Whale Watching Turned Moby Dick

30 11 2012

The past few weeks we have been learning about marine protected areas and cultural heritage. Sometimes these clash… in a very graphic way.

Holy crap! Not peaceful at all. Greenpeace came to Iceland and it caused quite a stir since whaling is done within strict biological standards and is a cultural practice.

Imagine you decide to go whale watching, only to see harpoon whaling going on within a few hundred kilometers. This was the case for some vacationers. And absolutely not the experience they were looking for. One of our professors even recalled seeing a harpoon boat leaving port the same time as a whale watching vessel. Our other professor, a native Icelander, said that the Greenpeace opposition made the Icelandic will to whale all the stronger since it was an attack on Icelandic heritage.

There are only 3 whaling ships in Iceland. This ship, the Halldor Sigurdsson is docked in Ísafjörður harbor.

There are only 3 whaling ships currently operating in Iceland. The Halldor Sigurdsson (pictured above) is docked in Ísafjörður harbor. However, most of the time this boat trawls for fish.


Presenting Our Home

29 11 2012

Today we were treated to presentations by the Ísafjörður Menntaskóli (high school) about the town, its history, and the surrounding villages. They were fantastic and we all had a great time listening. Topics ranged from the Natural History Museum to destructive avalanches.

Watching the movies and presentations

Watching the movies and presentations


28 11 2012

During the winter nights festival, around fifteen Ísafjörður residents opened their homes for guests. They provided coffee, cookies, and the students from the music school performed. I find this town to be so very welcoming and friendly!

House Shoes

27 11 2012

In Iceland it is polite to remove your shoes when you go into someone’s home. Now that the weather is particularly bad, most people come to work in boots and change in to flats, slides, and slippers for the day. We leave our house shoes overnight so that we always have a clean pair to wear inside.

Like Kids Again

26 11 2012

These kids spent hours digging out a tunnel in the snow mountain. They were on teams and invited us to join in the playing. Basically I think it is the same as the American, King of the Hill game!

BIG kids can play too! We were the only girls in the game but we could still play with the boys.

Claudia peering into the snow cave!

Remembering the Good Old Days

25 11 2012

I caught these men looking at an old, worn, and gray photograph. They pointed at the faces, nodded, and told stories. I have heard the older folk complain of the younger generations, but I do not know how true this is!

Like a Postcard

24 11 2012

Although not the entrance to town, these whale ribs make quite a sign!