It was just one of those rare but oh so special days that I will always remember despite thousands of whale watching tours.
At Laki Tours in Iceland we take some of the local children whale watching each year for free to show them the wonderful animals they have in their waters, hoping to create some new whale ambassadors in Iceland, a country that desperately needs them. In glassy seas we headed out expecting humpbacks as these are the main species we see here at this time of year. The humpbacks did not disappoint with a number out in the fjord.
But all of a sudden we saw black fins and a pod of orcas were cruising in the fjord. These were the first orcas sighted in this fjord this entire season. As we approached a female and calf peeled off, turned back around and surfaced right next to us, the calf bringing its head far out of the water while all the children screamed with excitement.
After a brief time with the orcas we turned for home as this was supposed to be a short trip, but then splashing was seen. We then spent time with a large pod of white-beaked dolphins some of which came over to ride the bow wave and look up at the children all crowded in the bow to look down at them.
Some very young calves were in the group and although they didn’t closely approach the boat, they were jumping nearby. It was spectacular to see them in such glassy conditions. Some of the children told their teacher it was the best day of their lives.
As we loaded the paying passengers and headed back out we looked for the orcas and dolphins but both had disappeared. However, the passengers were not to be disappointed as we found a humpback whale that came up under us as we drifted waiting for it, thinking it had taken a deep dive.
This whale then proceeded to spend around 40 minutes twirling around under the boat in a kind of whale ballet, looking up at us with its eye wide open.
It was truly an extraordinary morning on the water and one I will never forget.