A few days ago, the number of ducks on the Reykjavík Pond by City Hall in the center of the capital started to decrease significantly. Many of the city’s inhabitants notified the police authorities that they had seen a dark object in the pond; some people even claimed it was a supernatural creature.
Jón Árnason, a staff member at the University of Iceland Folklore Institute was quoted in tabloid newspaper DV as saying that the creature is probably a sea monster, similar to the giant Lagarfljót serpent in East Iceland.
According to legend, the Lagarfljót worm is an overgrown earthworm that was created when it was put on top of a heap of gold to make it grow—but instead the worm grew. Through the years, both inhabitants in the vicinity of the Lagarfljót lake and visitors have reported sightings of the serpent.
Árnason went on to speculate (and was quickly ridiculed by commentators as a result) that one of the so-called “outvasion Vikings”—most of whom are said to have hidden their “gold” in Tortola before the banking collapse in 2008—had tested this ancient method of money yielding with the aforementioned consequences.
Yet there was no viable explanation as to what was happening at the pond until this morning when a tourist snapped the above picture of the Reykjavík Pond and what appeared to be a whale’s fin (see the top left corner).
It turned out that there was indeed a whale in the pond, a false killer whale, to be precise. How it got there has an even more adventurous explanation: It was part of a campaign to promote Iceland as a destination for winter tourism—to show that whale watching is also possible in winter, a representative of the initiative, who would not be named, explained.
He admitted, though, that the unorthodox marketing initiative hadn’t been thought through as it compromised the wellbeing of the pond’s inhabitants—the whale left many ducks either dead or wounded—and that people might also have been at risk.
And so the whale will be returned to its natural habitat today. Locals and visitors are invited to come watch the rescue operation, which will begin at 1 pm (Icelandic time), but it is recommended that spectators observe the spectacle from inside the City Hall as standing on the banks of the pond may prove dangerous.
The operation can also be watched on the live webcam on the Inspired by Iceland website.