Encounters with Orcas and Humphbacks
Darkness. Before light, comes the darkness. Such was the morning as M/S Stockholm slowly cruised through the very back of Kvænangen fjord. Dark, brooding clouds covered the sky. Snow fell in large flakes, obscuring the sight of a lone scout guide on top of the bridge. Scouting for orcas.
As the light broke its way through patches of clearness in the sky, the odd orca was seen here and there. Scouts, patrolling for herring. So early it was, that even several humpbacks were spotted, sleeping at the surface like large logs.
As pink patches of light shone through, our intrepid expedition leader, Christian, decided to launch the Zodiacs. It was calm enough for a Zodiac cruise, as some pods of scouting orca were seen nearby. Perhaps curious enough to approach the Zodiacs.
As the two Zodiacs headed out in tandem, a frenzy of gulls was spotted in the distance, above a boiling mess of orca fins.
A feeding frenzy was taking place. As we approached cautiously, it was clear the orcas had herded the herring into a tight bait ball and were just now feeding on the small fish. So were the gulls and sea eagles.
Orcas swam left, right, and center of the Zodiacs, ingesting a percentage of the 70-kilogram daily average of herring needed to sustain such a large mass of brain and brawn.
Then the humpbacks showed up. Swimming directly into the frenzy of feeding orcas, the humpbacks swallowed the whole herring bait ball in a matter of minutes, right before our very eyes. The daily requirement of herring for a humpback whale is measured in tons, not kilograms.
As quickly as it had started, the frenzy ended.The Orcas swam off, scouting for more herring to herd. The only traces left behind were pieces of herring intestine floating at the now calm surface. A grim reminder of the darkness that lurks below.
Beau PruneauGuide and Expedition Leader
Travelling through the stunning Norwegian coastal landscape on a small expedition cruise ship is simply hard to beat. Lofoten islands welcome with picturesque fishing villages, squeezed between soaring mountains and quiet fjords. In wintertime Tromsø offers magnificent sceneries over dramatic landscapes and great chances to spot both orcas and humpback whales. If we’re lucky we will also see the magical Northern Lights dancing in the sky. Join us on an unforgettable cruise!