The chilly waters off Iceland‘s coast fortify a number of marine lifestyles and give you the very best alternative for whale gazing, specifically right through the duration from April to September. Whales, dolphins, seals and porpoises are incessantly observed of their herbal atmosphere on boat journeys out of Reykjavik. And once in a while, in case you’re very fortunate, you may see basking sharks.

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While there are lots of whale gazing products and services working out of Reykjavik, figuring out who to make a choice could be a problem. With the bigger vessels, your view may well be just a little extra far away and the power to transport to get the most efficient view may well be relatively limited. With smaller boats corresponding to ribs, you’ll have higher manoeuvrability and may have a better likelihood of having ‘up shut’, however this no longer come up with the your required degree of convenience, specifically if the elements is damaging.

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We went with Harpa Yachts, who be offering the very best mixture of excellent visibility, convenience and manoeuvrability, aboard a luxurious yacht the place you’ll get away the crowds and have the benefit of an revel in with fewer passengers, and with native and private carrier on board.

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Harpa Yachts is a circle of relatives corporate that has been providing relaxed whale, dophin and puffin gazing cruises from Reykjavik since 1998. The founders and homeowners had been pioneers of whale watchting journeys in Reykjavik. Their major focal point has been on a private, high quality serivce aboard their well-maintained 70-foot MY Harpa yacht, totally provided with a salon, living room, bar and a fly bridge with 360-degree perspectives. In addition they have MY Amelia Rose which is 108 toes lengthy, steadily used when the elements is much less excellent, and their latest addition, the 50-foot MY Axel Rose used for smaller teams and unique journeys.

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Cruises leave from Reykjavik Previous Harbour in downtown Reykjavik and head out to Faxaflói Bay, a big bay in south-west Iceland, between the Reykjanes and Snӕfellsnes Peninsulas.

“Welcome aboard this one-way commute to Greenland…” mentioned Capt Einar over the tanoy gadget as we departed the harbour at Reykjavik. Via this time, we’d were given used to Icelanders playing a funny story or two from different excursions we’d been on, however we did wonder whether every other passengers had been momentarily fairly panicked by way of the announcement!

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We departed Reykjavik, hopeful of seeing whales however on the similar time realising that we had been coping with nature and a a success sighting was once not at all assured. That mentioned, maximum journeys are a success, specifically within the top Summer time months of July and August.

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The vessel is lovely and was once initially in-built Italy by way of Cantieri di Pisa. She was once purchased by way of Harpa Yachts in 2012 from homeowners in Greece and sailed to Iceland, prior to being modernised in 2017-2019. She will grasp as much as 35 passengers, making sure that you’ve a relatively intimate whale gazing revel in.

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As we ventured out into the bay, we noticed occasional puffins – steadily stretched out in a line of part a dozen or so – with many wearing sand eels of their beaks, for sure taking them to their younger. Iceland’s nesting grounds account for round 60% of the worldwide inhabitants of Atlantic puffins right through the Spring and Summer time, so there’s a top likelihood you’ll see some, even supposing it’s from a distance.

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In fact, the primary objective of our commute out to sea was once for a whale sighting and that was once thus far eluding us, regardless of the most efficient efforts of our captain and group. As many as 23 other whale species had been recorded off the shores of Iceland, however best 12-14 of those are regarded as to be common population.

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The vessel has an remark deck on the best and passengers had been recommended to mention a time at the clock in the event that they will have to spot anything else (for instance, “3 o’clock” if there was once a sighting on our starboard aspect) to assist others know the place to seem.

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Everybody was once scouring the ocean hoping to peer one thing however it gave the impression we had been out of success.

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Then hastily, we had a sighting. A humpback whale!

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Everybody’s gaze tranfixed on the place we’d simply observed it. There have been 3 or 4 boats in search of whales and one of the vital smaller boats re-positioned itself for a greater view, prior to we noticed it come to the outside once more some mins later.

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Right here’s any other model of the similar {photograph}, cropped just a little tighter.

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The humpback whale (or hnúfubakur because it is named in Iceland) normally remains underwater for five to fifteen mins. They’re characterised by way of lengthy flippers and normally reside in solitude or small, volatile teams. There are considered as much as 100,000 humpbacks international they usually migrate a distance of 6,000 kilometres a method – the longest adventure identified for any mammal. They are able to be anything else as much as 17 metres lengthy (that’s in regards to the period of 10 adults laid on their aspect in one line!) and as much as 40 heaps (the mixed weight of 3 double decker buses!).


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With a vital time period having handed, and no additional sighting, it gave the impression our pleasant whale had moved on. An alert got here thru at the radio {that a} whale have been sighted somewhere else so all of the boats left to check out to make the most of that sighting. We stayed the place we had been and our captain’s persistence was once rewarded when the whale seemed as soon as once more, simply as the opposite boats left!

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Humpback whales are well known for his or her breaching acrobatics – while we by no means noticed this whale breach, we had been fortunate sufficient to peer it come to the outside on a number of events. That by myself was once an overly particular revel in.

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There was once one ultimate wave of the whale’s tail, referred to as a fluke, as though taunting the boats that had selected to seem somewhere else. Lifting the fluke like this prior to a dive is one thing this is specifically feature of humpbacks.

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With Harpa Yachts, we were given to revel in a amusing small team excursion, with seating choices each indoors and out of doors while on board. Heat blankets are to be had, as is unfastened WiFi, a bar and living room, a restroom {and professional} and skilled group. Within the tournament of no whale sightings – which is able to occur on uncommon events as nature isn’t all the time 100% predictable – a unfastened price tag may be presented.

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Whale gazing in Iceland is a singular revel in that you just received’t need to pass over!

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Unfortunately, whales are nonetheless hunted in Iceland regardless of a world settlement by way of the World Whaling Fee (IWC) to prevent all business whaling by way of 1986. On the other hand, the observe of whaling in Iceland has observed a pointy delcine and the rustic has introduced that, because of falling call for, it’s going to not hunt whales from 2024. Expectantly this will likely make whale gazing journeys out of Reykjavik much more rewarding someday.

In addition to whale gazing excursions, Harpa Yachts additionally be offering a Northern Lighting fixtures yacht cruise in addition to non-public yacht excursions alongside the beach of Reykjavik, with distinctive beach perspectives of town. On a personal cruise, you’ll do anything else from deep-sea angling to skeet taking pictures to golfing using competitions.

Making plans a commute to Iceland your self? You’ll be able to watch a video from our commute to Iceland right here. Pictures from our whalewatching tour may also be observed between 5m 56s and 6m 03s:

Disclosure: This put up is subsidized by way of Harpa Yachts. Our commute to Iceland was once additionally subsidized by way of Helly Hansen.