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Wednesday, 17 February 2016



Over in Iceland on a trip with Basking Shark Scotland ( we were getting kitted up ready to head out on another amazing swim adventure when the news came through that there were humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae)  in the fjord not that far from us. 

Our guide for the day, Erlandur Bogason, took our expectations to the limit as his volunteered his rib and services for an impromptu trip out to see these amazing creatures.

Never have you seen a group of adults get their bodies into Dry suits so fast, or gimp suits as i call them. I just wanted to be out on the water (and preferably in the water with them). All of us dressed we headed to the rib and with  permission granted to aboard we secured our positions and under the steady hand of Erlandur we headed to where the whales had been sighted, eye peeled in preparation.

Roger Taylor was the first to spot the distinctive plume of breath that shot skyward, the boat quickly adjusted and we headed in the their direction. The water a deep green completely hid these giants of the sea when they submerged themselves, a pattern of three returns to the surface then a deep dive with no knowledge of where they would surface, thankfully our guide was well practised in  seeking them out. 

These creatures truly are phenomenal in their size, for me, not normally an person given to tears, i found myself in complete bits emotionally, the tears flowing down my face blurring my view of the sights in front of me. I was astounded by the pure beauty of them and seeing them their natural environment.

The next few hours literally flew past, there were four humpback whales that we took our time going between to view them, they were not worried by our presence as they carried out their activities. For us the boat was full of adults cooing as if they were children at a firework display. The camera's were clicking away so fast, the number of pictures we were taking was amazing. The coolness of the air temperature forgotten as the suns warmth penetrated our dry suits. The smiles were huge and never ending.

For me the trip was topped off by actually hearing the whales 'inhaled' as they prepared for their long dive. It was magical to hear (and virtually feel) the vibration as the air entered the lungs of such a magnificent creature as they arched their backs a much deeper arch than the previous two and then gracefully diving deep into the oceans green depths.

The trip on the water ended with us slowly following the smallest of the four whales as he meandered along in the water, for their size their speed is cleverly hidden in their gracefulness. Erlandur remaining behind him as he rolled his body over the waves right in front of the boat, me again (and yes i do not mind confessing for most of the ride) in tears of pure unadulterated happiness. I could barely hold the camera to get the pictures that i so desperately wanted to get, but the eyes, brain and hands were not in communication at that moment, never have i wanted to be in the water so much to experience swimming with them. 

Again came that wonderful rumble of inhalation and then the arching of a spine so flexible in a large aquatic giant that it does not seem possible and had i not seen it through my many tear with my own eyes i would not have believed it.

 You can see the last part of the tail as it disappears into the depths, hardly a splash  such is the extent of its graceful entry. I didn't want to leave the waters and could have happily stayed there all day to watch them. I will always be thankful to Erlandur for his generosity and taking us out. If you are lucky to go on one of Basking Sharks trip and get to meet the amazing Erlandur please remember me to him!


  1. I love whales. My wife loves watching them, too. I hope that one day we can go all over the place and do nothing but watch whales swimming and be able to take a bunch of pictures. I would love to take my kids to whale watch also as I'm sure they would greatly enjoy it.