Iceland to me is: myths and legends, waterfalls, barren landscape, fire and ice, geysers and glaciers.
What I didn’t really know is that it is a fantastic place to see whales as well as an amazing place to visit. Husavik in the north of Iceland is picture box pretty with a small port that has several companies vying to sell you the best whale tour that you have ever experienced. The back ground is spectacular with the sea framed by snow covered mountains in September! The company I chose – North Sailing was friendly, helpful and cheerful with its yellow flags fluttering in the breeze. The booking office has a lovely café and small souvenir shop incorporated and tempts you with wonderful smells.
However we spent the time before the tour inside the whaling museum which I expected to be a bit twee and apologetic. What I found was a cleverly informative museum with some amazing skeletons of whales that had ‘beached’ and the story of how they had achieved the mounting of the bones inside the museum. The museum is like the Tardis and much bigger than you realise with every inch of space cleverly utilised.
The boarding area for the whale tour was a short walk away with a lovely looking boat that has done service, sadly, as a whaling boat. The guide warned us that it was a bit choppy out at sea and if we wanted to change our minds we could get a refund. However we all piled aboard and straight into our overalls, weighed anchor and headed out to sea. It was a bit bouncy as we crossed the current heading for a bay renowned for fish and of course whales. There was some general chat about whaling and how the Icelanders have learnt to preserve their natural resources and, of course, they are now making more money from tourists than they did from whales! We were told to shout and point if we saw anything fin like around us. Soon there were calls all around the boat as different people were spotting whales in every direction; the boat slowed and we concentrated on one humpback – breathing and blowing water 5 times before the final deep dive and we lost it. It was very emotional and we felt so privileged so if that had been all we saw it would have been enough but we saw so many we lost count. We also saw huge ‘balls’ of fish desperately trying to fly and escape the predators down below them but I think that they were destined to be supper for at least one whale!
Eventually it was time to head back but even then the boat stopped multiple times as the whales crossed in front of us. The last stop was called by the guide who had spotted a dolphin mum and baby and we watched them swim off away from us – magic! Then we were given hot chocolate and cinnamon buns to munch as we returned to shore, everybody grinning from ear to ear.