Posted on 10/06/2021

#Transport #Iceland

Iceland launches its first electric boat tour for whale watching

Do you want to go whale watching in Iceland but you are worried about the environment? Good news for you then as Húsavík in the north of Iceland has launched a carbon-neutral tour, making whale watching a greener, more peaceful experience, for both the visitors and the sea creatures.

Do you want to go whale watching in Iceland but you are worried about the environment? Good news for you then as Húsavík in the north of Iceland has launched a carbon-neutral tour, making whale watching a greener, more peaceful experience, for both the visitors and the sea creatures.

Silent Whale-Watching

Silent Whale-Watching © Tanaonte / 123RF

While on this whale watching tour, the only sounds you will hear are those of the whales blowing water into the air, making the experience that much more special. Before, when visitors would go on whale watching tours, you would hear the whales blowing water, the cheers from the crowds showing their excitement, then once the whale had gone, you could hear the various chitter-chatter of passengers and the hum coming from the diesel engine of the boat.

North Sailing, a company that pioneered whale-watching in 1955, this turned the town into the "whale capital of Iceland". Since then, the company has been searching for a carbon-neutral way to get close to the massive sea creatures. "We tried it first about five years ago," North Sailing's Arngrímur "Aggi" Arnarson had said, "We invested in a project to convert one of our sailing boats to have a backup electric engine rather than diesel, so that it would rely on wind and battery power only."

The Opal

The Opal © dudlajzov / 123RF

The Opal is now an electric boat used for heading out to sea to peacefully admire the majestic whales, and since then, another boat has been added to the fleet. The old diesel boats have not been put to waste. The former diesel whaler Andvari - named for the old Norse that means a gentle breeze that glides silently through the air - is now being used to film marine mammals in their natural habitat. Both craft are charged from the 100% renewable hydro and geothermal energy that powers most of Iceland.

Not only does the carbon-neutral boats benefit the passengers and crew - one captain said "After a day on this boat I come back to shore and I have no headache" - it also benefits the whales themselves. According to scientific research, the whales show less signs of stress in quieter waters.

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