5/11 TO 11/11/2023
3/11 TO 9/11/2024
11/11 TO 17/11/2023
Photo by Tobias Friedrich
Join us to the absolute epi-centre of orcas swimming - the fjords of Norway. The best place in the world to observe and swim with Orca, the actual king of the ocean.
We will be going on a 7 day trip with 5 days in the water. Aboard the Norwegian expedition vessel M/S Strønstad we will be searching for the best Orca feeding grounds. Only when Orcas are actually found will we be going on the Zodiacs to get close to the action and swim with them. This is the most comfortable way to experience Orcas in their natural habitat.
Orcas are the actual top of the food chain in the cool seas. They prey on small and large, even Great White, Tiger Sharks and Blue Whales are on their menu. Yet, there has never been an incident between humans and Orca (except under duress in captivity). They are amongst the smartest beings on this planet and they just seem to sense that we are not food.
The Orcas come to this area of Norway to hunt for Herring which aggregate in large schools in the fjords. While the orcas are busy with the hunt they care for nothing else, so we will be able to watch them up close. The herring season is November to February but the best season is November and January as in December the daylight hours are very short.
This is a snorkel and freedive trip, no scuba diving. It is not necessary to be able to freedive but you will need to be ready to fin and swim to the action. We will be based on Zodiacs that can be a bit bumpy.
The mothership will always be close by, so you can also wait for the action on the warm boat or even in the hot tub. This set up is by far the most comfortable way to experience the Orcas in action. The normal land-based approach means that you have to stay out all day on the boat, even if there is no action. Also, the landbased boats are restricted to one area which is why they normally only run in November. In january only the liveaboard can go where the Orcas are and we will have the action to ourselves.
Every evening we will anchor somewhere else, mostly in a fishing port. We can go out exploring the towns and pubs and try weird Norwegian food. On every clear night we will be taken out into the mountains to see the Nordic Lights aka aurora borealis.
Other activities may include sledging, a walk into the local village or a visit to a local brewery or salmon farm
On days where the water if too rough they plan short-notice for dogsledding, snowshoeing or visiting a reindeer farm at an optional extra cost.
Our hosts Tobias Friedrich and Simon Lorenz will host photo talks on whales and photography. Dont miss Tobias mini-workshop on taking photos of the polar lights.
YOUR insiderS ON THese TRIPs
TOBIAS FRIEDRICH - week 1
This trip is hosted by world famous photographer Tobias Friedrich who has ventured to the far north many times and has returned with many award winning photos. He has brought home almost every award there is in the underwater space and was even being named Underwater Photographer of the Year 2018 - the most prestigious aquatic award. Since 2021 he has been on the judge panel of this award.
Tobias is also an author of various books and regularly hosts workshops on underwater photography. Tobias will coach those trying to photograph the elusive animals and help create stunning images. In addition we will host a small workshop on how to capture the Northern Lights so be sure to bring your tripods and ear muffs.
alex pham - week 2
This trip run by Alex, a whale guide, photographer and filmmaker with experience searching for whales in Norway, Timor Leste, Baja, Sri Lanka, Dominica, French Polynesia, the Cook Islands, and Tonga.
Alex is a whale nerd who focuses on creating positive social and environmental change in an uncertain world. Alex is excited to share his love of the world’s cetaceans with others and to tell ocean conservation stories that are nuanced and impactful. Alex will coach those looking to capture images or video of the amazing whales and help those who need guidance on freediving. Don't forget to bring your tripod for the Northern Lights.
It's arctic winter, no getting around talking about the cold. The water will be 5-9 degrees and the air temperature will range from -2 to +5 but can also be colder or warmer. In November is the key season for whales as it's a bit warmer than in other parts of the winter and the days are longer than in December. In December there are not trips because the day light hours are too short.
Some of the best action has been recorded in November to January so it is well worth the cold. If you are too cold you can always be brought back to the mothership to warm up with drink, food and the hot tub and come out again when orcas have been spotted.
M/S Stronstad was built in 1955 as a local ferry and passenger ship sailing the harsh and sometimes icy waters around Lofoten and northern Norway. Today she is equipped as a comfortable and functional expedition vessel with an interior featuring nice wooden details giving her a warm feeling. A perfect base for your Orca expedition to Norway.
All guest cabins are on lower deck in the front of the ship, and you will also find two recreational saloons. Relax in the soft sofas in the large lounge where you can also work on your photos of the day or watch TV. In the bright dining area with seaview windows, you can enjoy traditional Norwegian meals while reliving the wildlife encounters at sea.
The heated drying room onboard the ship is the perfect place for you to store your equipment and to gear up, before you head out on the 2 dinghys with local skippers that can bring you close to the whales and put you in the water to swim with the Orcas and humpbacks.
A large upperdeck viewing platform and the bov of the ship is built to scout for whales. If you are brave you can also climb the top mast with a 1-person viewing platform high above deck which will reward you with a fantastic view of the Norwegian fiords.
And at the end of the day, we recommend jumping into the steaming hottub on the outside deck, while looking for stunning Northern lights across the arctic sky.
The professional crew and experienced whale guides are ready to welcome you onboard Strønstad.
The ship has a total of six guest cabins that are on lower deck. There are four double cabins for two persons and two quad cabins for four persons. The cabins are simple with upper and lower berths, a little sink, coat rack and radiator. However space is limited especially in the quad cabins. Each guest has a small space for clothes and personal items inside the cabins or in a closet nearby.
Onboard the ship are three toilets and two shower rooms with hooks for your clothes. Facilities are shared between all cabins.