Tried and tested: Whale Watching in Winter

Back in January, the lovely Rannveig over at Elding Whale Watching invited me along on one of their tours. I’ve done whale watching before, quite a few times actually, but never in winter so I was curious to see what it was like. In preparation for the tour I read the Elding Whale Watching diary to see what the whales had been up to the previous days and the posts, telling tales of a blue whale and orcas,  were promising.

Rannveig graciously agreed to letting me bring Devon and Jon along for the ride (see, I told you she was lovely) but when I mentioned when we wanted to go, she advised us against it due to unfavorable weather conditions. Since D&J were leaving the next day, we decided to discard that little piece of advice.


Elding is one of my favorite tour operators in Reykjavík. I like them because they have an awesome environmental policy, the company was founded and is still controlled by a woman (who was recently acknowledged by The Icelandic Association of Women Entrepreneurs – girlpower!), they are always super nice to their cooperators and they throw the best industry parties ever on their boats down by the harbor every summer. Because of all that, I hate that I have to say the following:

Our tour sucked. It was freezing, there was no visibility because of the weather and we didn’t see a single whale. We did see a few white-beaked dolphins but even they were lazy and just kind of lay there doing nothing. Even though Elding provides overalls and blankets on all their tours, we spent most of our time inside.

The lack of whales may have been my fault – remember how I was the only one who didn’t catch anything at the sea angling tour?


People trying to fight of the cold


Trying to find something - anything

The verdict

Unfortunately Devon, Jon and I were super unlucky and happened to stumble up on a bad tour without a whale in sight. However, this was not by any means Elding’s fault. Whales are wild animals and don’t show up on order so you can never be sure that you are going to see some. Elding’s success rate is pretty high though and they are the biggest whale watching company in Reykjavík. I’ve gone on a few tours with them before and I’ve always seen plenty of whales.

The lesson to be learned here is that if the owner of the company tells you that it would best to postpone the trip because of the weather – you should probably listen. Another piece of advice for whale watching in winter is to bring  gloves and mittens, wear wool socks if you have any and most definitely wear a hat because your head, toes and fingers are going to get cold. And if you are cold and there are no whales around – go below decks and enjoy a hot cup of coffee or beer at the bar!

With everything said and done – I still recommend Elding Whale Watching. Even in winter. Just don’t go with Auður the sea creature jinx-er.

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One thought on “Tried and tested: Whale Watching in Winter”

  1. Hmm, I am going to go on one of these trips later this year but I don’t think I would brave a winter one! Partly because I don’t really like boats in the first place so if I go I want to have as good a chance as possible. I can’t say I’m looking forward to it, but I really want to see whales and this is the only way.

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