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HomeExpedition boatThe whales up North

The whales up North

A few years ago I was tied up in the same harbour as we are today. But the circumstances were very different.

Whale watching from Skjervøy
Magic light in the darkest month in Northern Norway

January. A gale was blowing straight into the harbor on Vengsøya. It was just past midnight, pitch dark and snowing hard. We docked the three sailboats in between local fishing boats, and found little rest from the howling wind for the next five hours. Then we were at it again, heading further into Kaldfjorden east of Tromsø. Just minutes later we heard the characteristic «phusch» in the dark next to the boat. A pack of orca whales was passing us close by. Drawing breath and steaming the same way as us: Towards the herring that had gathered in the fjord. They were not the only ones. Some 20-30 humpbacks, 50-60 orcas, a huge flock of seagulls, and 6 fishing boats were also after the silver of the sea: Herring in the millions. And us. Three sailboats chasing one of nature’s big spectacles under white caped mountains in the dark polar night.

Magic light
The light is magical when the sun never rises

The magic in the North when the sun never rises during the winter months, is that you get a few hours around lunch time with soft light that reflects off the snow and sea.

Since witnessing the feeding frenzy in Kaldfjorden four years ago the herring has moved further East. Last winter they drew the whales to Skjærvøy. One explanation for the move is that the sea temperatures keep rising due to climate change.

The coming winter we will be out looking for whales and that magical light again. I can hardly wait. The NGO Gate to the Arctic aims to educate young Arctic Ambassadors about the pristine environment in the high North, and to be a platform for scientists, storytellers and photographers. We have a high-latitude expedition boat located in the area, and are open for suggestions. Drop us a line.

Expedition details
Included: One week in and out of Tromsø, four persons, all on board food and non-alcoholic beverages, skipper, diesel and harbour fees. NOK 100.000,-

Orcas and humpbacks
Wild eating frenzy
Jon Amtruphttp://www.explorenorth.no
Author, sailor and podcaster.
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