Husavik is not only known due to the Fire Saga Eurovision movie on Netflix, but is more than that one of the key whale watching spots in Iceland. Thus, on our Ring Road Trip in April and May 2023, my wife and I just had to set sails (or start the engines) while visiting this lovely spot of the Nordic country. There are two key companies who are driving whale watching tours – we went with North Sailing on their classic whale watching tour.
North Sailing – Location & Price
The office of North Sailing is on the main road Gardarsbraut, right above the harbor area. You may park at the harbor or at one of the public parking lots during the tour. Attractions like the Husavik Whale Museum or the Jaja Ding Dong Cafe with the Eurovision Exhibition are just a short walk away. The pier of North Sailing (as well as of the peer) is right downstairs at the harbor. This area also features some nice cafes. North Sailing also operates a toilet there – there is also a toilet on board.
Whale Watching season in Husavik is between March and November. We took the Original Whale Watching Tour, which is three hours. During summer, it operates several times daily and lasts three hours. There is also a 3.5 hr whales and puffins tour in summer and trips with eco-friendly electronic ships. In peak times, you should definitely book in advance. The adult fee for the trip is 11,300 ISK (roughly75 EUR) and gives you a discount on the Whaling Museum and on the thermal bath Geosea.
North Sailing Whale Watching – The Vessel
North Sailing operates several vessels. Our trip was with the Nattfari. The capacity of the boat made of oak is 90 passengers. I would guess that our trip at roughly 40 to 50 passengers, including children. While the boat did not feel packed while cruising, it already felt too full once we approached the whales, see below. The sailing company provides wind-protective overalls, which also work as a floatation device in case of an emergency. Despite they had a wide range of sizes, there was no overall which I could close. Apart from the main deck, some ten to fifteen people are also able to watch the animals on top of the bridge during the cruise.
There are similar boats by the peer company. On top of that, there is also whale watching with smaller, faster, but also less comfortable boats. Typically, these vessels meet during their trips around the same area and also collaborate in finding the best spots to see the majestic animals.
North Sailing Whale Watching – The Tour
Even though the whale watching is done in the Skjalfandi fjord right next to Husavik, you spend about half an hour each way to the grounds where the nautic mammals are typically located. Apart from getting into your protective year, you can enjoy the amazing view of the fjord and some bird en route the trip. The tour host gives you a lot of information during the trip. After we arrived at the key area, you initially see the whales from quite a distance. The crew on board is very experienced, though – and thus we approached different species and different animals more and more during the cruise.
The pictures have of course been taken with a long lens and a high frequency of pictures (my whole set of pictures from this trip is about 500 units). Just with your eyes, you have a significantly worse view than the pictures suggest – nonetheless, it is a breathtaking experience. Unfortunately, we very often did not stay where we are, but cruised closer to the whales while they were swimming on the surface. This meant that people did not only move from right to left all the time, depending on the location of the whales, but also to the front of the ship, where just ten to fifteen people really have a good view. This felt bothering to me.
The pictures of this trip are amazing and I feel that North Sailing did the best whale watching I ever attended. However, with the people being able to move and everyone looking for the best spot right at that moment, the trip also became bothering to me after a certain while. To be very clear about it, this is no critics on the company, I just more and more realized that I don’t like that kind of cruise too much. I felt it is worth mentioning, it will not too much influence my rating. After some two hours of sailing, we headed back to Husavik Harbor. The cruise time finally has been about 2:45 hours, which was just fine to me.
North Sailing Whale Watching – Service
The Crew was really nice and professional. The hosting of the tour and the commentary worked well with the loudspeakers on board the ship). The tour includes some hot chocolate and cinnamon rolls at the end of the tour. I feel that especially at colder and more windy days, this may be highly appreciated. There is a toilet under deck. However, you would have to undress the overall to use it, which might be very bothering.
North Sailing Whale Watching – My View
First of all, I feel that North Sailing does a great job. The boat was in good shape, the equipment was fine – I also don’t expect that they have overalls in my size. To me, this kind of boat does come with the trouble that people are moving and always battle for the best spots, which felt very tiring to me. If you are aware of that and don’t care, North Sailing is a great option for North Icelandic whale watching trips.
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