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Whale Watching in Faxaflói Bay

10.6.2005
Words by Bart Cameron
I think you know the question we have to ask.
The first thing to report is that there were whales. There was even a juvenile humpback whale, a rare sight and something that had the captain extremely excited. Almost immediately after we saw this juvenile humpback whale, we came across a pair of minke whales, and the captain pointed out that he thought the whales were dating. We thought this was odd.
The captain said the minke whales were dating?
No, he said the humpback and the minke were on their way to a date. I don’t know how the guy with the microphone determined this, that the whales from different species were dating, but I thought it was an interesting idea, nonetheless.
Any other surprises?
What surprised us the most was the whale breath. I’ve seen whales in Boston and in Connecticut, but I’ve never smelled whale breath. The captain claimed the odour was unique. That it was essentially shit. But I would say it was more fishy. Like marine life and foecal matter. And it was worse with the humpback, because the humpback has a blowhole.
Minke whales don’t blow, but humpbacks definitely blow.
So what’s the total count on whales?
Three total. But a few we saw more than once. We really followed them around. Almost harassed, but I suppose that’s a necessary evil.
Other animals? Other than whales?
At the beginning of the trip, we went by Puffin Island, and I was surprised at how close we came, and at how many birds we saw taking off. They look so awkward when they’re trying to fly. Then we came upon the whales.
Capable crew?
The crew definitely seemed to know what they were doing, as far as one could tell. I mean, their ability to view the species and size of the whale was remarkable. That’s all you can ask, I think.
The boat also had hot whale punch, which included hot chocolate, rum and tea. But we debated the potential flavour combination and decided that couldn’t work out well.
So you’d recommend this, whale watching?
Yes, definitely. I think, even though it’s a little expensive, people should definitely take a boat ride, even without the whales, from Reykjavík harbour. I think it’s an important part of the city. When you see the seaweed, you think how weird it is. Considering how important fishing is here, it’s a part of Reykjavík that most tourists don’t pay attention to, and if you take a whale watching trip you’re forced to come in contact with it.
My one problem with whale watching is that there isn’t that much exercise. It feels like you should get a workout doing this. Maybe if there were some way to wrestle with the whales or something.
Maybe whaling?
Yeah.
As told to Bart Cameron by
Harris Schaer and Kajsa Anderson
Whale-watching trip courtesy of Elding Whale Watching,
The Old Harbour, 101 Reykjavík,
555-3565, www.elding.is
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