The 'Regulars' - Orcas And Humpback Whales
Every winter from roughly mid October, large schools of Norwegian Spring Spawning herring arrive along the northern coastline of Northern Norway.
Eventually these schools move into the ‘shallower’ fjords and bays of this incredible coast and consequently, so do large pods of orcas and humpback whales.
These are the animals we expect to see and freedive with each winter and often in very large groups. Last winter we had instances of a single humpback pod containing more than 50 individual animals!
The 'Not So Regulars'
A short list of other cetaceans which we could potentially see (although not as often) includes;
- Fin Whales (the second-longest species of cetacean on Earth after the blue whale.)
- Longfin Pilot Whales
- Minke Whales
- Harbour Porpoises
This video of three fin whales was captured last season and was one of several amazing encounters we had with these animals. Keep in mind they can grow to 25 m (82 ft) in length:
As for cetaceans we might potentially see, although far too rarely to ‘expect’ them:
- White Beaked Dolphins (usually closer to Tromsø)
- Risso’s dolphins
- Sperm Whales
An Interesting But Concerning Change
Over the last few years there has been a rapid increase in the number of humpback whales which arrive for the winter season, as well as a much more consistent presence of cetaceans like fin whales.
The reason might be linked to warmer seas and there are currently several papers published linking rising sea surface temperatures due to Climate Change, to cetaceans moving to higher latitudes.
Climate change directly impacts the foraging opportunities of cetaceans (lower prey availability), which consequently leads to habitat loss, and forces cetaceans to move to other feeding grounds (like Northern Norway).
Time will tell if this trend will continue, but it always is important to recognise and talk about these issues.
Want to join us this coming season to see orcas, humpback whales and more? Check out the Arctic Freediving link on our website, or send us a message for more information on everything from dates to pricing and availibity.