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Quoddy Loop Sightings


Great White Shark!


Jellies Galore!
  Breaching Gonzo is Back!
  Yankee Magazine Names West Quoddy Head Lighthouse the Best



Killer Whale!
Breaching Basking Shark Off Grand Manan!
Great White Shark near St. Andrews!
Porbeagle Shark near Deer Island!

The Whales are Back! Eagles abound!
Humpback Whale Rescued!
Video Crew in Old Sow Whirlpool for Weather Channel TV


Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights)
Whales, Whales, Whales!
Aurora Borealis Generates Local Sounds


Whales, Seals, Puffins, and a Bus-size Basking Shark!
Whales, Porpoise, Seals, Eagles, and Osprey Sighted!
Sun Pillar
Bobcat on Campobello Island
Passamaquoddy Bay Underwater Sealife Scuba Diving Video



Sperm Whale & Basking Sharks
Large Shark off Campobello Island!!!
Right Whales & Finback Whales in Western Passage
The Whales Are Returning!
Minke whale sighted along coast of Grand Manan in winter


Finback Whales & Whitesided Dolphins in & outside Head Harbour Passage
Sperm Whales, Basking Shark off Grand Manan
Right Whale in Passamaquoddy Bay

'Gonzo' the Whale Makes a Splash
Seinfeld Star Sighted
The Whales are Back


White Puffin 
Right Whales at Head Harbour Lightstation
Hundreds of Beached Squid in Cobscook Bay (video)
Basking Shark
Jumping Tuna
Finbacks in Head Harbour Passage

6 North Atlantic Right Whales, 1 Finback Whale, & Lots of Birds
Humpback Tail-slapping
Breaching Minkes


Whales, Whales, and More Whales


August 2016

Great White Shark!

A 15–17-feet-long, 5–6 feet wide, great white shark was observed and videotaped by a fishing excursion in the Bay of Fundy near Saint Andrews, New Brunswick. (Read the August 3 CBC News article, and view the video, Great white shark filmed near St. Andrews.)

Don't dangle your toes in the water!


August 2015

Jellies Galore!

An extraordinary number of jellyfish and other jellies are appearing in the area, including vast numbers of species not typically seen here in quantity.

Large numbers of white cross jellyfish, Baroe's comb jellies, syphonophores, and even lion's mane jellyfish are being seen.

Lion's Mane Jellyfish in the Waters of Passamaquoddy Bay

Lion's mane jellyfish Lion's mane jellyfish Lion's mane jellyfish
A lion's mane jellyfish in the upright position, mantle extended (above) was photographed adjacent to the Eastport Fish Pier on 2015 August 15. (All three views are of the same animal.) The jellyfish turned over (above) moments after the picture to the left was taken. The mantle has just closed, slowly propelling the animal. The jellyfish moves its mantle in an open-to-closed pulsing motion. Here, the jellyfish's mantle is opened in preparation to move within the tidal current.
      Images © 2015 Old Sow Publishing, Eastport, ME

White Cross Jellyfish in Abundance

Numerous white cross jellyfish are seen next to the Eastport Fish Pier at low water, 2015 August 15. Green sea urchins cling to the subtidal zone of the Fish Pier's metal wall.
      Video © 2015 Old Sow Publishing, Eastport, ME


July 2015

Gonzo the Breaching Minke Whale is Back!

Whale watchers have reported seeing the whale locals have dubbed "Gonzo" that likes to breach repeatedly! It has breached non-stop over 120 times in the past.

West Quoddy Head Lighthouse Named Best by Yankee Magazine

Read the Bangor Daily News article about Yankee Magazine's May/June designation:

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October 2014

Orca (Killer Whale) Off Grand Manan and St. Andrews

Oct 11: A single orca whale has been sighted off Grand Mana, nNB, and more recently off St. Andrews, NB.

August 2014

Breaching Basking Shark Off Grand Manan!

Aug 10: People reported seeing a basking shark repeatedly breaching in Bay of Fundy waters off Grand Manan.

July 2014

Great White Shark Spotted Near St. Andrews!

Jul 23: Whalewatchers were treated with a rare glimpse of a great white shark near St. Andrews, NB. See the CBC News article and video:

Great white shark near St. Andrews captured in vivid video

Porbeagle Shark Spotted Near Deer Island!

Week of Jul 21: A porbeagle shark was sighted off Deer Island, NB. See the CBC News article and video on area sharks:

St. Andrews researchers study Bay of Fundy sharks

June 2014

Video Crew in Old Sow Whirlpool for the Weather Channel

Jun 15: Flight 33 Productions video crew were in the Quoddy Loop, taping Old Sow Whirlpool for the Weather Channel's "Secrets of the Earth" program series. The episode being taped is entitled (at least for now) "Death Traps." It includes footage about quicksand, whirlpools, and rip currents. Watch for the program this fall!

The Whales are Back!

Jun 11: A pod of six whales in Friar Roads have been sighted close to shore! A whale was also reported being seen from shore during the previous week.

American eagles are also seen frequently year-around, with this writer having one fly directly overhead today.

Humpback Whale Rescued!

Jun 10: A humpack whale that was entangled in lobster fishing gear was rescued during an arduous four-hour effort by the amazing Campobello Whale Rescue Team. See the June 12 news article.

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October 2013

Aurora Boralis (Northern Lights)

Oct 2, 1:00 AM: The Northern Lights gave a nice, wide display of dancing curtains!

August 2013

Whales, Whales, Whales!

Aug 17: Many, many whales are present — far more than last year! Whales are even frequenting near-shore waters of the area. Whale watchers are also likely to see porpoise and seals.

June 2013

Powerful Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights) Generates Local Sounds

Jun 1: Two people in the Quoddy Loop reported to this webmaster that around 3:30 am ET (Maine, USA) / 4:30 am AT (New Brunswick, Canada), they heard mysterious sounds:

One (in Eastport, ME) reported a glass ornament hanging in a window continued to "buzz" against the window glass, even after being stopped from vibrating by holding it and then releasing it. Simultaneously, the observer heard a small stack of nearby dishes buzzing.

The other (in Edmunds Township, ME) reported being awakened by an unnatural, confusing and weird, metallic animal-like noise.

Auroras and meteors are known to generate Very Low Frequency (VLF) radio signals that can cause nearby objects to vibrate, such as wire-rimmed glasses, pine needles on the ground, and even frizzy hair.

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July 2012

Whales, Seals, Puffins, and a Bus-size Basking Shark!

July 3: Quoddy Loop whalewatchers have been seeing minke whales, finback whales, puffins, harbor seals, grey seals, and even a basking shark!

June 2012

Whales, Porpoise, Seals, and Osprey Sighted!

June 21: Early-season whalewatchers were treated to sightings of whales, harbor porpoise, seals and osprey near Head Harbour Lightstation, Campobello Island, NB.

February 2012

Sun Pillar

February 4: A sun pillar — a type of atmospheric light pillar — was sighted prior to, and during, sunrise this morning!

See numerous examples of light pillars (on the Atmospheric Optics website).

January 2012

Bobcat on Campobello Island

January 23: An elusive bobcat was photographed on Campobello Island.

Canada lynx
Photograph by Park Naturalist Harold Bailey, published here courtesy of
Roosevelt Campobello International Park.

Scuba Diving Video of Passamaquoddy Bay Undersea Life

January 22: Watch a video of wonderful, colorful undersea life in Passamaquoddy Bay —

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August 2011

Sperm Whale & Basking Sharks

August 14: A sperm whale (link is to NOAA Fisheries website) — the largest living toothed mammal, and the subject of Herman Melville's book, Moby Dick— was detected via hydrophone by researchers off Grand Manan, who also spotted a couple of basking sharks (link is to NOAA Fisheries website).

July 2011

Large Shark Sighted!

July 31: A basking shark (link is to NOAA Fisheries website) was sighted by several people in Schooner Cove, just offshore from Campobello Island.

Right Whales & Finback Whales in Western Passage

July 25: Several rare & endangered North Atlantic right whales and endnagered & long finback whales were sighted today in Western Passage, between Deer Island, NB, and Sipayik (Pleasant Point Reservation), ME.

June 2011

The Whales Are Returning

Jun 30: Three whales were sighted today off of Campobello Island, and a lot of plankton is evident, promising a good food source for the cetaceans this summer.

February 2011

Minke Whale off Grand Manan in Winter

Feb 14: A minke whale was sighted in February along the coast of Grand Manan. See the I Love Quoddy Wild post on the sighting.

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August 2010

Finback Whales & Whitesided Dolphins in & outside Head Harbour Passage

August 30: Numerous pods of whitesided dolphins and harbor porpoise were seen feeding excitedly, and several finback whales were present in Head Harbour Passage and just offshore from Head Harbour Lightstation (a.k.a., East Quoddy Light) on Campobello Island.

Sperm Whales & Basking Shark off Grand Manan

August 21: Four sperm whales (link is to NOAA Fisheries website) as well as a breaching basking shark (link is to NOAA Fisheries website) were sighted in Grand Manan Basin by researchers from Grand Manan Whale & Seabird Research Station.

Right Whale in Passamaquoddy Bay

August 5: A rare North Atlantic right whale was sighted in Head Harbour Passage (between Campobello Island and Deer Island, NB) and farther inland, in Friar Roads near Eastport, ME, and in Friar's Bay near Campobello Island. Right whales are not typically seen this close to land.

Note: The eastern limit of Passamaquoddy Bay runs from West Quoddy Head in Lubec, at the south, to L'Etete, NB, at the north, including Campobello Island, Deer Island, Moose Island (Eastport) and numerous smaller islands and islets.

'Gonzo' the Whale Makes a Splash

August 1: A minke whale dubbed 'Gonzo' by thrilled whale watchers has been observed breaching repeatedly in Friar Roads (between Eastport, ME, and Campobello Island, NB) and Western Passage (between Deer Island, NB, and Perry, ME) , putting on a terrific show.

July 2010

Seinfeld Star Sighted

July 17: Los Angeles Comedian Michael Richards who protrayed Cosmo Kramer on the popular Seinfeld television show was seen visiting the shops in downtown Eastport, and in Pembroke.

June 2010

The Whales are Back!

June: Whales have been spotted since June off Head Harbour Light on Campobello Island, and even in Friar Roads near Eastport.


September 2009

White Puffin sighted

September 1: A white (albino?) puffin has been photographed off Machias Seal Island. See the photograph and read the account.

Right Whales at Head Harbour (East Quoddy) Lightstation

September 1: Two right whales, a youth and an adult, were hanging around just offshore from Head Harbour Lightstation (East Quoddy Head Light) on Campobello Island, NB. See photographs.

Hundreds of Squid Beached in Cobscook Bay

Video by marine biologist Tim Sheehan

August 2009

40 North Atlantic Right Whales!

August 28: As many as 40 right whales were observed in the area. One right whale breached!

Basking Shark

August 27: Abasking shark (link is to NOAA Fisheries website) was seen in Head Harbour Passage near Wilson's Beach on Campobello Island. These behemoths are about the size of a bus! Despite being sharks, they are plankton feeders, typically seen cruising near the surface, scooping up plankton.

Jumping Tuna

August 26: Tuna were seen leaping all over Head Harbour Passage to the southwest of Head Harbour Lightstation on Campobello Island, NB.

Finbacks in Head Harbour Passage

August 26: Several finbacks were sighted feeding in Head Harbour Passage, along Campobello Island.

6 North Atlantic Right Whales, 1 Finback Whale, & Lots of Birds

August 25: A whalewatching trip out of North Head, Grand Manan, reported sighting six right whales and one fin whale near Ingall's Head, along with the following birds:

Humpback Tail-Slapping

August 17: A young humpback whale was sighted, repeatedly tail-slapping.

Breaching Minkes

August 14: Whale watchers were delighted by a minke whale repeatedly breaching 100+ times!


July 2006

Harbour Porpoise, Finbacks, Minke Whales, and Loons!

July 31: A pod of around 100 harbour porpoise were sighted feeding on krill just off Head Harbour (East Quoddy) Lightstation on Campobello Island, NB. There were two small finbacks and one huge finback, maybe 60-70 feet, along with one minke whale, plus many loons amongst them.

Dead Right Whale Found

July 24: A juvenile northern right whale was discovered by a whalewatching excursion near Grand Manan. The whale was towed to Campobello Island for a necropsy. The 1–2 year-old female had been struck by a ship, although, as of this writing, it isn't known if the whale had been struck while alive, or after it died. The necropsy report may divulge the cause of death.

Right whales are found in the summer months in the Grand Manan area of the Bay of Fundy, tending their calves and breeding. There are only 300–400 North Atlantic right whales left in existence, the most endangered whale species.

June 2006

Orca Whale off Grand Manan!

A Grand Manan fisherman spotted a breaching Orca whale (killer whale) off Grand Manan. A subsequent breaching was observed by other area fishermen.

Halie & Matthew Tall Ship Near Maiden Voyage

The newly-built 92-foot-long gaff-rigged two-masted schooner Halie & Matthew is now at berth at the Fishermen's Pier in downtown Eastport. She will be doing day trips this summer while her 10 staterooms are being finished this summer. She's the second windjammer to grace the Eastport breakwater, along with the 84-foot gaff-rigged, two-masted Sylvina W. Beal. built in 1911.


Eagles Aplenty!

November 2005

Late November — A full dozen American bald eagles — juvenile and adult — were spotted roosting and flying along the shore near Wilson's Beach on Campobello Island.


Whales in Friar Roads!

August 2004

Late August — Minke whales have been sighted multiple times this summer within Friar Roads, with sightings from the Deer Island-Campobello Island ferry, and from the shore at Eastport, likely feeding on herring brought in with the incoming tide.

Early August — Whales have been visiting Friar Roads, with an unusual sighting of a rare Right Whale by Cherry Island, at the junction of Head Harbour Passage, and Friar Roads.


Even More Spectacular Auroras Borealis

November 2003

We're in the third year of an Auroral activity peak. Typically, Auroras go through an 11-year activity cycle, and 2001 was a peak year in that cycle. There are occasional "double-peak" cycles, where the 12th year is also unusually active; however, 2003 is the 13th year of the cycle, providing numerous opportunities to view the Aurora.

The first few days of November provided some spectacular Northern Lights sighthings! A massive solar eruption shot particles toward Earth at approximately 4-times average speed, resulting in exceptionally bright and colorful sky shows.

Large areas of red, along with bright "curtains" of moving light, pulsing light, and long spikes of light, have covered huge areas of the sky, sometimes visible even in well-lit municipal areas where auroral events are typically unseen. Many members of Quoddy Loop communities have been taking extra effort to watch for — and be awed by — Mother Nature's recent fireworks in the sky.

(See photographs from a spectacular 2001 Aurora Borealis sighting.)

Wired.com Visits Eastport & Old Sow Whirlpool Survivors' Association

October 2003

Michelle Delio and her husband-photographer Laszlo Pataki, near the onset of a 4-month quest of travelling US-1 from Fort Kent, Maine, to Key West, Florida, stopped in Eastport to do a story in their travel series on "geek history and culture" along United States' Number 1 highway. Their stories appear on Wired.com, the news arm of Wired Magazine.

October 26th presented Eastport with these nomads of news, who had breakfast with a handful of members of the Old Sow Whirlpool Survivors' Association. Heads were spinning from personal accounts of being caught in — and escaping — mighty Old Sow!

See Michelle Delio's story, with Laszlo Pataki's photographs (and one bodacious aerial image of Old Sow by yours truly) on the Wired.com website. Be sure to follow their periodic reports on their adventure all the way to the extreme opposite end of US-1.

On the days in which stories are newly posted, they're featured on the Wired.com home page. Look for the photographic image of a US-1 road sign. On other days, look for the "Subsets" category along the left side of the home page; look for "Culture"; and then "On the Road: Travels in Technology." On that page you'll find all of Michelle's stories on the trip thus far.

* They mean "geek" in a nice way. See Michelle Delio's first story in this series, "Finding Life on a New Road," for an operating definition of the word.

(Be sure to check out our sister Web site dedicated to Old Sow Whirlpool: www.oldsowwhirlpool.com)

Baby Gull Prepares for Flight

May 2003

For the second year in a row, a pair of gulls laid their eggs in an improbable place — on a vagrant pier in downtown (Moose Island) Eastport. Gulls typically lay their eggs on isolated islands.

Two eggs were laid this year, and — as in 2002 — one hatched successfully. Although the nest was isolated from predator access by land, due to the delapidated condition of the wharf, such a location presents an unexpected hazard to a baby gull.

As with 2002, when the chick began exercizing its as-of-yet unfeathered wings, it fell off the narrow beam of its nest, falling into the tidal water below. Fearful that the chick had been lost to the sea or to a local cat or eagle, this writer investigated the area on several succeeding days, learning that the parents were still tending the chick along the Moose Island shoreline. The baby gull eventually fledged, and is now a member of the local gull community.

Baby Seagull
A fuzzy gull chick, while tended by a parent on its precarious nest, exercises its wings in anticipation of greater things to come.
Photography Notes: Canon EOS-1 on tripod; Canon EF 300mm L lens with matched Canon EF 2x extender (600mm effective focal length); 1/1000 sec at f/5.6; Fuji 200 ISO negative film.

A Great Year for Auroras!

Although solar flare activity (the cause for the aurora borealis) typically occurs on an 11-year cycle, with occasional periods of two succeeding years of high activity, we have been experiencing a 3-year period of high solar flare activity, with resulting auroras.

2003 has had a satisfying number of auroras, some being spectacular. One recent Aurora Borealis was reported to have been observed as far south as southern California!

There are many locations in the Quoddy Loop that are perfect for aurora sightings, due to the absence of light pollution that is experienced in more urban areas. Such available darkness has also been great for viewing Mars during its once-every-60,000-year close proximity to earth.


White Whale Sighted!

Shades of Moby Dick!

1 September 2002

The owner-operator of East Coast Ferries, Ltd., of Deer Island, NB, reported sighting a small white whale several times recently while running the ferries within the passages of Passamaquoddy Bay between Deer Island and Campobello Island, and between Deer Island and Eastport, Maine. It may be a beluga whale, which are white when adult, and which are known to be infrequent visitors to this area. Belugas generally reside year 'round in waters much farther north.

Whale Breaches Off Eastport Pier

People at the Eastport Municipal Pier reported watching a whale breach in the nearby Friar Roads passage on July 24. Once commonplace, and although whales are frequently seen off Head Harbour on Campobello Island, and in the open Bay of Fundy between Grand Manan and Lubec, whale sightings in Friar Roads occur but a few times each summer.

Tree Explodes from Internal Steam Pressure

Exploded tree stump
During a mid-July thunderstorm, a tree along US-1 in Edmunds Township was struck by lightning. A passerby saw steam rising out of the tree, which -- although having just been lightning struck -- was still intact. He got out of his car and walked around the tree, observing the unusual sight.

Sometime after leaving, the internal steam pressure burst the tree asunder, with the results shown in the photographs.

The next day, owners of the property reported that they placed their hands within part of the tree's enormous wound, and could smell ozone on their hands as a result of the lightning.

View larger version of image on the left or image on the right.

Exploded tree and stump

Hooded Seal in Cutler Harbor

A young hooded seal, about 125 pounds and three feet long, was spotted on Sandy Beach in Cutler on April 11th, as reported in the 12 April edition of The Quoddy Tides newspaper. Hooded seals are not common in Maine, and typically are found on the ice pack in the North Atlantic.

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Whale Ashore at Cutler

A deceased whale washed ashore at Cutler in August.

Willem Dafoe Visits Quoddy Area

Actor Willem Dafoe was seen in Eastport and touring Roosevelt International Park on Campobello Island in August. Dafoe received Oscar nominations as best supporting actor in "Platoon" (1986) and "Shadow of the Vampire" (2000).

Dafoe's film, television, and narration experience, as of this writing:

Heaven's Gate (uncredited)
The Loveless (aka Breakdown)
The Hunger
Streets of Fire
Roadhouse 66
New York Nights
To Live and Die in L.A.
The Communists Are Comfortable
Dear America: Letters Home from Vietnam
Off Limits
Mississippi Burning
The Last Temptation of Christ
Triumph of the Spirit
Born on the Fourth of July
Wild at Heart
Flight of the Intruder
Light Sleeper
Fishing with John
White Sands
Far Away, So Close
Body of Evidence
In weiter Ferne, so nah! (aka, Faraway, So Close!)
Tom & Viv
The Night and the Moment
Clear and Present Danger
Foolish Heart
The English Patient
Speed 2: Cruise Control
New Rose Hotel
What is Yoga?
Lulu on the Bridge
The Boondock Saints
American Psycho
Animal Factory
Shadow of the Vampire*
Pavilion of Women
Morality Play
Did You Know?
Edges of the Lord
Once Upon a Time in Mexico

* Oscar nomination for best supporting actor.

(Source: www.washingtonpost.com and IMDb.com)

Basking Shark at Grand Manan

A basking shark was caught in, and released from, a herring weir on Grand Manan this summer.

Smithsonian Magazine Mentions Old Sow

Smithsonian Magazine's August issue has a writeup about famous whirlpools in the world, including the Old Sow Whirlpool, written by best-selling author ("The Professor and the Madman"), Simon Winchester. Smithsonian Magazine's website also carries some ancillary information.

© 2001 Old Sow Publishing

Fox TV's "Murder in Small Town X"

Eastport was transformed into "Sunrise, Maine," and was all abuzz during the late winter/early spring as Final Stretch Productions filmed several episodes of their "reality-tv" murder mystery series.

The production erected a statue of a fisherman holding a pollock (left), and left it as a testament to their project.

Aurora Borealis

Numerous sightings of the Northern Lights have been made during this apex of the 11-year Solar flare activity cycle. A particularly spectacular sighting [see our 11 April 2001 photographs] demonstrates the advantages of clear skies, broad horizons, and northern latitudes for viewing this mysterious phenomenon.

[Aurora Borealis]
© 2001 OSP


Nesting American Bald Eagles Return to Moosehorn

Once again, a pair of bald eagles returned in April 2001 to nest in one of the man-made osprey roosts at the Moosehorn National Wildlife Refuge along US Route 1 in Baring, Maine. An observation deck along the highway makes viewing convenient. [Note: At least 14 pairs of bald eagles winter around Cobscook Bay, a branch of Passamaquoddy Bay.]

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Prior to 2001

Great White Shark Attack Off the Wolf Islands

In the Spring of 2000, the Canadian Coast Guard reported sighting a great white shark attacking a minke whale off the Wolf Islands, south of Blacks Harbour. If you've seen Jaws, you can imagine this observation!

Killer Whales Sighted Off Grand Manan & Campobello

Pods of 5 - 25 Orca whales were spotted during the summer of 2000 off of Grand Manan and the southern end of Campobello Island. It may be the many seals found in the area that attracted the Orcas. Swim at your own risk!

Basking Sharks at Deer Island & Campobello Island

Several bus-size plankton-feeding basking sharks were seen in 1999 and 2000 around Deer Island and Campobello Island, and in a Deer Island herring weir.

Ocean Sunfish Washed Ashore on Carlow Island

Seldom seen in this area, a large ocean sunfish (deceased) washed ashore at Carlow Island, Eastport, Maine, during the summer 2000.

Humpback Whale Flotsam in Lubec

In 1995 a dead humpback whale, flukes missing from an apparent collision with a ship's propeller, washed up on shore on the beach at the south end of Lubec village. The whale's odor was so powerful -- and the whale being uncooperative at floating away with the tide -- that after an autopsy performed by the College of the Atlantic, the town employed a backhoe at low water to bury the behemoth beneath the beach.

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© 2001–