Video: Whale Watching in the Westfjords – A Unique Encounter in November

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Unique Humpback Whale Watching in the Westfjords of Iceland

Nature is unpredictable and whales, too. This video is about a unique humpback whale watching in the Westfjords of Iceland on November 1, 2019. At this time of the year, almost no tourists are travelling in this region of Iceland because of the risk of ice, heavy snow and closed roads. Normally, also most of the baleen whales are traveling already South to their breeding grounds. But everything was a bit different in the beginning of November 2019.

Our captain Gísli and guide Karl did not have the intention to go whale watching on this day. BUT….they could not resist when they say plenty of humpback whales from land. Watch and enjoy this video about a special whale encounter from Holmavik in the Westfjords.

Migrating Humpback Whales

Most of the humpback whales do only stay in Iceland during the summer months. Between March/April and September/October they feed on krill, cod, sardines, and other schooling fish in the cold Icelandic waters. They need an immense amount of food and on average, an adult humpback whale can eat up to 1.5 tons of food a day.

After a long summer of feeding, most of the humpback whales start their journey to the Caribbean waters for mating and calving. They swim for about 7,000 km (4,600 miles) twice per year and their annual migration is one of the longest recorded journeys of all mammals. When they are in the tropics, they do not feed much but live off their layer of blubber (fat). On top of that, the females have to take care of their young calves that feed on mothers’ milk.

Why are so many Humpback Whales in the Westfjords still in November?

There is so much still unknown about the migration of humpback whales in the North Atlantic Ocean. What is already clear is that quite a few humpbacks do not leave Iceland at all during the winter and instead choose to continue feeding in the nutrient-rich waters around our island. Scientists believe that these whales are either too young or too old for breeding. Sometimes, female whales take a year break after giving birth to a calf for recreation and sometimes, a whale simply did not feed enough during summer and is therefore not well enough prepared for the long journey. We do not offer any whale watching from the Westfjords in winter but on our winter tour from Grundarfjordur we regularly see humpback whales.

Whale Watching in the Westfjords in Summer

As mentioned before, unfortunately there is no whale watching available in the Westfjords in November. But if you are travelling in Iceland between June and September we would love to welcome you on our whale watching tour from Holmavik.

whale watching in the Westfjords

Whale Watching in the Westfjords

Hólmavík means whale watching in the remote and unspoiled Westfjords of Iceland. The most common whales in the fjord are humpback whales. The fjord is incredibly sheltered from most wind directions meaning tours rarely have to be canceled. The 2-hour tour with almost 100% sighting guarantee is one of the shortest & most affordable whale watching options in Iceland.

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