GREEN WHALE SIGTHING (AND RESTORATION OF HISTORICAL VESSELS)

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A beautiful project is converting an entire fleet of historical and traditional Icelandic vessels into some modern eco-friendly boats.

North Sailing, a private shipping company working in Iceland, organises different kinds of travels and whale-sighting tours a little off Icelandic coasts. Since it started to work, in 1995, he has being building a fleet of historical vessels, starting from Knörrinn, an oak wood fishing boat which was risking to be dismantled. Over the years, they collected seven traditional Icelandic vessels, three of which – called Opal, Hildur and Haukur – have been transformed into three schooners with two masts. In addition to their restoration, the vessels have been modernised in order to be eco-friendly.

With a project which bore its first fruits last year, one of the boats, Opal, has been equipped with a hybrid propulsion system excluding any non-renewable energy sources: batteries are powered by wind-generators and the propulsion system during the longer crossings and by the completely renewable energy of the Icelandic public system when it is in the harbour.

If it isn’t windy, or when it is near whales, Opal uses only electric batteries.

North Sailing’s aim is to employ this hybrid propulsion system on all its vessels, including the last one: an old wooden whaling ship sunk in the harbour of Sandgerdi some years ago and bought by the company. Restoration works are ongoing; the vessel will be used for sigthing-tours and it will be totally eco-friendly by this summer. Passengers will have the opportunity to visit the shipyard where the vessel is being built.

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