A small boat off the coast of the Reykjanes peninsula had a real-life Moby Dick experience this week. RÚV reports that Hringur GK 18 was fishing not far from the village of Sangerði when a whale came up under the boat, lifted it, and knocked into the propeller.
Einar Aðalsteinsson was one of two men on board the boat at the time. He said that there had been a lot of whales in the area recently, but that he’d never experienced anything like this before. At the time of the encounter, Einar had been line fishing for a while. He and his boatmate had just been talking about how many whales were around.
“Then all of a sudden, the bottom of the boat was lifted and the engine cut out,” he recalled. “I lost the gauges and then there was an enormous thud. I saw the whale’s fluke rise up and then flecks of blood.”
Einar said his first thought was to get the engine running again. He was able to do so, but when he tried to start sailing for shore, the vessel began to shudder. Nevertheless, they were able to sail slowly to Sandgerði, where they decided to examine the boat immediately. Both the propeller and the bottom of the boat had been badly damaged; Einar said it was lucky it hadn’t sunk on the spot.
Einar wasn’t totally sure what kind of whale ran into the boat, although from the tail, he thought it could have been either a humpback or a fin whale.