July 27th, 2011: Day 7

The last salute to Arved an his crew

Whale hunt

The events planned for today had been highly anticipated by all. The theme: whales. We woke up to a wonderful sunny day by Icelandic standards and had an early breakfast. This was followed by an informative and interesting lecture on whaling by Ulrich at the Gamli Bauker restaurant. We learnt various things about this controversial topic, including the history of it, and how the methods and tools developed, what parts of different whales were used to make products as well as the current situation regarding whaling (some countries like Norway and Japan still hunt whales). That which stunned us all during this lecture, were the numbers of whales that have been slaughtered in the past, as this was a horrendously large number.

After this we continued to the Husavik Whale Museum wherewe were given a guided tour by Christian. We learnt various things about these special mammals, such as the difference between baleen and toothed whales, how they are threatened by human activities, their feeding habits and their reproductive behaviour, among others. A short stop in the souvenier shop of the museum, and one member of each group, that we had been divided into, was heading to the grocery store to buy supplies for the three-course meal that we were to cook this evening. After a lovely, yet unusual meal of rice pudding with various toppings, Arved said his goodbyes to us, as the Dagmar Aaen would be setting sail for Greenland later. At 14:00 we headed down to the harbor and a little while later we boarded the Haukur, which would take us whale-watching. As we left the harbor we waved goodbye to the Dagmar Aaen which left at the same time.

Our first spotting was of a few harbor porpoises in the distance.

After a while a minke-whale appeared close to our vessel

A few minutes later, the whale-watching really began though, when we came across a Minke whale surfacing, blowing, rolling-over and diving every few minutes. We were treated to this unique show for more than an hour, the highlight of it being when this extraordinary creature poked its head out of the water and gave us a glance at its streamlined body. We were all disappointed when we had to leave this exceptional performance and turn back in the direction of Husavik. On the way back we saw another Minke whale in the distance. A few minutes before arriving, we had hot chocolate and cinnamon rolls on the ship to chase away the cold wind from the snowy mountains. We arrived back at Husavik at approximately 16:30 and returned to the guesthouse where we began cooking for the meal that we were going to prepare.

On the menu was: tomato mozarella for starter, garlic and lemon butter chiken for the main course and apple pie for dessert. It ended up being delicious!

Our after supper activity was firstly, an intense game of soccer, and then something that we were all dreading, but looking forward to nonetheless: swimming (or rather dipping numerous times) in the Arctic ocean. To say that it was freezing would be an understatement and we all ended up shivering our way back to Visir guesthouse. Everyone enjoyed it thoroughly, but hot chocolate was essential to warm us up to a normal temperature.

An exciting day in all!

Daniella (South Africa) & Kathleen (Uganda)

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Saturday, 9. March 2013