Whale Watching Iceland; Humpback whale watching on a luxury yacht from Reykjavik harbour.
Awesome! 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 sunny but cold day here in Reykjavik when we set out on the yacht Amelia Rose to look for whales in the bay. We set out into the great bay from the harbour, surrounded by snow-covered mountains, and in amongst the islands next to the city shoreline. The islands had plenty of birds hanging around them, a good sign that there was a lot of fish in the area and we continued out in high expectation.
When we look for cetaceans we look out for several things, firstly we look for birds, either in quantity or actively diving for fish. We also 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 a real treat to find them. A blow as they breath out is also a dead give-away that there’s a whale nearby, as whales are mammals, so they breath air and are warm blooded. Fish don’t make blows!
We are very practised at looking for them sometimes a wave breaking in a weird way can look like a whale with a blow. Sometimes a duck in the distance can be mistaken for a fin. But we would far rather our lovely customers point our a hundred ducks than miss one whale!
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 huge blow! Too big to be a minke whale by far.
We found a humpback, it was gorgeous, with very clear scarring on its dorsal fine so we knew we’d seen it before. 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. We stayed as long as we could, however eventually we had to turn around and head back into Reykjavik harbour 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 learnt 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 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. 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.