Arrival Húsavík

posted on August 13, 2020

Following the strenuous yet rewarding crossing from Faroe Islands, Husavik was a bit of Shangri-La for the crew. A sheltered harbor and a cozy town with a spa resort, restaurants, stores and other comforts society has to offer. We would spend a couple of days indulging and recovering, getting ready for the work the lay ahead. Húsavík was to be our base of operations for the following 4 weeks. It was the ideal location for the Arctic Whale project, as the Skjálfandi bay where the Húsavík is located, holds numerous whale species.

The Whale Wise team. From the left: Abigail Robinson, Flordespina Dodds, Alyssa Stoller and Tom Groove.

Furthermore, the bay provides shelter, which facilitates whale observations and scientific work. The town is also home to The University of Iceland’s Research Centre, which we proudly partnered with for the project. It is lead by Dr. Marianne Rasmussen who joined us in Faroe Islands on our scouting mission for white sided dolphins.

Taking Dr. Marianne and her students out on a field trip, with sound recordings on the agenda.

In addition to the research center, there are numerous whale scientists, students and biologists from across the world that all do their part in unraveling the mysteries of the arctic whales. We partnered with the Whale Wise team, that co-founded by Tom Grove and Alyssa Stoller. The two lead an ambitious team of whale conservationists, that amongst others use drones collecting blow samples from whales as an assessment tool.

Húsavík in North Iceland.

It was also time for a crew change. Tord flew back to Northern Norway, Fabrice took off to Bahamas to film dolphins and Hugh would eventually return to London for journalistic work, which included telling the story of the Arctic whale project. Diane and I would soon be joined by photographer Connor McDonell and Sandra who had been preoccupied with the equally important onshore communication of the Arctic Whale project. More on this in the next blog post!

Andreas

Featured image: Our first blue whale encounter. Photo by Tom Grove.

Moored at Flatey, in Skjálfand bay following a day of field work.

Drone photo of a blue whale. By Conor McDonnell

Andreas and Hugh rather excited following the first blue whale observation!

SY Barba in action in Skjálfandi bay. Photo by Conor McDonnell.

Conor on "the hunt" for white beaked dolphins.

The white beaked dolphin! Photo by Conor McDonnell.

Puffins mid flight. Photo by Conor McDonnell.

Puffins on the island Lundey, which translates to Puffin Island. Photo by Conor McDonnell.

Conor photographing puffins, together with his squire  Andreas.

Field trip with students - Introduction to the hydrophone for underwater sound recordings.

Sandra C. Ness back in action. Photo by Alexander Thorsen.

Humpback whale in Eyjafjörður. Photo by Conor McDonnell

Humpback whale up close. Photo by Conor McDonnell

Humpback whale up close. Photo by Conor McDonnell

Humpback whale up close. Photos of the fluke can be used for ID purposes.  Photo by Conor McDonnell

Conor in action. Photo by Andreas B. Heide

Diane handling the catch of the day, humpback samples.

Humpback whale encounter as seen from the top of the mast.

The whale wise team getting ready for blow sampling.

Beach cleanup together with other Husavik residents. Photo by Jason Cartwright

Approaching a humpback whale as we get ready to collect blubber samples. Photo by By Peter Svanberg

Sandra handling onshore communication at the Nor-shipping conference. Photo by Jason Cartwright