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After an expedition cruise to Antarctica, followed by a shorter stay in Canada, I suddenly find myself on the other side of the Atlantic, in yet another winter paradise…

Let the adventure begin!

At 68º-70º North, Troms is a county in Northern Norway. It is here I will spend my winter as an Expedition Leader for the Winter Whales of Norway Expeditions. For these orca adventures, we use a comfortable small expedition ship. “Welcome home” I whisper to myself when boarding the cozy ship and meeting the friendly, helpful crew on board. This feels good, I know we are going to have a great time in the fjords of Troms! From the bridge, I have the most spectacular view over the stunning Norwegian fjord landscape, a scenery which simply is an overwhelming experience in itself. I will spend a lot of time here, searching for whales and orcas on the horizon.

Face to face with Orcas

Snorkeling with whales in Arctic waters. This might sound like a very cold activity. Indeed, it’s important to dress warm and in many layers, but with warm undergarment and a good drysuit, the 4-5°C water temperature actually feels quite comfortable! When coming face to face with the graceful orcas, I know from experience that none of our snorkelers care about being cold. As those impressive animals pass by, neither time, place nor sea conditions matter anymore. You simply take in every second of this incredible moment.

There are people saying I have a special relationship with whales. While guests are snorkeling, I stay in the zodiac for guiding and supervising. So I haven’t been close to the time I normally spend underwater. But what I do know is that I truly love and admire those wondrous creatures, and when I do get in the water I usually end up with very curious and intimate whales encounters. 

Short days, long nights

Waterproof Expeditions organizes 6-night snorkeling trips from the end of October until mid January. During this short season on board I meet different groups with amazing and inspiring guests each week. Both new and old friends. 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.

When a group of guests arrives on board, we leave the harbour of Tromsø and head north to where our search for the whales begins. This far north, short days are followed by long Arctic nights. At the start of the season we are having approximately 4 hours of sufficient light for whale watching and snorkeling. For each day that passes, we feel the difference in decreased daylight. During the last week of November, the sun hardly manages to make it over the mountains before she returns below the horizon again. But the little light we have is truly magical. In December it’s to dark to go out, so we wait until the light returns in January before continuing with our snorkeling adventures.

 

Time flies when you’re having fun

When spending time together with wonderful guests, crew and co-guides, surrounded by the most inspiring landscape and impressing aquatic creatures, the winter surely passes by very quickly! Towards the end of January most whales have left the fjords of Troms and are on their way south. 

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!

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