LIFE´S A BREACH
The wind has started to sing across Skjálfandi bay, causing the waves to grow and our passengers to sail out into certain adventure. Although an Icelandic whale watching trip can’t exactly promise the tropical flat seas of the Caribbean, if you do venture out into Icelandic waters, you are guaranteed to return with a story worth telling.
Armed with a hot chocolate in one hand and a camera in the other, our passengers witness the diverse changing behaviour of the humpback whales. Just like humans, humpbacks respond to changes in the weather. Research from cetacean experts has shown that as the wind picks up, it increases the physical activity of whales, triggering amazing behaviours such as jumping and splashing. Dr Rebecca Dunlop from the University of Queensland describes it like being at a party. "If you imagine you're at a party and you're trying to talk to someone and they can't hear what you say, you start to gesture a bit”. Sitting at sea in Skjálfandi bay, we are VIP guests at this ‘party’ of whale behaviours.
Over the past few days, as the winds have stirred up the bay, we’ve seen the whales stir too. Humpback whales soar out of the water like giant ballerinas, crashing their forty tonne bodies on to the sea surface and smashing their tails against the waves in a behaviour scientists call ‘lob tailing’. To watch a whale jump out of the water is almost every whale watchers dream. A dream that is becoming an increasing reality for the travelers we meet every day in Húsavík. Although Iceland isn’t blessed with tropical sunshine, life here is still a breach. The northerly winds carry an infectious spirit that seems to get inside both the whales and passengers alike.
A lob-tailing humpback whale (Photo: Charla Basran)
A humpback whale breaching (jumping out of the water) (Photo: Charla Basran)