Whales, Sails and Science

Join Ocean Missions on this fascinating citizen-science tour where you get to participate in ocean research, micro-plastic analysis and gain a deeper insight into marine conservation and the life of whales and birds in Skjálfandi Bay.

We want to inspire people to take direct action towards ocean conservation by combining science, education and adventures onboard our traditional sailing boats in the wonderful ocean world of Skjálfandi Bay. Join us for this meaningful 3,5-hour citizen-science tour and have a positive input on the sustainable future of Skjálfandi Bay. After the tour, visit the Ocean Missions exhibition room for a guided walkthrough and learn more about our inspiring projects.

Humpback whale © Nick Bondarev
Humpback whale © Nick Bondarev

WHALES: Understand the importance of whales in the marine ecosystem

Whales are magnificent creatures and play a vital role in the marine ecosystem. They are important for distributing nutrients across the underwater world, contributing to phytoplankton production, which produces over half of the world’s oxygen. With great respect for these important and beautiful animals, we sail carefully into their world, admiring their graceful appearance. Every wild whale encounter is a unique and magical experience, a moment that will travel with you forever.

Learning traditional sailing © Ása Steinars
Learning traditional sailing © Ása Steinars

SAILS: Learn the traditional and eco-friendly ways of sailing

Our wooden sailboats are the perfect way to glide through the ocean surface. With favourable winds, there is nothing like moving onwards only by the power of nature. During the tour, you will learn about the traditional way of sailing from our experienced crew and get hands-on experience hoisting the sails.

Microscope analysis © Ása Steinars
Microscope analysis © Ása Steinars

SCIENCE: Take part in ocean research with marine biologists

What makes this tour different from other traditional whale watching tours is that passengers will directly participate in citizen-science research, led by Ocean Missions’ marine experts on board. During the sailing, we will use a specially designed manta trawl to gather samples from the bay, which we will carefully examine afterwards with the help of microscopes. The purpose is to estimate the exposure and ingestion of microplastics in the ocean, related to zooplankton abundance and whale presence. We will also discuss the potential threats to the ecosystem and marine fauna of the sea. The tour’s primary goal is to participate in protecting and preserving the rich biodiversity of Skjálfandi bay.

Direct contribution to ocean research and local sustainability projects

By joining this tour, 15% of your ticket price is directly contributed to Ocean Missions, a non-profit organisation founded and based in Húsavík, Iceland. Ocean Missions works primarily on ocean conservation, research and education, and your contribution will benefit their many inspiring research and science-related projects.

Join the mission © Ása Steinars
Join the mission © Ása Steinars

Join the mission!

North Sailing and Ocean Missions have joined forces to inspire people to discover the wonders of the sea and the challenges facing our arctic waters. Through science, education and adventures, we aim to raise awareness for respecting and protecting our oceans.
You can read more about North Sailing and Ocean Missions partnership here.
For more information about Ocean Missions, click here.

* Maximum 25 passengers
** No guarantees for whale sightings.
*** All our sailing tours are powered by the boats’ engines as we can’t count on the wind in the sails to be our primary source of power. However, we will use every opportunity that comes to hoist the sails.

Be one of the first to take part and spark a powerful wave of action for our oceans!


Next summer, the tours will run on:

  • 1 June–31 July on sailboat Hildur
  • 1–31 August on a traditional oak boat

Free cancellation up to 24h before

Total booking flexibility

Pay now or upon arrival

3,5 hours approx.

Every Thursday

June, July and August

Húsavík, Iceland


Adults: 14.490 ISK
Children (7-15) years: 7.000 ISK
FREE Under 7 years

(All prices include 11% VAT)



  • Whale Watching**
  • Manta trawling
  • Traditional sailing***
  • Microplastic analysis


  • Hot chocolate and cinnamon buns.


  • Expert whale watching guide.
  • Marine research expert.

Extra clothes

  • Warm overalls and raincoats if needed.

Boarding card provides the following discounts

Book this tour