Iceland: the day when I first saw a whale
January 1, 1970
by Ksusha Kuzmenko
Iceland. August. The journey takes only 2 weeks, not enough to explore this amazing country. I want to visit every corner, every town, every top, go through all the glaciers, to see as much as possible, but time was limited.
TAKE A RISK OR NOT?
When I flew there, I knew that one day should be devoted to watching whales. But which day? How to guess the weather? From what city is better to sail? And where will guarantee that I will see them? The answer is: nowhere. No one will give you the guarantee that tomorrow will be great weather, clear water and excellent visibility, and most importantly, that the whales will be in mood to swim out to you. But I don’t lose heart, I believe that despite the fact that this is pure lottery, I would like to try, because “it is better to do and once regret than not to do, and then regret for the rest of your life”, right? I do not know whether everyone adheres to this statement, but in a moment of doubt in my minds I listen to these words. If there is the slightest chance of seeing a whale by my own eyes, not on video, not in the picture, not in some super-duper planetarium, but to see in its natural habitat, why not take a risk?)
PLACES OF WHALE WATCHING
People who have the desire to watch whales in their natural habitat travel to a variety of points on our planet. And in different parts of the world – you can observe different species of these creatures. Iceland has not too many places where you can take such tour. The map shows only the so-called Best places of whale watching, according to Google’s opinion, of course.
But the most popular destinations, as it became known for me, – are coastal cities near fjord Eyjafjörður, in the north.
We’re thinking about few points of departure: Akureyri, which is the Northern capital of Iceland, Hauganes (very cute city) and Husavik( it is the capital of whalewatching). I think you can guess where I wanted to go the most. But we have no time travel to Husavik – it was not on our way. So we decided to try our luck in Akureyri.
To sum up, the city was selected, the tickets were bought in the evening for the next morning and what was left is only hope that the weather will not let us down, and that whales will want to meet with us.
Below you will find some links where you can read more detailed information about how much the excursion will cost or how it’s going to be held.
Here you can see just some of the companies that carry out such tours, in fact you can find much more.
THE MOST MEMORABLE DAY OF MY LIFE
This day has come. I open my eyes, unbutton the sleeping bag, of course, yawn a little, and hopefully look out of the tent. The weather was not good, it was perfect, better than we could imagine. The sky has no clouds, there was no wind, the sun was shining, and told me that my wish could come true. After Quick breakfast right in the tent with yesterday rice with some hot sauce, I pulled on my favorite hat with reindeers, took a camera, woke one more lucky guy – my friend Sasha and together we went to the meeting point with our guide.
9:00. We are on a ship. Choosing, as we then thought, a good place to view, we began to listen to what we were told by our guide. There are several signs how we can notice a whale: 1) a large flock of birds 2) water splashing 3) and seeing the back or tail of this creature. It was the first time I was looking on the water with such hope. We were trying to catch the slightest sign that somewhere there could be a whale.
It took half an hour, but we still continued to float in search.
And suddenly I saw far away a splash of water, of course, it was noticed not only by me, but also by the rest of the companions. Our guide gave this information to the captain and the ship stared at that place where a couple of seconds ago we noticed something. Having sailed on that place we started to wait.
Splashing water was repeated, and then I felt such happiness inside. I saw him. I saw a whale. Just in a couple of meters away from our ship. He showed us back again and again, and then at the end whale ,demonstrating his tail, plunged on the depth of the fjord. To say what was going on in my head is difficult: I thought it was a miracle. But the real magic was still onward.
After a couple of seconds, our guide began shouting directions where we should look. «At first o’clock, at nine, at seven ….» She shouted and shouted, simultaneously taking her camera out, because she has also never seen such. We were watching 9 whales at the same time. No matter where we were looking, everywhere we saw the backs, the tails, even the noses. And of course, everywhere were splashes of water. We were in the center, it seemed that they were surrounding us.You might ask: “Was it fearfully?” No, fear was absent in our minds, what we felt is just indescribable admiration.
I was beholding them and could not believe my eyes. I started to cry and Sasha somehow scared. I never understood why guys are afraid of women’s tears. Having explained to him the reason, he still did not understand) Men 🙂 Of course, whales weren’t jumping out of the water, but it was enough for me to see them, at least, closely. Since the weather was good and the water was clear, visibility allowed us to pry about them under water.
At such moments, you realize how beautiful our planet is, how amazing all the creatures that live on it are, and how we were lucky to see it all. Our excursion came to an end, the boat began the return journey. And suddenly we’ve remembered that that did not make any pictures yet. After all, we were so lost in contemplation of the whales that did not want to miss a single moment of time, not to lose even a second on getting out a camera. After making a couple of pictures on our gadgets, and a lot of pictures by our eyes, we went ashore.
FEW MINUTES AFTER ARRIVAL
Looking at me with Sasha after arriving on shore, you could say with certainty that we were”Two happy idiots!”. Smiles do not slip from our faces, mentally we were still on the ship and continued to watch the whales. All the next day we spent time trying to describe to our friends how it was, what we felt, we were asked to describe them. Well, I really could not find the words to tell everything that happened to us.
It was a miracle that we were lucky to see, and this day I will remember for the rest of my life.