Peace for the Soul

A common space for harmonic peacemakers

Iceland’s fertile sub-Arctic waters, fed by the Gulf Stream, are home to over twenty different species of whale and dolphin. It is one of the best places in the world for whale-watching, especially during the summer when the great whales migrate here to feed. This industry is changing the way that Icelanders view the creatures of the deep, as the relationship between the two is historical and complex.

As seafarers, many accounts from early Icelanders depict whales as terrible leviathans; an especially notable story tells of a warlock who attempted to take over Iceland by transforming into one, before being rebuffed on all four shores by a different guardian spirit.

Picture from Húsavík Traditional Whale Watching

While feared when in their natural environment, however, whales were hugely appreciated when they washed up on the beaches. The meat from a single stranding could feed communities, and their oil could supply candles and lanterns to help sustain people through the dark winters. The word for ‘windfall’ in Icelandic is the same as the word for a beached whale.

Iceland began commercial whaling in the late 19th Century, later than most other nations, and struggled with the pressures against it for many decades. It has been outlawed then reinstated several times, due to issues with stock populations, international pressure, and local opinions.

While whaling continues to this day, it is a constant debate within the country as to whether or not it has a future. What certainly does have a future, however, is whale-watching. Tours are leaving from ports all across the country, with incredibly high success rates, and a diverse wealth of life to see.

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Your posts are all beautiful and interesting. Very, very beautiful, thanks Bridget. :)

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Quote of the moment:

"PEACE
NOT WAR
GENEROSITY
NOT GREED
EMPATHY
NOT HATE
CREATIVITY
NOT DESTRUCTION
EVERYBODY
NOT JUST US"

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