We didn´t hope for much of wild life in Scotland and Iceland.
OK, we knew we will see sheep on Scotland, but we have seen sheep so many times, that it wouldn´t be anything special. We were expecting to see Icelandic horses and we were looking forward to that – especially our nine-year-old was eager to see them. We also knew that we will go on whale watching and sailing tour on North of Iceland, but whether we would really see whales or not, depended of two ifs – if the weather will be right and if it was meant to be, because the wild life is always so unpredictable.
And we thought – maybe we will see some puffins, nice birds with orange beak, that spend summers on Iceland, but at winter they migrate to the West. Animals in their natural habitat are unpredictable and it is better to expect less than be disappointed after. We had unbelievable luck to see all those animals in wild nature of Iceland, as we did.
Icelandic horses. Birds of all sorts. Puffins. Humpback whales (yes, plural). Dolphins that were playing around our sailing boat in shoals, swimming under it, jumping and doing rolls. And – as a cherry on a cake – seals on west Iceland coast.
Scotland offer us its typical hairy cow and a lot of sheep. Beautiful as well.
There is list of locations where we saw all the animals listed above.
Everywhere. You should take time, stop and observe. Wait for the right light and you will make beautiful photos.
We saw puffins on three locations. There were a lot of them on south coast, specialy around Vik. You can go by sailing boat to island Vestmannaeyar on south coast of Iceland and there are birds everywhere, also a lot of puffins. We also saw them in Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon on south of Iceland. The most of them – a few hundred – were on North, on Puffin Island. You go to Puffin Island by sailing boat from Husavik, idyllic fisherman village on north of Iceland. We went there by North Sailing which we recommend – but there are many other providers of this tour – and the experience was unrepeatable.
You can go on whale watching tour from Husavik, Reykjavik and Grundarfjordur (on Snafellsnes Penninsula). Probably from some other places as well, but those are three main locations, where the possibility to see those fantastic animals is the biggest. We decided to sail from Husavik, as we wanted to see Puffin Island nearby as well. There are many providers of this tour, but we decided for North Sailing, which is really high quality and we HIGHLY recommend it. In Grundarfjordur there is a company Laki tours, that offers whale watching tours as well and it is said that they are good. If you want to see Killer whales (Orkas), you should take a tour from Grundarfjordur. We wanted to visit Puffin Island and idyllic Husavik (which was the most beautiful place – settlement on whole Iceland) and with a pinch of luck see big mammals – Humpback whales. There is no guarantee to see them – even when the weather is right, so our enthusiasm was enormous when we saw a lot of them (I didn’t count, but there were almost ten of them). We are really grateful and we will never forget this day.
Dolphins made our joy even bigger and awake our childhood effervescence and playfulness in us. Dolphins are usually in the same waters as whales and you can often see them at the same time. We first saw them only from far, but then the whole shoal came closer to our sailing boat and made an unexpected show. They were jumping, doing rolls, chasing each other, swimming under and around our sailing boat, and make their typical noises. Iris had a little nausea, but after she saw dolphins, nausea miraculously disappeared and she started to enjoy the tour.
We didn´t dare to hope to see whales and we certainly didn´t expect to see seals. First we saw them in Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon, when they were swimming around ice cubes. And that was beautiful. After that – by pure chance, on info point in Grundarfjordur (when we didn´t find a hostel) we found out that in the summer seals are often on and by the coast of Snafellsnes Penninsula, on exactly one beach. So we had an honor to observe them in Ytrirunga and here are the coordinates: 64°48’13.6″N 23°04’52.9″W
For us, watching animals in their natural environment is always one of the peak of our trips, especially because we have two curious children that adore animals. If you are traveling with kids, you should take time to observe nature and animals, those are experiences they will never forget.