best whale watching in iceland

Hooray! Whale watching Iceland trip from Reykjavik was a success with Sea Trips.

Whale Watching Iceland;

Whale watching Iceland on a luxury yacht from Reykjavik harbour. 

Success! What a day! We found a beautiful minke whale, a pod of curious, white-beaked dolphins, and some playful porpoises along with many guillemots, gulls, cormorants and kittiwakes. 

What a stunning day! The sun shone brightly and the sea was almost flat calm, the mountains to the north were all snow capped and there were birds everywhere. We use sea birds a lot to find marine mammals, as often they eat the same type of fish. We always tell our customers to look out for them, especially ones diving from a height as quite often there will be whales, porpoises or dolphins underneath them.  

On a sunny day like this, and with such smooth waters the visibilty was great. Even the smallest fin popping out of the water can be seen from hundreds of metres away, and none of the whale breath, the blow, is lost in the wind, it just hangs there. This makes it a lot easier to find cetaceans! We sailed out from Reykjavik Harbour, past the islands of Engey and Akurey, both famed for their puffin colonies in the summer months. Now the water around them had sea birds like guillemots, cormorants and other gulls.  

The luxury superyacht, Amelia Rose, has three viewing decks, and from the top one we have 360 degree views, and it felt like we could see forever. At first we headed North, away from Reykjavik Old Harbour, then we turned north west and as the weather was so perfect we could see Snæfellsjökull about 100km away! We turned out further into the area we know to be rich, with loads of fish spawning there and as a result all year round we find large and small cetaceans, often feeding in harmony. Today we found some dolphins first, just as we passed hvalfjörður. They came up and played around the boat, showing off their distinctive markings. 

A little further out, towards the main feeding area we saw a blow in amongst a load of birds. It was a minke whale, surrounded by harbour porpoises! The whale was feeding in the area, just like the other cetaceans, and so each time it popped up it was on a different side of the boat. We didn’t try to chase it just let it get on with it‘s lunch, and it ended coming up quite close to the yacht. A real treat. Everyone got great photos! 

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.

After some time we left the minke to itself and we headed home to Reykjavik City Centre, the weather stayed heavenly and you could just see the customers falling as much in love with Iceland as we are.  

Seeing whales and northern lights are rightly on the top of peoples Icelandic bucket lists, and we love showing everyone both. If you have booked onto a whale-watching tour with us you can come out with us to see the aurora for half price, but still aboard the luxury superyacht Amelia Rose.  

We, Sea Trips Reykjavik, sail every day from the centre of Reykjavik. Our superyacht was built in 2003 and is extremely comfortable and stable. However people react to the ocean differently, so we always have sea sickness tablets on board. We also have lots of blankets and ponchos incase you get chilly, though you can always come inside to warm up in our cosy saloons.  

For more information on our boats, our trips and any accessibility questions please email us at seatrips@seatrips.is 

whale watching reykjavik iceland
white beaked dolphin in Faxafloi, Iceland

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.

whale watching reykjavik iceland
Minke , Reykjavik, Iceland

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