Tromsø, Northern Norway, beginning of December 2019
5 weeks of winter whale guiding for Waterproof Expeditions have found an end. My biggest thank you to my co-guides and crew onboard M/S Malmö and M/S Freya for great cooperation and awesome teamwork. My never-ending smiles are because of you guys!
Thanks so much also to our wonderful guests, it truly has been a pleasure to meet you all, and I hope for more adventures together somewhere on this amazing blue planet! 🌍 🐳 💦
Not the least, my gratefulness goes to the Orcas and Humpback whales for showing up in the fjords of Northern Norway again this season! Such wonderful 5 trips with daily cetacean sightings we have had.
Below 5 min with impressions recorded by the team members who joined us onboard M/S Malmö on our 3rd winter whale trip of the season. Thanks so much Sebastian for your superb editing!
Time to leave the beautiful winter fjords of Northern Norway for more distant southbound travels. I am happy for the long nights now prevailing above the Arctic Circle as this provides several weeks of pure peace and quiet for the amazing wildlife roaming this place. 🐳 💙 🐬
Surrounded by the pure beauty of snow covered mountains and deep fjords filled with exciting aquatic life, I'm back to the fjords of Northern Norway to guide Winter Whale trips for Waterproof Expeditions.
This time, we start one week earlier than previous seasons. The pros of starting earlier is the much longer days than later in the season. The cons that the whales might show up first later in the autumn as nobody can tell exactly when the season actually will start...
We are very happy when we already in the morning of our first day find orcas further out on Lopphavet. To our excitement there are even newborn baby orcas in the pod!
Among the orcas we also see a couple of humpback whales. Both species are here to feed on the herring that are overwintering in the fjords during the darkest months of the year.
What a great early start of the season!
During my 5 weeks of whale guiding for Waterproof Expeditions, M/S Malmö is my home. This is a 37 meters long ice-strengthened ship built in 1943. A cozy base for 7 crew, 2 guides and 15 guests.
From M/S Malmö we search the fjords in hope to find cetaceans further away from the crowd. Whale watching in Northern Norway has become very popular the last few years and the amount of boats on the water has increased rapidly. Despite it being more difficult, we still do our best to escape the crowd to feel the purity of being out there in nature and encounter the arctic giants on their terms.
After observing the behaviour of the whales, and if weather conditions allow, we load the zodiacs to hopefully get some closer encounters.
With the 6°C water temperature we have in November, snorkelling above the Arctic circle isn't as cold as one might expect. Dressed in a drysuit it actually is a quite comfortable experience :-)
We are now in mid November and have already spent 3 weeks in the fjords I admire so much. The whales have been a bit scattered early in the season, but we have managed to find them every day with several wonderful encounters, above- and beneath surface, on each trip.
With the bigger number of cetaceans we have witnessed recently, I live in great hope for another 2 whale-rich weeks in Winter Wonderland!
Home of the sponge divers, Kalymnos is a Greek island belonging to the Dodecanese island chain in the southeastern Aegean Sea.
The reason to our first visit to this arid and rocky island was to film the sponge diving activity during our voyage to the Red Sea back in 2011.
That was when we met Mihalis at Divers Island who offered us to join him diving at some nearby fish farms to film Atlantic bluefin tunas.
Now we are back again to dive the waters of Kalymnos as we have heard that there are not only many more tunas around the fish farms where Mihalis works, but several groups of bottlenose dolphins who also come to the aquacultures to feast on the discarded farmed fish.
Back in 2011, we were very impressed by the 5-10 tunas we then saw during our dive. But now, 8 years later, we hardly can believe our eyes when seeing the size and numbers of the tunas circulating around us!
The Atlantic bluefin tuna is the biggest species of tuna, with an average size of 2-2,5 m long and approx 300 kg. They can get much bigger though and is said to possibly exceed remarkable 900 kg!
When the dead farmed fish is ejected from the cages, the tunas come with high speed and such an intense power that it, at times, is very difficult to keep a steady camera due the strong turbulence created by these massive, strong, yet elegant creatures.
So many bluefin tunas that we now are surrounded by is something I never would have been daring dreaming about before. Seeing these highly powerful fishes so close feels mightily impressive!
No dolphins were around during our first dive, but as we are here for a longer time we join Mihalis on numerous dives at the fish farms.
Plenty time is the key. In addition to the majestic tunas that keep us company at every dive, we get to experiences several encounters with the curious dolphins that appears in the area now and then.
One morning, the dolphins are even waiting for us to get ready for the dive. Meanwhile we prepare our gear they stay side by side with the dive boat, patiently waiting for us. When we slip into the water they seem extra joyful and keep follow us during our entire 60 min dive.
There is especially one dolphin that Mihalis feel a closer relationship with. This dolphin often stays close and curiously interacts with him.
This dolphin he calls Misha.
During our many dives at the fish farm, we observe that the dolphins not necessarily only stay around to get food. Sometimes they don't eat at all, but keep close to simply enjoy our company and curiously watch when Mihalis do the maintain work on the cages.
Such amazing dives and incredible encounters we have experienced these past few weeks. Thanks so much to Mihalis Koumparos and the team at Divers Island for outstanding service and smiling company :-)
All the underwater pics in this blogpost are screenshots from our dives with Mihalis who runs Divers Island Kalymnos. More info about his dive center you find at: www.diversisland-kalymnos.gr
Back in Greece and onboard Eja again! After several weeks in colder latitudes, the 29°C warm water feels very tempting.
From Kefalonia island in the Ionian Sea, we so head east towards the Gulf of Corinth, where the short, 6,4 km, Corinth Canal brings us to the other side of the Peloponnese Peninsula.
Here, in the Aegean Sea, our voyage continues even further east 💨⛵️
The well known `Meltemi´ provides us with strong northerly winds. After some choppy, but efficient days at sea, we reach Kalymnos.
The island of Kalymnos, in the southeastern Aegean Sea, is known as the “sponge-divers’ island” as well as being a popular place for rock climbing. Our first visit here was 8 years ago when filming the local sponge divers during our sailing voyage to the Red Sea in 2011.
Very happy to be back in this peaceful location, I´m looking forward to further experience the place and its impressive marine life.
More from our recent dives and encounters with the local marine life in the next blogpost! 🐟💙🐬
"Deep, vast oceans, mysterious forests or breathtaking heights, with this blog I want to share my immense passion for wonderful planet Earth. Through my work I hope to spread a keen interest in our environment and its vulnerable inhabitants. Sharing my life´s ventures in nature and among wildlife, both underwater and above. Adventures to inspirit life, raise awareness and inspire others."