Fifty shades of green: Our Orca excursion in Iceland (photoblog) | Encaustichris

Fifty shades of green: Our Orca excursion in Iceland (photoblog)

Blue words in this post are clickable.

Last week I wrote a blog about how to get it Northern Lights have photographed while I was on vacation in Iceland. That was a great experience, but we experienced even more beautiful in this holiday. Our list also included two (!) orca excursions. Orcas are the whales that will be known to many people after the movie Free Willy. Personally, I think it is one of the most beautiful whales, partly because of their beautiful black and white drawing.

They are (relatively) little boys, because although the dorsal fin of an adult male can reach 1.80 meters (that's the height of an adult human being!), the whole whale is “but” up to one meter or 8 large. By comparison, a blue whale is 25 metres long! Well, it may be the “little ones” of the sea, if you can admire them in real life they are imposing and beautiful animals.

Orcas are wandering through the waters in search of herring, their primary food, and those pegs don't stay in one place, so the orcas haunt them, to catch them. They do that catching smart: Orcas have a white belly. When they discover a school herring, they go upside down under the school pegs. The pegs then get completely confused, because white is air, so they swim upwards (while they think they swim down) away from the sky. Once on the surface, the pegs are ready for grabs. The orcas then swim in circles and eat the pegs.

In the months of January and February, the pegs, and therefore the orcas in northern Europe, swim the chance to spot orcas.! In Iceland, as well as in Norway, there are organizations that offer boat excursions to hopefully see these beautiful animals, and with a bit of luck: photographing!

We had booked a tour in Iceland with Laki tours , an organization found in Grundafjordur, lying on the Snaefellsness Peninsula.

Orca excursions are popular (and pricey), but my advice is: if you have the budget: book an excursion for two days! why? Because you are more likely to really see the killer whales (they are wild animals that don't show up on command), and you can observe them a little bit, which helps to make more beautiful pictures :-). In addition, Icelandic weather is rather unpredictable: you need good weather for the excursion.

Fortunately, we had taken the budget and time to plan two days. And we were lucky twice!! A few days before departure the first orcas were spotted, and often they hang around that spot for a few days, where the herring is. The first day we saw a male and a female, and sailed with them for a while. The second day we saw a group of 5 orcas playing and fishing. 

In the photo next door two orcas playing, one of which hit his tail on the water. That may be play, but the animals also do to numb the pegs, after which they lie as bite-sized kibble in front of the orcas on the water surface.

Mouth open and eat!

Orcas are mammals, which means they give birth to live young people, and they have lungs, so they have to come up regularly to breathe. The time for us to shoot pictures! This female showed her fin a few seconds before she came up, allowing me to put her face in the picture.

By the way, orcas are recognized by their dorsal fin, and the drawing at the bottom of that dorsal fin, which is unique in every whale. 

What a picture it is, the beautiful Iceland in the snow, with an Orca so sweet to pose for a few seconds.

In the photo next to a playing killer whale, showing his/her belly, as you can see, the belly is beautiful white, just like the bottom of the tail.

Oh, what do I like the animals!

Orcas mainly eat herring, but are certainly not averse to a seal or sea lion. There are plenty of videos showing them catching these animals, then they are real killer whales.

The impressive tail of a whale, it struck a second later with a huge blow to the water, causing a beautiful ballet :-)

The animals continued to play, and seemed to be undisturbed by our presence. Therefore, Laki tours observes strict rules during the excursions, to minimize the burden on the orcas. So they always keep enough distance, for example. Therefore, a camera with a wide zoom range is advisable!

Grundafjordur is a two-hour drive from Reijkjavik, which is something to take into account when you want to go on a tour. We have chosen to overnight near Grundafjordur because the peninsula is beautiful to see, after you have done the tour. 

During the tour you will get more information about the orcas, such as the biggest threat to their existence is the palstic soup. Orcas get the plastic inside (sometimes they think it's fish), and their stomach gets full. Because they can't digest plastic, their stomach stays filled, and they don't have any cravings. Consequence: they don't look for fish, and don't eat. Whoever doesn't eat dies, so does the killer whales. After seeing these animals, you are more motivated to reduce plastic than ever.

After a wonderful trip we had to go back to the port. With a cup of warm chocolate in hand, enjoying the stunning views on board.

Just a few more tips:

* dress warm! (you get an overalls from Laki tours, but it's very cold on the water!)

* a large zoom camera is advisable.

* if you can: go twice, you increase your chances.

*don't forget to enjoy!

All photos in this blog have been taken by me (except for the photo below: I stand on that myself). I have cropped the photos here and there but not edited, I would like to show that it is possible to take good pictures during the trip to Iceland. I used my Olympus OMD1 mrkII, with 40-150mm lens and 1.4 converter.

Parts of this blog are allowed: use the buttons below. I am allowed to use the website, and I would like to give the owner the credits that are due to him.

#50shadesofgreen #IJsland #orka #orcaiceland #lakitours #iamacreator

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