19.05.2017 - WHALE WATCHING & CREATURES OF THE SEA & PUFFIN TOURS

18.05.2017

Whale Watching:

8:45 - ON

Beautiful day, even better if we find some whales!

12:45 - ON

A wonderful day, hopefully we will see some whale swimming in the ocean.

Creatures of the sea:

17:00 - OFF

 

Puffin:

15:00 - ON

17:00 - ON

19:00 - ON

 

A true summer day,

 

Today we had a complete whale watching day everything was perfect except for one thing, the absence of our dear friends the humpback whales. Initially, we didn't know what to expect since today it was the first calm day after a whole week of strong gale winds. We left harbor on a warm and mostly windless day and set course to the feeding grounds. Soon, we began to see birds in large numbers and some auk diving birds, mostly puffins, although there were also guillemots, gannets and arctic terns

 

The initial view of a busy birds day in the bay.

 

Then further out we saw large shoals of fish and we noted the presence of harbour porpoises. We then realized that conditions were just short of perfect, all the best signs we could hope for right in front of us. Not long after chasing groups of birds, there they were minke whales in pairs all around us. They were spread over a large area and all whale watching boats out today had animals to watch here and there. 

 

One of today's minke whales, a large individual possibly a female. 

 

The animal we had encountered had been feeding on sand eels near the surface and we got very good close ups several times so everyone on board was satisfied. Then after approaching the whale, cautiously as recommended by ICEWhale's code of conduct, we decided to leave the animal to its endeavor. Only a short while later we spotted a group of white-beaked dolphins nearby and we decided to pay them a visit.   

 

A female white-beaked dolphin with her calf.

 

It was very rewarding to discover that it was a group of females and one of them was in the company of her calf, maybe just 3-4 years old, it was a nice view to see the curious naughty calf detaching from its mother's side to get a closer view of the boat. Une of our lucky passengers latter showed us pictures of another juvenile dolphin breaching with its whole body out of the water and we asked her to post it on our facebook page. 

 

The afternoon tour had a similar tone, but all the bird activity had waned, we again found harbor porpoises first, the auks and finally the minke whales. We think it had to do with the different phase of the tide that was already ebbing when we reached the feeding grounds.However, fish was abundant and the whales were, again in groups of 2-4 individuals spread over a large area of maybe 5-6 square miles.  

 

The weather forecast predicts stable high pressure over Iceland for most of the next weekend, that means we would expect these conditions to endure for a few days. Therefore, the abundant fish schools and the influx of zooplankton should keep attracting cetaceans into the bay's shelf. 

 

-JHF