It may not come as much of a surprise, but Iceland is an island; meaning it has an extensive coastline and therefore a bunch of possibilities to experience some fun out on the water. Reykjavik’s old harbour is not only a feast for the eye, it is also a door to the ocean, with its docked ships as your key to get out there, whether it’s to watch whales and puffins, catch your own fish, or simply go for a watery voyage.
The waters around Iceland are heavily populated with whales. The conditions are perfect as two currents (the cold up north and the warmer waters in the south) mix, creating the perfect temperature. Additional factors such as fairly shallow waters and the benefits of long summer days make the area great for feeding. Spotting a whale here isn’t difficult – we were even lucky enough to have a flock of dolphins swimming beside our boat as well, their tails creating small waves as they dive into the sea. When they lunge in deep – which the captain can tell – their resurfacing requires patience. Glancing your eyes over the water, ready to catch another glimpse. You may not even see the first one reappear before another whale is already showing it’s humongous body.
No, you do not require any patience whilst fishing out on open sea – if anything – your arms might get tired from all the cod, mackerel and pollock you’re reeling in. One after one, your string will be tugged.
You sail out to the fishing grounds. Once arriving at the perfect fishing spot, the boat will be brought to a stand still and all you have to do is throw your rod out (and enjoy, of course). Worries about what to eat for lunch? Don’t be! When going on a sea angling tour, your freshly caught fish will be prepared with a side of potatoes and homemade remoulade or tartar sauce. A great substitute for having lunch in a restaurant – plus, it’s not going to get any fresher than this.
Oh, and before you know it, you might be hooked yourself! (I know my way out).
Sail Like a Viking
Sails are lowered, casting a shadow on the wooden frame of the Viking ship. Once the sails are out and great thrusts of wind blow it forward, it will feel like you’re floating rather than sailing. Because the ship has such a low frame, it will allow you to get close to puffins and sometimes even whales. The boat is a replica of a boat actually used by Vikings back in the days, including shields and oars (but no worries, you won’t have to row, they have motors for that now). It’s a fun throwback to the olden days, and the sailors are extremely knowledgeable – meaning they’ll be able to answer just about any Viking or saga related question you may have.
Northern Lights Cruise
The Northern Lights are a magnificent sight; rippling green ribbons of light dancing across a starry sky. They are, of course, best viewed far away from the city lights so you’re going to have to get out of town. You could take the bus tour if you want but why would you when you van take a Northern Lights cruise?
Sailing away from the city lights at night, with the Harpa reigning over the cityscape is magnificent enough but when you add to it the majestic sight of the Aurora Borealis fluttering up above you, there’s not a feeling in the world to match it. Of course, the Northern Lights aren’t a reliable sight, on cloudy days they aren’t visible and sometimes they don’t come out at all but you can check out the aurora forecast before the trip. Also, if you don’t see any Northern Lights, most tour operators will let you go again for free the next night.
Jökulsárlón – The Glacial Lagoon
This trip might not be on open sea, nor does it leave from Reykjavik’s harbour – but since it’s by boat, it still counts – right? Jökulsárlón, the glacier lagoon in the South East of Iceland, is beautiful from land but even better when floating through by boat. Getting up close to the chunks of icebergs floating around, reflecting on the pale water below. You might even be able to spot a few seals here and there. Definitely worth penning in a bit of time for.