A trip to Iceland without whale watching would just be missing something – it would just be wrong. Therefore, on my trip to there last summer, whale watching was part of the agenda though, initially, I was not sure it was my top priority (I was wrong!). As we were going to spend time up north (in Akureyri), we had easy access to a larger fishing town called Husavik, purportedly, one of the best places to whale watch in Europe.
We drive over there to catch a morning boat and spent a good three hours spotting minke and humpback whales. We did not see any blue whales. The morning started slow as we were crossing the bay but, once we were more in open sea (still not far from land as you can see in the pictures), that’s when the show began (and don’t miss the photos of the scenery at the end!).
It was fun to see the whales come up for air a few times and then go down for minutes before re-appearing elsewhere. As you can imagine, there is not just one boat out there so there is a little bit of watching what the other boats are doing as the boats give chase to the whales (or, rather, where they think the whales will re-surface). We had good luck (and/or a good crew) because we got close enough to these giants.
Here is a sequence of one of the whales:
And another sequence with the whale blowing through the hole:
Finally, on the sequences, one that shows how close the boats get to the whales (or, is it the whales to the boats??):
Of course, the magic is done mostly by the crew as this picture shows:
A few tips
- It may be cold/windy so go ready. Additionally, wearing something waterproof would be a good idea though we did not get wet. Some boats will give you a jacket (notice the pictures with people on a given boat wearing the same color!).
- If things go well, you will be close enough to the whales with a regular camera but a moderate zoom can be helpful. The zoom built-in into regular cameras will do the trick.
- Bring a snack if you think you will get hungry in the three hours. At the end of our tour, they passed hot chocolate around which was nice.
- Don’t stress over getting a “great” spot on the boat. There should be plenty of good sight lines during the tour.
- We did not experience any rough seas or anything that could really make us seasick – the waters were calm. However, there is no telling how the seas may vary due to weather or month so check ahead and go prepared if you tend to feel seasick.
So, pretty neat tour – I highly recommend it!!
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