Whales, northern lights and towering mountain peaks in Tromsø
Sara, one of the team members of PolarQuest’s ever busy and creative Marketing department, travelled with M/S Stockholm through the magnificent fjords of Tromsø during five days in early November. Below can you read about an adventure that made her sure of what paradise on Earth looks like.
I will probably never forget how my expedition in Tromsø started. As I stepped out of my cabin, I met one of our guides Andreas who eagerly asked me "have you seen them?". I replied "who?" but the very same moment I understood it was a silly question to ask. I wasn't properly awake yet. Andreas was fully dressed in his warmest clothes - he obviously meant the orcas! We ran out on deck, I did not have time to put on my warm clothes, even less to lace my boots, so I had to settle with my sneakers. But that was alright. It was warm enough outside and to see these fantastic animals up close, just next to the ship, made everything else fade away.
Orcas were not the only ones to circulate the ship in their search for herring. Among them there were a few humpback whales too, and during our trip we would experience several thrilling encounters with these impressive giants of the sea.
I had seen northern lights one time before, and even if it did not last long or was particularly strong, it felt magical to see the green light dance across the night sky, and since then I have dreamed of seeing it again. Knowing that Tromsø with its unique location on 70 degrees north and straight beneath the auroral zone is one of the sites where northern lights occur most frequently in the whole world, I cannot state anything else than I sincerely had hoped for a night clear enough to unveil this beautiful phenomenon for me once again. And I got lucky! One starry night, at approximately eleven o' clock, we went back onboard to wake up the guests who already had went to bed since we had promised them the same day not to let them miss any of it. Even though it was quite late and a bit chilly outside I do not think anyone who went up that night have, or ever will, regret it.
Some of those who have seen the northern lights witness about a crackling and whining sound, almost like fire, and perhaps then it is not too difficult to imagine that once upon a time the Earth which was considered flat also was considered to be surrounded by oceans and fire, and that it was when the light from these fires became so strong that they were reflected in the sky that northern lights occurred. Another theory was that glaciers were able to absorb and collect so much energy that they eventually became illuminating. Surely, however, the northern lights have been marveled and admired by humans through all times.
If you are not fond of mountains Tromsø might not be for you. But if you love them it is the perfect destination! Just to fly in over the dramatic landscape with towering peaks so high they reach above the clouds is an event to always remember for an enthusiast like myself, and when I think of the trip it is like they are framing every memory of it. Like that morning when we got up a bit earlier to explore the tiny settlement and the beautiful beach of a small, secluded island called Loppa. When we saw the sun slowly rise above the mountain peaks as we were aiming for the highest point on the island, hiking up a trail with hearts beating and even some sweat dripping from our foreheads. We never made it to the top, but the view was strikingly beautiful - in a paradise like this it does not matter where you turn.
Photos: Christian Engelke
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!