By day see the Orca (killer whales) hunting in the Fjords. By night seekout the spectacular Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights)
We only offer this tour and are unable to arrange holidays to Iceland at any other time.
Group tour date: 18-23 MARCH 2017 – 5 nights
We are very excited about our our renewed trips to Iceland in March 2017. Over the last few years large pods of orca have been coming to the west coast of Iceland from January to April, remarkably close to a small fishing village from where we will be based. This has become quite a phenomenon and is regarded as one of the best places in the world to see orca in the wild. The killer whales enter the Fjords chasing and gorging themselves on the abundance of herring. Usually close to the boats giving us an amazing insight into their world with lots of lively surface displays.
At this time of year, the Northern Lights/Aurora Borealis illuminate the night sky and the last few years have been exceptional for viewing this spectacle due to the magnetic solar charge that creates the magical colourful glow that everyone hopes to see in the night sky. The trip can also include optional extras (add on nights in Reykjavik from where you can go whale watching or take a dip in the geo-thermal waters of the Blue Lagoon; visit the sweeping volcanic lava fields, mysterious rock formations, and glaciers).
Why we chose this area and March for our tour:
For the past five years, this area off Snæfellsnes Peninsula has been chosen by the herring as their port of call, attracting many orca. This phenomenon provides a golden opportunity to see (and hear) the vast number of orca swimming in the fjord. It is possible to get close on the boat trip to watch the whales and hear them as they surface. This trip is a perfect opportunity to take unique photographs of these massive mammals enjoying a feast of herring, day after day. As we look for orca, quite often we will come across a pod of dolphins or catch a glimpse of white-tailed eagles hovering overhead. Diving gannets, en masse, is also a common sight.
Orca sightings are dependent on herring being in the Fjords. This area is quite protected from some of the stronger currents that can occur on the open sea.
We have chosen this time of year for 2 reasons:
- In contrast to December, January and February when there can be as little as four hours of daylight, in late March we will have more daylight and therefore more opportunity to see the wildlife and breathtaking landscape (land tours to the glacier).
- Based on sighting statistics from previous years means we have an excellent chance to see orca in abundance. In the unlikely event that the orca are not in the Fjord, our boat company will offer trips from another part of the peninsula where sightings of Minke whales, fin whales, humpback whales and several dolphin species are common.
The Boats and the Orca (Killer Whales)
We board the boat from the small harbour surrounded by high mountains covered in glistening ice and snow; as we travel out the stillness and light on the ice mountain evokes a very magical atmosphere. During the six day tour we will take five trips in to the Fjords (3 hour duration). Here orca can be found feeding on herring in large numbers and we usually find them within 20 minutes of leaving the harbour. You will be given a protective thermal suit to keep warm in the icy wind and cold (and be served hot chocolate and cakes onboard). The boat offers a great vantage point from which to take photographs, especially when the orca are hunting. There is a lot of lively surface activity and interactions when they are hunting which everyone enthusiastically tries to capture on camera. This, together with the stunning scenery in the background, provides an opportunity to capture some truly amazing photos.
Included in our tour is an afternoon trip to ‘the Bridge’ to see orca as they enter and leave the inner Fjord passing under the bridge. Often there is a plentiful supply of herring in the warmer water of the inland Fjords where they spawn. The orca have adapted their usual feeding patterns and happily pass under the bridge unaware that people can see them so closely. This is a truly spectacular and unique sight and is an exciting opportunity to get close to orca in their natural habitat. However it may involve some waiting as they don’t let us know their feeding schedule!
Swimming and hot-tubbing are popular activities amongst the locals all year round. Nearby, the local swimming pool has two hot tubs and a good sized pool with a great view of the mountains.
You can add a visit to the Blue Lagoon to enjoy the hot thermal waters.
Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights)
The spectacular Aurora Borealis is very active at this time of year and this location is particularly famous for excellent sightings at night when light pollution is minimal. The lights appear in the sky when the “activity” is high. This spectacle gives an almost otherworldly movement of bright colour that is spell binding. The activity is forecast so will have a clear indication when the lights will be visible. Cloud cover can mask the appearance of the lights so we will endeavour to take you to areas that are clear on nights of high activity. This gives us all the best chance to “track down” the lights and be amazed!
Chasing the Lights….
If the cloud cover around the village is particularly heavy on nights with strong activity of the Northern Lights, we will arrange a “Northern Light Hunting Tour” where we go in search of the lights to areas where we have been reliably informed of less cloud cover. This is known as “Chasing the Lights”.
Our Whale Watching holidays in west Iceland take place in an area of outstanding natural beauty. The incredible geological diversity ranging from slumbering volcanos and majestic waterfalls to a variety of flora and wildlife is there to explore. There are walks, tours and activities available locally which you can add on to your holiday when you are there if you wish. Explore the glacier by snow cat (approx. £77pp), go bird watching or visit the local hot spring. See our section on extra activities for more details. Our guides in resort will also help you book additional excursions and tours.
Amanda Stafford, Russell Arnott and assisted by Lauren Horncastle will be guides on the holiday. They will certainly ensure your time is informative, fun and inspires more involvement with cetaceans in the future. Amanda will be bringing her years of experience with whale and dolphin watching groups to the holiday with a focus on the logistics, ensuring all runs smoothly and that we get to experience as much as possible during our stay. There will be talks, presentations and films weaved into the program. The essential thing is that we will have to be flexible with the itinerary on the water and inland.
How to book
Please visit the links on the left to view our accommodation options, prices and how to book page. You can also check availability online here.
If you would like to contact us please click here or telephone +44 (0) 1273 882778