Whale Watching Iceland;
Humpback whale watching Iceland on a luxury yacht from Reykjavik harbour.
Wonderful not far from the harbour at all we found several humpback whales as well as minke whales and vast amounts of porpoises. What a treat for every one, we also found a great selection of seabirds as always.
It was a rather cold, and a little cloudy as we left Reykjavik harbour on our super yacht, Amelia Rose, today. But we’ve had lots of terrible weather recently when we couldn’t go out at all so we were delighted to be on the water. Besides weather doesn’t stop the cetaceans surfacing, as they are mammals, and mammals breath air, so the animals must surface to live. However it does make the animals trickier to find as we can’t see as far, the wind disperses the blow, and the choppy water can hide the telltale fins.
But this was not the case today!
Our boat was built as a luxury yacht to go across the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, but today we didn’t have to go far from the harbour to find an incredible amount of life. It was like the whole world had come to feed there! The gulf stream coming north brings with it nutrients to start the food chain and sooner or later lots of small fish will be found by our big beautiful gentle giants.
We had barely been on the water half an hour before we saw a blow ahead of us. It was undeniably a humpback, a large baleen whale known for their huge pectoral fins and acrobatic breeching displays. We got closer, whilst respecting the whale’s space and allowed it to approach us. As we did so we spotted more blows, then realised there was also minkes circling us too! Normally we’d stop in wonder to look at the porpoises but they played second fiddle to the whales today.
It was exactly the kind of up close and personal experience everyone dreams of with whales, including smelling them up close! Despite digestive and respiratory systems of cetaceans being totally separate their breath does smell really bad, like a fishy fart! But sometimes we use this to find them. If we can’t see a whale but can smell it we start searching upwind from us.
Because the whales were feeding at depth today it meant we had great displays of the iconic tails as they dove down to feed. Everyone got the photos of their dreams!
For more information on how we search for whales and dolphins, and learn how to be a pro-cetacean spotter yourself have a look at our guide here.
Many people come to see the wonderful wildlife here, but they also come to see the incredible northern lights, and we take people out again on our lovely super yacht Amelia Rose. When you book a whale watching tour with us you get 50% off your northern lights tour!
Sea Trips Reykjavik sail everyday from Reykjavík Old Harbour, Iceland. Our yacht Amelia Rose was built as a superyacht in 2003 and as such is extremely comfortable and stable, with three viewing decks, a bar, and pletny of comfortable seating. However the seas often change here, and people are affected differently by the movement of the oceans. As such we have seasickness tablets available for free at the bar. We also have warm blankets and ponchos around the yacht for your comfort, though the inside of the ship is extremely warm and snug.
What is the difference between baleen and toothed whales?
We see both toothed and baleen whales here in Reykjavik harbour, Iceland. Did you know that dolphins and porpoises are also part of the same family? www.uk.whales.org is a brilliant website that goes into a lot more detail however this is the basic description!
They write that;
“Baleen whales have baleen plates, or sheets, which sieve prey from seawater. Toothed whales have teeth and they actively hunt fish, squid and other sea creatures. Dolphins and porpoises all have teeth and rather confusingly are known as ‘toothed whales’ too!
Another obvious difference between baleen and toothed whales is the number of blowholes on top of their head; baleen whales have two whereas toothed whales have one. There are only 14 baleen whale species and they are generally larger than the 76 species of toothed whales – except for the mighty sperm whale, the largest toothed whale.”
If you are interested in learning more we recommend these websites, https://www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/mammals/group/whale-facts/ and https://www.worldwildlife.org/species/whale They have a lot of extra learning materials about cetaceans all over the world.