If there is one thing you really should do now, it’s going on a whale watching safari off the coast of Skjervøy! Seeing these majestic animals chasing herring is a truly unforgettable experience.
The beautiful Skjervøy archipelago in the Lyngenfjord region has become an extremely popular destination for whale watching safaris. People from all around the world are travelling here to get a close-up look at the beautiful whales.
When the herring moved
In the winter of 2017, the herring migrated from the coast off Tromsø northwards towards the Lyngenfjord. The whales were not far behind them in search of a feast and, in recent times, there has been phenomenal activity in the sea off Skjervøy.
Joanna from Italy is one of the many who have been on a whale watching safari off the coast of Skjervøy.
“It was completely amazing! I have never experienced anything like it before. It was unbelievable to see the whales swimming so close to us and to see how they moved in the sea. As soon as we returned to land, I just wanted to go out again,” she says just after returning from the whale watching safari.
The whales you can see
Two whale species in particular have been observed off the coast of Skjervøy: humpback whales and orcas (killer whales).
Orcas have strong family bonds and their groups often remain together for several generations. The orca has a black body with a large white patch above and behind the eye. The orca is the largest member of the oceanic dolphin family. The orca’s diet consists of fish (such as herring), seals, sharks and dolphins.
- The orca is the whale species with the largest dorsal fin. Male orcas can be up to 2 metres high. The average lifespan of female orcas is 50 years, but they can be up to 90 years old.
Humpback whales can live alone or in small groups. The humpback whale is stocky and strong, has black dorsal colouring and (as the name suggests) an obvious hump on its back. It catches herring by opening and filling its mouth. It can catch an entire school with a single mouthful!The humpback whale is very acrobatic and is known for its spectacular jumps above the surface! The humpback whale also produces a unique and complex song.
- Did you know that female humpback whales are the largest? They can grow up to 19 m long and weigh 40 tonnes! The typical size is 12-14 metres and 25-30 tonnes! That’s huge!
To avoid disturbing the whales while they are feeding, it’s important to maintain some distance. However, this won’t prevent you from seeing the whales. Jumping humpback whales and orcas that want to play are often more curious and swim closer to the boats.
Don't wait too long
We recommend you don’t wait too long before going on an Arctic whale watching safari. The whale experts who have followed the whales for many years believe the whale adventure will soon be over.
The herring will migrate out to the open sea and, when this happens, the whales will follow them. Naturally, this will make it harder for us to experience them.