North Sailing and Ocean Missions, together for Sustainability!

December 12, 2020

It is a pleasure to announce the official partnership between Ocean Missions and North Sailing!

We are very excited about this partnership, since we think it can bring very exciting projects for next summers in Húsavík!

We all live in a marvelous wildlife paradise called Húsavík that deserves all the respect and admiration. It is very important for us to transmit these values not only to the visitors that we receive every year in town but also to the local companies that work in contact with the natural landscapes, and specially with the oceans.

What does the collaboration mean?

North Sailing is a pioneer whale watching company in Iceland, based in Húsavík – the whale capital-, with a beautiful philosophy, based on sailing traditions and environmental values. This year, North Sailing wants to support us on our mission for a better planet and healthy oceans!

This partnership between Ocean Missions NGO and an adventure travel company is a win-win strategy to work on sustainability at sea and in the coastal environments. Ocean Missions team is beyond grateful to have the opportunity to perform their regular Ocean Missions expeditions onboard the best platform ever possible, Schooner Ópal, owned and operated by North Sailing.

In exchange, Ocean Missions will work together with North Sailing to achieve environmental targets at the local level, to increase the efforts on ocean research in Skjálfandi Bay and to further support sustainability actions in the whale watching company.

This summer for example, thanks to North Sailing collaboration, we took the local kids out at sea in Schooner Ópal to learn about the ocean threats and to participate in micro plastic data collection! This activity was part of the “Coastal Landscapes” Course offered by Ocean Missions to local kids from 15-17 years old in Húsavík.

Figure 1,2: Field trip with local kids in Schooner Ópal. Summer 2020

North Sailing History and Values

North Sailing is a dedicated family company based in Húsavík with great respect for wildlife and nature. With a current fleet of 10 boats, one of the main aims of North Sailing is the preservation of Icelandic oak fishing-boats and saving them from destruction. Some of the vessels were indeed whaling boats back in the days, and North Sailing family decided to give them a new purpose as whale watching boats.

Figure 2: North Sailing fleet

This ambitious project, has greatly contributed to the shift from Húsavík being a fishing community to also being the whale watching capital that it is today. Their passion for wooden boats inspired them to rebuild and introduce the only schooners that exist in Iceland nowadays (Haukur, Hildur, and Ópal), bringing alive the old sailing traditions. Further, in their efforts to improve in sustainability, North Sailing installed electric/hybrid-electric propulsion systems in two of their boats, Andvari and Ópal, aiming to improve the quality of the activity by offering quieter and more respectful tours.

Already in the making!

We are overwhelmed with ideas ready to jump in the opportunity to discuss and bring friendly guidelines to make steps towards sustainability.

One of the initiatives from North Sailing on this collaboration has been the launching of “Sailing the Edge of The Arctic”; a new three days citizen science-oriented sailing tour that will be offered from next year 2021. During this tour, scientists, biologists and expert sailors from Ocean Missions team will join as guides to perform the onboard program.

This is a new opportunity for Ocean Missions to increase awareness among tourists, and to gather more scientific data, both in the micro (plastic, zooplankton) and macro (whales & birds) scale, in Skjálfandi Bay. Besides, if the wind is on our side, this could be a wonderful opportunity to enjoy and teach traditional sailing!

We all agree on that this collaboration is a smart way to work directly with the locals towards sustainable tourism and conservation!

Do you want to get involved in the “Sailing the Edge of The Arctic” tour next summer?  


If you would like to join one regular Ocean Missions expedition next year, keep tuned. We will launch dates hopefully at the beginning of next year for next spring and late summer!

If you would like to read more about this collaboration you can visit this link.

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