I’ve enjoyed sharing some photos from my trip to Norway in 2014, but decided to combine the last few days in one post. Norway was so beautiful, I took literally hundreds of photos and picking ones to share for these posts has been hard as there are so many moments I loved.
After seeing the Northern Lights I was on cloud nine and didn’t think anything could come close to that experience, but still I was excited at the prospect of seeing whales -one of my favourite animals- in the wild. We set off on a freezing morning to a fjord outside of Tromsø and I hoped to catch a glimpse of a whale in the distance, blowing it’s spout or maybe it’s fluke disappearing into the water.
We put on our protective clothing -which weighted a collective stone- and boarded the RIB to go out on the fjord. To my amazement within a few minutes a spout was seen very close to the boat. The skipper told us to watch the water carefully where fish were jumping frantically out of the water, we all jumped a mile when a gigantic whale mouth came flying out the water.
The whales were bubble net feeding in a pod of 4, something they only do in a few parts of the world. Humpback whales only come together to hunt and mate so to not only see them in the wild but to see them in groups was unbelievable!
Humpback whales are my favourite species, but I also love Orcas and after watching Blackfish that year and reading up about the horrible cruelty they face in captivity, I knew seeing them happy and in the wild would be an amazing experience. We were joined by a pod of adults and infants, who playfully swam up to and around the boat.
The Orca whales moved so quickly, we were totally transfixed on them. As we watched, a humpback whale swam under the small RIB boat and emerged from the other side. It was absolutely huge and couldn’t really have been any closer to the boat, to see one so close was just amazing. They spouted close to the boat and I learned that whales have really bad, fishy breath.
Seeing the whales was on a level with the Northern lights. I couldn’t believe I had managed to see two of my ‘bucket list’ things whilst on this trip and having whale watched since in other countries, I’ve realised just how special our experience was. By being in a RIB we could just float in the fjord and let the whales come to us, getting a far closer look, but also the time of year we went and the location meant we got to see them doing pretty unique things it’s difficult to see elsewhere. The polar night sunset we saw whilst whale watching was incredible in its own right and seeing the whales against the coast which was so close as we were in a fjord, helped show how huge and majestic they really were.
On our last day in Tromsø we drove for three hours inland, where the temperature dropped significantly. The coldest temperature recorded there was -50°C although thankfully it was nothing like that when we went! We drove to meet a Sami reindeer herder on his winter land and got to see his reindeer and feed them.
Hearing how the Sami live today, still very traditionally, was incredible. I can’t imagine living that way in such a harsh landscape but it was fascinating to hear about and to meet them.
When we got back to Tromsø, we felt sad at having to leave the next day and so decided we would spend our last night Aurora hunting again. The weather wasn’t so favourable so we drove to the coast in the hope of the clouds clearing. On a cliff on Sommarøy island we waited patiently watching a green tinge in the hope it would turn into a full on display again … We weren’t disappointed.
Norway was full of incredible experiences and memories. It made me fall in love with Arctic countries and want to visit them all. It wasn’t relaxing and we had a few scary moments in terms of the icy roads, cold weather and harsh landscape but we learned so much from our trip that I don’t think traveling has ever been the same since. All the photos from places I’ve been are up on my Exposure page –www.amy.photos– If you want to see more.