Whale Watching Under Sail
North Sailing’s traditional oak schooners sail to the whales
Sailing traditional Icelandic schooners used to be almost a memory of the past until brothers, Hörður and Árni Sigurbjarnarson painstakingly restored a 20-ton oak vessel to its former glory and started taking visitors whale and puffin watching from the northern town of Húsavík.
Their company, North Sailing, began in 1994 with one vessel, the Knörrin, but news spread quickly and their tours became so popular that two more vessels were renovated. The Haukur was fitted with traditional equipment in the spirit of the 18th century shark schooners that used to fish off the coasts of northern Iceland. All the boats are outfitted to modern standards without losing the beauty and charm of the traditional oak wood finish. Challenges and memories
Sailing the arctic seas in a schooner being driven by the wind at up to 10 knots under full sail, following the world’s largest creatures, is invigorating, to say the least! It’s a thrill that few get to experience today – but a memory that lasts a lifetime! Is this environmentally-friendly form of travel the way of the future?
Today, with a fleet of six vessels, in addition to Húsavík, North Sailing is expanding to offer new tours from Ólafsfjörður, just about an hour’s drive up the fjord from Akureyri. This is a prime location for whale watching – literally just minutes from the feeding grounds of whales, dolphins and porpoises!
The opening of a new tunnel between Ólafsfjörður and Siglufjörður, famed for its herring and museum, means that it is quicker and safer to travel between the towns.
Tours for all tastes
Regular tours last approx. 3 – 4 hours, starting 1st April and include hot chocolate and local snack refreshments. Warm overalls, hats, gloves, blankets and raincoats are available in preparation for any changes in weather. There are up to 10 tours daily during high season. The evening trips are special in summer, sailing under the midnight sun! There is the option to combine a trip with a 2-hour horse riding tour from Saltvík Horse Centre, south of Húsavík.
For the more adventurous, there is a 2-day tour, ‘NSE-1 Edge of the Arctic,’ eating and sleeping on board, stopping off at Flatey and Grimsey islands. What food could be fresher than fish caught en route and grilled on board!
For the even more adventurous, there is an 8-day tour, flying from Reykjavik airport to Greenland, sailing on the schooner Hildur, with treks inland to breathtaking views and a BBQ on the beach, eating locally-prepared musk ox meat.More details are available on the following websites:
Phone: +354 464 7272