DAILY DIARY

11.08.2017 - WHALE WATCHING & CREATURES OF THE SEA & PUFFIN

N64°12’03.59”
W021°59’3077”

Whale Watching:

8:45 - ON

12:45 - ON

Creatures of the sea:

17:00 - ON
 

Puffin:

15:00 - ON

17:00 - ON

19:00 - OFF

 

08:45

 

Today we left harbor with a northerly wind but the weather was fine. We sailed for a while without making sightings, even of sea birds. However,  after a long search out in the feeding area, we received communication from a boat and went to meet them. Before we caught up with them a group of dolphins approached us we had great sightings. 


A close-up picture of one of the dolphins, actually this is the first sighting of these individuals judging from our records.

 

After spending some time with the dolphins, we got another call with news of a humpback whale in the bay. We simply rushed to the location and on arriving we waited for the animal to take to the surface. After waiting for a few minutes, there it was some fifty meters in front of the boat. We could get some great pictures and some of our guests made nice videos, fantastic! 

 
The moment that this individual was captured taking a deep dive. 

 

The patterns in the pigmentation of the flukes of this individual seem familiar and we think we have another picture of this tail taken earlier in the season.​

 

12:45

 

In the second hour of the day, we had a similar situation as in the morning, we spent most of the time searching for whales and dolphins. However, this time we were the first boat to make a sighting, we spotted a minke whale surfacing briefly, but it never came back to the surface. On a second occasion, we waited for another individual nearby that surfaced behind us so again only the watchful eyes of the guides saw it.

After that, we resumed searching and soon we came across a small group of white-beaked dolphins.

The only pictures of these shy dolphins that we could obtain yesterday.

17.00 Creatures of the sea

 

At this time even that it was sunny it was a little chilly because of a strong northerly breeze that had blown all day had just gained strength. Because of that, we were forced to seek a sheltered spot for our fishing. Before deciding on where to go fishing we deployed our dredge to sample the seabed.

From the dredging, we picked a number of sea creatures, alcyonarians (soft corals) were the main attraction among sea stars and tiny sea urchins. There was an adult welk and the yellow blobs on the quahog shell are welk's eggs.

Our captain Sigurður decided to set course to the northern shores of the mouth of Hvalfjörður (The fjord of the whale). When we got there we began by catching small whiting. Soon after, larger whiting and cod began to take the bait and despite the drifting of the boat caused by the wind we had a very good fishing.

 

Fantastic fishing 

 

-JHF

 

 

10.08.2017 - WHALE WATCHING & CREATURES OF THE SEA & PUFFIN

N64°12’03.59”
W021°59’3077”

Whale Watching:

8:45 - ON

12:45 - ON

Creatures of the sea:

17:00 - OFF - Due to bad weather we are forced to cancel this tour. Please contact with us to reschedule your ticket for another day or get the refund.
 

Puffin:

15:00 - OFF

17:00 - OFF

19:00 - OFF

 

8:45

It was lovely and sunny weather today but with another strong breeze just like yesterday, although this time the wind was coming from the north east so the swell wasn't so big. However there were loads of white caps on the waves making it very challenging conditions for whale and dolphin spotting. And sadly even after sailing around the bay for almost 2 and a half hours we did not manage to make any sightings this morning. We thought we very briefly saw a couple of white-beaked dolphins on the way back to the city but they disappeared straight away and we did not see them again. It is such a shame when we see so little life in the bay, but this is just how it goes with whale watching sometimes. Of course all of our customers were given return tickets to come and try again another day. 

 

12:45

The wind had dropped a tiny bit for our afternoon tour but it was still coming pretty strong from the north east so we had the same conditions with lots of white caps. We sailed out into the bay again but did not see anything for almost 2 hours. We finally spotted a small flock of birds, smaller than usual but much bigger than we have been seeing recently, so we decided to go and check it out straight away. And there turned out to be a minke whale feeding there! We saw it clearly one time but then it disappeared again, and the birds dispersed too so we were not able to easily see where the whale went when it dived, and we didn't manage to see it again. We had just started to make our way back to Reykjavik when we briefly saw a small group of white-beaked dolphins but they never came very close to the boat, and sadly by this time we were running out of time so we couldn't stay with them for long. So we had to head back but we were surprised by a minke whale close to Grótta that we saw come to the surface two times, then saw its blow a few times but sadly then it disappeared too, and we had to go back to the city anyway. So again, all of our customers were offered a return ticket since our sightings were not as good as we had hoped today. 

 

17:00 - Creatures of the Sea

It was too windy for fishing this evening so sadly we had to cancel this trip. Hopefully the wind calms down a bit over the next few days! 

 

-Astrid 

09.08.2017 - WHALE WATCHING & CREATURES OF THE SEA & PUFFIN

N64°12’03.59”
W021°59’3077”

Whale Watching:

8:45 - ON

12:45 - ON

Creatures of the sea:

17:00 - ON
 

Puffin:

15:00 - ON

17:00 - ON

19:00 - OFF

 

8:45

There was a strong breeze coming from the west this morning, meaning that there was a large swell and quite a lot of movement on the boat. The bigger waves also make it much more difficult to spot whales. However, after sailing for around 45 minutes we got the call from another boat that had spotted a minke whale, and we managed to see it briefly two times before it disappeared. We then kept sailing but did not spot anything for quite a while, and the boat was rocking a lot so we decided to turn back towards Reykjavik and sail very slowly back, as it is much more comfortable on the boat when the wind and the waves are coming from behind us. On our way back we spotted 3 more minke whales but we only saw them very briefly again. So sadly it was not the most successful trip, so we gave all of our customers a complimentary return ticket to try again another time and hopefully see some more whales!

 

12:45

The wind had calmed down a bit by our afternoon tour but the sea was still quite choppy. We had a similar experience to our morning tour - not as many whales as we would have liked to see. We first of all spotted a small group of 3 white-beaked dolphins but they did not really seem to be in the mood for showing off, and we found it difficult to keep up with them. We decided to leave the dolphins after a while and sail a bit further out into the bay hoping to spot something else, but we were sailing for a very long time before making our next sighting. We received several reports from other boats that had spotted minke whales but we always seemed to arrive too late to see them. Finally, on our way back we spotted one minke whale swimming directly ahead of us, and we saw it surface 3 times before taking a deep dive. Of course we want our customers to see as many whales as possible, and today did not really live up to this so we gave them all complimentary return tickets to try again another day. 


​Two of the white-beaked dolphins we saw briefly this afternoon

08.08.2017 - WHALE WATCHING & CREATURES OF THE SEA & PUFFIN

N64°12’03.59”
W021°59’3077”

Whale Watching:

8:45 - ON

12:45 - ON

Creatures of the sea:

17:00 - OFF
 

Puffin:

15:00 - ON

17:00 - ON

19:00 - OFF

 

08:45

For this day we had good expectations, but these were surpassed considerably. First, as soon as we got out of the harbor we began to sight minke whales right outside the harbor perimeter. We focussed on one individual that kept swimming in an area over the rise of the slope that joins the reefs of the islands in front of Reykjavik.

 

The first minke whale of the day A) as captured swimming towards the northern shores of kollafjorður. B) a closer view of the same individual.

 

That individual kept swimming in circles and taking short dives, so we got some close views from its back from the rear of it and we also obtained pictures of it sideways.

 

A good moment when our captain Björn skillfully positioned the boat sideways to the whale to get side view pictures of this individual.

 

After we had followed this individual whale for a while we left them and set course west towards the outer way. Just after 20 minutes underway we noticed two minke whales swimming close to each other, it could have been a mother with an almost fully grown calf something rarely seen in this bay.

 

Yesterday's minke whales looked like urban whales, they are thinking about moving to Reykjavík.

 

Another great picture of the two whales against the shores of Reykjaness.

 

Then on our way back we encountered a small pod of white-beaked dolphins and finished the tour with very good sightings.

 

12:45

By this time conditions in the bay had changed significantly, gray rain clouds had arrived and a moderate southeasterly breeze had begun to blow. We searched for minke whales over the nearshore areas without seeing a single one. Then we decided to sail out to the southwest. Eventually, we got a glimpse of a small group of dolphins and stayed with them for a short while before resuming our search for the minke whales.

 

Some moments when we encountered a small group of dolphins.

 

After the short encounter with the dolphins, we proceeded west and it began to rain more heavily. That made the job of spotting cetaceans harder from the lookout spot to search. However, the extra eyes in the bridge spotted a large flock of birds in the distance, and we set course there without hesitation. In the distance, we saw large whales and spouts so we kind of hoped there were some humpback whales. when we arrived we got very close to the flock of birds and noted a mixture of several types of birds including a large group of shearwaters. Then we waited for the whales to resume their lunge feeding at the surface, and they did so we had great close up views and managed great pictures.

 

The moment one minke whale took to the surface in everyone's view. 

 

Today was a complete day and everyone had a satisfying experience.

 

-JHF

 

 

07.08.2017 - WHALE WATCHING & CREATURES OF THE SEA & PUFFIN

N64°12’03.59”
W021°59’3077”

Whale Watching:

8:45 - ON

12:45 - ON

Creatures of the sea:

17:00 - ON
 

Puffin:

15:00 - ON

17:00 - OFF

19:00 - OFF

 

08:45

Today we left Reykjavík for the outer bay with a strong cold northerly breeze and sailed on and on searching for minke whales. We expected to find some because on the previous day we had had rather good sightings.  We continued searching extra hard as we begun to notice that the lack of birds meant it would be a difficult search. Other vessels in the bay found no signs whales, but we pressed on hoping to find some further out because of the phase of the tide. We didn't find minke whales instead, we literally stumbled on a small group of dolphins that stayed with us for a while, probably because we were alone with them.

The group of dolphins we encountered far out in the bay on this windy day.

 

On the way back we found large numbers of kittiwakes and diving auk birds feeding on large amounts of fish. That, coupled with the significantly weakened wind looked promising for the tour next. 

 

12:45

 

On this latter tour, we expected that some minke whales would be feeding in the area where we had seen plenty of fish earlier. As we approached the area we saw a large flock of birds about 1 or 1+1/2 mile away and minke whales surfacing nearby two or three times. However, when we reached the group of birds it seemed that it was too late, we waited for the whale to surface but it only did to spout and leave the area. Afterward, we approached a couple of vessels that had encountered dolphins but again we were too late.  Consequently, we had to return to the harbor with no sightings and offer our passengers a return ticket.

 

 

06.08.2017 - WHALE WATCHING & CREATURES OF THE SEA & PUFFIN

N64°12’03.59”
W021°59’3077”

Whale Watching:

8:45 - ON

12:45 - ON

Creatures of the sea:

17:00 - ON
 

Puffin:

15:00 - ON

17:00 - ON

19:00 - OFF

 

8:45

We are being spoiled with good weather these days, and yet again we had beautifully calm water out in the bay this morning. And after only around 30 minutes into the tour we spotted a large family group of white-beaked dolphins, like we have been seeing over the past week or so. They were very calm and we spent at least 20 minutes with them swimming all around the boat. We then sailed further out and spotted yet another group of white-beaked dolphins jumping in the distance! So we got a bit closer and again had a great sighting, with them swimming close to the boat, and even underneath us, and we could clearly see them down through the water. We then spotted an elusive minke whale in the distance but managed to catch up with it and it turned out to be a really calm individual who was not bothered at all by our boat, and it kept surfacing right in front of us, less than 30m away sometimes! These last few days have been perfect for minke whale watching and today was no exception. 



​A few of the white-beaked dolphins we saw this morning


​A minke whale swimming past our boat this morning

 

12:45

We sailed out into the bay this afternoon feeling optimistic about sightings since we had such good ones this morning. And we were not disappointed! It was another trip with great sightings of both minke whales and the white-beaked dolphins that we have been seeing a lot of recently. We first of all sailed towards some large shoals of mackerel that were just below the surface, like we have been seeing the past few days, and spotted two minke whales that were most likely feeding amongst the fish. We saw these minkes several times as they circled around the mackerel. We then sailed further south and spotted a group of white-beaked dolphins and spent a while with them, seeing them swimming close to the boat and also underneath us which is always fun to see. Sadly after around 30 minutes with the dolphins we ran out of time and had to head back to Reykjavik, but we spotted another minke on the way back which we saw come to the surface at least 5 times, so that was a nice extra surprise at the end of the trip.


​One of the minke whales we saw near the mackerel this afternoon

​Even more white-beaked dolphins!

 

17:00 - Creatures of the Sea 

On our Creatures of the Sea trip we sailed out into the bay first of all to try some fishing, but got surprised on the way by a pair of minke whales! We managed to spend quite a while with them swimming all around us, and they surfaced very close to the boat a few times so everyone got a great view of them. We then tried some fishing and caught a few whiting and haddock, but nothing very big so we decided to move the boat and try again. And we were glad we did - we caught many more whiting, one flounder and three HUGE cod - they must be the biggest ones ever caught on our boat! It was a very successful fishing trip, and of course a delicious dinner on the way home to Reykjavik. 


Captain Björn with the biggest fish caught today! 

 

-Astrid​

05.08.2017 - WHALE WATCHING & CREATURES OF THE SEA & PUFFIN

N64°12’03.59”
W021°59’3077”

Whale Watching:

8:45 - ON

12:45 - ON

15:00 - ON

Creatures of the sea:

17:00 - ...
 

Puffin:

15:00 - ...

17:00 - ...

19:00 - OFF

 

8:45

If possible, it was even calmer than yesterday and the sea was like a mirror this morning! If only it was like this every day. Not long at all after sailing out of Reykjavik harbour, we spotted a lone minke whale swimming calmly through the water. We saw this individual come to the surface many times, sometimes very close to the boat, so it was a perfect minke sighting. The weather was so calm and it was so peaceful on board that we could even hear each time that the whale exhaled at the surface. Once this minke took a deeper dive we sailed a little further north and spotted a group of seabirds circling, and below them was a small group of white-beaked dolphins. We managed to stay with them for around 15 minutes as they swam around and even underneath our boat. They also started jumping right in front of the boat! Another perfect sighting. We sailed a bit further out into the bay hoping to spot something more, and we encountered a pair of minke whales swimming along side by side. It was another great minke sighting - it is always so much easier to see these whales when the sea is calm like it is today.

 


​The minke whale we saw this morning diving under the beautifully calm water

 


It is always a treat to see the white-beaked dolphins being so playful!

15:00

There was a little bit of a breeze for our afternoon tour but the journey out into the bay was still lovely and calm. After around 45 minutes we encountered a minke whale, and spent around 30 minutes watching it coming to the surface and diving again. We then headed a bit further out and came across another large family group of white-beaked dolphins. They were swimming very calmly through the water and we saw them swim under the boat a few times. As we turned around to make our way back to Reykjavik we saw them suddenly speed up and swim all together off into the distance - it was a lovely sight, especially with the lovely golden sunlight that comes later in the day at this time of year. 

 


Another great minke whale sighting

 


​Two of the white-beaked dolphins we saw this afternoon

-Astrid

04.08.2017 - WHALE WATCHING & CREATURES OF THE SEA & PUFFIN

N64°12’03.59”
W021°59’3077”

Whale Watching:

8:45 - ON

12:45 - ON

Creatures of the sea:

17:00 -ON
 

Puffin:

15:00 - ...

17:00 - ...

19:00 - OFF

 

8:45

We sailed out into the bay this morning with lovely calm weather - a little overcast but barely any wind, which always makes for perfect whale spotting conditions. We spotted two minke whales very briefly on our way out towards the feeding grounds, but we only saw them from quite far away. We did however see a couple of big schools of mackerel just below the surface stirring up the surface of the water which was interesting to see. We then heard from another boat that had spotted a large group of white-beaked dolphins so we headed over there to get a closer look. We had a great sighting with these dolphins - at first they were very calmly swimming through the water and came quite close to the boat so everyone got a good view, then they decided to speed up and we saw them almost jumping through the water too! We then sailed around the bay towards the south, hoping to spot something bigger than dolphins, but it took us almost 45 minutes before we had our next sighting. But it was a perfect one! On our way back toward Reykjavik we spotted another minke whale in the distance, but once we got closer the whale became very curious and surfaced several times right beside the boat - so close we could smell its (very fishy) breath! It was a great end to this morning's tour. 

 


Some members of the family group of white-beaked ​dolphins we saw this morning

 


​The curious minke whale that surprised us at the end of this morning's tour

 

12:45

We had a little bit of rain at the start of our afternoon tour but thankfully it didn't last for long. And we had a nice surprise at the start of the trip - after just over half an hour of sailing we spotted not just one but many minke whales! And the reason for them all being so close together was soon clear - there were massive schools of mackerel just below the surface, and it was obvious that the minke whales were busy feeding in the area. It was incredible to see the evidence of so many fish - there must have been thousands upon thousands of mackerel all around us. We must have also spotted around 10 minke whales in the area, and got several very good close sightings. We also briefly spotted a couple of harbour porpoises swimming by our boat. We kept sailing, hoping to spot something else, and encountered many more groups of mackerel being chased by seabirds and a couple more minke whales, but sadly nothing bigger. However it was still a brilliant trip for sightings, especially of this rare view of all the mackerel! 

 


A minke whale surfacing behind a large shoal of mackerel

 


​​One of the many other minkes we spotted this afternoon!

 

17:00 - Creatures of the Sea

We sailed out of Reykjavik into some lovely sunny weather, and put down our plow quite close to the islands just outside the city. We collected mostly old shells but also quite a few starfish, some brittle stars, a couple of whelks and a tiny hermit crab. We were then surprised by a minke whale surfacing right beside us, less than 50m away! After it dived we sailed out into the bay towards the good fishing grounds we have discovered over the past few days. We had a lot of success with the fishing, catching 3 huge cod as well as many whiting and a couple of pollock, so we had a lovely seafood feast on the way back to Reykjavik. 

 

-Astrid

03.08.2017 - WHALE WATCHING & CREATURES OF THE SEA & PUFFIN

N64°12’03.59”
W021°59’3077”

Whale Watching:

8:45 - ON

12:45 - ON

Creatures of the sea:

17:00 - ON
 

Puffin:

15:00 - ON

17:00 - OFF

19:00 - OFF

 

08:45

On this day we weren't sure what to expect considering that the day before we really had to work hard to get a single sighting of a minke whale and a small pod of white-beaked dolphins. We left setting course to the western feeding area in the bay. As usual, we followed the signs that lead to the location where cetaceans may be found feeding or searching for food.  As we got within sight of the feeding areas we began to see more and more bird life, especially diving auks and kittiwakes. We were happy to see that since that had been a rare sight for the last five or six days. At the distance, a minke whale was spotted among the flock of birds, great!! so we headed that way. However, before we reached the birds we saw several splashes, likely dolphins we thought, some distance to the southwest. and tried to get a closer look but when we arrived they played hide and seek with us and we lost them. 

 

The splashes from the dolphins that seen at a distance of about 1/4 of a mile 

 

When it was clear we had lost the dolphins we went back to the flock of seabirds and after waiting for a while the minke whale surfaced and we obtained some good sightings. 

The minke whale we found during some of its surfacings near the boat against Reykjavík in the background.

 

Then, after we had spent some time with the minke whale the same dolphins we had lost earlier just showed up and w paid them a good visit before setting course back to harbor with everyone glad.

 Eventually, the small pod of white beaked dolphins could we be seen.

 

12:45

In the afternoon we were relaxed because we knew that the chances of making good sightings were good and we could reassure passengers that ask about the likelihood of seeing whales. Well, we were on for a treat because the second tour of the day turned out even better than the first. As we arrived we were greeted by groups of three or more minke whales in a small area and we could simply choose which one to focus on.

A couple of nice pictures we got from two of the three of the minke whales we confirmed to be feeding in the area where we stopped, this time with the town of Akraness in the background.

 

Finally, to top the cake, we found two pods of white-beaked dolphins on our way out and enjoyed watching both of them for a while. 

The first pod of dolphins against the town of Akraness in the background.

 

A good picture of the moment when the whole pod of white-beaked dolphins surfaced in synchrony.

 

The second tour of the day was simply great and all passengers enjoyed good sightings and a pleasantly warm afternoon on this day of early August.

 

17.00 Creatures of the sea

This tour looked like another of the evening tours, but as it had happened earlier in the day we were on for a pleasant surprise. Because sightings had been so good and we expected the whales to be closer to the shore, the incoming phase of the tide, we went straight to the feeding area. We first deployed our scallop dredge to sample the sea bed and got a load of shells. Among the shells first, we found a hermit crab on a welk's shell and there were also starfish, sea urchins, and quite a few adult whelks. There was also a juvenile spider crab and the egg casing of a skate without the embryo.

 

  A nice collection sea creatures that were all released back to their home habitats after viewing.

 

After the sampling of the sea bottom, we went straight to the feeding area that lies close to one of the outer fishing spots to see if we could get some sightings of whales before fishing. Indeed, as we arrived we received by another crowd of minke whales and we enjoyed some good sightings once more.

We also got good sightings of minke whales before engaging in fishing.

 

After having spent a while with the minke whales we went straight to the best fishing spot in the outer bay where cod usually hang obout. Initially, we used our regular frozen bait and we had some success while our captain Sugurður used the mackerel bait to get some to be used as bait for the cod. As soon as Siggi caught some mackerel we cut it and used it, and fish began to flood the deck. Of course being environmentally friendly we keep enough for dinner and to take home, the rest is released alive if possible. 

 

Two moments when our guests got nice pieces of whiting and cod that were grilled on the way back to everyone's delight.

 

In short, this tour was the most complete so far and a good ending for a fantastic day with plenty of whale and dolphin sightings, a good sample of creatures from the sea bed and good fishing.

 

-JHF 

 

02.08.2017 - WHALE WATCHING & CREATURES OF THE SEA & PUFFIN

N64°12’03.59”
W021°59’3077”

Whale Watching:

8:45 - ON

12:45 - ON

Creatures of the sea:

17:00 - ON
 

Puffin:

15:00 - ON

17:00 - ON

19:00 - OFF

 
 

08:45

 

today August the second we had a cloudless sunny day and we left Reykjavík for the outer bay.  As we approached the feeding ground we focused on a large flock of birds. We expected that some minke whales were feeding in the area. However,  we had to work extra hard without success, There were three vessels in the bay and no one found any minke whales so again no whales had not entered the bay yet. However, on the way back there was a small group of white-beaked dolphins and we spent some time with them.

As they got closer the spent some minutes with us bow riding our boat for a while.

 

12:45

 

For the afternoon tour, we had even nice weather so we had excellent conditions. By this time the tide had changed and we expected to have slightly better chances of making sightings.  After a long search, we finally found a  lone minke whale and managed to watch it surface a few times after waiting for it to surface for several minutes. On the Afternoon tour, there was no sign of the white-beaked dolphins so we had to make our way back to harbor. 

 

The short surfacing of the only whale to be found in the bay today.

 

 

A lucky moment when the single whale spotted in two days surfaced.

 

17.00 Creatures of the sea

 

Today, again we went straight out towards the feeding area to get on with fishing since the chances of finding whales these days are rather slim.  We deployed our dredge to sample the sea bed when we were leaving the shallow areas just outside the lighthouse. We got a small holothurian (sea cucumber) a few sea stars and some sea urchins. Afterward, we found a large shoal of fish near the bottom close by and began fishing. We had a good fishing and caught plenty of whiting and a couple of cod and that made everybody happy again. 

Again, we got plenty of writing and one of the cod was actually quite large.

 

-JHF

01.08.2017 - WHALE WATCHING & CREATURES OF THE SEA & PUFFIN

N64°12’03.59”
W021°59’3077”

Whale Watching:

8:45 - ON

12:45 - ON

Creatures of the sea:

17:00 - ON
 

Puffin:

15:00 - ON

17:00 - ON

19:00 - OFF

 

8:45

The sky was a little overcast but there was hardly any wind this morning so the sea was lovely and calm - perfect conditions for whale watching. And we were surprised by a minke whale surfacing in front of us not long into the tour. We saw it come to the surface several times before it took a deeper dive, then we sailed out further into the bay, heading towards the usual feeding grounds. However, we sailed around the bay for quite a while before making any more sightings. There did not seem to be much life in the bay today, and we did not see any of the large flocks of birds that we usually see. However, after around 1 hour we spotted another two minke whales, and saw one of them surface several times. Just after this we spotted some splashes on the horizon, and once we got closer we saw a group of dolphins playfully jumping through the water! We saw them swimming past the boat quite close, and everyone got a great view of them. But sadly we had totally run out of time and had to turn around and head back to the city. The sun had come out though so it was a lovely journey sailing back to Reykjavik. 


A minke whale arching its back and going for a deep dive​

 

12:45

It was beautiful sunny weather by the time we started our afternoon tour, and it was still nice and calm out in the bay so it was absolutely perfect weather to be out at sea. However, there was still the same situation as this morning, and still there did not appear to be much life in the bay at all. Again, we did not see any large flocks of seabirds, only the occasional small group. And it took us nearly two hours before we had our first sighting - a quick glimpse of a minke whale, which we saw coming to the surface around 3 or 4 times. We then sailed towards another boat that had seen minke whales but we arrived too late and did not get to see them. But we had a nice surprise at the very end of the trip - we found a small group of white-beaked dolphins, and they came and swam along with the boat for a couple of minutes! So we all got an amazing view of them. So after a slow start, it was a nice way to end the trip, along with some proper summer weather. 


​The friendly white-beaked dolphins we saw at the end of our afternoon trip

 

17:00 - Creatures of the Sea

 

It was a beautiful summer's evening when we sailed out on our Creatures of the Sea tour. We started with the plow, but it turned out to be a small kelp forest on the bottom so most of what we collected was just kelp, with the exception of one small starfish! So we focused our time on fishing, and decided to sail quite far out into the bay where we have been successful before. At the first place we tried we did not have much luck, only catching one cod after around 20 minutes of trying. But we moved the boat a bit and tried again and suddenly everyone was catching fish! We must have caught almost 40 or 50 whiting, as well as a couple of huge cod, so it was a very successful fishing trip. We then of course enjoyed our fresh catch of the day on the BBQ as we sailed back into Reykjavik.

 

-Astrid

31.07.2017 - WHALE WATCHING & CREATURES OF THE SEA & PUFFIN

N64°12’03.59”
W021°59’3077”

Whale Watching:

8:45 - ON

12:45 - ON

Creatures of the sea:

17:00 - ON
 

Puffin:

15:00 - ON

17:00 - ON

19:00 - OFF

 

08:45

On this mostly cloudless sunny day of July, we left Reykjavík for the outer bay on the incoming tide so we had some expectations, since the bird life had increased compared to the two previous days. As we approached the feeding ground we focused on a large flock of birds. We expected that some minke whales were feeding in the area. However,  we worked extra hard going from one bird group to the next without success, Considering that there were more than six vessels in the bay and no one got a glimpse of any type of cetacean we concluded that the whales had not entered the bay yet. Consequently, we had to return to the harbor with no sightings. 

 

12:45

The nice weather held on and for the afternoon tour it was even warmer so we had excellent conditions. By this time the tide had changed and this resulted in slightly better chances of making sightings.  We found a small group of white-beaked dolphins and followed them for a while.

Some moments when one of the white-beaked dolphins from the group we encountered today caught breaching on camera with the tower of Keflavík airport on the background.

 

Eventually, we spotted a  minke whale and followed it for a while just enough to get some decent sightings, so we got an indication of minke whales finally returning to the bay.

 

A lucky moment when the single whale spotted in two days surfaced.

 

17.00 Creatures of the sea

 

Because we had enjoyed some success on the previous tour we went straight out towards the feeding area hoping to get to see some whales or dolphins. On the way out we sailed quite close to the island of Akurey, the second largest puffin colony near Reykjavík with an estimated 8000 breeding pairs. We could see puffins flying in and out of the colony in large numbers. There, we deployed our dredge to sample the sea bed and got a few echinoderms, two holothurians (sea cucumbers) a few sea stars and some sea urchins. There was also a hermit crab with its stolen welk's shell and a nice specimen of kelp forest shrimp. 

 

Our curious young passenger holding the specimen of Pandalus montagui. 

 

Then we went fishing and we had a very good fishing we caught plenty of whitting, a large cod of probably more than 7 kg that escaped, a wolffish and some mackerel. In all the tour was very enjoying and we had a very tasty dinner on our way back.

Our young guests could not get enough fish yesterday.

 

-JHF

30.07.2017 - WHALE WATCHING & CREATURES OF THE SEA & PUFFIN

N64°12’03.59”
W021°59’3077”

Whale Watching:

8:45 - ON

12:45 - ON

Creatures of the sea:

17:00 - ON
 

Puffin:

15:00 - ON

17:00 - ON

19:00 - OFF

 

08.45 / 12:45

Today we had no morning tour so we sailed at noon, again with northerly winds. As soon as we left the shallower areas near Reykjavík harbor we felt a strong northerly breeze that increased in strength as we went along. We kept sailing west toward the feeding grounds and only saw relatively low numbers of guillemots and Atlantic puffins. We kept searching the area looking for minke whales with not a sight at all. We exhausted the time and we had to turn back without a single sighting. We hope that the conditions in the bay will improve the following days and we get the usual humpback and minke whales visiting the bay in numbers as it has been the case until last weekend.

 

17:00  Creatures of the sea tour

Because we knew that it would have been unproductive to search for whales we focussed on the fishing. We sailed straight towards the coastal town of Akraness and once there we began fishing off one of its beaches. We found a large shoal of fish and we caught several whiting a haddock and a mackerel, we used the latter as bait to get more whiting.  It was a bit hard to fish with a strong northerly wind but we managed to get enough fish to let our guests taste their fresh catch.

 

A couple of moments on today´s windy but fine tour, our engineer Haffstein assisting one of our guests (left) and another guest with a haddock that was just large enough to keep.

 

-JHF

29.07.2017 - WHALE WATCHING & CREATURES OF THE SEA & PUFFIN

N64°12’03.59”
W021°59’3077”

Whale Watching:

8:45 - ON

12:45 - ON

15:00 - ON

Creatures of the sea:

17:00 - OFF
 

Puffin:

15:00 - OFF

17:00 - OFF

19:00 - OFF

Due to bad weather conditions we are forced to cancel all Puffin tours today
 
 

08.45

 

Today we had a mixed day, somewhat disappointing. We left harbor with seemingly good conditions, but we were deceived by the shelter from northerly winds that the islands near the harbor provide. as soon as we left the shallows off Reykjavík harbor we were greeted with a strong northerly breeze that only became stronger as we went along. That meant we had to sail with a strong wind both out into the bay and back. This situation is sometimes fine if there are plenty of fish around, but that wasn't the case today. We spent most of our time searching for minke whales as usual but found none. In fact, none of the whale watching boats found a single one today. 

 

However, a pod of white beaked dolphins was found by other boats and we set course to that location but we got there too late and missed them. We then resumed our search for minke whales and after a short while, we literally, stumbled upon a small group of male white-beaked dolphins. We followed them for a while and got some pictures, some passengers got superb close-up pictures. 

 Today's dolphins were rather shy they would not approach us so only a good zoom could capture close-ups today as one of our guests did.

 

15:00 Tour

 

The later tour was even more disappointing, again we left harbor with apparently good conditions, but we were deceived by the shelter from northerly winds from the islands. We went out and spent the whole tour searching the bay to find nothing on gale winds, well that is nature and we have to accept the outcome.

 

 

28.07.2017 - WHALE WATCHING & CREATURES OF THE SEA & PUFFIN

N64°12’03.59”
W021°59’3077”

Whale Watching:

8:45 - ON

12:45 - ON

Creatures of the sea:

17:00 - ON
 

Puffin:

15:00 - ON

17:00 - ON

19:00 - ON

 

8:45

We sailed out into Faxaflói Bay this morning with some very classic Icelandic sea conditions - a strong wind was coming from the north east, so the sea was quite choppy. Despite this we managed to spot several minke whales, probably around 5 or 6 in total throughout the tour. There seemed to be a lot of life in the bay as we also saw many big flocks of seabirds, which is usually a good indication that there are a lot of fish in the area. We saw each of the minke whales come to the surface amongst the waves at least two times, but as is often the case, did not manage to get any photos as they are just so fast! On our way back to Reykjavik we were also surprised by another minke whale surfacing less than 50m from our boat, and everyone a great view of this whale as it surfaced 3 times very close to us.

 

12:45

The wind had dropped a little for our afternoon tour and the sun even came out for a bit! So conditions were better out in the bay, but the sea was still a little choppy. And once we arrived back out at the feeding grounds we were spoiled with minke whale sightings! We lost count of how many we saw on this trip, but it must have been around 10 at least. There were loads of big flocks of birds in the area too, and they turned out to be a good indication of where the minkes were - we even saw a couple of the minke whales lunge feeding at the surface surrounded by seabirds. So it turned out to be a great trip for minke whale sightings! 


​There were many flocks of seabirds like this today - it was a bit of a feeding frenzy!


One of the sneaky minke whales swimming past our boat 

 

-Astrid​

27.07.2017 - WHALE WATCHING & CREATURES OF THE SEA & PUFFIN

N64°12’03.59”
W021°59’3077”

Whale Watching:

8:45 - ON

12:45 - ON

Creatures of the sea:

17:00 - OFF
 

Puffin:

15:00 - ON

17:00 - ON

19:00 - OFF

 

8:45

Finally, the beautiful sunny day we have all been waiting for! There was still a bit of fog around the harbour in Reykjavik this morning but thankfully that cleared up once we sailed a bit further out into the bay. Just like the past few days we first of all spotted a group of white-beaked dolphins close to our boat, but they were swimming very fast and we did not manage to keep up with them for very long. We then sailed for a long time around the bay but did not see much life at all. We very briefly spotted 3 or 4 minke whales but only one of them came close enough to the boat to be considered a good sighting. On our way back to Reykjavik we encountered the group of white-beaked dolphins again and managed to get a bit closer to them so everyone got a better view of them this time round.


The white-beaked dolphins we saw this morning

12:45

The weather is just perfect today! If only it was like this every day in Iceland. Again, our first sighting on this tour was a group of white-beaked dolphins, but they seemed to be in a much more friendly and playful mood than this morning and came very close to the boat, and were also jumping through the water! It looked like quite a large family group, and we also saw some calves. We stayed with the dolphins for around 15 minutes but then kept sailing hoping to spot something bigger. Not long after this we spotted a minke whale that was swimming on the right side of the boat, and then suddenly we also had one on our left! We managed to see both of them surface several times. We then sailed a little bit further towards a flock of birds and spotted quite a few more minkes - some of them were so close to our boat that we could hear the sound of them exhaling as they came to the surface! So it was a great trip for both dolphin and minke whale sightings.


​The family group of dolphins we saw on our afternoon tour were being quite playful!

 


​A quick glimpse of a minke whale swimming past our boat

 

-Astrid

26.07.2017 - WHALE WATCHING & CREATURES OF THE SEA & PUFFIN

N64°12’03.59”
W021°59’3077”

Whale Watching:

8:45 - ON

12:45 - ON

Creatures of the sea:

17:00 - ON
 

Puffin:

15:00 - ...

17:00 - ...

19:00 - OFF

 

8:45

It was a beautiful sunny day in Reykjavik today, and we sailed out into the bay enjoying this lovely blue sky. Not too long into the trip we spotted a group of white-beaked dolphins which were swimming calmly through the water. We managed to spend a while with them, and everyone on board got a good view of them. We kept sailing and spotted a few flocks of birds but no whales, so we sailed a bit further south. Despite the sunny weather there was a very thick sea fog coming from the coast of and for around half an hour we were sailing inside this fog and did not spot anything else. We then sailed north again and managed to escape the fog, and spotted two minke whales but then unfortunately ran out of time and had to head back to Reykjavik.


The friendly white-beaked dolphins we saw on the morning tour

12:45

The fog had really closed in on the bay after midday, and it was poor visibility for the start of our afternoon trip. However, after about 45 minutes of sailing we had a wonderful surprise of a group of white-beaked dolphins swimming alongside our boat, a behaviour known as bow riding. They stayed with us for quite a while and we all got a great view of them playfully swimming through the water. We kept sailing out to the west and eventually the fog lifted and we had our lovely sunny day back. We then spotted some dolphins again, possibly the same group and before, and they came bow riding again for ages! So it was a perfect day for dolphin sightings. We spotted lots of large flocks of seabirds and very briefly saw a minke whale but it was quite far from the boat. We also saw a few little harbour porpoises swimming through the water beside our boat - because it was so lovely and sunny we could even see their whole bodies as they swam under the water! We were just starting to run out of time and heading back towards the city when we briefly spotted the blow and the back of a humpback whale. We watched it dive but it seemed to be a long dive as we did not manage to see it again before we had to go back to the city. 


​The white-beaked dolphins were very playful on our afternoon tour, surfing in the waves and bow riding alongside our boat!

Astrid

 

17:00 Creatures of the Sea

As soon as we went looking for a good place for fishing, 23 found "someone" that showed us its upper flip...it was a minke whale!! It went up several times to the surface till got disappeared in the sea; so all our passengers could see it briefly ;) Once we reached an area for practicing sea angling it happened the same that the day before, we fished lots of fishes!!! Some people fished 2 at the same time!!!!  Finally made the barbecue and the people really enjoyed the trip and the meal, was delicious!!! It is nice to see the people how they have a nice time with us, it was a trip full of great persons :)

One of our passengers that fished 2 fishes at the same time!! :)

 

Eva

25.07.2017 - WHALE WATCHING & CREATURES OF THE SEA & PUFFIN

N64°12’03.59”
W021°59’3077”

Whale Watching:

8:45 - ON

12:45 - ON

Creatures of the sea:

17:00 - ON
 

Puffin:

15:00 - ON

17:00 - OFF

19:00 - OFF

 

8:45

We had an absolutely amazing morning tour today - blue sky, sunshine and breaching whales! We first of all spotted a small group of white-beaked dolphins but we only saw them briefly before they disappeared. So we kept sailing towards a large flock of birds where we spotted a minke whale, and it surfaced several times close to the boat. We then spotted the blow of a humpback whale in the distance so we headed towards it and saw it lunge-feeding amongst another huge group of birds. It then stopped lunge feeding and dived a few times, showing us its tail flukes. Then suddenly out of nowhere it breached! Not just once, but FIVE times! It was amazing to see. It then also swam right up to the boat, so close we could have almost touched it. Sadly we then ran out of time and had to say goodbye to this amazing individual, but it was a truly perfect humpback sighting. On our way back to Reykjavik we spotted some more large splashes and sailed closer to see what was going on. And it turned out to be a minke whale breaching too! Unfortunately it was swimming very fast and our boat could not keep up, so we did not get a very close view, but it was still amazing to see. It is definitely not every day we see both species of whales breaching like this! Just a perfect morning tour.

The humpback whale lunge feeding 


One of the five times we saw this humpback breaching!


The minke whale we saw jumping in the distance!​

12:45

The weather was just as good as on our morning tour so we sailed out into the bay enjoying the lovely sunshine. The tide had gone out since the morning tour which often means we have to travel a little further out into the bay before we spot the whales. After just over 1 hour of sailing we spotted a small group of white-beaked dolphins, possibly the same group that we saw this morning. However, again they did not stick around for long so we decided to sail further out in the hopes of spotting something a bit bigger. We also briefly saw a small group of harbour porpoises. A little while later we spotted the blow of a humpback whale in the distance, and once we caught up with it we noticed that there was not just a humpback, but a group of white-beaked dolphins too! They seemed to be almost playing with the whale, or maybe just annoying it, but it was very cool to see the two species interacting. Unfortunately the whale did not seem to be in the mood for coming close to the boats, and started to swim quickly to the south, so we decided to give it some space and head back towards Reykjavik, hoping to spot something else on the way. We saw a few flocks of birds but unfortunately no more whales. But we still saw 3 out of 4 of the main species: harbour porpoises, white-beaked dolphins and the humpback whale.


​The humpback we spotted this afternoon was waving at us!


One of the white-beaked dolphins that was playing with the humpback​

Astrid

 

17:00 Creatures of the Sea

The weather was perfect to spend a day on board, completely sunny and sometimes a bit warm, so in this trip the people was most likely in our upper deck than inside the boat. When we were close from the area where we use to see the whales, we tried fishing during a quarter of hour and in that time we fished 5 fishes!!! 

Then we went a bit further and we saw several blows of a humpback whale that passed 100 meters in front of our boat; then, we decided to try angling there and it was incredible, we couldn't stop fishing different kind of fishes, even when I sayed that we had to pick up to start our way back to Reykjavík, some fishes were fished!! 

Finally, we made a barbecue with so tasty fresh fish that all the people liked it a lot and some sayed that it was the best that they did during their holidays in Iceland :) One more time, I must say that I enjoy watching the people so happy with this trip.

 

Eva.

24.07.2017 - WHALE WATCHING & CREATURES OF THE SEA & PUFFIN

N64°12’03.59”
W021°59’3077”

Whale Watching:

8:45 - ON   

12:45 - ON

Creatures of the sea:

17:00 - ON
 

Puffin:

15:00 - ON

17:00 - ON

19:00 - ON

 
 

8:45

 

We started our first tour with a bit windy and cloudy today, but little by little, the sun appeared and made the temperature a bit warmer :) So, in our way to the feeding grounds we saw a couple of withe-beaked dolphins that were around our boat in several times enjoying the weather. A bit later, we sailed a bit further and we realized that there were some flocks of seagulls flying over different spots; and our surprise was that we finally spotted a humpback whale around us, which surfaced constantly to blow and to show us its dorsal fin. 

White-beaked dolphins swimming together



​The humpback whale going to dive after take a breath.

 

 

12:45

 

After our sights during the morning, we decided to go back to the same point and check if there still was the humpback....but it was even more amazing, because we could see a group of minke whales that it was a crazy thing to spot them, meanwhile one was going to the surface, another one was doing it also just at the other side of the boat!!! But our adventure don't finish here, then appeared also a couple humpback whales!! They were blowing so loud that we could hear it perfectly and all the passengers of this trip really enjoyed it because it was great to see a group of whales, swimming in the sea and watching them in freedom.

​​Dorsal fin of a humpback whale

 

Another one on the surface.

 

 

17:00 Creatures of the Sea

 

What can we say about this trip? In one word: perfect!! During the way to reach the feeding grounds of the whales, we saw first dolphins and finally the humpback whale again! It was really nice to see humpbacks in our three trips of today :)

Then we started fishing and after that, we barbecued it on board on our way back home. People liked it a lot and had a great time with us. Is always a pleasure to have so cool people on board!!


Eva

23.07.2017 - WHALE WATCHING & CREATURES OF THE SEA & PUFFIN

N64°12’03.59”
W021°59’3077”

Whale Watching:

8:45 - ON  The sea is calming down and the humpbacks are playing

12:45 - ON    Dolphins and some more humpbacks. Great day with calm easterly winds. Smiles and tons of photographs 

 

Creatures of the sea:

17:00 - ON    Sail, Fish, BBQ, eat and drink :)
 

Puffin:

15:00 - ON  Nice flying conditions today....for the birds, not so much for the airplanes

17:00 - ON  Easy going puffins are waiting in the harbor 

19:00 - OFF

 

8:45

We had a strong breeze coming from the south east today so the sea was a little choppy this morning but not as rough as we expected. We reached the feeding grounds after around 1 hour of sailing but did not see much life initially, only a few seabirds. But then we spotted a big flock of birds and once we got closer we spotted two minke whales that were feeding in the area. We also very briefly saw a couple of white-beaked dolphins but they did not stick around for long. Then we were very excited as we spotted the blow of a humpback whale, so we tried to get a little closer to where we had seen it, and stopped the boat waiting for it to surface again. And it completely took us by surprise, surfacing right by the left side of our boat! We saw it come to the surface several times but did not manage to get a good view of its tail this time. Still, it was a great surprise! Sadly we then ran out of time so we had to say goodbye to this humpback for now, hopefully we will manage to spot it again on our next tour! 



​The humpback whale we saw on this morning's tour

 

12:45

It was a little bit of a slow start to our afternoon trip, and we had been sailing for over 1 hour before spotting any flocks of birds. We saw around 3 big flocks and spent some time at each one but there did not appear to be any whales nearby so we kept sailing hoping to spot something else. We were then suddenly surprised by 3 white-beaked dolphins which swam right in front of our boat before diving underneath our boat so we could see them through the water. Unfortunately they did not stay for too long, but just after they left we heard from another boat that was very close to Reykjavik, that they had spotted what looked like a humpback. So we decided to go straight there, because since it was so close to the city we would be able to spend more time with it. And once we got there we saw it's huge spout and realized that maybe we were looking at something else, not a humpback. And sure enough, in what has to be the biggest surprise of the summer so far, it turned out to be a fin whale! This species is incredibly rare to see in this area, especially so close to the coast, so we were all very very excited! We saw it surface several times, once very close to our boat! A very special experience for everyone on board, and an amazing way to end our afternoon tour. 


​The incredible fin whale we spotted on our afternoon tour!

 

17:00 - Creatures of the Sea

We decided to go out to where we normally see the whales for the fishing part of our tour today, in the hope that we could catch some fish while watching some whales! We started fishing and caught a few large cod and a ling before trying another location, where we caught a couple of haddock and another HUGE cod! A very successful evening of sea angling. We then did a bit of whale watching and spotted a group of white-beaked dolphins and a humpback whale feeding among a huge group of seabirds. We all got a great view of the humpback diving beside our boat several times, but sadly not long after this we ran out of time and had to head back to Reykjavik, but we of course got to enjoy eating our delicious seafood dinner on the way. 

 

-Astrid