Spotting the smaller species
Today it was incredibly warm again. The summerly temperatures in combination with light wind from the south fits rather to the Caribbean than to Iceland! The surface water temperature in the bay is unusually high – up to 16°C! This might also affect the availability of the whales’ food sources and thus the presence of the animals itself.
However, we’ve been quite surprised, when we headed out into the bay this morning: There was no sign of a humpback whale, our preferred species for whale watching! All the boats spread throughout the bay to cover the whole area, but there were definetly no humpback whales in Skjálfandi Bay!
Nevertheless we were successful in spotting some wildlife. Since the sea was very flat we observed several harbor porpoises. These small animals only reach up to 2 metres in length and are usually difficult to spot, especially in rough conditions. But today we got great looks at some of them, which were even jumping next to the boat!
But suddenly we saw some splashes and something small and dark approaching the boat. We stopped and had a closer look – and saw a seal! Although there’re no populations living in Skjálfandi Bay, some individuals are sometimes passing by for some food. But usually they’re very shy and hard to observe. Not so today! The seal approached the boat, lifted its head and looked at us! It was definetly a very curious fellow! It swam around the vessel, always popping up and checking us out!
When we decided to sail a bit further, we finally encountered several minke whales. We spent some time with them and passengers of one of our sailing schooners were even lucky enough to see a minke whale breaching, which is an incredible rare sight!
So today the smaller marine mammals were definetly the stars of our tours!
Curious seal – (photos: Húsavík Whale Museum)