After whale watching in Alaska, I didn’t think that the experience could be beaten anywhere else in the world, so when we decided to go in Tromso, I was feeling quite neutral about it. However, what we experienced was mind blowing and blew Alaska out of the water. Whale watching in Tromso is not to be missed and something that if you ever visit, must be experienced. We booked our whale watching trip with Tromso Safari and were not disappointed.
We boarded the boat – the Aurora Explorer, just before sunrise, which being Tromso was about 10am. It was a big boat, with plenty of seating housed inside to keep you out of the cold and then lots of standing room outside so you could take in the views. As we pulled away from the harbour, we were offered some suits that we could wear to keep us warm. Although we were already wearing a couple of layers including thermals, we thought it wouldn’t hurt to wear another one as who knew how cold it would get out on the sea?
All wrapped up, we headed out to the deck so that we could take in the snow covered landscape all around us. We’d probably been on the boat for about 20-30 mins, when all of a sudden, we saw some Orca whales pop their heads up to the side of the boat as if out of nowhere. We weren’t expecting it at all. The boat didn’t slow down though and I was wondering if the captain just hadn’t seen them and that we’d totally missed our opportunity. On the boat went and before long a few more whales swam alongside us. Again, the boat didn’t slow and again I thought we’d missed another chance. By now, I was getting a little bit irritated and said to Barry I hoped that wasn’t going to be it.
As we got deeper into the sea, straight ahead we witnessed the sky turn different shades of red and orange as the sun started to rise over the mountains. It felt pretty magical and almost everyone on the boat was out on the deck taking pictures and lapping up the views. By now it was really cold, the only part of skin I was showing – my face, was freezing. I pulled out my scarf and wrapped it as high up as I could, leaving just enough room for my eyes to poke out.
We continued on and I was determined to stay outside as I really didn’t want to miss any glimpses of whales. Before long, we found the boat heading towards a little bay, surrounded by snow-capped mountains with half a dozen small fishing boats bobbing around. And then suddenly I spotted some fins from the whales and then I saw a few more and a few more and then realised we were completely surrounded by them. There were dozens upon dozens of orca pods bobbing all-round the fishing boats. No wonder the captain didn’t stop the boat when we saw just the one pod swimming around, he obviously knew this was the spot where we’d be inundated. I was mesmerised and everyone on the boat was continually pointing out whales all over the place.
After getting used to seeing the orcas everywhere we looked, we suddenly started to see some humpbacks. At this point, everyone was eagerly waiting to see one launch itself right out of the water. Unfortunately, we didn’t get to experience this, but I did see numerous whales dive deep into the sea and fluke their tails up out behind them. I was completely mesmerised and forgot all about how cold I was. It was too much for Barry though and after snapping away with the camera for too long, his fingers were on the verge of developing frost bite so he had to make his way back inside. This didn’t stop me, I was running all round the deck, following the whales and couldn’t stop myself from shouting out ‘there’s one’ and ‘there’s another one’ to the surrounding strangers. Luckily, I wasn’t the only one that was fascinated by the giant mammals and those around me were just as excited by what they were seeing.
I literally could’ve stood there and watched them all day. I just couldn’t believe how many there were and how close they came to the boat. I noticed people out on the sea in little kayaks, getting right up close to them. The whales definitely weren’t shy and seemed like they were putting on a show.
After standing outside, for probably around an hour, it was time for the boat to leave. As we sailed back to Tromso harbour, the sun began to set around us and on a day that was truly the highlight of our trip.