If anyone had asked me some years ago which tour I would be most interested in doing, I would have answered “Freediving with Orcas in Norway”, but I was lucky enough to already do this in January 2017. Thanks to my friends at 'Behind the Mask’, I was sent to Norway again, this time in November.
The freediving there is tough, the water and air are cold and the darkness seems to win against the sun at this time of the year, between November and January, when the Orcas follow Herring into the Fjords.
Our tour in November was absolutely great! Aboard the Stronstad we saw all that you could wish for. The Orcas built bait balls - they catch the Herring in a cage of bubbles and eat them one by one. What they don't like they spit out. No problem as there are plenty of other animals, like seagulls and Humpback whales which are not as picky as the Orcas. For us freedivers, it was an extraordinary experience, as we were in the middle of the action, surrounded by big Orcas, Humpbacks, gulls, and above the scene some eagles - and all of this in an absolutely great landscape close to the shore.
It wasn't only the animals which made the trip so exciting. What you could see in the sky was also special. Due to a sun-storm, we got an incredible view of the Northern Lights!
Of course, you have to get used to very basic conditions aboard the expedition ship and the cold water. I was very happy with my 8/6.5 mm version of the new Mares Polygon wetsuit which kept me warm. I would additionally recommend 5mm socks and gloves which keep you warm during the daytime onboard the Zodiac and in the water.
I am really glad that I got the chance to be part of this tour, and while my fellow travellers said “This was so perfect - I won’t do this tour again as it will never be the same“ I think "I would definitely do this again!".