Saturday, May 21, 2016

Day 21 / XII: Dancing with Whales

We had one of the most incredible days here! Scott, Anastasia and I are visiting with Þuriður (Thur-i-thu), Snaedis' mom, in Akureyri. It is the second largest town in Iceland with 18,000 people! We ventured to Húsavik to go see the whales! Húsavik is the number one location in all of Iceland to see whales, as well as the farthest north as any of us have ever been. Seeing as it is very cold here, we were well equipped with Icelandic sweaters and warm foul weather jump suits provided by the boats.  

Before we set sail, we went to the whale museum and saw some pretty incredible reconstructed skeletons of whales of various species! There was a fully reconstructed Blue Whale, Killer Whale, Narwal, Sperm Whale, Minke Whale, and more!! Pictured here is the full Blue Whale!

 Our boat was named Haukur, which is in English translates to Hulk. This boat seems to be one of the whales favorites, as the tour guides told us. In total, we saw six or seven different whales today, which could be distinguished by the patterns on the undersides of their flukes, or tail fins. All the whales that we saw today were Humpback whales.

On our return trip to the harbor, the crew brought out hot chocolate and cinnamon buns! The captain even brought out some rum for us to add to the hot chocolate as an extra boost to warm us up from the cold trip.

                                                     This whale was very playful!

                                                This one was almost touching the boat!

                                                     So incredibly close to us!!!!

I think it is safe to say that we all thoroughly enjoyed the beauty and majesty these wild creatures exhibited today. Our experience with the whales was one of a kind, and what every whale watcher dreams of seeing. On our journey, we also saw many puffins and circled around Puffin Island where it is estimated that over 200,000 puffins nest during their mating season. These small sea birds nest in the hillside with their one offspring, called a Puffling. Overall, it was absolutely breathtaking to be surrounded by such natural beauty today, and it is hard to fathom the sheer magnitude of diversity that Iceland has to offer.
         A special ending to a very special day.

Until next time!

Scott, Anastasia, Becca


  1. Wonderful and such great pictures, too! Thanks for our "trip" with you. Nonni

  2. Please extend all of our thanks to your hosts for taking such good care of you and providing you with such an incredible adventure. What a great partnership between the universities!! You all look so happy!