On the first weekend of August in 2009, which is a national holiday in Iceland, I had an experience that has changed my life. I was staying with my family on the Hella farm in Steingrímsfjörður in the Westfjords. It’s a wonderful place where you can immerse yourself in nature, and listen to the grass growing. On the far side of the fjord you’ll find Hólmavík, a fishing village with a few hundred inhabitants. At the mouth of the fjord there is Drangsnes with a similar population, and finally, the island of Grimsey, which is only inhabited by puffins.
Adventure in the morning
On this morning, our kids had made their way to the beach early, looking for adventure. Usually nothing happens when you are looking for adventure. But this morning was very different. Our kids found a whale on the Hveravík beach. A real blue whale that was still alive, blowing water fountains into the air. We all rushed to the beach and gazed at one of the largest living animals in the world, right in front of us. It must have been hunting for mackerel and come too close to the beach and became stranded in shallow water. Mackerel have previously not been so far north, but marine scientists believe that the increased temperature of the oceans is responsible for this new development.
With the whale in the water
I dressed in my wetsuit, my friends tied a rope around my waist to secure me and I started wading through the water to the colossus. What an incredible feeling to touch him, to sit on his back while the sea played around us, to feel its gurgling and bubbling, while little fountains of water escaped from its blowholes! It seemed like the whale knew exactly that we wanted to help. That was not easy, as it must have weighed 200 tons.
To the rescue!
The 20-ton MS Sundhani from Drangsnes came to our aid and, with the help of the approaching high tide we would try to drag the whale into deeper water. We tied a rope around its tail and succeeded, using all the machinery to the full, to actually move the colossus. It responded initially with some panic movements, and we almost paid for our actions with our lives, but then it calmed down and followed the ship out into the fjord. Half of the rescue was done!
Magic between whale and human
In the end, the removal of the rope was rather a larger problem, and we finally decided to just cut it. This was the start of the second incredible story, as the whale remained close to the ship. Even more, it swam around it several times and picked up the rope with its head, as if it wanted us to understand that the loose hanging rope would cause its death. So I went into the water one last time- this time on my own and in full confidence that the whale would trust me. And the miracle happened – the whale lay calmly in the water and waited, until I had removed the rope. Only then did it swim quietly away.
Later, from the beach, I could watch my friend for a long time, breaking through the waters of the fjord, on his way to freedom. We both learned a lot that day.
Focus on French
Magnús’ company, Aðalsendibílar focuses on the needs of French visitors, with all the guides being graduades in French.
Tours for groups large and small
Tours run throughout the year, with vehicles to suit the conditions and the groups’ needs. Whether a coach for large groups of SupeJeeps for smaller groups, the tours visit all the main sites and custom tours are a speciality.