A new relationship with animals, nature and each other.

Rescuing Foggy the Humpback Whale


Foggy and Grommet are well known to whale-watching boats off the coast of Nova Scotia. The two humpback whales are rarely seen apart from each other.

Last week, when Christine Callaghan was leading an outing from Pirate’s Cove Whale Watch, she saw Foggy caught in a mass of fishing equipment. She was completely immobilized. Callaghan writes:

Foggy-humpback-2-100713She had rope wrapped around her head and across her blowholes, and as we carefully approached, we could see that she also had a loop of rope across her peduncle (the narrow part of her tail, just ahead of the flukes), dragging a mass of old lobster traps beneath her. She was listing to one side with the weight of all the gear.

Thankfully, she was still breathing regularly and with some force. But because she was hardly drifting at all with the tide, [we] figured she might be anchored.

And right by her side was her friend Grommett, who never left Foggy’s side, frequently spy-hopping throughout the long afternoon while Callaghan’s boat waited for a whale disentanglement crew to arrive.

It’s hard to imagine that Foggy and Grommet didn’t comprehend what was happening as the crew worked to cut first the rope snagging Foggy’s tail, and then the ones around her head.

Both of the whales remained calm and quiet as the crew cut away the ropes and lines and mesh that held Foggy anchored to the spot. Eventually, they finished their work.

And then came what Callaghan described as “the truly amazing thing”:

The instant the rope came off Foggy’s head, Grommet dove and then burst from the water in a spectacular breach! Tell me that wasn’t a celebration!

The two whales were last seen swimming together, side by side, out into the Bay of Fundy.