Whales have been wowing onlookers at Newfoundland shore

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St. Vincent’s, Newfoundland, has a population of less than 400, but that population can increase significantly when whale-watching season comes around—at least in the water. That’s because the waters of St. Mary’s Bay (where St. Vincent is located) are an important feeding ground for humpback whales. The whales flock to the area every year to feed on capelin, small fish that show up at the beach to spawn.

As you can tell from the photos, the whales are remarkably close to the shore. This is because there’s a sharp drop-off that creates a deep-water area that’s accessible to these massive animals right near the shoreline.

This July has been a particularly busy season for the whales. “Every year the whales come to this area, but this has been an exceptional year by a long shot,” the mayor of the town, Daniel St. Croix, told the CBC. “[People] have never experienced anything like they have experienced here in St. Vincent’s.”

Sometimes up to 100 people gather at the shore to watch the whales. St. Croix says the evening is a particularly good time for catching a spectacular display, citing around 7:00 p.m. as his favourite time to be there. “It seems like that hour in the evening is a great opportunity for pictures and they really put on a show.”

While St. Vincent’s is quite remote for most Canadians, there are thankfully lots of photos documenting the whale-watching experience there. Check out the gallery above to see some of the best recent shots of humpbacks hanging out in the bay.