It’s almost a year since our first visit to Iceland, and one of the highlights of the trip was our whale watching excursion, which I’ve written about briefly before.
Faxafloi Bay is teeming with wildlife: it’s home to visiting dolphins, porpoises and 23 types of whale, not to mention the puffins who take over Lundey – known as Puffin Island – each summer during the breeding season.
As whale watching is a popular activity for tourists in Iceland, there are a number of different companies offering tours. We booked our trip with Elding through Iceland Excursions, but you can show up at the old harbour for the next available trip.
Before the ship sailed, we had chance to wander through the small whaling museum, which is housed in an old ship in the harbour. The exhibit features the skeleton of a whale, suspended from the ceiling of the main room, which creates a dramatic entrance.
Elding also provide overalls and seasickness tablets for anyone who requires them. We enjoyed a calm day so nausea wasn’t a problem, but I can imagine the sea gets quite rough so this might be helpful for some people. I’d also recommend grabbing a pair of overalls when you embark; we were dressed in hiking clothes but it was still freezing out on deck, even in June.
During our trip, we were incredibly lucky to see minke whales, porpoises and even a school of dolphins, who appeared as we were on our way back to shore. The captain received a report of the sighting from one of the other boats and immediately turned around to find them. We were then treated to twenty minutes of the dolphins circling the boat, leaping in and out of the water, putting on a fantastic show.
We were impressed with the captain, who was very careful not to get too close to the animals and frighten them, unlike some of the other tour boats.
The ships have plenty of seating, both inside and outside, and refreshments are available. If you take a whale watching tour and aren’t fortunate enough to see any wildlife, the company will give you a voucher to go back for free on another day, which expires after two years.
Whale watching is an amazing experience and the views across the bay to Reykjavik are stunning. If you get chance to take a trip, I’d definitely recommend it!