Orcas in arctic Norway
Uppdaterad: 10 jun 2020
I just came home from this years last expedition. And what a good one it was!
I spent a week on the small island of Skjervoy to look for orcas and humpback whales. I had heard that this year had been a hard one. Almost no bait balls had been seen and the orcas seemed to feed at night. The most encounters was therefore very quick and the animals moved fast. Not good for photographers..
When we got there the luck for everyone seemed to turn.. After approximately 2 hours on the fjord we found our first bait ball. And we where the only boat in area! During 15-20 minutes we could freedive around hunting orcas. What an amazing dive that was... I saw more orcas during this dive then on my whole last expedition to Norway.
When we got back to the boat it didn't took long time before we found our second bait ball.
The Second day started just as good as the first one. But this was not only orca-day, this day was Humpback-day. When we found our first (first of three) bait ball we had really close encounters with big orca-males. After 15 minutes in the water we encounter the first humpback whale for this trip. After a while the whale started to blow bubbles around the herring - this is called bubble-feeding - and soon after we saw the first bubbles the whale emerged from the depths and swam right up to us.
The rest of the days the orcas played hard to get - but we got some more bait balls and some great encounters with both orcas and humpbacks.
It's very hard to take photos in these conditions. The water is very (VERY!) dark and above the surface the sun don't rise above the mountains. Sometimes I had to have an ISO on 12800.. But..There is ways to go around this - What I did on this trip was that I set the camera on 1/150s - f4 - ISO(Auto) and finally -0.7 to -1.0 in exposion compensation in order to put down the ISO as much as possible.
Although we had an amazing time and that our skippers and organizers where brilliant - there's a lot of problem with whale watching in Norway. To many boats in to small areas. We saw boats chasing the whales and then dropped snorkelers in the water. The orcas are under way to much pressure. We counted seven boats around one small pod of orcas..
I hope the government of Norway will put some new restrictions for the whale watching-companies.
I went with Wildlife observations worldwide - I've traveled with them many times and in many different parts of the Atlantic Ocean for both whales and sharks, and they are the best! If you want to see orcas in a respectable way - this is the company for you.
Video made by my friend Robin Havervall from Travelons - check him out!
Camera gear I used: Sony A7Riv - Sony 12-24 f4 G - Easydive Leo3wi