Jón Halldórsson, mailman and amateur photographer at Hólmavík, the eastern West Fjords, was surprised when he spotted a group of ten sperm whales swimming in the innermost part of Steingrímsfjörður fjord on Monday morning.
A screenshot from Jón Halldórsson’s website. Click here to look at his photos of the sperm whales.
After work in the afternoon the whales were still there and so Jón asked a friend of his, Benedikt Pétursson, to take him out in the fjord to take photos, visir.is reports.
Jón said they followed the whales by boat for about an hour and that he has never experienced anything like it; it was an amazing sight.
He and Benedikt were certain that they were sperm whales and this was confirmed by Gísli Víkingsson, whale expert at the Icelandic Marine Research Institute, after looking at the photos.
Gísli commented that it is very unusual to see sperm whales in such shallow waters; they usually stay in the ocean’s depths and don’t enter fjords.
However, he remembered a case of six to seven sperm whales beaching and dying at Strandir, near Hólmavík, in 1994 and two years earlier the same thing happening in Langanes, east Iceland.
Sperm whales can dive further than any other mammals—down to a depth of two kilometers—and hold their breaths for up to two hours. They can be up to 18 meters long.