Pilot Whales Fond of Fjord Skip to content

Pilot Whales Fond of Fjord

Pilot whales which were herded out of Kolgrafafjörður in West Iceland by Search and Rescue crews have returned to the fjord, RÚV reports.

“They’re just here, splashing around calmly in one group,” Bjarni Sigurbjörnsson, a resident of the area told RÚV. Bjarni says it is the first time he has seen pilot whales in Kolgrafafjörður in over 20 years working in the area, and indeed the animals tend to stick to deeper waters.

Concerned the whales were stuck, Search and Rescue crews used two boats to herd the pod out of through the fjord’s narrow opening. The task did not go smoothly, as the animals appeared to be startled by the bridge which spans the opening of the fjord.

Photo: a screenshot from RÚV.

The whales were finally herded out around 9.00pm last night, but have since returned. Bjarni can see them through the window of his farm, frolicking some 50 metres from the shore. “Something is telling them to come in here,” he says.

Einar Þór Strand, a search and rescue volunteer involved in the operation, said herding whales with a boat “is really just as if you’re a dog herding sheep. The trouble was that when they reached the bridge the current was against them and they didn’t want to swim against the current. So we waited for the tide to turn and for it to go out, held them there by the bridge and when the first animal went the rest of the pod followed.”

Now that the whales are back again, Bjarni says he does not know if search and rescue teams will attempt another rescue operation. “As long as they’re not getting beached we should maybe just let them be,” he said. Watch drone footage of the whale rescue operation on RÚV’s website.

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