Action –Reaction: The Net Rescue mini story

July 11, 2019

We went out in to Skjálfandi Bay, looking for whales just like another regular day in the whale watching in Húsavík. This time we were onboard Hildur, a magnificent wooden schooner owned by North Sailing. She was built in 1974 and she is one of the few schooners left here in Iceland.  She sails amazingly… The weather was fantastic for sailing and after enjoying the presence of big healthy humpback whales feeding in the bay, we set the sails and started sailing peacefully to our home port with a big smile… 

Once we were done setting the front sails, Manon Verijdt (one of the whale researchers onboard) came running to us. She looked worry. She told us that she saw a huge net floating on the surface. I suddenly climbed the main boom and look back… how far? ….around 50 m away… not far from the whales – she answers…

It took only almost one cross glances between me and the captain to take a decision. We both knew that it was a challenge in that situation but that we could NOT ignore that! The captain gives the order to set all the sails down again to be able to turn the boat and maneuver. It didn’t take more than one minutes when were already heading back searching for the net…but  it was windy and quite wavy, not the best conditions to spot a green floating next in the turbid waters of the bay and we were sailing quite fast… 11 o clock! 100 m away! I see the net! 

Suddenly we felt like a real “Man Overboard situation”, passengers were pointing to the net with their hands, the crew and researchers prepared the hook and open the gate, and the captain tries to drift into the net location…  GOT IT! The fishing net weighted more than 50 kg and it was probably as long as 10m. 

In the way back the net became a mini research station and kids started to explore… We found entangled jellyfish, kelp, tree branches and juveniles of lump fish probably looking for sheltered in the net shadow. Before we return the fish back to the ocean we improvised a mini aquarium onboard where people could learn and ask questions about marine life. 

The feeling was amazing and everybody was happy and excited!  We made it on time to the harbor and some guests confessed that they were proud of their choice when joining us in the tour.

Entanglements is the first course of deaths of whales and dolphins worldwide.

We made the good action of today.

Thanks to the amazing crew and beautiful souls

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