Falling in love – with mountains and fjords
Journalist Kicki Lind traveled with PolarQuest on a mid-winter expedition cruise in northernmost Norway and fell in love - with mighty mountains and fjords.
The atmosphere on the foredeck is silently focused. Not far from the ship, just above the surface of the water, a small cloud of condensation is spotted, followed by a snorting noise. There, straight ahead, a beautiful tail fin disappears into the deep. Humpback whales!
Mid-January this far north of the Arctic Circle is a very special time of the year. The sun hardly appears above the horizon, but that doesn’t mean there is no daylight. Instead, the sky and the landscape glow in ever changing shades of blue. Steep mountains in white, gray, blue and black rise from the sea. It’s as if our journey takes place in a painting come alive.
The humpback whales stay close to the ship. Expedition leader Christian, who speaks five languages fluently and works full-time as a guide in the Arctic and Antarctica, decides we should take a closer look. After a cup of hot chocolate it’s time to get ready for a zodiac cruise. Outside temperatures are not impressively low but the humid air adds to the cold. We all dress in layers and laugh at everybody’s wobbly, penguin-like walk.
I don't know the names of all fellow passengers, but we are one big family. The meals are an event in itself. The chef on M/S Quest brings the concept of "locally produced" to a new level by purchasing 40 kilos of freshly caught cod from a passing fishing boat. Just a few hours later this day-fresh catch has been transformed into a delicious dinner.
The mountain sides appear even steeper from a zodiac perspective. The humpbacks, in several different groups, appear and disappear in the gray-blue water around us. Yesterday we had orcas. Several sea eagles hover over us. Christian switches off the engine for a while and only the clicking cameras break the silence. Watching the magnificent northern lights the other night we experienced how cameras are more sensitive to light and therefore “see” more of the weak northern lights than the eye. Here and now it is the other way round. No images will ever be able to capture the feeling in seeing four magnificent tail fins gracefully bend over the water surface before disappearing into the deep. My eyes fill with tears, and it is not only because of the wind.
Photos: Niklas Nilsson
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!