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Whale Watching in Husavik, Iceland – Both dead and alive!

Did you know a Dolphin is actually a Whale? (to be exact a Toothed Whale). No I didn’t know either and this was just one of the fascinating things I learnt at Husavik Whale Museum. Any museum that has exhibits labelled “touch me” has my vote!

The museum is full of whole whale skeletons. Perhaps the most fascinating was the Unicorn Whale or Narwhal as it is properly called. In the museum there are whale feeding plates, made from Keratin (same as our fingernails), and jaw bones all available to touch and feel. Finally I would recommend you settle down to watch some fascinating documentary videos; For me the most interesting was the one explaining how the current oil explorers who use sonars towed from ships is confusing the whales causing a big rise in whale beach strandings and sadly death.

Having spent 2 hrs looking at bones we felt we needed to see the live thing. We chose to go out with North Sailing as we liked the idea of being on a traditional sailing fishing boat. We were kitted out with full overalls and set off. We were allowed to wander whether we wanted on the boat and so we found a spot parked right at the front – a great spot!

First of all we went right up to an island to see puffins. They are so funny with their little short wings, but incredibly fast as they duck below the surface as the boat approached. Up high on the island cliffs you can see the holes where they have nested. For me the most fascinating fact was learning that when they migrate they just go out to sea and bob around for 5-6 months. I guess their wings are not strong enough to fly them to warmer climates?

Next the sails went up – pulled by us. A lovely gaff rigg so each sail has 2 booms and with no winches on board, it needed to be pulled up by 2 people at the same time.

And then the highlight of the whales. “Over there” someone shouted and everyone rushed to the front of the boat to see it hanging onto any stays they could find. I was very smug sitting on my perch comfortably right at the front!

And so a magical time started as we found 4 – 5 whales, one after another. And they were whales, not dolphins – Humpbacks! I lost count of the number of flukes and dives. One swam right under our bow, and another swam alongside for quite a while.

On our return we were accompanied by leaping dolphins, and all with the backdrop of the snow covered mountains – a truly beautiful sight and a memory to last!

For more information on our Whale Watching breaks please click here

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