Friday, 25 May 2018

When we went out in the morning the wind was quite strong and chilly and it seemed the humpback whales were also not enjoying this weather. We saw two individuals but they were coming up very shortly and diving again quickly. In the afternoon we sailed out with better weather and the sun even came out to warm us up a bit. We had to sail far out to spot our first humpback whale but this animal also just surfaced shortly and stayed down for a long time. Possibly it was very busy feeding. On our way back to Akureyri we spotted a Minke whale and a second Humpback whale. This humpback whale stayed at the surface for more time and even popped up right next to the boat where we could follow it very well under the water. 

Text Anouk de Plaa pictures Anna Gunnarsdottir

Thursday, 24 May 2018

Four tours, two on Holmasol and two on the Zodiacs were planned and successfully completed today. Even though it kept raining throughout the day, the wind god was kind to us so that we enjoyed the sailing nevertheless. We could spent time with our beautiful humpback whales on every single tour. They did display various behaviours, including feeding, resting and travelling. The highlight surely being two breaches by our beloved Fjall on the afternoon tour. It happened right in front of us so that everybody could see it and be in awe! An action packed day with a total of five different humpback whales.

Text and pictures by Babsi Neubarth

Wednesday, 23 May 2018

This morning we had to cancel our morning tour because of the weather, strong wind blew in the fjord making high swells but shortly the wind decreased and we went on our 1 o'clock tour in calm sea state and and beautiful weather. North of Hjalteyri we had a delight time with a humpback whale called 'Fjall', a humpback whale that just migrated back in the fjord few days ago and we are happy to have this individual back. The whale was quite active showing us peduncle slaps twice and coming up close towards the boat making it a great encounter for us. On our way back to Akureyri the wind increased again, but that was alright and we enjoyed the sightseeing the fjord has to offer on such a beautiful day, with the sun up brightening up the fjord. Yet another amazing day in the fjord with the cetaceans. 

Text by Anna Gunnarsdóttir and pictures by Anna Gunnarsdóttir and Babsi Neubarth

 

 

Tuesday, 22 May 2018

The day started with overcast skies and windy conditions. The white caps on the sea made it a little hard to spot the whale but we spotted three different humpback whales in the morning and three others in the afternoon. Thanks to the pattern under the fluke we managed to identify the individuals named Kriller and Mystery. We decided to call the third individual from the morning tour Fin-ix (Phoenix) because the pattern under its tail looked like ashes. Amongst the humpback whales we saw in the afternoon were: Kriller (again), Adam and Fjall (which translates to mountain in Icelandic). Kriller also put on a great show for us buy fully breaching twice in a row and slapping the surface of the water with its tail multiple times! Fantastic! All the encounters happened in the vicinity of Hjalteyri.

 

Text by Liza Roger and photos by Babsi Neubarth 

Monday, 21 May 2018

After the strong wind of yesterday, which did not allow us to go out for our usual tours, the water inside our beautiful fjord this morning returned calm and still as a lake. With such great conditions even a sneaky minke whale could not escaped at our eyes, trained to detect any movements and dark shapes on the surface. The minke whale was diving in the shallow waters in front of the beautiful valley of Hörgárdalur, and stayed quite close to the boat, allowing our passengers to have some nice sightings. After a while we left the minke, heading further out, looking for our favourite guys: the humpack whales! Just the time to turn the boat towards the deeper waters in the middle of the fjord that we spotted a blow on the opposite side, on the east coast. Soon we realised that around us there were three humpack whales feeding. One of them showed its beautiful fluke all out of the water every time it was diving, and we found out it was a new whale still not present in our catalogue (p.s. any name suggestions?). But the other two were already very well known: they were Depill and Kriller! Depill is very easy to identify since its fluke pattern is plenty of small black spots (in fact Depill means dot in Icelandic). Kriller got such an amazing name that really suits him. As well as the other humpack whales, Kriller is very greedy of krill (very small crustaceans found in all the world oceans), and he would eat as much as he can any time he has the occasion! The afternoon trip was not less surprising: we found again our humpbacks just few minutes after leaving the harbour. They were feeding just in front of Akureyri, few meters away from the docks, showing how neither boats nor super shallow waters can bother them when they are focused on their favourite activity!;)

Text and pictures by Annalisa Sambolino and Liza Roger

Saturday, 19 May 2018

Text by Annalisa Sambolino, Pictures by Albert Camara and Liza Roger

Today we headed outside the harbour of Akureyri with some clouds and wind over us, but soon we have been rewarded with some amazing sightings. Our beautiful fjord was plenty of whales feeding. In the morning at least seven different humpback whales were around us! Anywhere we looked we could see a blow of a whale coming up at the surface or the fluke of another one diving in deep waters. Some of them joined in small groups of 3 or 4, helping each other to trap the schools of small fish they were eating. We spent a long amazing time carefully approaching all of them, and we had the opportunity to have some very very close encounters. During our afternoon trip we could find some of them still feeding in the same area, and this time we could clearly see how they were coming at the surface with the mouth wide open in a typical lunge feeding behaviour. Taking pictures of the flukes, every time it was possible, we could recognize two individuals already seen in the last days, and present in our catalogue from the last year: Depill and Linea.

Friday, 18 May 2018

The morning started rather windy but the sun and the whales were there, so happy days! We spotted our first humpback whale (Depill) close the Hjalteyri. Depill is a whale which has been in the area for a few day now and it's the third summer in a row that it comes to visit the fjord. A little bit further, close to Grenivik, we spotted two humpback whales logging at the surface. They were peacefully enjoying the sun and the shelter. The bay in front of Grenivik was very calm. This afternoon was also rich in wildlife encounters. We saw Depill, again close the Hjalteyri, actively feeding close to the freshwater/seawater front created by the river Hörgá. It was swimming around a lot which made it hard to watch so we decided to go further out and join the whale watching boat from Dalvik. There we spotted another humpback which was also engaged in active feeding. This whale gradually slowed is pace and we able to enjoy and few good deep dives. As we moved back inwards we came across two humpback whales, a minke whale, a pod of porpoises and Depill again! We even saw the return of gannets on the fjord! They had left for a few days but they are now back. All in all, a great day on the water!

Text and pictures by Liza Roger

Thursday, 17 May 2018

Today in the morning we had two boats going out. We were lucky to find two humpback whales that were probably feeding, since we could see them pretty active, coming up to the surface quite often and trying to cooperate with each other in order to gather the ball of fish together. It turned out that we knew these individuals from previous tours: Depill and Fin Kardashian. After sailing further north, we were lucky to witness how two other humpback whales were actively socializing, since they were spending a long time on the surface while one of them kept slapping its pectoral fins and launching the tail many times. It was a great show. In the afternoon we only went out on our catamaran Holmasol and we could find one of the humpbacks from each pair. This time they were not as easy to work with like in the morning, but despite it our guests managed to have good sightings of these whales. It is always good to see different behaviors!

Text by Albert Camara; Pictures by Liza Roger and Annalisa Sambolino

Wednesday, 16 May 2018

Text by Annalisa Sambolino, pictures by Megan Whittaker

Today it has been a very special day. The morning was a bit windy but it started with a rare sighting of an harbour seal, incredibly close to the boat. Our passengers in their comfy overalls, outside on the bridge, could admire it swimming around for a while before it went down and disappeared in the deep water. Heading further out the wind decreased and just after few minutes we spotted the first humpback whale of the day! Taking pictures of the dorsal fin we could identify it as Fin K(ardashian), a whale we identified for the first time just few days ago. In the afternoon the sea conditions turned even better and our beautiful fjord was so calm that the water looked like a mirror. Many harbour porpoises showed up, as it was so easy to spot them, with many arctic terns flying all over and feeding with them. Sailing on this flat sea we met Fin K(ardashian) again, this time he/she was sleeping, logging at the surface, it was very hard to spot the humpback, just a small part of the back above the surface that we accidentally woke her/him up, after a 2- 3 min it surfaced and started to approach us, swimming all around the boat and observing us with curiosity from its big eyes on the sides. The pictures and the words can not properly describe the incredible emotions this encounter gave to us! Later on, the perfect sea conditions allowed us to have a great sighting of a minke whale and of another humpback whale, a new individual we could not find in our catalogue and that we will name after one of our passengers: Wolfgang. 

Tuesday, 15 May 2018

Photographs by Liza Rogers and Megan Whittaker, Text by Megan Whittaker

Another whaleful day. Weather was a cloudier and a bit colder but everyone made full use of the warm free overalls. Snug as a bug in a rug. It was a long sail out to our first Humpback whale, found by another whale watching company close to Hauganes. However, on the way we had such wonderful time enjoying the numerous harbour porpoises splashing around as they feed under flocks of birds. Also saw so many species, terns, fulmars, long-tailed ducks, skuas, 1 puffin and many more. Its always amazing to see the incredible diversity of birds on our tours from Eyjafjörður. We were able  to identify the humpback whale to be ´Depill´ meaning spotty in Icelandic. Depill was first catalogued last year so very happy to see this whale back again in the fjord. Minke whales were also encountered, 3 species in a tour is definitely a successful. A great day in the fjord. 

Monday, 14 May 2018

Pictures by Liza Roger and Anna Gunnarsdóttir. Text by Megan Whittaker

The morning tour provided the best weather, mirror calm seas, reflections of the mountains and the cloudy sky. The wildlife was also incredible, a massive variety of birds, seabirds and wildfowl and three species of cetacean; harbour porpoises, minke whales, humpback whales. Afternoon weather was a little windier, colder and some dark ominous clouds rolled over but the wildlife was still at its best, we even got to see a tail lob. Seems to be only new individuals humpbacks in the fjord at the moment. Looking for a new name for this guy if anyone has any suggestions please give us an email at info@whalewatching.is. Birds encountered today include; long-tailed ducks, eider ducks, red-throated divers, kittiwakes, gannets, fulmars, arctic terns and arctic skuas and seagulls.  

Sunday, 13 May 2018

Today was bliss! Hardly any wind, no clouds, lovely sunshine and glass mirror ocean! Perfect whale watching conditions! In the morning for 9am tour we had to go all the way to the island of Hrísey where we found two humpback whales and we were very lucky to have one of them breach several times (!) close to the boat. On the way back to port we also spotted a minke whale opposite the small port of Hjalteyri. This afternoon was also blessed by delightful weather, cloudless skies and humpback whales! Four humpback whales to be exact, including one casually sleeping at the surface or just below it! And we saw a few porpoises on the back to port too. All in all a beautiful day on the way!

 

Text by Liza Roger and Anna Gunnarsdottir.

Saturday, 12 May 2018

The temperature is rising up, and today we had wonderful weather for whalewatching. In the morning we went out on our catamaran and on our rib boat. It was not easy at the beginning, but with a little bit of patience we made it and we recognized one of the newest whales we have recently identified: Fin K(ardasian). In the afternoon we went out on our catamaran and it was much easier, finding the first whale after a few minutes. Afterwards we decided to go further north and we found Fin K(ardasian) again, but this time together with a well known whale, Victoria. We love our whales!

Text by Albert Camara; Pictures by Albert Camara and Anna Gunnarsdóttir

Friday, 11 May 2018

Today in the morning tour we went out on our catamaran and also with our rib boat. The whales were not as close as during the last days, so we had to travel quite far north in order to find them. But despite the long trip, we got our reward, since we could see the 3 species of cetaceans that can be observed in Eyjarfjordur: Humpback whales, Minke whales and Harbor porpoises. In the afternoon we only went out on our catamaran Holmasol, and we had to travel even further north, but the reward was even better. As well as the 3 species we had seen in the morning, we also could find White beaked dolphins. Eyjarfjordur is always surprising!

Text by Albert Camara; Pictures by Liza Roger

Thursday, 10 May 2018

Today in the morning we went out on our catamaran Holmasol, and we spent the trip with 3 different humpback whales. One of them was an old friend of ours, since it is one of the first humpback whales identified here in Akureyri back in 2016. Its name is Fjall and it has been coming back every season eversince. However, it has been the first time this year that we have seen it, which makes us very happy.  It looked like Fjall knew us as well, because it looked very comfortable and quiet with our presence. In the afternoon we went out on our catamaran and also on our rib boat, and soon we could find them again. This time the whales were more relaxed than in the morning, like if they were resting for a bit. We are so happy that our whales keep coming back year after year!

Text by Albert Camara; Pictures by Babsi Neubarth

Wednesday, 09 May 2018

Today we have spent the day under the rain, both in the morning and in the afternoon. But our whales do not care about bad weather! In the morning we went out on our rib boat, and before getting to the whales, we found a curious group of harbour porpoises. Right after, we managed to find 2 different humpback whales, one of them seemed not very interested in us, but the other one, called by one of our guests as Ragnar, kept coming up to the surface very close to us, over and over again. In the afternoon we went out on our catamaran Holmasol and we found 3 different humpback whales, all of them feeding but allowing us to have very good encounters. As we said, our whales like to get wet!

Text by Albert Camara; Pictures by Babsi Neubarth

Tuesday, 08 May 2018

Today in the morning we had very calm seas and blue sky, and after a few minutes traveling we had our first sightings of the day right outside of Akureyri. We enjoyed the company of 4 humpback whales feeding the whole time, always around our boat and allowing us to see them very up close. We could even see how the whales opened their mouths filling their bellies as much as possible. It was a very unusual but exciting trip! In the afternoon we could find the same 4 whales but further out and in two different groups. In both tours we could also see harbor porpoises. It was a nice whale feeding day!

Text by Albert Camara and Pictures by Babsi Neubarth

Monday, 7 May 2018

Great day on the water today! Two trips this morning and two trips this afternoon. This morning we encountered our first whale less than 10km from the port of Akureyri. Compared to previous days when the whales were as far north as the island of Hrísey. We were soon looking from left to right because we had one humpback whale to the left of us and another to the right! They were mostly diving out of synch until they decided to converge and swap sides. This behaviour is a sign of active feeding and collaboration between individuals. Fantastic example of cooperation! One of them we have already spotted in the fjord: Cloud (identified in Oct 2017). The second humpback was unidentifiable since it did not show its fluke once. The afternoon trip saw the arrival of a third humpback whale: a humpback with a white fluke and many black scratches that we have not yet identified here in Akureyri. On the short way back to port we still managed to see some porpoises and Cloud popped out again only meters away from port!

 

Text by Liza Roger and photos by Anna Gunnarsdottir.

Saturday, 5 May 2018

This morning we left the port of Árskógssandur where the ship Hafsúla was docked. The wind was strong but the sea conditions were still good. We headed towards the southern tip of the island of Hrísey. There we found a humpback whale. The humpback named Victoria which was last seen in the waters of the fjord yesterday. We stayed with her for a little while and then streamed towards the port Akureyri. This afternoon, the wind was still strong when we left the port of Akureyri and we were chased by a curtain of snowy fog. We won the race against the snow and the wind finally dropped. The captain decided to head towards the island of Hrísey again, where Victoria was spotted earlier in the miorning...and there she was! Similarly to this morning and yesterday, the humpback whale was actively feeding in the area south of the island and provided us with some first class fluking in the sunshine. The ship stayed with the whale about 45min until it was time to head back to port. Some cute porpoises were quickly spotted on the way back.

Photos by Babsi Neubarth and text by Liza Roger

Friday, 4 May 2018

The sun was out with a few clouds and southerly winds slowly picking up throughout the morning. We started with a few white caps and finished with 1 to 2 m waves. Two tours went out today: one at 9am on Hómasól and one at 10am Solfar. Both tours were lucky enough to spend a lot of time with a friendly humpback whale. After a few dives we managed to see that it was Victoria visiting Eyjafjödur again! Nice fluking and generally relaxed attitude.

 It was a pleasure to Victoria again! 

Text by Liza Roger and photos by Babsi Neubarth