Whale Watching, Reykjavík Region
There are plenty of possibilities for whale watching on Iceland, and the sea outside Reykjavik is considered a good place for it. I went on the Hafsulan boat ran by Reykavik Whale Safari and Puffin Island. I found it too big and crowded and the service limited. Hot drinks for free would have been a great pre. It gets very cold out there and the offer in the bar was very expensive.
Yes, we saw whales allright; minke, dolphins. Many birds, too, and the puffins were resident on Puffin Island. A successful trip in this sense.
The weather was excellent during the entire trip, but it still gets windy and cold from the speed of the boat and summers are not tropical on Iceland... The PA commentary sort of ran out of things to say as there weren't that much to see after all, and the minkes were rather distant. The harbour facilities with a showroom ("The Whale Centre") in the hull of a moored ship was so-so, more like a waiting room and bringing you the emotions of singing whales of the deep-sort of thing. Couldn't get a systematic sense of whales and their lives there. Am I spoiled or what?
Ticket cost for 2 1/2-3 hrs at sea ISK 3800. A small poster was included. If there are free hot drinks on the next trip I will say that was an ok price...
Childen ISK 1500.
Hotel pick-up for an additional ISK 500.
Timing during summer months: 09, 13, 17.
Next time I would have chosen a smaller company, and a smaller boat.
A word of warning: even on a no-wind, flat water-type day as when I was out there, people did get violently sea sick. If you are the least vulnerable to motion or sea sickness, do not go. It makes you feel absolutely wretched and miserable and you won't see a thing of interest, and you will ruin your neighbors' experience, too.
For additional info, check www.ifaw.org and the IceWhale, the Icelandic Whale Watching Association.
For alternative whale watching tours, check www.elding.is, whalewatching.is and others.
Reykjavík harbour has a charm of its own. The views toward the mountains opposite the fjord are magnificent and it's your gateway to the whale-watching scene here! When you've almost frozen solid, there are many bars nearby for a hot coffee!
Iceland is considered by various whale watching experts and tour operators as Europe's new 'Hot Spot', with astonishingly high sighting rates. The most common whales spotted are the friendly minke whales but also blue whales, humpback whales, sei and fin whales, killer whales and of course a number of dolphins including white beaks and harbor porpoises. Tours depart from several locations in Iceland such as Hafnarfjordur near Reykjavik, Breiddalsvik in the East, Olafsvik in the West, and the Westmann Islands in the South. But the most popular spot for whale watching is from Husavik, which is regarded by many as the 'Whale Watching Capital of Europe.' Cruises are made on a quiet, old-fashioned oaken boat and on shore there is an exhibition center dedicated to the many species of whales that sport in the bay. The season runs from May through September.
We saw many Minke whales. You don't realise how big they actually are as you only see a small bit of them! Our guide showed us a diagram which compared the size of a whale to a man - it's length was about 3 times a man's height! I couldn't believe we were seeing such a great creature just feet away from the boat.
Take a boat trip to see whales. It's great fun trying to hunt for these big animals with a camera. If you're lucky you may even get to enjoy a dose of their breath :-P
The trip lasts a few hours and leaves from downtown Reykjavik.A few words of advice. It's always cold in the sea. Wear enough warm clothes and a windbreaker and pack extra clothes in a backpack. Believe me, you don't want to spend this trip seasick inside the ship while everybody else are on deck.
I took the whale & Puffin Island trip. We saw several minke whales as well as Puffins. We even saw the elusive (and rare) basking shark. A great way to spend an afternoon.
Iceland is a great place to go whale watching. We were lucky and saw lots of dolphins as well as Minke whales. The trip lasts for about 3 hours.