Deep North Episode 71: Goodbye to the Grind

kaffi valeria snæfellsnes kirkjufell

The oldest known evidence of coffee in Iceland is a letter that Lárus Gottrup, a lawyer in Þingeyri, wrote to Árni Magnússon, a professor and manuscript collector, on November 16, 1703. They had spoken at the Alþingi (national Parliament meeting) that summer, and Árni was upset that his friend had forgotten to send him the coffee he had requested by spring ship from Copenhagen. To avoid leaving Árni stimulant-free, Gottrup sent 114 g of coffee beans (about a quarter of a pound) and noted that he himself did not like coffee: “After all, I’m not a fan of it.”

Nowadays, cafés dot the Icelandic landscape, from the bustling streets of Reykjavík to the most remote rural villages, each with its own character and charm, yet all sharing the same commitment to keep the community buzzing. And in one small West Iceland town, a fresh brew is bubbling: Kaffi Valeria, a specialty café steeping tradition and innovation in a country with a caffeine history as deep and intriguing as a cup of its finest roast.

Read the story here.

Goodbye to the Grind

kaffi valeria kirkjufell grundarfjörður

The oldest known evidence of coffee in Iceland is a letter that Lárus Gottrup, a lawyer in Þingeyri, wrote to Árni Magnússon, a professor and manuscript collector, on November 16, 1703. They had spoken at the Alþingi (national Parliament meeting) that summer, and Árni was upset that his friend had forgotten to send him the […]

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All About The Snæfellsnes Peninsula

Kirkjufell mountain on the Snæfellsnes Peninsula

The Snæfellsnes Peninsula is one of Iceland’s most beloved regions, capturing so much of what makes this Nordic island special. But what sites, tours, and attractions can be found here? 

Located between the cultural hub that is the Capital Region and the wild, sparsely populated Westfjords, the Snæfellsnes Peninsula is considered by many to be a microcosm of the whole country. 

Nicknamed “Iceland in Miniature,” visitors can expect to discover a treasure trove of natural sights, including moss-laden lava fields, epic mountain ranges, and scenic black coastlines. The region can be visited in both the winter and summer, with each season transforming the unique aesthetic of the natural landscape. 

For those with only a short time to spend in the country, it could very well be argued that this often-overlooked area boasts the very best that Iceland has to offer.

Table of Contents

A Brief History of the Snæfellsnes Peninsula

Side-stepping its incredible nature for a moment, the peninsula is enriched by a deep cultural history. Aside from its ties to the nation’s fishing industry, Snæfellsnes and its nearby localities have been the setting for many known Icelandic sagas, such as the poetic masterpiece that is Laxdœla saga. 

However, it is Bárðar Saga Snæfellsáss (The Saga of Bárður) that remains, perhaps, most significant to the region. The earliest manuscript dates back to the 15th century and tells of the earliest settlers who called this hostile, yet enchanting land home. 

This epic mediaeval tale follows the half-giant and guardian spirit, Bárður, in his quest to protect the Snæfellsnes Peninsula. All the while, he struggles with family betrayal, despotic kings, and unruly natural events. Like the majority of Icelandic sagas, it is a story of epic proportions, where the morality of its characters are as grey as a typical winter sky. 

A statue of Bárður can be found in the small town of Arnstapi. Today, the spirit of this iconic Icelandic character not only watches over the sparsely populated hamlets that dot Snæfellsnes, but also the millions of travellers who venture through every year to discover its many highlights. 

Exploring Snæfellsjökull National Park 

Snæfellsjökull National Park
 Photo: Golli. Snæfellsjökull National Park

The Snæfellsnes Peninsula has had a larger influence on culture than merely acting as the stage of Icelandic sagas. 

For instance, avid readers will know of Jules Verne’s classic science-fiction novel, Journey to the Centre of the EarthWithin its pages, the Snæfellsjökull ice cap plays a major role, serving as the gateway to our planet’s molten underbelly, 

Verne clearly had an eye for memorable locations – places forever destined to leave their mark on global culture – for today, the glacier acts as the shining crown of its own national park. 

The glacier sits cloaked like a pearlescent hood atop a silent stratovolcano. This once volatile titan of volcanic energy last erupted just short of two thousand years ago. But the impact of its violent past is clear throughout the entire peninsula, be it in its lava fields or troll-like basalt sea stacks. 

Established in 2001, Snæfellsjökull National Park stands as one of Iceland’s three national parks, alongside the UNESCO Heritage sites Þingvellir National Park and Vatnajökull National Park. 

Covering 170 sq km [66 sq mi,] guests are advised to stop by the welcoming and informative Visitor’s Centre at Malarrif. Here, they can acquire the lowdown on the best hiking trails in the area, as well as learn more about the history of the region. Travellers should note that there is no entrance fee to explore this park, making it an excellent choice for budget-conscious visitors.

What is there to see on the Snæfellsnes Peninsula?

There are so many sites of interest found on the Snæfellsnes Peninsula that a total breakdown of every location is, frankly, unfeasible. Every bend in the road, each trail, and every scenic hike promises sights, sounds, and experiences beyond description. 

However, there are notable sites that this article would be remiss not to mention. So, in somewhat of a tribute to Iceland’s earliest settlers, let us begin as they did… by arriving from the ocean. 

Beautiful Beaches on the Snæfellsnes Peninsula

djúpalónssandur black sand beach
 Photo: Golli. Guests enjoying Djúpalónssandur black sand beach

As is true across the island, volcanic coastlines are a mainstay of Snæfellsnes. Their dark glass pebbles are a direct result of immense glacial floods that have, over the millennia, defined the entire peninsula. 

Black sand beaches like Djupalonssandur – found at the base of Snæfellsjökull glacier, far on the western edge of Iceland’s left arm – offer exquisite ocean views. There are also many fascinating geological formations created by lava flows that dominated the area in previous centuries. 

But it’s not just the consequences of the volcano that are worthy of a mention. At Djupalonssandur, visitors can test their mettle by way of the Lifting Stones. Divided by their size, these four enormous rocks were used to test the strength of local sailors seeking work as fishermen. Only those capable of raising them were offered employment. 

If feats of physical strength are of little interest to you, the tranquillity of the nearby Djúpulón and Djúpudalslón tidal lagoons offer a serene way to spend your time. Adjacent hiking trails offer the opportunity to see incredible basalt sea stacks and the mighty rock-arch, Gatklettur. 

To the north of Djupalonssandur, the beachside, Skarðsvík, offers something that is rarely seen in Iceland – yellow sand! While the waves on this shoreline are known for being quite temperamental, forcing observers to keep their distance, it is amazing to see a place so reminiscent of the Mediterranean during your Iceland vacation.  

Volcanic sites on the Snæfellsnes Peninsula

Vatnshellir Cave Tour in West Iceland
 Photo: Vatnshellir Cave Tour.

As mentioned, the jewel of the cape, Snæfellsjökull, serves as the centre-point of its own national park and is the namesake of the region itself. Knowing the peninsula’s volcanic origins is a great start when seeking out other areas defined by the lava. 

One such location where you can gain insight into Snæfellsnes’ volcanic history is at Eldborg crater, “the fortress of fire,” far on the eastern side of the peninsula. Stood at 60 m [18 ft] over the black, tufty hills surrounding lava fields, this symmetrical spatter cone was active between 5000-6000 years ago. Reaching the crater takes approximately 1.5 hours, requiring a scenic, but somewhat challenging 2.5 km [1.6 mi] hike. 

Heading west, guests can make a stop at the colourful lava cave, Vatnshellir. Formed by an eruption 8000 years before, this hollow tunnel is one of the oldest in Iceland and is rich in vibrant minerals. 

At 200 m [656 ft] long, it is only possible to visit the cave by way of a guided tour. Your guide will provide you with all of the necessary equipment, such as crampons and helmets, and be sure to offer educational tidbits about geology as you adventure through the cave. 

There are many other sites that offer similar insights into the region’s volcanic past. These include the likes of Berserkjahraun lava field and the Saxhóll Crater, which acts as a more accessible alternative to Eldborg. 

Wildlife on the Snæfellsnes Peninsula

A mother Sei Whale and it's calf.
 Sei whale mother and calf. By Christin Khan.

Regarding the animals that call the Snæfellsnes Peninsula home, the most visible resident would be its seabirds. 

Species include guillemots, razorbacks, gulls, and kittiwakes, many of which can be spotted nesting among the sea stacks dotting the coastline. The towering Lóndrangar is a particularly good site for birdwatchers.

There are many songbirds in the area too, namely whimbrels, golden plovers, wheatears, and meadow pipits. While hiking, it is a common occurrence to hear these gentle creatures in full song, adding to the often paradisiacal ambience that characterises Snæfellsnes in the summer. 

Aside from these, other typical birds include ravens, ptarmigans, and white wagtails, not to mention the many migratory species that arrive to the peninsula during the summer months. 

But, for many travellers, birds are of only a trifling interest. When it comes to mandatory stops, wildlife lovers will want to stop for a little seal-watching at Ytri-Tunga beach, which is named after a nearby farmstead. The most common species that lounge on the shoreline here are Grey Seals and Harbour Seals, though many others come by to pay a visit. 

Spotted seals in Iceland
 Photo: Golli. Spotted seals lounging by the coastline.

Can you see Walruses in Iceland?


Despite the permeating myths about Iceland being a habitat of theirs, Walruses are not native. Still, they have turned up from time to time, sparking a novel wave of local interest when they do. With that said, there are theories that the peninsula was once home to a large colony of Walruses given the sheer number of bones and skulls discovered there. 

In point of fact, a chess set made out of carved Walrus bones was discovered in Snæfellsnes several years ago, breathing further life into this hotly contested debate. 

Still, it is wise not to expect Walruses at Ytri-Tunga today. Regardless, it is important to respect the local wildlife species that call the beach home. Seal watchers would do well to ensure they provide the animals with enough space so as not to frighten them, but even at a distance, these wonderful creatures make for brilliant photography subjects. 

Speaking of Iceland’s mammals, both mink and Arctic Foxes live on the Snæfellsnes Peninsula, though they are rarely spotted. While such animals are notoriously shy – not to mention, wily – it is worthwhile to keep an eye out while driving or hiking. The shock that comes with noticing the whipping movement of a furry creature in Iceland is sure to make anyone’s day. 

arctic fox Iceland
 Photo: Golli. An Arctic Fox on Snæfellsnes

Finally, it is not at all uncommon to see whale and dolphin species off the coast of Snæfellsnes. Minkes, humpbacks, and even killer whales are sometimes spotted not far from the shoreline. As if this region is not spectacular enough, the sight of these majestic ocean giants breaching the water is sure to remain with visitors for years to come. 

Those eager to see Snæfellsnes’ cetaceans can maximise their chance by taking whale-watching tours from towns like Olafsvik, Grundarfjörður, or Stykkisholmur. Of course, wildlife sightings can never be guaranteed, but operators across Iceland have a fantastic track record for reliably locating and observing these creatures in their natural habitat. 

Mountains on the Snæfellsnes Peninsula

A mountain on the Snaefellsnes Peninsula
 Photo: SBS. The mountains of the Snaefellsnes Peninsula

Guests to Snæfellsnes will, no doubt, be in awe of the often mist-shrouded mountain range that carves its way down the centre of the peninsula. While worthy of appreciation in their entirety, there are a couple of mountains that are worth a greater focus. 

Kirkjufell is among the most iconic mountains on the Snæfellsnes Peninsula. Translated to ‘Church Mountain,’ this beautiful feature towers above the local town of Grundarfjörður at a height of 463 m. Its steep grassy slopes and sharp peak have helped Kirkjufell become an instantly recognisable symbol of Iceland over the last few years thanks to its wide appearances in countless tourism campaigns. 

Fans of the fantasy series, Game of Thrones, will likely recognise Kirkjufell as the “Mountain like an arrowhead,” a filming location from seasons 6 and 7. While the show portrayed this titan of the landscape as fairly foreboding, it is in equal parts beautiful. There is also a pleasant waterfall on-site, Kirkjufellfoss, that makes for a perfect foreground subject when photographing the mountain. 

 

Another mountain of interest is Helgafell, though it lacks the fame associated with Kirkjufell. Here, an ancient temple dedicated to the Norse God of Thunder, Thor, was erected by the area’s first settler, Þórólfr Mostrarskegg. While the temple no longer stands, a historic church, built in 1907, has replaced it as the mountain’s spiritual centrepiece. 

Due to these reasons, Helgafell is considered a sacred place by many Icelanders. This is especially true considering the superstition that anyone who climbs to its peak will be granted three wishes. At only 73 metres high, the hike only takes around ten minutes, so don’t miss this opportunity to have your dreams fulfilled. 

Other Cultural Sites on the Snæfellsnes Peninsula

A black church in West Iceland.
Photo: Richard Gould. CC. Wikimedia. Búðakirkja black church in West Iceland.

Many of the towns and villages on the Snæfellsnes Peninsula are quaint in and of themselves, but given the exquisite beauty of the surrounding nature, visitors are advised to prioritise these sites instead of anywhere overtly urban. 

The lonely black church, Búðakirkja, is the most prominent landmark in the tiny hamlet of Budir, sitting atop the Búðahraun lava field. It has become something of an unlikely visitor’s attraction on the peninsula, particularly among photographers eager to capture its dark steeple and gothic aesthetic. 

This 1987 version is the second incarnation of Búðakirkja, the first having been constructed in 1703, though visitors can still see the original bell and chalice on display. 

Flatey Island can be visited from the Snæfellsnes Peninsula
Photo: Golli. Flatey island in Breiðafjörður fjord, West Iceland

There are a handful of other villages worthy of passing through during your time in Snæfellsnes. Often charming in their old-timey simplicity, these include settlements such as Ólafsvík, Hellissandur, and Stykkishólmur.

Speaking of Stykkishólmur, this town is home to a dock that operates the ferry, Baldur, which makes daily trips across the vast bay of Breiðafjörður between Snæfellsnes and the Westfjords. 

En route, the ferry will stop at the small island of Flatey, which presents a gentle slice of Icelandic life rarely seen in modern times. While most visitors would only spend a few hours here, overnight stays are possible at Flatey’s single hotel. 

Waterfalls on the Snaefellsnes Peninsula 

A waterfall in West Iceland
Photo: SBS. Snæfellsnes has many beautiful waterfalls, like Kirkjufellsfoss.

Having mentioned Kirkjufellsfoss, it would be a shame not to be aware of the other beautiful waterfalls that can be found in this region. 

One of the lesser-known falls is Svöðufoss. It will require a half-hour hike from the parking lot to arrive at this stunning feature, only recently discovered by travellers like you. Rauðfeldsgjá Canyon, another dramatic location, is found nearby, so why not enhance your visit by pairing these two natural attractions together? 

Closeby to Olafsvik town, the thin outpouring of glacier water that is Bjarnarfoss is also a worthwhile stop. At 80 m [262 ft] high, Bjarnarfoss is among the more impressive waterfalls on the peninsula thanks to its distinctive tiers and surrounding basaltic columns. On particularly windy days, powerful gusts are quite capable of blowing its narrow stream upwards over the lip of the falls, creating truly surreal visuals. 

Like Kirjufellsfoss, Kvernárfoss and Grundarfoss waterfalls can be found just outside of Grundarfjörður. Locals claim that a sizable elf population lives beside these stunning cascades—but that can neither be confirmed or denied by us. Either way, both sites are popular stops on horse-riding tours, and visiting is sure to add further depth to your time on the peninsula. 

How to get to the Snæfellsnes Peninsula?

carbon neutral Iceland 2040
Phot: Golli. Travellers heading into Snæfellsjökull National Park

There are a number of options when it comes to visiting the Snæfellsnes Peninsula. First off, there are many guided tours that will take you there directly. One example is this small-group tour with a home-cooked meal at a local horse farm

However, those looking for a more intimate experience might instead opt for a private tour of the region. Otherwise, Snæfellsnes is often included as part of multi-day tours around the country. 

However, independent travellers will want to venture there on their fruition. Driving from Reykjavík will take approximately two hours, making it a viable destination for those with only limited time in Iceland.

The directions are simple enough to follow. Head north on Route 1 until the town of Borgarnes. At this point, signposts will easily lead drivers towards Road 54 (Snaefellsnesvegur). It is this route that will take them the full circumference of the peninsula. 

One should expect circling the coastline to take five hours considering the many stops along the way. With this in mind, it is important to allocate at least one day to explore the region. 

Those looking to explore at a more leisurely pace should take two days, with plans to stay overnight at a local hotel, cabin, or rentable farmstead. 

In Summary 

Gatklettur rock arch in West Iceland
Photo: Private Tour – Snaefellsnes Peninsula. Gatklettur rock arch.

Given the Snæfellsnes Peninsula’s close proximity to Reykjavík, anyone with more than a few days in Iceland should make time to discover this unique and fantastical region for themselves. 

Not only does it offer sights and experiences that perfectly characterise the rest of the country, but it is quite possible to get a taste of the area in a single day. For these reasons and many more, make sure to prioritise the Snæfellsnes Peninsula as part of your itinerary. 

Check out the below map to see the entire route for yourself.

 

New National Park Centre Opened at Hellissandur

national park snæfellsjökull

The Environment Agency of Iceland and Snæfellsjökull National Park have opened a new visitor centre by Hellissandur.

Hellissandur is a historical fishing village on the Snæfellsnes peninsula. Home to Snæfellsjökull glacier, the region is also one of Iceland’s three national parks. Hellissandur has grown in recent years due to tourism, as the village sits just outside the northern entrance to Snæfellsjökull National Park.

Snæfellsjökull National Park Expanded on 20th Anniversary

The new centre was opened this Friday, March 24, in a ceremony presided over by Minister of Environment, Energy, and Climate Guðlaugur Þór Þórðarson.

national park snæfellsjökull
Umhverfisstofnun – Environment Agency of Iceland

The new visitor centre was designed by the architecture firm Arkís. It is divided into three sections with different views of the surrounding landscape.

Snæfellsjökull National Park was founded in 2001.

 

Human Bone Found on Snæfellsnes

Snæfellsjökull National Park

A foreign tourist found a human bone on the Snæfellsnes peninsula in West Iceland last week, RÚV reports. The bone, a single jawbone, was found at a location to which soil had recently been moved. Archaeologists and West Iceland Police are investigating.

The investigation aims to determine whether the soil that was moved to the location where the bone was found had been taken from an area near a known cemetery. Experts are working on dating and analysing the bone. It is not yet clear whether the bone is old enough to be classified as an artefact or whether it is more recent.

The location of the find has not been made public.

Almost One Thousand Orcas Identified in Icelandic Waters

A new photo catalog has identified 987 individual orcas (also known colloquially as killer whales), primarily in the area around the Snæfellsnes peninsula in West Iceland. The catalog is the culmination of a ten-year project undertaken by whale watching tour guide and Orca Guardians founder Marie-Thérèse Mrusczok, in cooperation with the West Iceland Nature Research Center.

“An overall aim of our year-round identification work both from land and sea is to record as many individual killer whales as possible moving through the area, with as few knowledge gaps as possible, extending fieldwork over the longest achievable period of time,” reads the report introduction. “This will help identify potential critical habitat / important feeding grounds of the Icelandic orca population and provide crucial knowledge for conservation measures. Furthermore, collecting data (and an average of 40,000 photographs) in the same area throughout the year gives unique insights into migration patterns, social structure, and feeding habits of repeatedly documented individuals. The catalogue is thus used as a tool to aid in conservation work, for the long-term monitoring of the population, and as a reference document for ongoing and future research.”

The orcas represented in the catalog were photographed during whale watching tours made around Snæfellsnes from 2011 – 2021. Marie-Thérèse then analyzed the 330,000 resulting photos, using the shape, size, and scarring on the animals’ dorsal fins as points of reference, “as well as shape, pigmentation, and scarring patterns of the saddle patch (brighter skin area below and behind the dorsal fin).” Every orca has a unique set of these identifying characteristics.

Whenever possible, the catalog includes both a left- and right-side dorsal photograph of each orca, along with their tag number. Some of the orcas even have names: Butterfly, Blackout, D’Artagnan, Thor, Minotaurus, Kaktus, Mrs. Torrance, Redrum, Raggabagga, Díva, Detour, Dave, Scruffles, Ívar, Lionheart, Grettir, Vagabond, Ebenezer, Mister Wriggle, Hangover, Nixie, Elena, Ashfall.

Most of the photographs were taken around Snæfellsnes and, as such, the vast majority of identifications, or 961 whales, were made in that area. Marie-Thérèse then augmented the Snæfellsnes data with photos taken in Steingrímsfjörður, Ísafjörður and Látrabjarg in the Westfjords; Skjálfandi Bay in the North; Borgarfjörður eystri in the East, and areas further east of Iceland; Hvalfjörður, the waters south of Grindavík, and Faxaflói Bay in the Southwest near Reykjavík; and the waters south of Vík in the South of Iceland. This additional data made it possible to identify an additional 26 whales, bringing the full catalog total to 987.

The current photographic catalog is far more extensive than the one that came before it in 2017, which only identified 322 whales. This is not a result of a jump in orca population, the report clarifies, but rather improved documentation and observation. The identification project is ongoing, and so the catalog will continue to be updated in the future.

The full report is available (in English) via pdf on the Orca Guardians website, here.

 

Wednesday May Be Hottest Day of the Year

Akureyri Iceland

Although the summer is nearing its end in Iceland, unseasonably warm weather may still be on the horizon—at least in some parts of the country. Temperatures on Wednesday could reach 28°C [82.4°F] in northwest Iceland, RÚV reports. Weather in the south of the country will, unfortunately, be much cooler.

“The position of weather systems right now is such that there’s a high-pressure zone over the UK and a low-pressure zone to the southwest of [the east Iceland village of] Hvarf,” remarked Meteorologist Teitur Arason in a lunchtime weather report on Monday. “My good colleague calls this a two-engine system because it directs a very warm airmass to us far south from the sea. But the air is also very humid, so it will be overcast and rainy in the South and West of the country.”

North and East Iceland have enjoyed sunny skies and relatively temperate weather this summer. Thus far, the highest temperature of the year was 27.5°C [81.5°F]  in Akureyri on July 20.

On the same day that temperature records may be broken up north, unusually strong winds are expected to blast Snæfellsnes in West Iceland, particularly the northern side of the peninsula. Vehicles prone to toppling in strong winds, such as buses and RVs are cautioned about traveling in the area on Wednesday.

Arctic Tern Chicks Fall Victim to Careless Drivers

Dozens of Arctic tern chicks have been killed in recent weeks by traffic around the village of Rif on the northern side the Snæfellsnes peninsula, RÚV reports. The speed limit in the area has been lowered and there’s plenty of signage clearly marking nesting grounds, but these measures seem not to have prevented a number of casualties among newly hatched chicks.

Guðjón H. Björnsson, foreman of the Icelandic Road and Costal Administration in nearby Ólafsvík, says that the area is being closely monitored and that an additional speed limit reduction is under consideration.

“We permanently lowered the speed limit to 70 km/hr [43 mi/hr] last year,” he explained, “but we’re considering lowering it even more, down to 50 km/hr [31 mi/hr] in certain sections.”

“It’s different from day to day—some days, we’re cleaning up 20 chicks [from the roadway] over there. Other days, none,” said Guðjón, reiterating that the area is well-marked, but drivers are clearly not being careful enough.

After-Hours Phone Booth Bakery Opens in Stykkishólmur

An old phone booth has been creatively repurposed as an after-hours, self-service bakery in Stykkishólmur, Vísir reports. Nesbakarí owner Helgi Eiríksson came up with the idea as a way to curb his business’ food waste.

“At the end of the day, we take all the leftovers, bag them up, and take them out to the phone booth,” explains Helgi. “People can either [use online banking to pay] or pay with cash. It’s really taken off—we’ve haven’t had to throw anything out.”

Screenshot, Vísir

Depending on the day, after-hours customers might find any number of delectables in the phone booth bakery—several loaves of bread, cinnamon buns, filled doughnuts, croissants, and pastries all stocked the shelves on a recent evening.

Helgi says that all of the baked goods in the booth have generally sold by the time the bakery reopens in the morning and he’s had no issues with people abiding by the payment honour system.

Ten Pilot Whales Beach in Snæfellsnes

A pod of ten pilot whales beached in Álftafjörður on the Snæfellsnes peninsula in West Iceland on Sunday. RÚV reports that most of the whales were dead when a team of biologists and a veterinarian arrived on the scene, but two survived the ordeal.

The West Iceland Nature Research Center received a call around 2:00pm alerting them to the pilot whales’ dire situation. When the team arrived, they found one whale swimming just offshore from where the rest of its pod had beached. One of the beached animals was still alive but having trouble breathing as it was stuck on its side and the tide was coming in.

Screenshot, Náttúrufræðistofnun

The team was able to shift the beached whale back onto its belly so it could breathe properly and then helped move it back into the water. The animal was weak but recovered quickly and swam back to its companion. One of the whales “called to its friends several times,” said one of the biologists, “but, of course, it got no answers.”

The biologists said they needed a long moment to recover after rescuing the beached whale, but the emotional toll didn’t end there. They say that it’s clear that the two surviving whales don’t intend to leave the area while the rest of their pod lies dead on the beach. If they don’t leave the area, however, the biologists believe that it won’t be long before they beach on a nearby shore themselves.

The Nature Research Center urges people travelling in the area to keep an eye out for the whales and to immediately report any beaching incident to local police at 898-6638. Police will then contact Center employees to come and aid the animals.