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Snorkelling with the Killer Whales

Location. Tysfjord Norway
Date 24.12.2005

Tysfjord - the whale watcher's heaven. Every year Killer Whales migrate to this fjord like they have done many thousand years already. In Tysfjord, they eat fish (herrings) but some populations eat seals and even bigger whales. So, what could be more fun than snorkelling with Killer Whales. 
   There are some other ways to watch them too. The easiest way to do it is to sail in a big boat and watch whales from a deck and if you feel cold you can go inside to the cabin and have some soup and hot drinks. This is the common tourist style. 
   Another way is to do whalewatching from a zodiac boat. It's much colder style because there is no way to get warm but to have a lot of clothes. Wind and freezing cold (-10 degrees of Celsius)  increases the challenge, but it's much more fun to be near the whales, only some meters can be between you and a massive whale. This is the more serious whalewatcher style. 
   The most extreme way to watch whales is to snorkel with them. You just jump into the water (+2 degrees of Celsius) from a zodiac when an eating group of Killer Whales is coming towards you. If you are lucky, they don't eat you and you can see them diving under you only some meters away. The trip arranger says that this is the best way to see the whales. I'm not so sure, I think divers are Killer Whale baits so that other tourists could see the whales! So, I would call this the Killer Whale bait style.
   I didn't have any other options in my mind but snorkelling. Somehow diving itself was much bigger challenge than massive predators which were swimming around you. The diver gear (I had never used them before) with not much training and  freezing cold took most of my attention but I noticed some big fins (2 meters long) so close I could have touched them.

The Zodiac boat is heading to the Norwegian Sea with the more serious whalewatchers.

Hey, there is a group of Killer Whales. Okay, we will dive!

Push the baits into the water!

Me first, me first!!!

The official Killer Whale bait. I think I look just like a seal in a black rubber diving suit! Whales didn't eat me, which confirms that whales are very intelligent creatures.

Common tourists are watching on the deck of the big boat.

There they blow!


( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 7th, 2007 05:00 pm (UTC)
you, my friend, are crazy! but wow, what an experience!

Killer whale baits! hahaha

beautiful photos. do you use a digital camera?
Jan. 7th, 2007 07:26 pm (UTC)
I think I am! :)

(These pictures are snapshots from a digital video)
Jan. 8th, 2007 05:53 pm (UTC)
It's amazing !
You're so brave (but I don't know if the bravest thing is to dive near killer whales, or to dive in 2 degrees water...).
Jan. 8th, 2007 08:45 pm (UTC)
Yes, that's better! I'm not crazy, I'm brave! (Or is there some difference between them?) I saw some women Killer Whale baits too, but they were not so brave I think (less fat = not so tasty bait if you ask about a whale's opinion)
(Deleted comment)
Jan. 14th, 2007 10:51 pm (UTC)
Haven't you been there!!? Hurry, the season is ending and there is no other place in the world where you can do it. Or of course you can, but I wouldn't recommend it.

The place where they arrange these trips is a small place called Storjord. Killer Whales you can see all over Tysfjord.

Here you can get your own experience:


P.S. Originally I posted this entry because I knew you are quite near, I had to drive 3000 km to get there...
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )