|beautiful Akureyri as a backdrop. Indonesia tenun ikat scarf by Pitula|
There are some spots in Iceland where you can join a whale watching tour but Husavik has been described as 'the whale capital of Iceland'. The previous night I was staying at Akureyri, a town at northern Iceland...just an hour away from Husavik. Woke up quite early because I was too excited for the tour and I was praying I'd be lucky enough to see at least one whale during the cruise.
|a charming restaurant|
Arrived in Husavik, I was told that I had about half an hour before my boat set to sail. So I was wandering around the pier and admiring the pretty environment. Husavik is a town on the north coast of island on the shores of Skjalfandi bay with more less 2000 inhabitants. It has become a centre of whale watching in Iceland due to whales of different species that frequently enter the bay. The guide told me that in Husavik you'll get higher chance to meet whales than any other places in Iceland. Although of course it's difficult to guarantee anything on behalf of the whales, they have the entire ocean as their backyard. Cross your fingers and you might be lucky to meet this humongous aquatic mammal.
|Husavik Whale Museum|
|a traditional schooner|
In Husavik instead of a modern ship, the whale watching tour will use an Iceland traditional oak boat or a schooner. I love that I got to experience a different perspective and had an opportunity to take time off from the hassle modern era. Commonly the cruise in Husavik will be smooth without waves and strong current compares to other cities. It's an important consideration since I'm prone to motion sickness.
And finally it's time to board the schooner, mine was called Gardar which belong to North Sailing. It's one of the first companies in Iceland to offer regular whale watching tours. They also offer selection of various exciting tours and expeditions including visiting puffin island. Extra clothes such as raincoats, hats, warm overalls and mittens to keep the passengers dry and warm, are also provided. For an approximately 3 hours cruise, I paid ISK 9280 or about € 58.
|a whale watching boat|
I love the feeling of swift breeze brushing my face as soon as the schooner set to sail. Though it was summer, I was shivering. We were sailing for about 15 minutes when I saw another schooners stopped at one point and our boat made a turn to that direction.
I gaped as our boat was pretty close to that humpback whale, too stunned before finally clicking the shutter button of my camera. I was actually hoping to catch one of whale behaviours called 'breaching', where the whale make an impressive jump or leaping out of the water. Oh well, I guess the whale was too lazy that day. I can't complain though :p
|close encounter with one of the whales|
|pick your favourite spot|
|hot chocolate and warm cinnamon bun|
3 hours and some whales later, the aroma of freshly baked cinnamon bun wafting through the air. Yay! it's time for some hot chocolate and cinnamon buns, complimentary for all passengers. Nothing is better to beat the 'bone chilling' winds than hot food and hot drink. Such a bliss...
|arched back and ready to dive|
On the way back to Husavik harbour, the skipper spotted something so the captain steered the schooner to approach it.
"On your 11 o'clock direction.... there's another humpback whale ready for a deep dive!"
As the skipper just finished his word, the whale was arching its back slowly and raising it's fluke gracefully before finally disappeared into the sea with a loud noise of splashing water. Splash!
|back to charming town of Husavik|
When I was in Alaska, I had to cancel my whale watching tour due to my Dad's health problem. And who knew 2 years later I'd had the chance to do it in Iceland. Having a close encounter with a whale in their habitat was truly a mind-blowing experience. It was a indescribable feeling indeed. I think I was being lucky to meet no less than 5 humpback whales during the tour. As I got off the schooner, I was grinning from ear to ear....feeling very happy.