I managed to participate in a handful of activities over my road trip in North Iceland with Happy Campers this summer. One of the activity highlights- over the entire trip- was taking Big Whale Safari & Puffins tour in Húsavik with Gentle Giants. Even to this day I rave about my experience with my friends and customers I meet at the office!
Gentle Giants has a history of 150 years of family history in Húsavík bay. With their expertise, they offer scheduled and custom tours depending on what you would like. Their fleet includes traditional oak ships, mighty-fast RIB boats, and even a fiberglass boat. I opted for the RIB speedboat to ensure I could get up close and personal with the “gentle giants” of the sea.
It’s easy as pie to locate the Gentle Giants ticket office found on the main road in Húsavík beside the other whale watching kiosks. There are around 10 parking spaces in front of this strip, however, you can park almost anywhere along the street or side streets and only need to walk 5 minutes. By the way, parking is absolutely free here!
Just like with anything in nature, you’re taking a leap of faith and can only hope to see something spectacular. Well, Happy Campers, our risk was well worth the wait since my group saw around 20 different whales surrounding our boat over the 3-hour adventure! Our tour guide, Pedro was also pleasantly surprised by the activity and told us it was by far the best tour he’s been on so far this season (at the time of the tour). Here’s a recap of what we did:
First-things-first, we needed to dress up in thermal suits to protect us from the cold winds. Then Pedro introduced himself and the captain as we backed out of the cute harbour on our RIB boat.
Home to approximately 300, 000 puffins over the summer months, this island is rightfully named- you guessed it!- Puffin Island. During the warmer season, puffins lay their eggs and nest for 40 days until their hatchlings show up. It was nice to hear romance isn’t dead either as puffin partners mate for life and meet back at this island year after year. Aw!
Here’s a puffin in action! It’s probably catching fresh fish for its youngling. Although not the best fliers around, they sure are speedy and definitely the most unique.
Here’s one of the traditional oak ships whale watching beside us. As you can see, the day was perfect: clear blue skies, sun shining, and barely any wind.
At this point, there hadn’t been much action, but over the next hour or so, we spotted many whales around the boats. Finally, after many chases, the whales started breaching the surface. Hurrah!
The experience became even more spectacular when there were two whales swimming side by side in perfect unison. Perhaps it was a young baby learning how to swim with its mother.
Nearing the end of our whale sightseeing excursion, Pedro handed out shots of locally produced schnapps so we could stay warm. It was a nice way to celebrate such an amazing trip around the waters.
But wait! The action didn’t stop yet as more whales decided to take some air before heading into the depths for another 30 minutes (the time they can hold their breath).
Our last whale sighting was epic, too. This time, one came up only a few metres away from our tiny boat. Although the largest mammals on the planet, they somehow are the most graceful, which comforted me just a bit since it could have easily rocked our boat!
We were over the moon about the outcome of the tour. The fact it was personable with Pedro, the captain, and small group made it all the better, and if you’re looking for a once-in-a-lifetime experience in north Iceland, Gentle Giants may be the option for you! So, who’s ready for some family friendly whale watching?
Until next time, happy travels!
To check out Lea’s adventures, follow her on Instagram @coolitchcowski
To read more about Lea’s Happy Camper Adventures in Iceland check out these articles:A Rejuvenating Experience at Myvatn Nature BathsHappy Camper’s Official Packing List for a Great Road TripPólar Hestar Horseback Riding in North Iceland