lots of attention. But alas, it can’t last because each day he is there the plant loses $64,000 because the turbines are off until he leaves. If he doesn’t leave on his own the fishery officials will have to encourage him out by using nets, a wall of sound or fake whale noises on the other side of the gates. My hope is they don’t screw up because all these ideas look good on paper but whales are highly intelligent creatures and who knows if he will cooperate now that he has found Mecca. High tide is the key – he can only leave through the gates at this time.

I have a question, and I was thinking about this today, if a whale such as this humpback gets named, who decides what the name is? Do officials decide, does the public, or does one bold news organization decide? Could I be so bold as to decide to name him Mr. Elusive the Humpback Whale?

5 comments on “Mr. Elusive, the Humpback WhaleAdd yours →

  1. According to the news the whale was seen in Bridgetown yesterday, which is pretty scary considering he is getting into the fresher water and also into areas where he can beach himself. Just as a point of reference for those who have been to NS – Bridgetown is not far from where I live.

    Also today’s newspaper said the last whale that got in through the sluice was in 1991 and was a pilot whale. The paper and the TV are controdicting each other (though I was here with Chris 2 years ago and we didn’t hear anything of a whale). Got to love local reporting.

    They are going to try and coax him out now – but have to wait until Monday or Tuesday when high tide is during the day.

  2. If you are lucky enough to be on high speed you can check out photos and video of the whale on the NS Power website: [link no longer exists] or you can go to the press release section for news on the whale: [link no longer exists].

  3. Jeff was in town today and wanted to go down and see if we could get a glimpse of the whale. We drove down to Annapolis, though on the way just outside of Bridgetown we saw a lot of excited whale watchers and also a fisheries boat. In retrospect, we think that it was the whale and if we had stopped we would have seen it. Once we got to Annapolis it was confirmed that the last sighting was indeed in Bridgetown. Nonetheless, here are some more photos:

    Whale watchers in Annapolis:

    An airplane flying over to see if it can catch a glimpse. Incidentally, it is illegal for planes to fly over the area right now so this plane faces hefty fines for doing so:

    A shot of where the whale needs to leave, to the right of the tidal power building.

    The bridge in Bridgetown where the whale was seen a couple of days ago.

    Port Royal

  4. Mr. Elusive is now called Sluice the Humpback Whale. Fisheries people have had no luck getting him to leave the area even though they managed to lure him to the gates using sounds of other whales feeding. However, a whale expert from Hawaii came in from Maine to tell everyone that they were using the wrong whale noises – that the sounds come from a different whale species. Oops.

  5. From the NS Power Website:

    Sluice Swims Home

    It appeared the humpback whale that spent almost two weeks in the Annapolis River has returned safely to the Bay of Fundy, or perhaps joined other humpbacks that were recently observed in the Annapolis Basin. The last confirmed sighting in the river was Friday morning, Sept. 3, 2004. Fishery officers from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) made numerous detailed sweeps of the river on Sept. 7 checking all areas the whale had frequented from Annapolis Royal to Bridgetown but saw no sign of it.

    More can be found [link no longer exists].

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