Monday, 1 August 2016

Iceland - Whale watching

On our first morning in Iceland (24th July) we joined a whale watching boat out which was sailing out of Reykjavik for a few hours. The weather was perfect - completely flat water and bright but cloudy. For once we got lucky as it proved there were above average numbers of cetaceans in Faxaflói Bay that day...

 We had been on the water for just half an hour when a pod of 4 White-beaked Dolphins swam past the boat. Our next two cetacean sightings were also of White-beaked Dolpins with another 2 to our west and another very distant pod of 4 to our north.

My Dad then picked up our first Minke Whale of the trip however we kept of sailing as the guides had spotted a Humpback Whale in the distance. At least another two Minkes were seen during our boat trip. We also passed a couple of Harbour Porpoises on our way to the whale. We were treated to some great views of the Humpback Whale at very close quarters and were able to see another three Humpbacks as the boat did a big loop around Faxaflói Bay and a fifth individual was to the west of Reykjavik on the way back. This last whale had very limited amounts of white on its flukes.

At one stage we had two Humpback Whales feeding right alongside each other, one of which was slamming its pectoral flippers into the water to stun fish as well as lunge-feeding. Here's our full totals...

5 Humpback Whales
3 Minke Whales
10 White-beaked Dolphin
2 Harbour Porpoise

Not only this but we also had our first ever 'Blue' Fulmar fly past the boat - photos of this on tomorrow's blog post. It was certainty a very memorable trip and a great start to our Iceland holiday!

Humpback Whales - photos ordered to roughly show from surfacing to a deep dive.
Some photos of unusual Humpback behaviour...

Using its flippers to stun fish
Lunge-feeding - swimming fast towards the surface with its mouth open and breaking the surface to catch fish. Record shot as was very unexpected!

Minke Whale

White-beaked Dolphin record shots


  1. What a fantastic experience , great photos to .

    1. Cheers Rob, not sure I'll ever have to go whale watching again!

  2. Yes, great stuff and on my list of places to visit.

  3. Whale-watching in Iceland could truly be absolutely magical. I love the pictures you took; they are mesmerizing. It’s quite amazing that not only did you get a chance to see humpback whales, but dolphins surfaced as well. What a unique experience you got to have! Definitely on my list of things to do in the future!