Iceland is incredible for its landscape, nature and its wildlife – but some of that wildlife lives offshore. One of the highlights of our trip to Iceland was a whale watching tour with Láki Tours out of Olafsvik on the Snaefellsnes Peninsula, about 2.5 hours north of Reykjavik.
Let me start by saying I’m a huge fan of whale watching, but I was honestly a bit unsure of investing in a tour in Iceland. Partly because we already had such an amazing experience humpback whale watching in Maui, and partly because Iceland was already so expensive and I wasn’t sure I could justify spending €80 more euros on a tour after a week of shelling out what felt like every dime in my bank account. Finally, I was convinced to go whale watching with Láki Tours since there is the possibility of seeing up to four different types of whales in the fjord off of the Snaefellsnes Peninsula. On Láki Tours you have the chance to see humpbacks, minke whales, sperm whales, and orcas. ORCAS! As usual I found the tour through my trusty Lonely Planet, and once I saw the opportunity for orca spotting, I was convinced.
The last time I saw an orca in real life was when I was kid visiting Six Flags and saw a trained orca in a tank – which in retrospect is completely depressing and I’d never do now that I know better.
We visited Iceland during the first week of August, which is not the best time of year for orca spotting, but my hopes were high. We set off from Olafsvik at 10am, and spent about 2 hours in the waters of the fjord spotting only a few minke whales along the way.
Not that minke whales aren’t special or anything… but hey, they aren’t the wolves of the ocean that orcas are. After two hours of scouting the waters (our tour was 3 hours), the boat had already started turning back toward Olafsvik and I started to lose hope of an orca spotting. Some days you just don’t get lucky of course. Just as I was turning toward the captain’s nest to head inside to get warm again, I saw the captain excitedly toss aside his binoculars and radio the other crew members – orcas were in sight!
We had the pleasure of finding a pod of seven orcas (!) which we got to view on our whale watching in Iceland. Seeing orcas in the wild so close to our boat was one of the high points – of which there were many – of our trip to Iceland. Whales have a way of taking my breath away. It is incredible to hear them blow water out of their blowhole as they surface. What was more incredible was seeing a calf with its mother in the wild.
Whale watching in Iceland with Láki Tours
Whale watching tours with Láki Tours leave from both Olafsvik and Grundarfjörður, and cost €80 at the time of publication.
What I appreciated about Láki Tours was how knowledgable the staff on board was. I’m fascinated to learn about whales, especially orcas, and their knowledge of the whales we saw was impressive.
What many people don’t know about orcas is that they are at the top of the oceanic food chain, even eating great white sharks! Orcas are also incredibly smart, and teach each other when they learn new hunting tricks.
The dorsal fins on orcas are HUGE – maybe that’s how the crew spotted them from so far away. An orca’s dorsal fin can but nearly 2 meters – that’s over 6 feet long!
Did you know that male orcas live with their mothers for life? The only time they ever leave is during mating season – besides that, they’re always by mom’s side – real mama’s boys.
Book your whale watching in Iceland with Láki Tours
Make sure to wear warm clothing, but know that you will get a warm suit to wear over your clothes – pretty much the same outfit you see the people wearing on Deadliest Catch. Trust me, you’ll need this outfit. The boat ride will be cold – really cold. This was one of the only moments I wish I brought gloves and a beanie with me to Iceland. We were there in August so I didn’t need these warm items at any other time, but I did wish I had them on the whale watching tour.
I might add here that I was definitely was not paid to join this whale watching tour – I’m just a satisfied customer who wants to share with others 🙂
Thanks Láki Tours for adding whale watching in Iceland to the highlights of our trip!
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