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A male orca patrolling Kolgrafafjordur.

Iceland 2013: Saga #5 – The Story of Keiko

After dinner yesterday evening I was talking to our group about Keiko, the star of the Free Willy movie, who went on to become the most famous whale on the planet. But Keiko’s story started long before the movie studios started calling. Because Keiko, you see, was a son of Iceland. I’m in the privileged…

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The Prince of Totoya is (finally) on his way south

Last October I got a call from the Chief of Totoya Island (Roko Sau) letting me know that a whale had gotten stuck inside a lagoon near his island. I’d never been to the Lau Islands before yet had always heard lovely things about the clear waters and teeming marine life of this remote island…

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Right Whale Obituary Series: Stumpy

In the last month, Cape Cod observed an unprecedented occurrence: a female North Atlantic right whale named Wart and her newborn calf swimming in the chilly waters of the bay. Mothers typically give birth off the Southeastern coast of the US, where warmer waters make the first few months of life easier on a newborn whale.…

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Right Whale Obituary Series: Lucky

With a population of fewer then 500 North Atlantic right whales, every individual is important for the continuation of the species – especially the reproductive females. Telling the story of these individuals is important to show the need for stronger legal protections. We began this series with Reyna, a near-to-term pregnant female right whale that was…

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Right Whale Obituary Series: Reyna

Reyna the Right Whale In 2004, the day before Thanksgiving, Reyna was struck and killed by a large ship off the Virginia coast. She was 15 years old and ten months pregnant with her first calf, which was another female; Reyna was going to give birth to a daughter. Reyna was born in 1989 in…

The mass die-off of Atlantic herring with the short bridge dissecting the fjord in the background.

Iceland 2013: Saga #4 – Herring Mass Mortality

When I arrived here at the end of January we were driving through the dark on our way from the airport to our hotel in Grundarfjörður. Just before we reached the village there was a distinctly fishy smell in the air as we drove across Kolgrafafjörður, a neighbouring fjord and one of the more predictable…