Daily Diary

Summer is here!

19.5.2017 Whale watching

 

9:00


It was beautiful and sunny when we boarded our boat, the Andrea, for our morning whale watching adventure. We set sail from Reykjavík´s Old Harbor and plotted a course into Faxaflói Bay towards the feeding grounds, ready for anything! Fortunately the sailing was nice and smooth throughout the tour. On our way into the bay, we had amazing sightings of harbor porpoises, a normally shy toothed whale species that didn´t mind showing themselves off for us! We continued onward, and once in the feeding grounds we had an encounter with an animal about 100 times larger - a minke whale! We saw this whale as it surfaced a few times before vanishing. Father out in the bay, we could see the blow of another whale among some feeding seabirds, and part of its back, but it was too far away to identify the species. We saw it a few times before it vanished as well. There were many seabirds in this area, so the bay was definitely full of life! Our next sighting was much more fun - a pod of white-beaked dolphins. These dolphins were curious and playful, and we could count at least 2 young calves among the group. They approached us, checking us out and giving our passengers a nice show, before we headed away to leave them to their dolphin things. Time was running short so we had to turn back towards the harbor, but on the way back we had 2 more sightings of minke whales! When we finally arrived back we were very happy with 3 different species spotted this morning.

Tour status: ON

Sightings: Minke whales, Harbour Porpoises, white beaked Dolphins

 

10:00

Perfect see for the first express tour of the day. This combination of sun and no wind at all is our favorite weather to sail out. While we were approaching the feeding ground, some harbour porpoises crossed our path. A little bit later and further out, we spotted a pod of while beaked dolphins with at least two playful calves. But that was just the beginning. We saw a back in the distance, it was a minke whale, so we approached to the area and another one showed up too. There were a lot of arctic terns feeding there, that is a good sign because it means that there is food for the whales too. And we were so happy to see that there were more whales around. All minke whales, so we had sometimes two or even three surfacing at the same time and also more harbour porpoises. We didn't know where to look at! It was a very nice tour.

Tour status: ON

Sightings: Minke whales, Harbour Porpoises, white beaked Dolphins

 

 

13:00

On this sunny afternoon we were happy to leave for our whale watching tour with perfect conditions: good visibility, nice weather and a gentle breeze. We entered the bay of Faxaflói and as we reached the feeding grounds we were soon awarded by our first sighting: two minke whales coming up several times and showing their backs and dorsal fins. We spent some time with them and then headed off further North in the direction of Snæfellsjökull, which was shining brightly in the sun. We soon spotted another minke whale and it came up a couple of times before it went for a deeper dive. We observed some nice puffins and arctic terns as we were sailing through the feeding grounds, but we were surprised by a pod of white-beaked dolphins who appeared very close to Andrea, drawing our attention away from the birds. The dolphins swam towards the boat and then accompanied us for a bit, always appearing in different places all around Andrea. On our way back to the old harbour of Reykjavík we very briefly saw a harbour porpoise, just coming up three times before it dived back deeper down into the water. It was a very nice tour and we were happy Icelandic summer chose to show us its warm and sunny side today.

 

Tour status: ON

Sightings: Minke whales, white-beaked dolphins, harbour porpoise

 

 

14:00

This Friday afternoon the skies cleared up, the sun shined and the bay of Faxaflói was calm as a lake. We were quick on our way out, course was set to northwest towards the feeding ground. We entered there at the center and searched slowly towards west, at a location were minke whales were sighted this morning. It didn't take long before dorsal fins started appearing, at first just briefly. Then a full grown minke whale came up to the surface to south so we headed in that direction. It came up several times before diving and then another appeared to the north, coming fairly close to the ship. Since no further signs were found at that location we headed towards southeast. All of sudden a minke whale came up to the surface just in front of our ship Andrea, heading in the opposite direction. Our captain halted the ship and turned around. A minke calf and several full grown minke whales were then sighted heading north. Eventually we got safely back to the Old harbour in Reykjavík.

Tour status: ON

Sightings: Minke whales

 

17:00


The seas stayed nice and calm when we sailed out on the Andrea for the 5pm whale watching tour. We headed out into the bay of Faxaflói and approached the feeding grounds, searching carefully all around us for the 3 Bs: bodies, blows, and birds. Farther out, our first sighting was of a pod of white-beaked dolphins that showed themselves quite well for us, and among the pod there were 2 mother and calf pairs, surfacing side-by-side. It was really nice to see these baby dolphins stretching out their new fins! After enjoying them for a while we headed further out, where we had encounters with a few minke whales. These animals, about 30 times larger than the dolphins we were watching, were more shy than the dolphins but we still got some nice looks at them. Throughout the tour there were plenty of seabirds to be seen of various species, including a few puffins here and there, always a welcome sight in the summertime in Iceland! Overall it was a nice tour with smooth sailing.

Tour status: ON

Sightings: Minke whales, white-beaked dolphins