WORKING WITH WHALES AROUND THE WORLD
Our guides love whales and during the off-season months in Húsavík, many of them travel the world to work with marine mammals in other destinations. Among them is Alberto, a dedicated guide and biologist, who has been with Gentle Giants for several years but is now in New Zealand working with wildlife tours. Here he tells his story, but soon enough, he will be back with us in Húsavík ready to share his experience and knowledge with his passengers on Skjálfandi Bay.
"It was hard to say goodbye temporarily to the Gentle Giants team, the whales and the mountains of Húsavík. But it was for a good reason. From the whale capital of Iceland, Húsavík, I circumnavigated the globe to end up in New Zealand and work as a guide for a wildlife company based in Dunedin.
My journey as a biologist and naturalist leads me to seek out the beauty of the ocean and its magical creatures, especially the different species of cetaceans. And that is exactly what I found here.
My days are spent touring the tip of the Otago Peninsula, also known as Taiaroa Head, surrounded by a great biodiversity of species. This place, world famous for being the only place on the mainland where northern royal albatrosses nest, is also visited by orcas, Hector's dolphins (which I personally have long dreamed of seeing in real life), dusky dolphins, humpback whales, southern right whales, New Zealand sea lions, New Zealand fur seals, yellow-eyed penguins, little blue penguins and Otago cormorants, among many other species.
It is thus an important and sensitive refuge and breeding ground for many species considered endangered or threatened, such as Hector's dolphins and yellow-eyed penguins. As a guide, I am fortunate to accompany people in their discovery of this place and its species, as well as to raise awareness of their conservation status, needs, and the importance of preserving their habitat.
Personally, I continue to learn about the biology of other cetacean and seabird species and how to protect them locally and regionally, while enjoying them in real action and capturing their majesty through my lenses."
Photos by Alberto @de_sastrelife