Observe Iceland's whales and marine life in their natural setting and freeze your @$$ off as you do it.
Whale watching in Iceland in the middle of winter is probably something you want to think twice about doing…at least we should have. We were so enthralled at the thought of seeing whales and cruising along the ocean, much of our common sense went out the door…like how cold it would on the boats, how sea sickness is a very real malady and how our chances of seeing whales was probably going to be slim to none.
Never less, we put on our warm clothes and got suited up for our day at sea. We had heard great things about Elding Tours and loved that they focused on “whale friendly tours.”We have read so many awful stories of the negative impact of whale watching for tourism, so we were relieved to know that Elding does what they can to educate guests as well as create a sustainable environment for the whales. They have set very specific guidelines for responsible whale watching, that their captains and crew members follow with great respect. With our tour booked, we were looking forward to getting on their vessel and setting out.
Cruising for Whales
We knew it was going to be a cold ride, it was winter in Iceland after all, but we weren’t expecting the wind chill! We thought we were smart and layered up, but after a few minutes on the water, our clothes and scarfs were not enough. Fortunately Elding provided insulated overalls for us to wear while on board. I felt a bit like and astronaut in my suit, but it kept my mostly warm and we were thankful!
The boat had a top deck and lower enclosed deck, where you could get snacks and hot tea but it mostly felt a bit like the infirmary. The ride was beginning to get pretty rocky and a lot of people were getting sea sick.
Well prepared for such events, the Elding team was running around with gentle touches offering dramamine and blankets for the queasy. I was so impressed with how sweet the crew was. If’ you’ve ever been sea sick it’s miserable and there isn’t much you can do to feel better while in the middle of the ocean. So a friendly face is definitely welcomed.
Although we didn’t see any whales and I did get a little nauseous, it was a lot of fun posing on the deck in our onesies and entertaining each other. We probably will never go whale watching in the middle of winter again, but we look forward to being able to do it in warmer weather.
About the Whale Watching Tour
The tour lasts about 5 hours and leaves the harbor at either 9AM or 1PM. Before the tour begins you can wander around their museum center to learn more about whales and other marine life and even get information on the research projects being conducted.
If you take the tour during the wintertime, you’re probably more likely to be involved in bird watching. If you don’t see any whales, Elding does issue a voucher to come back on another day. So make sure to book your trip early on during your stay. However most times of the year is is possible to spot white beaked dolphin, harbor porpoises and humpback, killer and possibly minke whales.
Finally, dress warmly! Seriously -- it gets really cold out there. This is the perfect time to wear your wool sweaters and socks. And If you get nauseous, queazy and feel sick while you’re in a moving vehicle or boat, take dramamine and make sure you do it an hour before you leave. Trust me - it will make your experience that much bette