September so far has been very thrilling regarding the wildlife in Skjálfandi Bay! A few days ago, we had the fortunate to observe 3 fin whales in the bay, for a short period.

And what kind of species is it?

Fin whales are the second largest whale species in the world and can reach almost 24 meters. They have this name because of the tall dorsal fin, which is easy to identify. Besides their distinctive coloration of black or dark brownish-grey on the body.

These animals have a very unusual feature, the head is asymmetrical coloured, which means the lower right jaw is bright white and the lower left jaw is black. Normally, this characteristic is not easily observe from the surface of the sea.

Fin whales are typically found in deep, offshore waters of all major oceans, primarily in temperate to polar latitudes. So it is very unusual these animals pass through Skjálfandi Bay, the last time we observe a fin whale was several months ago! This time, they were seen mainly travelling in the bay and left after some hours.

These animals are difficult to follow as they change direction quite often, between dives. Roy Chapman Andrews, an American naturalist, has named fin whales as the “greyhound of the sea”, because of their capability of reach high speed of around 45kph.

As similar to other baleen whales, fin whales tend to migrate during spring and summer to cold water to eat krill and during winter they migrate to tropical waters, although their specific breeding areas are not well known.

Sometimes fin whales can been seen associated in small groups, but usually they live their life alone.

Every day is a surprise to explore the wildlife of Skjálfandi Bay and every day is a new opportunity to observe rare species!



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