In my first blog post about Iceland (http://onemoreday.blog/?p=165&fbclid=IwAR2GmjlmQBKrafzFTCJS8wvD_GSKYs2xa0hI3eVAnXcWEkk8l6LEkvOuGtg) I mentioned tours and how expensive they can make your visit in Iceland. Certain things are not essential to me, but I also see how unforgettable some experiences can be. Both my friend and I agreed on spending some money to do whale watching.
I looked up the best spots to see whales, and since we were heading north, it seemed logical to stop in Dalvík. Situated in the Tröllaskagi Peninsula, this seaside town offers a lot more than just whale watching. All around it you can find hiking trails, good spots to do bird watching, and you can go horse riding or skiing.
We booked with Arctic Sea Tour (www.arcticseatours.is) and we were totally satisfied. The tour should have lasted over the 3 hours planned and it was €75, totally worth it! Don’t worry if you are not reaching the north during your trip, they also depart from Snӕfellsnes (west) and Reykjavík. All staff is friendly and know the waters and the whales very well. We met up at their office, where we were provided with the appropriate clothing. With a warm jumper, waterproof overalls and a seriously thick poncho we were all set to go. Don’t forget hat and gloves, the wind out there is crisp! A bus took us to a port where a fishing boat was waiting for us to pass through the bay which was beautiful on its own, surrounded by snow-sprinkled mountains and small waterfalls here and there.
Humpback whales are pretty common there, so it is almost guaranteed you’ll see more than one. Beware of companies which promise to go right next to the whales because they have small boats and “they can”. These animals are harmless and patient, they generally don’t mind having people around. However, keeping the distance is a must. When I went diving in Cancun, the instructor gave me the right example:
“We are hosts in the ocean, this is not our home. The ocean welcomes us and we have to respect it. Think about it this way, would you like if someone entered your house and started touching everything you have? Certainly not! So we dive, we look, we preserve what’s here and we leave.”
If you bother the whales they can hit the boat. It has happened before and it won’t be the last time. Sometimes they “just” jump and splash the boat, people think it’s a cool thing to see, but it is not a show for tourists to enjoy. It is a warning.
There are strict guidelines for boats approaching the whales, it has to be done in a certain way so that the animals are aware of us and don’t attack or get hurt. This is a number one priority when choosing a company, and Arctic Sea Tour respected the whales entirely.
Needless to say, seeing them emerging from the depth of the water, breathing and swimming in again leaves you with a smile on your face (and if you are like me, tears in your eyes).
After an hour of whale watching we stopped in a different area to do sea angling for 30 minutes. I never liked the idea of sticking a hook through a fish’s head , not even when I was eating it. While people around us kept on pulling up huge fish, my friend and I had no luck. We both hesitated and were visibly uncomfortable. After 20 minutes the fisherman started to question our technique. As it turns out there was a piece of net attached to the hook the whole time. That scared the fish away and that’s why we didn’t catch any. Feeling relieved, we thought that fishing was just not meant to happen to us. Some fish was immediately cut to make an appetizer (sashimi) and lately grilled when we arrived back at the tour office. Our guide stayed with us while we asked more questions about the whales and he showed us some pictures they had hanging in the shop. We were amazed by his knowledge and kindness and I really feel like recommending these guys for your whale watching experience!
Later in the day we drove west to reach Hotel Húni (€62/night including breakfast). The place is very big, surrounded by nature as the rest of places we stayed at (apart from Reykjavík, of course). We were welcomed by the owners and they invited us to spend some time in the common area with them and the guests. The atmosphere was very friendly and pleasant and the breakfast was abundant and satisfying. Just what we needed to face the longest drive of the week the following day. Towards the end of the trip we couldn’t love Iceland more! But there were still a couple of landmarks we wanted to see 🙂 Wait for it…