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Hanna Michel

Unexpected find when beachcombing // Unerwarteter Fund am Strand

This post was inspired by a find at a beach in Spain. You can find so many things when you keep your eyes open – in this case, a Black moray… or, well, at least a part of it (see first two pictures). Moray eels are probably not among the most popular group of animals.…
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Have you ever found a „Mermaid’s purse“? // Hast Du schon einmal die „Handtasche einer Meerjungfrau“ gefunden?

What the hell is a Mermaid’s purse? That’s what – back in the days – the egg cases of sharks, rays, and chimaeras (all cartilaginous fish, Chondrichthyes) were called before people figured out what they were. They wash ashore during strong winds and rough seas, where they can be found by curious beachcombers. The egg…
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Cultures in whale and dolphin societies? // Haben Wale und Delfine Kulturen?

In this article for Special Tours Iceland, I am focusing on what we have learned about the cultural lives of whales and dolphins. The better we study these animals, the more we realize that they are not that different from us. There are amazing examples of ingenious ideas of how to catch food and other…
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Happy end for Humpback whale „Nettie“ // Happy end für Buckelwal „Nettie“

On 31 July 2015, a Humpback whale we had never seen before was sighted on one of the Whale watching tours in Faxaflói, the bay off the coast of Reykjavík. As we carefully approached the animal, our hearts dived: The whale was severely entangled in fishing gear. Some fishing lines were wrapped around its entire…
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That’s how cool Minke whales are! // So cool sind Zwergwale!

EN: In mid-July, I had one of the most special whale watching tours in a while thanks to two minke whales. Minke whales were hunted here in Iceland until very recently, so they can be pretty shy. On some occasions, though, they really show off their inquisitive nature. This video is just a short glimpse…
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Killer whale encounter in Faxaflói, Iceland // Begegnung mit Schwertwalen in der Faxabucht, Island

For the Special Tours Iceland website, I’ve put together some information about the Killer whales (Orcas) in Icelandic waters. The reason for this was our encounter with two Killer whales on one of our Whale watching tours in early June. Learn more about these two and other Orcas, not only in Iceland but in all…
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Encounter at eye level in Antarctica // Begegnung auf Augenhöhe in der Antarktis

EN: You know you got the right job when it doesn’t feel like work 🙂 I love this picture of a penguin approaching me carefully at the end of a landing on one of the South Shetland Islands. Generally, animals in Antarctica aren’t afraid of humans, as this curious Gentoo penguin demonstrates. We keep a…
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Get to know the Adélie penguin! // Darf ich vorstellen: der Adeliepinguin!

The first little guy I would like to introduce you to is the one I have chosen as the “header” of the website: The Adélie penguin Pygoscelis adeliae. Like all penguins, Adélies are flightless birds that are perfectly adapted to life at sea. Over millions of years their wings have become flipper-like and allow them…
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