New members only: Get access to member benefits starting at $19.99. Access classes, stats, and more!Upgrade now

The last few years the herring have populated the ocean just outside Andøya from december to mid or late february. And with all the herring, the whales has also been comming. So finaly I got onboard on one of the RIB's from Andenes Seasafari and went out with them. I've been out whalewatching before, but in much larger boats. This time we got really close up to them. They actually surrounded us most of the time.


Out fishing

My hometown of Andenes was founded on fishing. It's a small town with a population of only 2800 people. Now that the fishingindustry has become so big and trawlers do most of the fishing, not many small boats are left. But here at Andenes there are still a lot of people earning their income on fish and other products from the sea. In fact enormous amounts of cod are beeing exported from here to Spain and Brasil.


An Orca cruising just outside my hometown

On the way out we got company from a flock of killer whales. They followed us all the way - well, actually I think we followed them. In the background you see parts of my hometown and the mountain called Andhuet.


Dive, dive, dive

After just a few minutes we were amoung the whales. And the biggest problem was witch way to look. We saw humpbacks, orcas and finwhales. The orca, or killer whale is the smallest of these whales, but it's still a pretty large animal. It can grow into sizes up to almost 9 meters in length and they weigh about 5 tonns fully grown.

The humpback is a larger whale. The adults range in length from 12 to 16 meters and weigh up to 36 tonns. In comparison the boat we were in is 11 meters long and weighs about 6 tonns.

The largest of the whales (which were to far of for my camera and lense) is the fin whale. It's the second largest whale and it weighs 74 tonns and can get up to 27 meters in lenght


Orca and a white tailed eagle

It's not just the whales who enjoy the vast amount of herring in the sea. The seagulls are always there and suddenly a white tailed eagle also appeared. It dove down and got itself a nice meal


Syncronized diving


Feeding time

I've already posted an image like this here on 500px, but I had to include another one of these in this story. Both the orcas and the humpbacks circle around the herrings and then they breach the surface and devouer hundreds if not thousands of fish at a time.

The clouds, the mountains of Senja and the sun gave us a fantastic backdrop and light.

  • February 4th, 2013
  • NIKON D800
  • 150mm / f/4.5 / 1/3200 sec

Seagulls, Orcas and humpback

As I told earlier, our biggest problem was not finding the whale, but rather finding out which way to look. They were everywhere.


Popping up to say hello

Orcas are very social animals and quite frankly they are a bunch of showoffs. And I don't mind that at all. This one popped up several times and stayed like this for 10-15 seconds before he or she dropped below the surface again just to emerge a few seconds later. As to say goodbye and thanks for the trip.


Follow me

A few of the killer whales followed us almost all the way home. We had one in front of us leading the way and one behind the boat. The one behind us kept playing in the wake from the boat but unfortunately I was placed up front and didn't get a good shot of him.

As you can see the dorsal fin points straight up. Not like the one you'll see on killer whales in captivity which most often is bent over. Especially on male orcas. As a side note you can see which is a male and which is a female on the shape of the dorsal fin. On the females it is rounded, while on the male it terminates in a sharp corner.

Login or sign up to comment.

Awesome Account
Luis Jaime Leal  over 4 years ago

Great Photo. Congratulations.

Awesome Account
Rune Askeland  over 4 years ago

Tror nesten det må bli en tur nordover neste vinter, flotte bilder og beskrivelse.

Stian Klo  over 4 years ago

superb story :D slightly jealous !

Bjørn-Erik Thorud  over 4 years ago

Next year you have to come and try it yourself. It's rush! Didn't wanna leave them at all :D

Bjørn-Erik Thorud  over 4 years ago

Thanks a lot. It was an amazing trip we had. There were about 30-50 Orcas and and 6-7 humpbacks I guess. Two and a half hour with these animals just flew by.

Keith Woodard Image Library  over 4 years ago

this is wonderful,great set of images

Rémi Lavedrine  over 4 years ago

Just soooo awesome!!!! Thank you so much for sharing.

Juan Roberto Ocampo  over 4 years ago

Gracias por compartir esta bella historia.. Eres una persona muy afortunada de vivir en un sitio así..!

Āloka Saññā  over 4 years ago

amazing images and story. thank you for sharing.

Eaton Bennett  over 4 years ago

A wonderful set of photographs, really awesome. What a great experience!