Archive for November, 2013

Whale watching from Tromvik

Just like last year (see here and here), lots of herring arrived to Kvaløya in November – and where there’s herring, there’s whales :) I had been waiting for an opportunity to go whale watching, but we’ve had a lot of bad weather lately. When I finally had a day off on the one day with nice weather in between two storms, I knew I had to use it :) Luckily, others agreed and I was able to join a group who had rented a fishing boat (including a fisherman ;) ) from Tromvik, about an hour from Tromsø. Just a shame Paul wasn’t able to escape from work, but good weather doesn’t necessarily wait for the weekend ;)

We left Tromsø at 07:15, painfully early, but it was so worth it! It was magical to see Kaldfjorden filled with fishing boats, lots of little lights on the dark fjord. Near Tromvik we spotted a group of about 6 humpback whales feeding just off the coast – a good sign!

We set off when it was still quite dark, but the moon was lighting up the landscape. It didn’t take long before we spotted whales, and to my delight, they were orca’s!! I had never seen orca’s before, so I was really hoping we’d see some.

Leaving Tromvik early in the morning, in the moonlight Orca's! With a little one on the far right

It was a group with a young one, and they were so beautiful. They swim extremely fast, and their white spots are very pretty. They soon swam off, but we were still surrounded by 6-7 humpback whales, jumping and diving all around us.

Orca's - unfortunately I didn't manage to capture their pretty white spots - they are so fast! A humpback whale diving right next to our boat

The light was incredible that day, I think I enjoyed the light on the surrounding mountains and the colours of the sky and clouds just as much as all the whales we saw :)

Watching the mountains in the beautiful winter light was almost as much fun as watching the whales! A pale moon, behind a veil of high clouds

I managed to get this panorama shot of Vengsøya, with the pretty line of clouds and a pale moon.

A panorama of Vengsøya in the pretty light

It was slowly getting lighter, and we enjoyed watching the whales dive around us.

Two humpback whales. Behind them you can see the road coming down to Grøtfjord The circle that the whales leave behind after they have dived under

At times, the humpback whales work together to chase the herring to a shallow part of the fjord (sometimes almost ON the beach – it’s incredible how close to land they come, lots of people were whale watching from the shore and their views were nearly as good as ours). After chasing the herring, they all come up at the same time for a feeding frenzy – an incredible sight to witness!

Dinner time! An incredible sight... the whales heads look so alien!

Meanwhile, behind us, the line of clouds was colouring a deep pink…

More feeding whales Meanwhile, the clouds behind us were turning a deep pink

We also encountered some kayakers, some got *really* close to the whales. They say the whales have control and there hasn’t been any accidents, but I don’t think I would feel save in an unstable kayak when the whales pop up right next to you!

Birds & pink clouds :) A kayaker getting close to the whales

We were on a Norwegian fishing boat (called a sjark), which was a real luxury. We got hot water for coffee, and when I was suffering from frozen toes, I could sit right next to the stove beneath the deck, and warm up :)

Lunch time for humans too :) The kayaker looks tiny next to the whale...

We met a group of kayakers from the university, who were having some great experiences kayaking close to the whales. The fishing boat in the photo below came to pick something up from our captain ;) the sun on the mountain behind is, was the last we saw of the sun for this year – no more sunlight for the next 2 months…

Must be impressive to get this close! Another fishing boat, and the last sunlight (for the next 2 months) on the mountains

The students came to chat with us for a while. There was lots of activity at sea that day, several people were out whale watching, but there were also lots of fishing boats fishing for herring.

Chatting with the group of students Another fishing boat heading out to fish for herring

Another fishing boat heading out while we made our way back to the harbour in Tromvik. The map shows where the photos in this post have been taken (my new camera has GPS – I love it :D). Lots of people were watching from parking lots just past Grøtfjord, and several places between there and Tromvik – even if you’re not able to join/hire a boat, it’s an impressive sight from the road :)

Lots of activity at sea today A map of all the photos from this post :) - I love the GPS in my new camera!

I came back exhausted after the early start and several hours outside in a freezing wind, but so happy about the amazing day at sea :)

Excursion to Oldervik

Today I organised a photo excursion for members of Tromsø Photoclub – to Oldervik, about an hour’s drive north of Tromsø. The rocks on the beach there are very special: they consist of lots of layers, and the sea has also formed several large potholes (jettegrytter) here. This wasn’t my first visit – but my last visit was 2 years ago.

We were lucky with the weather to start with – when we arrived it was partly cloudy and the light was really pretty. Everybody scattered around to take pictures :)

The rocky beach at Oldervik Beautiful rock formations, with view towards Lyngen

Later on it got more cloudy and we even had some rain, but Oldervik is always a beautiful place – no matter the weather :)

Here the sea was forming some smaller potholes in the rocks The rocks at Oldervik are really special!

And when it gets a bit darker, it’s fun to take long exposures of frozen waterfalls… there were plenty to be found around the beach!

A frozen waterfall Another part of the frozen waterfall

It was a really fun day, and very nice to get out of Tromsø and play around with my camera. I’ve been really busy lately, so this was a welcome break :)

Fløya

Long time no blog! October just flew by, I’ll try to post some photos soon. The snow came early to Tromsø this year, and it wasn’t even destroyed by 2 days of rain. Last Saturday, we decided to take the cable car and make the most of a very nice day :) The views were spectacular, as always – but the clouds were really special that day…

This view never gets boring! Tromsø from Storsteinen Tromsø from near the top of Fløya

We walked up to Fløya, we could have skied but the snow was very hard and icy and I prefer to walk anyway. The views from Fløya were magical, the low sun was already colouring all the surrounding mountain tops.

From Fløya, looking towards Tromsdalstinden. Fun weather fact: the cloud with the white top in the middle is a lonely little snow shower that moved north all the way from Vesterålen View towards Malangen

On the way back we stopped at Steinbøhytte, which was still free of snow inside. The snow had built up on one side, but it can get much worse.

Self exposure portrait on top :) (I should have waited until my face returned to its normal colour, haha) Paul in front of Steinbøhytte

The sky was just so pretty, I had to stop all the time to take more photos. This one is taken at 14:15 (too early for sunset!), while we were racing to make the 14:30 cable car back down…

A very pretty sunset, painfully early though! This was at 14:15...

…because I had an evening shift at work waiting for me :( Never mind, even at work I could keep taking photos. They asked me to take a photo of our new fancy sign (with our new fancy logo!). Of course I had to include Rudi, our resident polar bear…

After our hike, I had to go to work. Meet Rudi, our resident polar bear. Oh and we have a fancy new logo and new sign :)

We’re losing 10 minutes of daylight every day now, so it’s extra important to soak up as much sunshine as we can in the coming weeks :)