Saturday, 18 March 2017

Pictures and Text by Megan Whittaker

11:00 Whale Watching
We thought yesterday was beautiful but today was just breath-taking. Newly laid snow, absolutely no wind and incredible colours and shapes in the clouds.  We sailed out from Akureyri and on our smaller vessel Skruður all the way along the east coast to the island Hrísey, we saw long-tailed ducks, eider ducks and black guillemots along the shores and as we got loser to the east coast of Hrísey we saw a pod of white-beaked dolphins. A pod of about 8 individuals that were busy trying to herd a shoal of fish, even a few kittiwakes and seagulls got involved in the hunt. It's always amazing to see wild animals carrying on their usual day and we watched at a respectful distance to not disrupt.  The best day this week to be out on the fjord. Can't wait to see what next week brings. 

 

Friday, 17 March 2017

Photographs and pictures by Megan Whittaker
11:00 Whale Watching
A picturesque scenery on today´s whale watching excursion. We have not been successful from Akureyri harbour so today we tried departing from a harbour further north, Árskogssandur so that we have the ability to search the areas further out towards the mouth of the fjord. Just in the harbour there were long-tailed and eider ducks, which we got some nice pictures. The swell was still quite high so we decided to sail around the island of Hrísey. The only cetacean seen on our tour today was harbour porpoises, which is one of my favourite species but they can be quite elusive and shy. We got a few photos though. We still gave our passengers complimentary tickets and hopefully the larger cetaceans will venture into the fjord tomorrow.

21:00 Northern Lights
The forecast looked very good for this evenings northern lights tour, probably the best conditions than most of Iceland. When we left the harbour and again we left from Árskogssandur the skies were very cloudy, nothing like what the forecast was predicting. However, as soon as we left the harbour we saw a slimmer of light trying to break through the clouds. It was hard to pick up with the naked eye but the camera conformed it. The breaks in the clouds got bigger and it created patterns in the sky. The heavens opened up later in the tour and the stars were shining so bright as the air was so crisp, never has I seen so many stars in a small area before. The northern lights got better and better and by the end of the tour  passenger faces lit up with them. A wonderful tour.

 

Thursday, 16 March 2017

11:00 Whale Watching
A snowy morning, beautiful to see but a pain to shovel off the boats. We all pitched in with a smile on our faces as there has been very little snow in Akureyri this winter, we were rather happy to see it. Northerly winds on todays tour chilled us to the bone so we were all happy to have a nice warm indoor saloon and a warm hot chocolate. The Eyjafjord humpbacks were unfortunately somewhere else and no cetaceans were seen. We still enjoyed the scenery and the birdlife; eider ducks, long-tailed ducks, kittiwakes, fulmars and black guillemots. We offered our passengers complimentary tickets in the hope they can come again in the next two years with better luck. The weather looks very good tomorrow so we hope to have more success then. 
21:00 Northern Lights
CANCELLED  - Due to overcast conditions
 

 

Saturday, 11 March 2017

Although windy, our today's tour has been happening under a brilliant weather ! There was a blue sky and a glorious sun welcoming us in the fjord. For the beginning of the tour we had the wind exclusively on our back, so it even felt warm for a while ! We had splendid blue, white and brown colors all around us, making the cruising exceptionally beautiful. Sadly, today went as the previous two days, with no sightings except a couple of fast harbour porpoises disappearing as quick as they popped up, and northern fulmars and long-tailed duck. On the way back the sun was more cloudy but the wind had weakened, we were then sailing on a mirror silver sea, giving a magical atmosphere to Eyjafjordur. It is always disappointing to not see the cetaceans we want so badly to see, but hopefully the nice scenery and the complimentary tickets handed over helped to ease the pain.

-Guillaume Calcagni

Friday, 10 March 2017

Whale Watching: It was a very pleasant sailing this morning, as wind died down from yesterday, and the sea in Eyjafjordur was mirror-like. We remained close to the coast while going out so we could enjoy splendid views of the snowy mountains and of the shore, allowing some close-ups to Hrisey and Hjalteyri. Alas, despite the scenery and excellent spotting conditions our tour was unsuccessful as there was not much moving in the fjord today, except a handful of gulls and few flocks of ducks. Because it was a no show from the cetaceans, we gave complimentary tickets to everyone on board and we hope that their next try will be more rewarding !

Northern Lights: CANCELLED

-Guillaume Calcagni

Thursday, 9 March 2017

Whale Watching: It was a cold morning in Eyjafjordur today, but our comfy boat and warm overalls made sure to relieve us from that. We set sail on a calm sea, but the further we ventured, the jumpier the trip became. The wind was coming from the North, so when we approached Hrisey island, the swell was quite rough. By then we had to turn around and start to head back to Akureyri. With deep disappointments we handed complimentary tickets tour our passengers, as the main sightings of today were a coupe of common guillemots and some either ducks. Better luck next time!

Northern Lights: For our northern lights cruise, the weather got a bit better with less wind, but still chilly temperatures. When we departed the sky was full of clouds so we sailed toward the North for a while, hoping to find clearance in the sky as it was predicted on the weather forecast. The duration of the cruising was used in helping everybody with their camera settings but sadly this turned out to be vain, as the clouds never went away. Only at the end of the trip, when we reached the harbour, there was a crack in the sky and we could see some stars. The weather played a cruel prank on us tonight and we did not get any chance to spot the lights, so we offered complimentary tickets to our guests.

- Guillaume Calcagni  

Friday, 3 March 2017

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Whale Watching at 11:00

What a wonderful day to be out on the water! It was beautifully sunny and the fjord was mirror flat which made very fine sailing . It was a little bit chilly due to the winds but the lovely whale punches we serve on board warmed the passengers up like a dream. There were a few birds out on the fjord today including; black-backed gulls, Icelandic gulls, northern fulmars, eider ducks and the cute little common guillemots in their winter plumage. There didn´t seem to be much food or fish in the fjord today and that may be the reason no cetaceans were seen on today´s tour. Therefore, complimentary tickets were offered to all our passengers, in the hope that they would return and get to experience some of the wonderful marine animals Iceland has to offer.

Pictures and Text by Tess Hudson

Thursday, 2 March 2017

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Whale Watching 15:00

It was a beautiful sunny day as we set sail into the fjord, the landscape was covered in a thick layer of snow making the fjord very picturesque. It was a bit chilly due to the northerly winds and frosty landscape, but the passengers didn´t seem to mind in the slightest and were in high spirits throughout the tour. It took us a long time to search for the cetaceans today, even though the conditions were perfect, with a flat surface, little wind and good lighting. After a thorougher search of the whole fjord a few harbour porpoises were spotted only 30 meters in the distance which we were able to see surface a few times before they took a longer dive. Unfortunately, we were unable to spot any other larger cetaceans on this tour so we offered our passengers complimentary tickets so they can join another tour of their choosing and hopefully see a larger animal. Despite the lack of cetaceans the passengers thoroughly enjoyed the tour and being out on the water! 

Northern Lights 21:00

The forecast for this tour looked very promising earlier on during the day however, as the day wore on clouds unfortunately rolled their way over Akureyri. However, the aura scale was set at a high 6 and therefore we decided to chance it and hope for some gaps in the clouds. We were not disappointed either! From the very start of the tour, before even, parts of the sky were lit up in the most magnificent green colour. As we sailed we found a few gaps in the cloud and were able to see some wonderful lights grow and wane then grow wonderfully bright again. Lights then began developing on both sides of the ship and then right overhead too! One set even blossomed so much we were able to see ribbons of pink, purple and white! How very lucky. The lights were so bright you could even see them behind the cloud! After getting our fill of the northern lights as they continued for the whole tour, we headed back with our cameras full of photos and our minds full of fond memories. 

- Pictures and Text by Tess Hudson

Saturday, 25 Februray 2017

Text and Photographs by Megan Whittaker
It was another stormy day out in the fjord, wind was howling and swirling up of the sea and from the mountains. It chilled the bones so everyone mostly stayed in the warm heated saloon. Even though it was hard to be outside it was extremely beautiful. It was hard not to find something to photograph. We crossed our fingers that the humpback from yesterday was still in the same area but unfortunately 'Cross Stitch' the humpback whale was not. The big storm from the previous day may have pushed the fish and humpback further north than we could go, very little to see on the fish finder and a lot less birds too. We searched a large area but no cetaceans today. We offered our passengers complimentary tickets in the hope they would have better luck next time. 

 

Friday, 24 February 2017

Pictures and Text by Megan Whittaker
Whale Watching 11:00
The calm before the storm. We decided to head out early this morning, leave at 9am instead of 11am to get a head of the on coming storm. We sailed out and saw a lot of different bird species: Iceland Gulls, glaucous gulls, cormorants, red-breasted mergansers, red-throated divers, long-tailed ducks, eider ducks, northern fulmars and kittiwakes. Near to these birds passengers spotted a harbour porpoise, surfacing fast and only a few got to see it. A harbour seal was also spotted very close to the boat but again as soon as we stopped it, it disappeared. We were getting close to the island of Hrísey but this time closer to the east coast than we usually were and almost about to turn around until suddenly we spotted a black back and a tail rising out of the water, HUMPBACK WHALE!!! Close to Grenivik. It wasn´t doing very long dives so we were about to see it surface a few times. Finally on the last dive it was in the right position to get the ID shot and found out that it was the same individual as the one seen on February 4th. Must have been in the fjord a while but did find it. These whales can be very sneaky. We got back to the harbour and dropped of the passengers and quickly moved the vessel to a more protected, sheltered area before the storm hit. We got back just in time.

Northern Lights 21:00
CANCELLED - Due to storm  

 

Thursday, 23 February 2017

Text and Pictures by Megan Whittaker
Whale Watching 11:00
A blustery morning, chilly South-Easterly winds but the snow was nice to see, feeling that winter finally arrived to Akureyri.  It was a rather nice sail north past Hjalteyri and my favourite part of the fjord, Hörgárdalur. We were just south of Hrísey when passengers started to scream, DOLPHINS!! we turned the boat and searched more towards the south. We found them and saw that they were actually harbour porpoises, a very large pod of at least 30-40 individuals. They were traveling very fast and only splashes were mainly seen as they came up to breathe. Unfortunately, no larger cetaceans were seen so we offered our passengers complimentary tickets in the hope they would have better luck next time. 
Northern Lights 21:00
We were a little worried this evening as the wind was quite strong and very cloudy but due to the storm tomorrow, tonight would be our best chance and the forecast was showing that the skies might clear up later. Luckily the wind calmed down a little and it was a nice sail out. Snowing and the winds changed strength during the tour. A big gap in the sky showed the stars and more and more showed themselves which was nice, but alas no northern lights and we gave out complimentary tickets to our passengers so that they can try again in the next two years. 

 

Saturday, 18 February 2017

A little colder today and a slight wind. The warm overalls and indoor saloon provided much comfort especially on the way home. Slightly more white on the mountains after the over night snow fall was very nice to see this afternoon, later in the tour the sun came above the clouds and melted most but creating a faint but visible rainbow. Once again the fjord looked bare and even less birds than the previous days. Mainly the sea ducks, cormorants, fulmars and seagulls kept us company and the splashes from the 20-30 harbour porpoises seen on the tour today. All three of our whale watching tours this week gave us plentiful porpoises and we could almost guarantee to see them on the west coast of Hrísey. No whales and dolphins though and so we gave our passengers complimentary tickets to try their luck again on another tour in the next two years. 
Text and Pictures by Megan Whittaker

 

Friday, 17 February 2017

Whale Watching 11:00
A still, misty and beautiful sail up Eyjafjörður this cold day, every mountain and cloud reflected of the mirrored waters. Birdlife was abundant, razorbills, fulmars, seagulls, eider ducks and very large flocks of long-tailed ducks. Unfortunately once again the Eyjafjord humpbacks were nowhere to be found and they would have easily been seen with the conditions of today, even from miles away. On the west coast of Hrísey we found loads of harbour porpoises. Video of these can be found on our Facebook page. In the end we gave our passengers complimentary tickets but they thoroughly enjoyed the sailing and scenery.
Text and Pictures by Megan Whittaker
Northern Lights 21:00
CANCELLED - Due to overcast skies. 

 

Thursday, 16 February 2017

Whale Watching 11:00
We had high hopes for our whale watching tour today and the sea conditions and weather could not be better but also because we could see that there were quite a few Norwegian capelin fishing boats just outside the fjord and have been there for the last week. Where there is capelin there should be whales. We had to once again sail all the way to Hrísey and ever could go a little further north-west today due to the conditions. After a while the swell was getting a bit too much for some of our passengers so we turned around and surfed the swells back around the west coast of Hrísey were we located a plethora amount of habour porpoises. So many in large pods. Probably in all we much has seen at least 50 individuals. It was also very nice to see them porpoising just in front of the village of the island. Once again we were unfortunate that we didn't find any whales or dolphins so we offered our passengers complimentary tickets to come again in the next  two years. 
 Northern Lights 21:00
It was cloudier than the forecast suggested and the activity was not as strong, however the  glow of the northern lights could be made out in between the clouds early on in the tour. The high clouds then posed an issue for the rest of the tour but on the way home the clouds cleared and for a brief time the faint glow could be seen again. Still it was hard to make out with the naked eye and had to be confirmed by the camera. 
We felt it was not enough so we offered our passengers complimentary tickets that can be used for another northern lights tour in Akureyri or Reykjavik in the next two years. 
Text and Pictures by Megan Whittaker

 

Saturday, 11 February 2017

A blustery day, rather nice on the way north, traveling with the winds. Once again we had to sail all the way to Hrísey but stayed along the west coast to gain more shelter. It was actually really calm and we got some nice views of eider ducks and harbour porpoises, a pod of about 10 surfacing fast. On the way back to port the weather had turned for the worst and it was a bit of a roller coaster, very strong winds and many white caps. A lot stronger than the forecast was suggesting earlier in the day. However most of the passengers enjoyed the adventure but some were getting a bit green in the face. They were offered complimentary tickets to come again for free in two years.
Text and pictures by Megan Whittaker

 

Friday, 10 February 2017

Whale Watching: Another beautiful day sailing up Eyjafjörður (Island Fjord), sun was shining and with southerly winds we enjoyed the warmth north but felt the bitter winds when heading back to port. The sea birds ket us company, namely eider ducks, iceland gulls, glaucous gulls, guillemots, a red throated diver and a couple of northern fulmars. Harbour porpoises were again the only cetacean species seen today and as we didn't see any whales or dolphins we offered our passengers complimentary tickets to come again for free in the next two years. However, they still enjoyed the stunning landscape and beautiful skies, filled with patterns and colours. 

Northern Lights Cruise: A very bright evening, night before a full moon, at first it was quite cloudy but after a little while they started to break up and got some nice gaps to show the stars and planet Venus. It is also particularly amazing to see the sky field all lit up on the mountain behind the city of Akureyri. It took a long time for the northern lights to show, actually we were on our way back to port getting ready the complimentary tickets until suddenly a green hue started to appear over the west coast mountains. It got bright and even began dancing. Passengers were so happy and a couple were almost screaming with excitement. A wonderful end to our northern lights tour. Just to remember, be patient and never loose hope. 

Text and pictures by Megan Whittaker

Thursday, 9 February 2017

A nice calm day after the storm yesterday, Barely no wind and just a slight swell as we got closer to the mouth of the fjord. Once again it was a long tour, 4 hour sailing towards and around Hrísey (Island). Dorsal fins were spotted close to Hauganes on the west coast, first spotted through binoculars in the distance of at least a kilometre away.  The captain and passengers were told quickly but as soon as we turned the boat got closer thy could not be found again. At first it was thought they were white-beaked dolphins but afterwards I was not sure. We decided to travel to the areas a humpback whale wast see on our last tour (Saturday 4th, February) and the dolphins the day before. No luck unfortunately. Once around to the west coast of Hrísey a large pod of harbour porpoises were stopped, at least 20, 5 minutes later another pod of about 10. On the way back to harbour we stopped another 2 large pods of porpoises and must have seem at least between 40-50 altogether, making up for the lack of larger cetaceans. It was a nice tour in the end but still we gave out complimentary tickets as no whales or dolphins were sighted. 
-Text and Pictures by Megan Whittaker

 

Saturday, 4 February 2017

There were strong winds early this morning but the forecast said they were going to reduce for our tour and they did. The skies were constantly changed as the sun rose and set and the clouds displayed a beautiful array of shapes and colours. It was a nice pleasant sail north to the usual spot we have been seeing cetaceans the last few weekends and we didn´t have to go all around the island of Hrisey today because a humpback whale surfaced just east of the island. it surfaced 6-8 times before bringing its beautiful fluke above the water and going for a deep dive. It was very hard to keep track of the whale as it was travelling long distances during its dive and kept changing its direction too. Twice we were able to get close to it and right at the end as we were leaving for home it surfaced just 30 meters from the boat, you could follow it  just beneath the surface and we were in the prime spot to get that fluke pattern to identify the whale. This was a new individual to our catalog which was exciting. Nice to see that there were still some whales around. On the journey home we watched the beautiful sunset behind Hörgárdalur and the ocean became like a mirror reflecting the beautiful clouds as the winds died to nothing. A multicoloured tour with an awesome humpback. 

- Pictures and Text by Megan Whittaker

Friday, 3 February 2017

Today was just beautiful, woke up to a fresh layer of snow and a mirror calm ocean. A different setting from the previous day. Floating snow mounds provided birds with somewhere to rest on in the water. The travels are long the last few weekends, having to go all the way to Hrisey Island to see first signs of cetacean life. We were just north of the island when passengers pointed out a couple of white-beaked dolphins, they were playful at first, bow-riding the vessel and surfacing close. However, they soon got more elusive and difficult to follow. We left the area and travelled along the west part of the island and found some harbour porpoises, at least 10-15 individuals scattered along the coastline. All in all a very nice day but we were all wondering where the larger whales may be. 
Text and Pictures by Megan Whittaker