Troms, Northern Norway 15/1-13/2-2016
From my recent WPX-trip to Antarctica, followed by a shorter stay in Canada, I suddenly find myself on the other side of the Atlantic, in yet another snow filled winter paradise...
.68º-70º North, Troms is a county in Northern Norway. It is here I will spend my 4 weeks (Jan-Feb) as Expedition Leader for Waterproof Expeditions Orca Expedition :-)
For our Orca adventure, we use the comfortable expedition vessel M/S Malmö. This ice-strengthened pilot ship, was built in 1943 and has a total length of 37 m.
-Welcome home!, I whisper to myself when boarding the cozy ship and meeting the friendly, helpful Swedish crew onboard. This feels good, I know we are going to have a great month in the fjords of Troms!
.When our first group of guests arrives, we leave the harbour of Harstad, to head a bit north, from where our search for the whales really begins...
.From the bridge, we have the most spectacular view over the stunning Norwegian fjord landscape, a scenery which simply is an overwhelming experience in itself.
Yes!! Our search for the whales has begun!
.Very short days followed by long Arctic nights... During our first week, the sun hardly manage to make even the smallest peak above the mountains before she returns below the horizon again...
Short days indeed, but the little light we have is truly magical. In the third week of January, we are having approx 4 hours of sufficient light for whale watching.
For each day that passes by, we feel a big difference in increased light duration, and soon even the sun starts to smile above the mountains :-)
Important is to dress warm and in many layers. With the right dress code, consisting of warm undergarment and a good drysuit, the 4-5°C water temperature actually feels quite warm!
When being face to face with the graceful, mythical Orcas, I surely believe that none of our lucky snorkelers have any concerns or thoughts about being cold or not. When those impressive animals passes by, neither time, place nor sea conditions feel essential anymore...
.Waterproof Expeditions organizes one week Orca trips onboard Malmö. During our four weeks in Jan/Feb, we have four different groups with amazing and inspiring guests onboard. Both new and old friends, and I´m very happy to meet our big group of guests from last year´s Antarctica trip again :-)
In addition to be in nature and among wildlife, this is what I truly enjoy about working as a guide, to meet so many wonderful and interesting persons and together share extraordinary wildlife experiences :-)
.There are people saying I have a special relationship with whales. Well, what I do know is that I truly love and admire those wondrous creatures, and when spending time in the water, I normally do end up with very curious and intimate whales encounters...
As I have been guiding and supervising from the zodiac during this Orca expedition, I haven´t been close to the time I normally spend underwater.
However, my short time in the water, didn´t seem to prevent the Orcas coming to say hello and circulate around me for a while! :-)
We are now already in February and the days are so much longer than when we first started the trip. Our Orca expedition has come to an end, and it is time to do like the whales, to leave the fjords of Troms and head south...
Many thanks to all our wonderful Waterproof Expeditions guests for a great time together onboard the ship and in the zodiacs!
My warmest thanks also to the awesome crew onboard Malmö and my fantastic co-guides, Eirik Grønningsæter and Ingrid Visser, for a super co-operation! :-)
.I´m leaving Norway by air. Like always, it feels like Christmas, Easter and Birthday in the same time when getting a window seat! ;-)
This makes it possible for a cheerful Birgitta to once again enjoy the Norwegian fjords, now from above, before the fluffy clouds rapidly change the view to something totally different.
Bye bye Norway...
.Goodbye Winter Whales...
Until next time, enjoy your voyage south and appreciate this year's upcoming Oceanic adventures as much as I will!
Last but not the least, see you relatively soon again!! :-)