Having seen most of the south and east coast it was time for us to move further north. It was going to be one of our longest driving days of this trip (around 600 km). Naturally one might think that this makes for a long and maybe even painful day. Well, as we have discovered, when you’re on the ring road in Iceland there is never a boring drive!
Despite rainy weather, we were safe in the confines of Dacia, cruising along the coastline for a few hours before driving up into the highlands. At one point I swear we drove right into the clouds…
When we descended back to sea level, we arrived at the picturesque port city of Husavik.
As the whale capital of Iceland, we decided to head out on a boat and see if we could eye some of these grand animals up close and personal on one of Husavik’s whale watching tours.
Iceland’s waters provide great feeding grounds for whales in the summer when they spend the entire season hunting for food. Which thus makes it an even better place to catch them in action! Plus, whales have always played an important role in Iceland’s history and previous economy (they’re now quite controversial if you’re interested in reading about it, as Iceland is only one of three countries worldwide that still allows whale hunting).
We headed out on a grand wooden boat and though we weren’t sure if we’d truly get to see some up close, we ended up being visiting by several humpback whales – some swimming up right beside our boat!
This whale was a beast of a creature that was very calm and would rhythmically come up for air every couple of minutes giving us a quick hello before making another dive down into the ocean. Sandra and I perched ourselves at the very top of the boat and watched for the dark shadow to approach from the depths of the ocean…
I think one of the best parts of the Husavik whale watching tour was that it took place from 8-11 PM so we were able to watch the sunset over the ocean while cozying up with some hot chocolate. Which we discovered made for the perfect setting for a hook-up between our tour guide and one of the local university students…
PRACTICAL INFORMATION: Husavik Whalewatching Tour
There are plenty of whale watching tour operators in Husavik. Some of the well known ones include Gentle Giants, North Sailing, and Salka. Most of them do not require advanced booking to ensure a same day tour.
Prices are roughly from 9000-9500 ISK per adult (55-60 euros), and most include the following:
- 3-hour boat ride including a tour guide
- Warm clothing including overalls, mittens, and a raincoat
- Numerous departures (from early morning until sunset)
- Tour of Puffin Island (for an extra cost)
Of note, there is also often an option of taking a traditional large wooden boat or a smaller zodiac/speedboat. Though you pay more for a smaller boat, they have less people and are quicker to maneuver. This greatly increases your chances of seeing whales and getting close beside them. Though we loved our traditionally old wooden boat, there were times where – by the time we turned and maneuvered towards a fin splashing in the distance – the whale was long gone. Retrospectively, we would have paid more for a quicker boat.