I learned about the trip because a friend liked it on Facebook and it showed up in my feed. What amazing good fortune! This trip is an adventure much more than a whale watching trip or northern lights cruise – there are many vendors for that in Tromsø.
To prepare: We spent a day testing everyone’s gear and comfort in the water at a gust house, before doing a detailed review of what we planned to see during the week, safety, and how we would interact with the animals, including some limits to reduce the chance that we interfere/stress the animals.
On the boat: we spent 5 days on the water, each day a combination of:
1. Searching for orca and humpbacks
2. Observing and listening in when it’s not ideal to hop in (e.g. We stopped in a busy channel to observe humpback feeding all around us and dropped in the hydrophone to listen in, other days we listened in very early before it was bright enough to hop in.)
3. Jumping in either from boat or from a short dingy ride – depending on the day this varies. We got lucky and had between 2 and 7 dives per day. This was the most amazing part of the trip and why most of us were there. There’s a bit of a rush in the hurry to get to the animals, but once you’re with them it’s quite amazing. To be a casual observer to underwater side of what the whale watchers on boats are seeing is cool to start with. The memories that are going to stick with me for a long time are when the orca or humpback acknowledged me in some way, whether it’s slowing down to look my way or swimming away and then coming back to check us out.
4. Stand up paddle boards – It’s amazing how the Orca react to this. Multiple times they swam towards me and would turn sideways to glide under the SUP, seemingly checking it out.
5. Watching northern lights! Each night we settled in some place convenient based on where the whales had led us that day and the weather. We had a few nice viewing opportunities.
6. Hanging out and eating good food. The crew preps all the meals and keeps you going with warm drinks and snacks during the day. Since the trip is kept to such a small number of guests I got to know the others and enjoyed being able to recount our individual experiences (and share in reviewing others awesome photos/videos) each day.
The only concern I had was the one your friends/family may point out (a lot): it’s really cold. Jacque’s recommendations for gear kept us warm in the water. Boreal Yachting’s setup gave us a warm protected space to dress and keep warm between dives. For dry times outside(e.g. Northern lights viewing), a combination of common sense and a little research about what to wear will keep it very enjoyable.
I loved the trip and plan to go again.