|Jason, Harland, and Gérard|
We saw dozens of right whales, a finback whale, a large basking shark, puffins, gannets, 3 species of shearwater, and krill.
|View from the "crow's nest"|
There were so many things we had never seen before. The fishermen harpooned 2 tuna on this trip. The first weighed 250 pounds, dressed; the second, 550 pounds dressed. On the first day they had a spotter plane looking for tuna which would be feeding and finning at the surface. The smaller tuna was harpooned one that day. Acting on the spotter plane's pilot's instructions, Gérard would steer to the spot from his station up in the crows nest on top of the mast, and then slowly try to creep up onto the fish. Most of the times the boat would get within harpooning distance, the tuna would dive and disappear. The two "strikers", Harland and Jason, with harpoon in hand would be stationed on the end of the bowsprit-like "stand" anxiously waiting for the right moment to launch their harpoons.
|The Big Eye on the hunt|
We stayed overnight on Grand Manan.
On the second day there was no spotter plane, and Gérard with the aid of Harland, Gerald, Cecil, and Nigel at different times on top of the mast, would scan the horizon for tell-tale signs of tuna activity at the surface of the water. These signs were usually small flocks of gulls and shearwaters feeding at the surface. These birds would be attracted to the leftovers of herring and mackerel from the tuna feeding frenzy.
At about noon, the second tuna was harpooned, electrocuted, bled, beheaded and gutted and ritualistically laid into the hold, draped with wet, green rice paper before being covered over with flake ice. Apparently, the more care being taken aboard the boat, and the better price per pound on the auction block at the fish market in Japan.
It was a most memorable adventure for us. I edited a half hour video of the trip. It was shown on local cable and the comments were favourable.