When is the best time to see orcas with you?
As we are dealing with nature and wild animals, we cannot predict orca sightings for the future. Orcas swim up to 120 km per day, and if they want to leave the area quickly, they can certainly do so – in return, they can also appear as unexpectedly. December and March have proven to be good months for winter sightings; in the summer we often see them in April, May and June. However, this all can change in the future!
When is the best time to see sperm whales with you?
Again, we are dealing with wild animals, and sperm whale sightings cannot be predicted either. The best time for sperm whales seems to be late spring and early summer, around April to June, but they have been seen late winter and in July sometimes also.
Can we see blue whales on your trips?
We have sighted blue whales twice during our summer whale watching tours over the last five years, so the chances are not very high, but you never know!
What other whales or dolphins can be seen around Snæfellsnes?
We encounter white-beaked dolphins all year round, as well as Minke whales (but they are more numerous in the summer), humpback whales (rather unpredictable – can appear both in winter and summer), and harbour porpoises (both in summer and winter).
Pilot whales are seen quite regularly in the summer and early autumn, about July to September. Sometimes we see hundreds of them at a time.
Do you use sonar to search for the whales?
No, we do not. There is no equipment we can use to find whales and dolphins. We use our profound knowledge of the area, and our eyes and binoculars to spot the animals. We always have experienced spotters on board that will constantly search for the animals.
How close will I get to the whales?
How close you will get is up to the animals. We never force a close encounter, and we follow strict whale watching guidelines on how to approach the animals as part of our company’s ecofriendly policy – this includes going really slow once we encounter the animals or shutting down the motor completely, keeping a distance and leaving the animals their space, approaching them from the side and following them parallel to avoid any interference with their natural behavior. It is always on the animal’s terms how close they want to come.
Scheduling your trip
How to get to Ólafsvík
To get to Ólafvík from Keflavik airport, follow directions for Reykjavik. Once in Reykjavik, follow the signs for Akureyri and Borgarnes out of Reykjavík (road 1, Vesturlandsvegur). Drive through Borgarnes following signs for Akureyri. Just outside of Borgarnes, you will come across a roundabout, go three-quarters around onto road 54 (signs say Stykkishólmur, Ólafsvík). Follow this road (54) until you get to Vegamót. Turn right at Vegamót onto road 56. Drive over the mountain until you come to a T-junction. Turn left at the junction onto road 54 (again). You will stay at road 54, through Grundarfjörður and keep on going west until you end up in ÓlafsvíkThis road will lead you to us.
On reaching Ólafsvík, stay on the main road until you see the harbor. On the harbor is a blue bus, with our logo on it: Laki Tours. That’s us!!
The Address for your GPS is Norðurtangi 4, 355 Ólafsvík.
Do you run tours all year round?
No. At Láki Tours we have a break during the year when there are usually less whales in the fjord, so there is a good reason for this.
When is the better time to spot orcas and other wildlife, on the morning or the afternoon tour?
We do get this question a lot, and, again, the answer is – this is nature, anything is possible! There is no way we can foresee sightings possibilities, and surely not for a certain time during the day. You might see a lot of wildlife on our tours, but sometimes you might also see no whales or dolphins at all. So come and try your luck!
Can you predict the weather forecast before we book, so we can be sure our tour will go ahead?
No, we cannot. The weather in Iceland changes very quickly, and we sometimes only know what the weather will be like on the morning we go out on the tour. We cannot control the weather, so please refrain from asking us months, weeks, or days before your tour how the weather is going to be.
Is it possible to drive up to Grundarfjörður in the wintertime by renting a car?
Yes, many of our individual travelers rent a car in Reykjavik and drive up to Grundarfjörður. However, you need to check road conditions to make sure roads are not closed due to bad weather conditions when you want to drive up here. If you do not feel comfortable driving, you can book a private transfer. You can also take the bus up here, but you need to check bus schedules, as bus service is limited to certain days of the week.
Do you offer pickup service from Reykjavik?
No, we do not. You have the option to rent your own car in Reykjavik, book a private transfer or take the bus.
I was late for the tour and did not make it in time – do I get a refund?
No. If you cancel your booking up to 24 hours before the tour, you will get a refund. If you arrive late for the tour, we can sometimes offer you to come on another trip (weather and passenger number permitting), but it is your responsibility to be at the meeting point in time, so there will be no refund.
During the tour
What clothes should I wear for the tour?
You need to dress warmly for all our tours! In the winter, several layers of clothes are strongly advised, as well as gloves, scarf, hat, and winter shoes. On our winter trips, we will provide you with overalls to put over your winter clothes. In the summer you also need to dress warmly, and bring gloves, hats, and scarves as well. We sometimes go out on an open boat with no major indoor facilities, so it is your responsibility to dress according to three cold hours on sea.
Do you have toilet facilities on board?
Yes, we do. On all our boats.
Do you sell snacks and drinks on board?
No. Our winter whale watching passengers are offered a cup of hot chocolate, but that is included in the tour price.
Can I smoke on the boat?
No. Smoking is not allowed on any of our boats. In the summertime, we let our passengers board next to a boat gas station, so you do not want to come anywhere near the boat with a cigarette.
I get seasick easily. What can I do?
There is medication that you can take, but you need to take it at least one hour before the trip starts. We do not sell seasickness pills of any kind on board. If you want to prevent getting seasick during the tour, the best place for you is at the back of the boat where it’s not moving so much, and standing up outside in the fresh air, looking towards the horizon and balancing the movements of the boat with your legs. The fjord we work from Hólmavík is very sheltered and very good for anyone who is worried about getting seasick but wants to see whales.