Summer has arrived with large schools of mackerels and beautiful weather. During the last 2 days we have seen a lot of harbour porpoises (more than 10 on one trip) and yesterday (29/06/09) we saw 3 Atlantic white sided dolphins and one large whale, a humpback whale. Humpback whales are very rare in the Vestfjord but have been spotted this year already two times!
We have daily trips now and hope to find many dolphins and whales. We also found that our grey seal male “Nils” has found 6 ladies to join him on a little island, we hope for many babies in fall!
On our first trip on the 30/06 we saw the second largest whale in the world: a fin whale! It looked like a young animal. we could take nice pictures for photo-identification and took sound recordings, but the whale was silent. Large whales like humpback and fin whales are extremely rare inside the Vestfjord. Whether it is food supply or a mistake in navigation that brings them inside the fjord is not known. They are more usual on the outside along the continental shelf.
Finally we had a fantastic day! After looking intensively for the last 3 weeks, with only seeing whales for a short time, we were rewarded on the 22 of June. Just as we were out in the fjord, lying there quiet with our boat, listening for whales, a minke whale crossed our path. we could clearly hear its blows, because the weather was perfect: no wind but sunshine. Minke whales do not communicate when they are alone and we could not hear him calling. He had a straight course towards Skrova inside the fjord. He allowed us to follow him for while. Fortunately no whaler was around to shoot him and we had the whale to ourselves.
In the evening we received a phone call from a friend that they saw dolphins just outside Henningsvaer and we went out with the boat at once. Atlantic white sided dolphins were slowly traveling just outside Henningsvaer. It was a group of about 12 animals and they had a swimming course towards Stammsund. We could take good pictures for Photo-identification and later found out that this group was new to us. Good pictures reveal scars and nicks on the dorsal and will tell us “who” it is. We don’t know anything about these animals here in the north and it is extremely important to collect as much data as possible. So if you see dolphins out in the Vestfjord or on Vesteraalen, please give us a call and take good pictures of (the left side if possible) their dorsal fin.
A few weeks ago the plankton appeared in the fjord, followed by different jellyfish. A few days later small fish followed, such as sand eels and small saithe. And with the fish the migrating birds came, such as the common and arctic terns! they came back to the north after a very long migration from the Antarctica. The black guillemots were seen in pairs and started to breed, and pilot whales and orcas (!!!) were seen in different places around Lofoten and the Vestfjord. We collect pictures from the whales in order to identify them, so if you have some or know somebody that has taken pictures of pilot and killer whales, please contact us. We would like to find out, if these are groups we know or new ones.
We also saw a minke whale 2 days ago, but he was too fast to follow, he had an appointment somewhere else.
It seems that summer has arrived with lots of animals!
But it is not positive for all species, the puffin has again left the breeding island of Røst, because there is not enough food for them to feed their chicks. This is now the 3rd year in a row and it does not look good for the puffin population of Røst. Why the small herring does not arrive anymore is unknown.
We will monitor all changes we encounter and write a report by then end of the year.