It took some doing to find the Whales of Iceland building–it looks like a nondescript warehouse in a street filled with nondescript warehouses. Compounding things, it had some confusing signage on the outside and it didn’t look open. “Nuts to that, I’m cold and I’m going in,” I declared. Thankfully, what could have been my last words before I ended up in Icelandic prison turned out instead to just be yet another bit of complaining before ending up exactly where I meant to be, which is often the case. My most uttered sentence may well be “Where in the hell is–oh, there it is.”
Whales of Iceland has to be in a warehouse-it’s the only sort of building large enough to contain its displays: life size whale replicas. It’s hard to fathom the size of some of Earth’s largest inhabitants, hidden beneath the waves as they are, until you’re standing beside them. It’s still hard to comprehend, even then. At some point, my brain just kind of shuts down in a loop of “That’s really, really, really, really big. Like, really, really, really, really, really big.” Like, rilly.
For example, when I went whale watching, the boat had to maintain a pretty solid distance from the whales (I’m not complaining, I’m just saying), so it was difficult to get a sense of scale. At Whales of Iceland, you can definitely get an idea as to which species you could conceivably ride should you find yourself in the ocean with the power to command whales. You could definitely get an even better idea of rideability if Whales of Iceland would go ahead and fit all the whales with saddles, just saying.
In addition to wandering around, pretending all of the underwater carnage you’d cause as Poseiden, lord of the sea and rider of whales, there is a educational display where you could learn about whale anatomy and physiology–the display itself would change as you learned about different functions, animating or playing video to illustrate the point that was being made. They also have a “swimming with whales” VR experience, though I had to specially ask for it at the cafe. My best guess is that having to check it out makes it less likely that the headset will, uh, walk away with a guest. Each entrance also comes with free coffee or tea, so you can warm up, sit, and contemplate your place in nature.
Or flip through the guestbook, where people have drawn some remarkably detailed whales.
…and vulvas. “Whale eye,” indeed. THAR SHE BLOWS!
Once you’ve absorbed as much whale as you’re physically able, you exit through the gift shop (of course). In addition to the t-shirts, magnets, and keychains, they also sold what I believe can only be described as an orca whale that has been stretched on a torture rack and turned into a whale-shaped whale whip, for all of your whale riding needs. Seriously, guys, make with the saddles. Think of the photo ops!