Orcas and Humpback whales in Northern Norway

Orcas and Humpback whales feeding on herring

THE TOUR IN BRIEF

If you are reading this, you are just seconds away from finding out why some of the best known photographers and film crews went to Norway in January 2014 and why they plan to do it again in 2015.

The miracle happens because of a little fish called herring, but before we get into the amazing and outstanding details of this trip we want to make sure you understand this is a real expedition and not a luxury cruise.

Norway has some of Europe's most beautiful coastal line and still features real wilderness.
In mid-winter the snow covered landscape forms the backdrop to many natural wonders including the famous Northern lights as well as this exceptional gathering of cetaceans.

Orcas and Humpback whales can be watched feeding peacefully together, often on the same shoal of herring. While the whales gorge themselves on many fish at once, taking huge mouthfuls and filtering the water through their baleen plates, the Orcas stun their prey with a slap from their caudal fin and consume fish one by one. Seabirds and predatory fish often join the feeding frenzy too.
The whole spectacle will leave you speechless.

Here's the deal - this phenomenon only occurs when the herring are most plentiful - in mid-winter. For this reason we want you to understand that this excursion is best suited for real enthusiasts, dedicated whale watchers and wildlife photographers. It is not a luxury cruise. You will experience some extreme temperatures and challenging light conditions. You will also need some preparation and suitable equipment. If you want to enter the water, a good experience snorkeling will be essential and you will need to bring a drysuit, hood, gloves, mask, snorkel and fins.

In mid-winter daylight at these latitudes lasts about 5 hours. Our plan will be to head out to sea each day pre-dawn to fully exploit all the available light. We will then spend the long evenings returning to port and once back ashore you can spend time reviewing your day, joining our team to learn more about the orcas and the whales and, if the opportunity arises, photographing or just watching the amazing Aurora borealis or 'Northern lights'.


ACCOMMODATION & FOOD

ANDENES
Comfortable Hotel with private facilities, breakfast included.
Pack lunch on the boat included in price. Dinners are not included in price.

Wildlife

CETACEANS
(whales, dolphins, porpoises)

AVIAN REPTILES
(birds)

  • Puffin

ORCA

Often misleadingly called Killer Whale, the Orca is one of the most fascinating, intelligent and socially developed creature inhabiting our planet.
There are two good reasons not to use the name "Killer Whale":

  1. Orcas are no more killers than other animals (and for sure not as much as we are), in particular they do not kill or harm humans. Ask the krill what if they think baleen whales are gentle giants :-)
  2. Since the Orca belongs to the Delphinidae family, scientifically speaking it is a dolphin, not a whale. Orcinus orca is by far the largest member of the Delphinidae family.

It is a very powerful predator and, wherever it is found, it sits on the top of the food web. This makes the Orca very vulnerable to human-made contaminants, because of the bioaccumulation of fat-soluble organic pollutants (such as PCB and DDT) in its blubber and organs.

Its distribution is so wide that Orcas can be seen (at least sporadically) in almost all waters of the globe. Even more interestingly, they have successfully adapted to any conditions, varying their diet based on local food sources.

Some of its characteristic features are:

  • Huge, powerful black body, with white eye patch, undersides and lower jaw
  • Tall, triangular dorsal fin (up to 180 cm in adult males), falcate in females (male juveniles can be mistaken for females)
  • Large paddle-like flippers (pectoral fins)

The Orca is a very playful and inquisitive cetacean, that often spyhops and breaches.
It is a highly social mammal that can live in larger or smaller groups depending mainly on its feeding habits in that particular area.
Indeed, despite of the existence of only one species (Orcinus orca), at least 3 different kinds of Orcas are known in the Pacific Northwest only:

  1. Resident (fish eaters)
  2. Transient (marine mammal eaters)
  3. Offshore (less known, likely fish eaters)
This tour is no longer available and we are currently in the process of setting up new or extra tour dates.
Please contact us and let us know you are interested in this destination, so that we can assign a high priority to your request once a new tour is launched.

How to get there

The two best routes to join us in Andenes are the following:

1. Your origin Tromsø, Norway Andøya (Andenes), Norway

2. Your origin Oslo, Norway Bodø, Norway Andøya (Andenes), Norway

ITINERARY

DAY 1 Arrive in Andenes, Norway. We will pick you up at Andenes airport and transfer you to the hotel. The tour has started.
DAY 2-7 Daily boat trips out to the fjords where whales and orcas are hunting the herring.
We start before first daylight and head to the area where most whale activity was observed. The aim is to see mainly Orcas and Humpback whales, but it is possible to also see Fin whales, Sei whales and Minke whales.
We stay out at sea as long as possible so that we will not miss a second of action.
In the evenings there is a good chance to see the Northern Lights (aurora borealis).
Trips may be cancelled due to adverse weather/sea conditions, in which case we provide alternative daily activities.
Snorkeling with Orcas and Humpbacks can be done whenever weather/sea conditions allow.
DAY 8 After breakfast, we will transfer you to Andenes airport. The tour has ended. Fly back to your origin.
This tour is no longer available and we are currently in the process of setting up new or extra tour dates.
Please contact us and let us know you are interested in this destination, so that we can assign a high priority to your request once a new tour is launched.