Whale festival in Skjálfandi Bay
To make it short: Today I had two really beautiful tours with captain Hreiðar, and the afternoon tour at 13:30 was probably the best tour this month so far.
We sailed out this morning at 10:00 in almost perfect conditions, really calm sea and it did not take us long to find a nice group of white-beaked dolphins. They were swimming really calm around the boat and we could easily watch them for a while. After that, we decided to head out a bit further out and set the course north-west, into an area where we had sightings of humpback whales during the last days.
And about half an hour later we were watching a humpback whale that was spending a lot of time feeding close to the surface. It was really impressive, almost never diving for more than 2 minutes and always coming up with a mouth full of food. It was the same humpback whale that we have seen on many tours since last Saturday, so he has been around for almost a week now.
On the way to the humpback whale we also saw some harbour porpoises, but they were quite shy and hard to watch.
We came back to the harbour, thinking about the nice tour we have had, but in the afternoon we could even top that: We saw 4 different species (humpback whale, minke whale, white-beaked dolphin, harbour porpoise), which is not bad for a tour at the end of September: We found the same humpback whale again, in the same area, and again, it was feeding extremely close to the boat. After having spent some time with this beautiful (and very hungry) whale, we decided to go a bit further west, closer to the mountains. And only a few minutes later we were running into a mother and calf group of white-beaked dolphins. We spent a few minutes with this family group and were heading east again, when we suddenly spotted a minke whale quite close to the boat.
While we were waiting for the minke whale to come up again, we also saw many many dolphins jumping in the distance, so we decided to leave the minke and have a look at all these dolphins. The bay was really full of them this afternoon, and on our way back they were even following us and were bow-riding for almost 20 minutes.
An extremely nice tour on a beautiful September day.
Following are some really impressive pictures of the humpback whale, feeding close to the boat, taken by Damien Saffroy from the Húsavík Research Center.