Orca watching in Tysfjord
Orca watching in Tysfjord Reviews
Killer whales of the arctic Sep 20, 2008
In 1987, huge quantities of herring chose Tysfjord as their new wintering area. They were followed by hundreds of killer whales, which have been coming back every autumn to hunt herring.
I visited Tysfjord in 1998 and then again in 2000 to watch and photograph Orca feeding on herring.This area inside the arctic circle is breathtaking. Surrounded by majestic mountains and only approx 5 hours of daylight in November, it's cold, fresh and miles and miles away from the rat race that I came from.
It takes a day to get there from the UK, flying first to Oslo, then on to Bodo and then a three hour coach journey along mountain roads until you arrive at the turistsenter www.tysfjord-turistsenter.no
This place is a little weird, the food not great, but that's not the reason one comes here. I remember the first morning I was there, I walked around the back and was confronted by the sight of snow capped mountains looming out of the fjord. One dresses in many many layers at this time of year. I started with thermal leggings, thermal vest, 2 t-shirts, a light fleece, a heavy fleece and a big polar jacket, a pair of jeans and 7 pairs of socks, some thin some thick. On my feet were a sturdy pair of walking boots, and I also had gloves, scarf and fleece hat. And within an hour I was freezing cold. My feet were like blocks of ice. But the worse thing was camera batteries only lasted 20-30 mins so I was forever replacing them.
But for all the discomfort, on seeing the fin of a male Orca cut through the water and I was in heaven. Then more fins and once youre in the thick of it there can be 50 + Orca feeding in a frenzy. The water is so clear that you can see whats going on under the surface. The whales corral the herring into a ball and then go in and stun the fish by slapping their tails really hard. You can see the fish come flying out of the water with their swim bladders in tatters. The commotion that follows is electrifying. White tailed sea eagles are never far away, and hundreds of herring gulls pick up all the waste left on the surface. This truly is a spectacle that will stay in my memory for ever.
The only disappointment I had was not seeing the northern lights. I saw a faint greenish thing happening but not the big time display.
I would thoroughly recommend this trip if you like whales, mountains, wildlife. I have heard that the herring are in decline so that does mean the whales may be moving on although some are returning every year.
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