Tuesday 7 April 2020

Lockdown Day 15 - Remembering the Blue Whale

For today's blog I have decided to do another flashback, this time to one of our holidays in Iceland back in 2010. We've had two holidays up there, the first - in 2009 - was preceded by the bank crash in Iceland on the day I went to pick up the Icelandic Krona I had ordered from the bank! 2010 was the year Eyjafjallajökull erupted and we spent quite a few worrying evenings checking the ash cloud forecast and airline websites. Luckily we managed to get up there and indeed back again although while we were in the north of Iceland the ash cloud covered Rekjavik again and flights were cancelled for a couple of days, although again we missed out on the disruption. 

We had already had distant views of Minke whales and a Humpback whale when we took a boat trip to Grímsey which is an island just off the north coast of Iceland where you can cross the Arctic Circle (and get attacked by Arctic Terns and get a lifetime's supply of Puffins!) but we had also booked a whale watching trip from Húsavík . After getting all kitted out in waterproofs and lifejackets provided by the boat crew we set off out to sea. 

We stopped just off the coast as the crew had detected a Blue Whale on the sonar and you could see the shadow of it down beneath the water. 

After a few minutes it surfaced and we had good views of the animal as it came up for air and then dived down again. 

This particular whale was about 18 metres long and actually a young whale, the adults can grow to approximately 30 metres long (we have seen the world's only stuffed blue whale in Gothenburg and they are big!)

Blue whales are quite rare sights on whale watching trips from Húsavík, in fact only a small number of the tours see a blue whale although most tours do see at least one species of whale, so we consider ourselves very lucky. As this one was a young one, it needed to come to the surface more frequently and so we got quite a lot of time watching this amazing creature. 

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