The Cute Seals at Hvítanes in the Westfjords of Iceland
Seals resting at Hvítanes
More and more travellers are now visiting the beautiful Westfjords of Iceland and discovering the hidden treasures of this remote part of Iceland.
This travel-blog is a part of my travel-blog series about the northern part of the Westfjords of Iceland. where I show you interesting stops by Djúpvegur road no. 61.
We have by now reached Hvítanes peninsula and have just left the lovely little turf house café and museum Litlibær.
Seals at Hvítanes
The Westfjords sport some lovely beaches, but what sets many of the Westfjord beaches apart from the black beaches in the rest of Iceland is that they are golden and pink. Only in some parts of the Snæfellsnes peninsula have I seen beaches of this color in Iceland.
We Icelanders, who live in other parts of Iceland and are only used to black beaches, get the feeling of being abroad when we visit the beaches of the Westfjords.
You will even find a red beach in the Westfjords called Rauðisandur or Red Sand.
Rauðisandur - Red Sand in the Westfjords
Another beautiful and serene golden beach is the beach at Breiðavík in the southern part of the Westfjords.
I stayed at Breiðavík for one night when I visited Látrabjarg, which is, in my opinion, the best location to photograph the puffins.
Breiðavík beach is so pretty :)
At Látrabjarg you can get so close to the puffins that it feels like you can touch them. And they are so tame, so to speak.
It is such a beautiful experience being so close to the fearless puffins.
While I was resting on the grass at Látrabjarg cliff, one puffin jumped up from the cliff, walked towards me, and fell asleep right next to me!
I didn't dare move an inch as this was such a beautiful and serene experience.
You can get really close to the puffins at Látrabjarg and get some beautiful photographs
You can get very close to another one of Iceland's animals on a beach in the Westfjords of Iceland; the seal beach at Hvítanes on the northern part of the Westfjords.
That beach is very dear to me and this is the stop I am going to show you in this travel-blog.
Here you can get very close to the seals. Here the seals are almost fearless of us humans, much like the puffins at Látrabjarg.
How cute is the seal in the front :)
But even though the seals are curious and easy-going, so to speak, then they don't allow people to get too close to them, and we can cause them stress.
There were crowds at Hvítanes, on the day that I went seal watching. And as soon as a small boy ventured too close the whole flock "jumped" and headed for the sea.
But as the boy's parents stopped him, the seals realized that they were not in any danger and stopped as well.
So, let's always show respect and not go any closer to the seals than they seem to be comfortable with. The rules of conduct are that we have to be careful because this is the sanctuary of the seals and we are guests.
Chilling alone on a rock :)
We are not allowed to get any closer to them than 100 metres. Touching the seals is never permitted. Loud noises, drones, and throwing stuff at the seals will for sure scare them away.
So let‘s speak in a soft voice and move slowly around the seals to minimize the amount of stress we put on them in their sanctuary.
If you see a lone seal cup don‘t approach it as the mother is usually close by even though you cannot spot her.
I love this connection between us humans and the seals. The seals are very curious and when they are swimming in the sea they often come to check out people on the shore.
The common seal has become an endangered species and according to the 2018 count, there were 9,400 common seals by Iceland, down from 33,000 back in 1980 and 15,000 in 1989. The grey seal is also in danger.
The last time while I was visiting Hvítanes there were many visitors. The car park is across the road so you have to cross the road and walk for a short distance by the side of the road.
This poses a danger to both the oncoming cars and the visitors to the beach. So let's always be careful here.
I took a video of the seals at Hvítanes:
I read an article on Iceland Mag about Sigríður the farmer wanting to be nice to visitors to the beach and placed a table with chairs and a binocular to make it easier for the visitors to watch the seals.
She also put some jars on the table with homemade blueberry jam made from local blueberries, for which people could pay in an honesty box/donation box.
I believe in leaving some money at each location where I stop as a sign of appreciation, be it coffee at the turf house café at Litibær, or buying some produce from the locals.
Honeycomb weathering in a big rock at Hvítanes
We also visited another location at Hvítanes peninsula very close to where the seals were resting.
There I saw the largest selection of honeycomb weathering in rocks I have seen in Iceland.
I have seen honeycomb weathering in several places in Iceland as I have shown you in my travel-blogs, but nowhere have I seen such a large amount of it.
The rocks are scattered all over the Hvítanes peninsula, but I especially liked the big one in my photo above.
Honeycomb weathering in abundance at Hvítanes
Hvítanes peninsula is located between Hestfjörður and Skötufjörður fjords.
I have roots in this area as my great-grandfather, Guðmundur, was born in Seyðisfjörður and his father was from Folafótur by the mountain Hestur (Horse) in Hestfjörður.
He lived in many places in the northern part of the Westfjords until he settled down and started a family in the remote valley Ingjaldssandur here in the Westfjords.
This makes me 1/4 Vestfirðingur, as the people from the Westfjords are called, and the Westfjords are very dear to me - I hope you enjoy travelling with me through this area :)
At Hvítanes we are reminded that here we are at 66 degrees North close to the Arctic Circle
Hvítanes peninsula is located at N 66° 0' 12'' W 22° 49' 60''
Next, we are going to drive through Hestfjörður and Seyðisfjörður fjords and visit Álftafjörður and Súðavík village where we stayed for the night - Visiting Súðavík Village and Langeyri in Álftafjörður in the Westfjords
A map of the Westfjords
The travel-blogs I have written in chronological order about the northern part of the Westfjords are:
Have a lovely time at Hvítanes - I hope you get to see plenty of seals :)