So much to sea

Truro Daily News - - COLCHESTER COUNTY - BY BILL SPURR

A large shark and a whale among sea crea­tures ap­pear­ing in St. Mar­garets Bay wa­ters.

Whether dead or alive, the un­usual sea crea­tures mak­ing ap­pear­ances in St. Mar­garets Bay keep get­ting big­ger.

A month ago, Blois Col­pitts shot a video of a large shark slowly glid­ing by his dock, and on Labour Day morn­ing Col­pitts and his friend Ed Back­man were on their way back from an early break­fast when they got a call from a neigh­bour “around the point” who said there was a whale float­ing to­ward their shore.

It looked dead be­cause it had a great big oil slick and a big white blob of in­testines, ac­cord­ing to Col­pitts, a Hal­i­fax lawyer.

“They had called DFO and DFO said to make sure it doesn’t hit your beach, be­cause once it hits your beach, you own it. Which was sur­pris­ing,” he said.

The two set out to see the whale, and found it was get­ting close to a friend’s shore. They gath­ered a rope and the three went in Back­man’s zo­diac to see if they could lasso it be­fore it hit the friend’s beach. The men es­ti­mated the length of the dead whale at eight to 10 me­tres, and though no­body there was a marine bi­ol­o­gist, de­ter­mined it was minke.

“You see all th­ese con­cerns about ship traf­fic and whales. Well, from the side of it I would say a pro­pel­ler hit it, and I would say it was alive (Mon­day) or the day be­fore and got hit by a larger boat,” Col­pitts said.

“We tried to hook it and I was lean­ing over the boat and grabbed the fin and was hold­ing onto the fin so we could pull it back and it didn’t hit the rocks.”

In the process, Col­pitts fell in, right into the grease slick of this whale. He man­aged to get the rope un­der­neath the tail and got a good knot on it. They hooked the whale to the Zo­diac and towed it about a kilo­me­tre to the back side of Wedge Is­land, which took half an hour.

Af­ter be­ing al­most close enough last month to touch the shark he es­ti­mated at six me­tres long and “big in the nose,” and now af­ter the whale en­counter, Col­pitts is won­der­ing what’s next.

“We used to see a lot of por­poise, a lot of seals and we would see the odd small whale that looks like a por­poise, and we used to see them a lot more reg­u­larly in our cove,” he said.

“But this sea­son has been out of the or­di­nary. Like the other day, we saw 50 por­poises in our cove, a pod of them chas­ing the mack­erel.”

SALTWIRE NET­WORK PHOTO

St. Mar­garets Bay res­i­dents look at a dead whale that floated to­ward the shore­line on Mon­day.

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