Last week, I had the INCREDIBLE opportunity to spend the early hours of the morning with the Lambert Family whale watching off the coast of Grand Manan Island, New Brunswick.
And let’s just say, I haven’t stopped talking about it since.
My first whale watching excursion was twenty years ago this summer off the very same island coast. In high school, I had big plans to study marine biology at Dalhousie University and to spend the rest of my life saving the whales and sea turtles. And while I may have pivoted a bit on the career front after the first two years of university, my love for ocean creatures and my passion for their conservation remain just as strong—if not stronger—as an adult.
So naturally, I spend as much time as I can each summer on the ocean, playing in the surf with the whales. This means that I’ve been on nearly every whale watching tour available around these waters and let me tell you…
This summer’s adventure with Captain Matt Lambert was one for the books.
The Sunrise Tour is a MUST
I’m not a morning person at all, but turns out I will get up at 5 am to set sail on a 6 am whale watching adventure of a lifetime. I’m not going to lie, getting to see the North Head Fisherman’s Wharf in the early morning hours was something else. It’s so picturesque and calm! And of course, sailing past Swallowtail Lighthouse on the early morning waters was magical.
While the Lamberts offer several tour options throughout the day, there’s a reason they recommend the sunrise tour for the best whale watching experience. So if you’re thinking about planning a trip to the island this September, you’ll want to inquire about this tour. Trust me on this one.
Captain Matt Just Knows Where the Whales Hangout
I’ve said it on here before and I’ll say it again—my favourite way to go whale watching is on a zodiac. There’s just something about the speed across the water that makes the whole experience that much more thrilling.
The Lambert’s zodiac can zoom to where the whales are pretty quickly, so within 20 minutes of leaving North Head we had already found a mother humpback whale and her calf. We spent a few precious moments with them before Captain Matt called “Hang on folks, there’s an even bigger group further south.“
Um, LOVE that for us. What happened next was the most magical hour on the ocean.
There were so many humpback whales.
There were white-sided dolphins doing flips in the rising sun.
There were PUFFINS.
And while I did not capture the puffins—I had to enjoy them zooming by in all of their cuteness instead of trying to snap the perfect shot—you can spot the dolphins in some of my photos as they were cruising along side the whales the entire time.
Are you ready for a humpback photo dump, as the kids say?
Humpback Whales Give the Best Encores
After the most AMAZING time on the ocean watching these majestic creatures for over an hour, not to mention a beautiful sunrise, it was time to head back to North Head. But before we got too far, something epic happened.
The whales were getting extra playful and giving us the ultimate “We’re whaley glad you came to say hi!“—That’s whale talk for: they were breaching all over the place.
If you want to see this incredible breach in action, swim over to Instagram to catch my REEL HERE. Seriously, nothing will take your breath away like a breaching humpback. To see these creatures that can weigh up to 40 tons propel their bodies into the air like that?
There’s a reason I like to call humpback whales the showboats of the ocean.
As I’m sure you can imagine, this experience was everything to me. 2021 was one of the busiest summers we’ve ever had and I was starting to worry I might not get out on the ocean to see some friends. Now, I can’t imagine having not had this incredible experience.
If I’ve totally convinced you that you must sail to Grand Manan to go play with the whales, you can learn more about planning your overnight visit here: Escape to Grand Manan, New Brunswick.
And to book your whale watching adventure with the Lambert Family, visit them online or better yet, give Heather a shout to inquire about tours so that you can plan your September island visit. Weather and wind will play a big factor, so to avoid any disappointment call Heather on her shell phone at 506-321-0944.
Happy Whale Watching!
PS: NOT sponsored, just madly obsessed with New Brunswick experiences and here to help you develop a coastal crush on this magical province we call home ❤️