Dozens of pilot whales were rescued in Kolgrafarfjörður Fjord last night. The pod, numbering approximately 40 to 50 animals, had been stuck in the fjord for several hours.

Search and rescue squad Klakkur, from Grundarfjörður, conducted the rescue. The operation saw success shortly before 9 PM. Rescue Squads Lífsbjörg from Snæfellsbær and Berserkir from Stykkishólmur also arrived on the scene shortly before the rescue took place.

Einar Þór Strand, regional manager of the Icelandic Association for Search and Rescue, said that getting the whales past the fjord’s bridge was challenging due to the tides. While the whales were not in severe danger, he said, there was always the risk that some of them might give up and strand.

Haukur Páll Kristinsson, search and rescue team member, took this video of the whales before the rescue:

“It was remarkable, coming into Kolgrafarfjörður and seeing a large pod on the inside of the bridge,” Kristinsson told Guide to Iceland Now. “We’ve also had visits from orcas in the same area.”

He says the pilot whales were swimming in tight formation and appeared to be playing. “They were so close to land, you could hear their song. Every time they got closer to the bridge, though, they turned around,” he said, echoing Strand’s assessment that the tide was probably too strong in the opposite direction.

Daði Jörgensson, General Manager at Hótel Búðir, was in Kolgrafarfjörður at the time. He captured this video of the whales:

 

Posted by Dadi Jorgensson on Sunday, August 12, 2018