Notes and observations from a photographer and cultural interpreter living on Canada's east coast.
Wednesday, May 23, 2012
For the Love of Whales
Wayne Maloney of Bay Bulls, NL is an admitted whale-aholic -- at least that's how he puts it. He's addicted to the big cetaceans that make their way to the shores of Newfoundland and Labrador every summer to feed. Wayne's been operating the boats that go out whale watching from Bay Bulls for close to thirty years. He's the son of boatbuilder Gene Maloney, so when he found himself in a position to start a whale watching
business of his own, the question of where he'd get a suitable boat wasn't difficult: he'd build it. And build it he did -- from the keel up, and from a design that incorporated a "wish list" that was many years in the making. Countless hours were spent poring over plans to get the lines just right, and the details of the deck layout complete. Theatre seating would allow for excellent forward-facing viewing, and the aft cockpit would mean uninterrupted sightlines for those on board. The shot above shows this beautiful boat, christened
Blackfish 1, in progress. He'd be the first to tell you he didn't do it all himself; he's quick to give credit to the good friends who lent a hand, a strong back, or a heaping helping of moral support. Their assistance just helped to spur on the inevitable, though, since this is a man who was born to the water and who has what seems to be uncanny whale sense. He's studied humpbacks and their habits for years, and it's paid off in a knowledge of whale psychology that's remarkable to see in action. It's all based on a deep-seated respect for the whales, and for observing their interaction without intrusion. In addition to the humpbacks that arrive in the area in midsummer, there are minkes, fin whales, dolphins, occasional visiting pods of orcas on the hunt, countless seabirds to be seen on the islands of the Witless Bay Ecological Reserve and miles of spectacular coastal scenery. Wayne and Blackfish 1 are now in business as Captain Wayne's Marine Excursions, and can be found on the Northside Road in Bay Bulls, NL.