Warning: This blog post contains graphic images of whales being butchered at a whaling station. If you do not want to see this, please do not read on.
In my previous blog post here I wrote about my experiences visiting the whaling station in Hvalfjörður. In reality, on that occasion, I only saw the clean up part of the whaling process and did not see any newly returned whales being butchered. None the less it was an extremely sad experience and I didn't think it would be possible to see anything worse than this. I could not have been more wrong.
Earlier this week I was notified that one of the boats had returned after a successful hunt. I immediately got into my car and drove for an hour to the station.
I again parked at the viewing spot just above the station. There was another car there along with two guys from Sea Shepherd who were documenting what was happening. As I opened the car door I was hit by the worst smell I have ever come across. A mix of iron, chemicals, cooked meat and decay is about the best I can do in describing it. I imagine this is what people are describing when they talk about the smell of death. I almost retched. Phil, one of the Sea Shepherd guys, I think could see my reaction and it was all I could do to not breath in as we made our introductions. His colleague Sam was along the fence where the smell was apparently worse (I can confirm that was somehow unbelievably the case). Below were the remains of the first of two whales that had been brought back. This makes up the first set of images.
Over the next 4-5 hours I witnessed them completed the butchering of this whale and the subsequent butchering of the second whale. All the while music was blaring out - Paul Simon's "You Can Call Me Al" will never sound the same.
If you are affected by what you see below and want to help in some way, please do share this post and please consider writing to the following email addresses or offices as per Sea Shepherds suggestion:
"Please email or write polite letters voicing your support for Iceland's whale watching industry and the establishment of a national whale sanctuary in Iceland's territorial waters:
Prime Minister of Iceland
The Prime Minister's Office
Stjornarradshusid vid Laekjartorg
101 Reykjavik, Iceland
Guðmundur Ingi Guðbrandsson
Minister for the Environment and Natural Resources
101, Reykjavik, Iceland
Icelandic Tourism Board
101 Reykjavík, Iceland
Ok, here are the images - please click to see larger if you wish:
If you have reached this far, thank you for taking the time to go through these images. If this has affected you please do leave a comment below and do consider taking the time to write to the Icelandic government if you can. If you can't, perhaps I can ask that this post is shared. I can only do so much to raise awareness of this but I know that it does make a difference the more people that see this.
I will continue to follow the remainder of the hunting season and keep you updated of any new developments.