Amazing Orca, Humpback Whales & Northern Lights!
Nov 22 2019
We’ve not long returned from Arctic Norway and we had a really great trip this Autumn! The migration has changed a little over the last few years and in January the main herring (and therefore whale) migration along the coast changed completely. Disappointingly, we didn’t get to see the whales in January, and we had to end our partnership with the lovely island we’ve been visiting for the last 6 years!
We had conducted a small recce trip in 2017 to check out the more northerly areas, and with some more investigation this summer, we carefully selected a new base ready for Autumn.
Ellen our wonderful host was able to travel with us to the base and fully cater for our guests to her usual hearty standards, with of course the suncakes being a firm favourite! With non-fish eaters and a vegetarian guest she also easily accommodates these tastes too. Luckily for us, our new base also has a BBQ hut beside the water which made for a really nice social evening for everyone.
With the northern area being far more fjord-like, there is a lot more protection from the wind than in other areas and we managed 6/6 days on the water. 4 days with very good weather and a couple of windier days, but we still were out there and spent time with the whales. The temperatures were a little more extreme this time, ranging from -16°C to +1°C. The coldest was in the valley next to our lodge (where our host and skipper were staying) but out on the water, the temperatures increased a bit! We were all well prepared with lots of thermal gear so we took it all in our stride!
With the colder days, we also had some lovely sunshine and of course, long dawns and dusks which bathed the mountains in orange and pink! We also had some very flat calm weather which is rare and made for some truly special encounters!
The Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis) made an appearance on a number of nights, 3 of which were perfect for taking stunning pictures, with an amazing backdrop over the fjord and mountains.
Whale numbers were interesting this year with sightings of humpbacks far into the fjord in trains of over twenty animals, sometimes surfacing together. We had numerous breaching and one unforgettable full clearance breach very close to the boat! However, they can be a little pesky for the orca!
Orca were, as usual, moving around a lot and we have to be very careful to make sure we are not disturbing them. The ideal situation to enter the water is when the animals are feeding, however it can be tricky to be in the right place at the right time. For most of the trip, we just turned up as the meal had finished, or the humpbacks came in to smash through the baitballs. However as if in a dream, on the last day after sunset and in flat calm weather, with no other boats around, we had a huge feeding event right next to the boat. We quietly entered the water and witnessed carousel feeding and herding of the fish, until out of nowhere a humpback came in to smash through the herring! Heading back in mirror-flat conditions after this experience was completely surreal and these once-in-a-lifetime experiences take a lot of downloading to process what was just witnessed! We’ve not heard of many others seeing this over the season, so we were very lucky to be at the right place at the right time!
We are stoked with the way the trip has gone, and our location couldn’t have been better with close proximity to the fjord and whales but away from the main crowds. Just how we like it! We’ve initially planned two weeks in November 2020 and we’re confident of a strong migration to the northerly fjord again next year! However, since we can take the boat on a trailer, we can also move to it to the other side of the peninsula which isn’t too far away should there be any change!
Check out the video highlights from our 2019 trip below along with the details for the 2020 tour here!