Epic humpback whale watching from our yacht! Such a gorgeous day in Iceland.

humpback whale surfacing near the super yacht amelia rose

by Lucky Byfleet

Whale watching cruises are the best on a yacht! We found a humpback whale as well as so many guillemots, kittiwakes, fulmars, gannets and cormorants and the mountains around us were stunning and snow-capped.

It was a beautiful day here in Reykjavik, sunny but cold, and the small amount of wind didn’t disturb the calm flat seas. Perfect weather to go whale watching on Amelia Rose, our superyacht. The visibility was perfect and we could see perfectly all the way to the horizon, the best conditions to go and find whales in the bay.

Setting out from the old harbor we made our way into the great bay, we wove between the islands first, and along the city shoreline, appreciating Reykjavik from the sea. The whole time we had a stunning backdrop of snow-covered mountains, and birds wheeling and darting around us. The number of birds was promising, lots of birds mean lots of fish, and where there are lots of fish we get whales and dolphins and porpoises. So we continued further out with high expectations.

When we look for cetaceans we lookout for several things, firstly we look for birds, either in quantity or actively diving for fish, which we had already seen on our way out. Next, we look for dorsal fins, everything we love has them, we love whales, dolphins, and porpoises, and very rarely, whenever we can we love the sharks we see. It’s very rare to find them this far north and a real honor to see them. The third big indicator of how to spot a cetacean is a blow as they breathe out. As whales are mammals, so they breathe air and are warm-blooded. Fish don’t make blows! 

Humpback whale tail fluke

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.

Today we went out to an area we know to be extremely rich in fish, and a prime hunting ground for hungry whales. We weren’t out there long before whoosh! A blow! It was a minke whale, but it toyed with us, disappearing and reappearing far away. It evidently wasn’t curious about us so we didn’t want to intrude. We carried on our way.

After a while we found a humpback, it was gorgeous, and our first humpback of the year, we hadn’t been out a lot until today as we had such bad weather. But here it was, and it wasn’t fussed by us, and carried on feeding, popping up for a minute to breath and then diving back down for another 10minutes. It remaining relaxed and continuing to feed is extremely important to us, the welfare of our ocean mammals has to be our top priority and we always make sure we are responsible around them, no fast turns or getting too close. By remaining predictable and calm these intelligent, curious giants know to trust us and so chose to approach us. 

When it dived we saw the incredible tail flukes, which we also use to help identify individuals as the pattern on them is unique to each whale. Everyone is always so thrilled when it allows them to take that classic photo, especially with such an incredible backdrop. Eventually, we found a second whale and it was great to see that the humpbacks are returning for another year feeding in the rich Icelandic waters. We stayed as long as we could, however eventually we had to turn around and head back into Reykjavik harbor as our time was up.

What a totally amazing day on the waters of Faxafloi. It is such a treat to show everyone these amazing, gentle giants and we hope what they learned will help them to respect our oceans throughout their lives. 

 People also come here to see the bewitching northern lights, and we take people out to see them, again on our lovely super yacht Amelia Rose. If you book a whale watching tour with us you can get a Northern lights trip for 50% off! 

Sea Trips Reykjavik sail every day from Reykjavík Old Harbour, Iceland. Our yacht Amelia Rose was built as a superyacht in 2003 and as such is extremely comfortable and stable. 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. 

If you have any more questions about our ships or the trip please contact us or have a look through our FAQs.

humpback tail
humpback whale tale

To learn more about whales why not visit www.uk.whales.org


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