Waterproof Cruises

Sustainable Whale Expeditions

Snorkeling with whales & orcas is a dream for many people. At Waterproof Cruises & Expeditions we are committed to provide you the best possible experience in a sustainable way.

Sustainable Whale Watching & Snorkeling

Enjoying whales in a responsible way

We offer various expeditions that are dedicated to whale watching and snorkeling with whales, in both cold and warm water. In Norway you can snorkel with orcas, while in Tonga you have the unique opportunity to swim with humpback whales and calves.

To ensure a great experience and safety of the whales and our guests, we only work with certified companies, expert guides and an experienced crew. It is our goal to offer a sustainable experience. Lectures will be given to learn about the whales and their environment, and participants receive clear whale watching guidelines and safety instructions before entering the water. We don't offer scuba diving on our whale watching voyages.

Managing expectations

Be flexible and realistic

Rule number one when it comes to wildlife watching; Nothing is guaranteed! We will always do our utmost to offer you the best experience but cannot guarantee that all activities will take place as we’ve outlined in advance. We deal with wild animals in open water and unpredictable weather conditions. Therefor we ask all our guests to set realistic expectations and be flexible to make this experience a success.
During our trips it is our goal to go snorkelling as often as possible and being on a live-aboard vessel gives us the advantage that we can easily move around to find the best locations. Our guides are constantly on the lookout for orcas and whales. However, the animals are not always in the same spot and it might take some time to find them, the search is part of the adventure. Some days you might not see any whales or orcas at all. Don't let this get you down. Just enjoy the beautiful scenery, the facilities of the ship and the company on board. At night you always have a chance to see the northern lights and end the day with a beautiful aurora show.

Approaching Whales

Keeping a safe distance

Approaching whales will always be done cautiously, at a low speed towards the side of the pod. Only one zodiac can go in the snorkeling zone (20-50 metres from the whales) at any one time. Other zodiacs must wait their turn at least 50 metres away from the whales.
When the guide descides it's safe to go snorkeling, the participants go into the water slowly. When in the water, snorkelers should keep visual contact with the guide on their zodiac so they can quickly respond to signals. Snorkelers have to keep a distance of at least 20 metres between them and the whales and must stay with the group at all times. Touching the whales and opproaching them to make contact is strictly forbidding and diving, splashing and making noise should be avoided as much as possible. 

The captain and crew are in charge and decide whether it's safe to go into the water or not. There are many reasons why the crew might not approach the whales. A few examples are:

• There are too many other vessels close to the whales
• Another group of snorkelers is already in the water
• The whales show signs of stress, evasive behaviour or seem to be disturbed
• The whales are in an area where a lot of marine traffic is passing through
• There is a working fishing boat close to the whales
• The whales are not feeding but underway to another location
• Weather conditions are not suitable

Snorkeling with Orcas in Norway

General guidelines

On board the ship there will be maximum 16 passengers. However we will not take more than 6 guests into the water for snorkeling at once and one guide will always be on the water with the snorkelers. The behaviour of the whales will be assesed before going in. Snorkeling is only possible when the orcas are hunting for herring or when they are swimming at a low speed. In case the orcas show evasive behaviour, or the guides suspect an unsafe situation, snorkeling is not allowed. Every snorkeler is obligated to wear our orange high visibility hood which has a bright colored surface and reflective patches for good visibility and detection in the dark water.

In Norway there are several popular locations where large numbers of orcas return every year. However, these locations are often overcrowded by boats and snorkelers, which creates unsafe situations for people and animals. This is why we prefer to find orcas in other locations where we can enjoy snorkeling in a calm and non-intrusive way.

Whale watching regulations in Norway

Distance to fishing vessels

Since December 2019, new regulations apply to whale watching in Norway. The regulations have been drawn up by the Ministry of Trade and Fisheries to ensure that whale watching is carried out in a safe and sustainable manner that does not disturb the animals in their natural environment. At the same time, these new rules are designed to prevent snorkelers from being put at risk by getting close to moving fishing vessels.
It is therefore forbidden to come closer than 370m to fishing vessels with a ship, or zodiac. During snorkeling, a minimum distance of 740m must be kept to fishing vessels.

Partnership Norwegian Orca Survey

Supporting orca research and conservation by photo-identification

We are proud to partner with Norwegian Orca Survey to support the orca research in Northern Norway! Norwegian Orca Survey is a non-profit organization dedicated to researching and monitoring orcas in Norway. Using ground-breaking research methods and photo identification, they gather much-needed data for orca conservation. Anyone with a camera can play a part and help save orcas worldwide. By providing high-res photographs of orca dorsal fins, along with information on where and when the photos were taken, you can contribute to the long-term Norwegian Orca ID project.

To support the orca research, we donate an amount to Norwegian Orca Survey for every passenger that travels to Northern Norway with us.

About Norwegian Orca Survey »

Expert guides

For whale watching & snorkeling

For our snorkeling and whale watching expeditions we work with experienced guides that understand whale behaviour and who have spent many hours both above and below the surface close to whales. 

Meet our team of experts & ambassadors »