Sunday, January 20, 2013


My blog profile states that I love cetaceans and like all wildlife lovers there are certain species that get my pulse racing more than others; in the case of whales and dolphins that species has to be Orcas. So when, a few years ago, a holiday company offered day trips to Norway to see this charismatic animal I jumped at the chance. Yes; day trips!
We flew from Manchester at 6 in the morning and a few hours later we were boarding a boat in the famous Tysfjord. Orcas only began visiting this stunning fjord in 1987 when Herring shoals started wintering in the coastal waters. Whale watching trips sprung up overnight, and with an estimated 600 Orcas using the area over the winter months the chances of sighting this species was high. Watching the large flocks of, mostly, Herring Gulls helped us locate first the Herring and then (Wow!) the Orcas! The only downside was the limited amount of daylight hours at the end of November and the lack of any sunlight for photography. But never mind, it was more than worth the effort involved. We saw a least 3 pods each about 20 animals strong of various ages. We witnessed behaviour such as spy-hopping and even a breach but I wasn't quick enough to capture the action with my camera. We also had good sightings of magnificent White-tailed Sea Eagles.
Unfortunately, as far as I am aware, this site is no longer as reliable for Orcas as it was a few years ago. I was very lucky to see them. I have only had one "possible" sighting since in the Bay of Biscay. But my day-trip of a lifetime is, happily, indelibly etched into my memory. 

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  1. Hi Keith. Great report! I visited Tysfjord on a four day trip back in December 2004. I have lovely memories of my visit to this wild area. We too witnessed the many pods of Orca and also several White Tailed Eagles. The highlight of my trip though was when we went out and snorkelled with them while they were carousel feeding on a large herring shoal. Truly awesome! The sea looked as if it was full of glitter as it was full of fish scales where the shoal had been decimated. There were even large Cod coming up from the depths to feed on the fish scraps too. The Orca were understandably shy and only put up with our presence for a few moments at a time before backing away. Sad to hear that this area is not as good for them anymore.


    Nick Isherwood

  2. Oh, so lovely. I wish to see one one day :)
    Dolphinhugs from Azores!

    1. Hi Ida, yes they are truly amazing animals, I hope you get too see some one day soon. Best wishes, Keith.