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Whale safari from Vesterålen, Norway - Photo: visitnorway.com/Sonja L. Birch-Olsen
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Whale safari from Vesterålen, Norway Photo: visitnorway.com/Sonja L. Birch-Olsen

Whale Safari

- Whale, shouts the captain as he points eagerly in front of the ship. Full of anticipation we make our way to the gunnel and see the whale’s blow.

Text: Sonja L. Birch-Olsen

A fountain of water stands up in the air only 100 feet away and we can make out the size of the about 50 feet long animal in the water, as it glides slowly forward for a while.

Then the captain shouts “diving!” and the whale arches his back, lifts his big fluke (his tail) and disappears again into the deep accompanied by the sounds of ecstatic children, clicking cameras and an applauding international audience.

Emotional reactions

Whales spark emotional reactions in just about everyone. More than any animal alive, they are used as a metaphor for our planet's fragile ecological balance.

Louise Thompson from England is totally in love with the big creatures. In fact, they are the main reason for her holidaying in Norway.

– I can’t explain it, there’s something magical about whales. Ever since seeing a documentary about whales on TV as a child, I’ve dreamt of seeing whales in their natural element. This safari has been a fantastic experience.

World record

The sperm whales hold the world record among the earth’s mammals in diving. They can dive down as deep as more than one mile, so it is unlikely you will be seeing the same whale twice on the same trip.

However, chances seeing at least two other whales are pretty good, as the safaris are arranged in an areas known as the whales’ lavish food chambers. Here thousands of whales come to feed on squid and fish.

The most common whale to spot during the summer season is the sperm whale, but if you are lucky you may also see pilot whales, minke whales, humpbacks, dolphins and killer whales. You will also enjoy the magnificent scenery, lots of fresh sea air, and natural surroundings guaranteed to make a lasting impression.

Facts

Companies offering whale safaris:

  • Whalesafari Ltd. - mid-May to mid-September. Winter season November to March, with full whale guarantee.
  • Sea Safari Andenes - mid-May to mid-September. Before 20 May on request.

Where:
Stø and Andenes in Vesterålen (in the county of Nordland)

When:
From mid-May to mid-September

Prices:

Whalesafari Ltd.: From NOK 890 for adults and NOK 570 for children. Winter season, NOK 990 for adults, NOK 690 for children.
Sea Safari Andenes: From NOK 995 for adults and NOK 800 for children.

All of these companies have a whale guarantee - if you are unlucky and do not get to see whales on your first trip, you are eligible for a new trip free of charge or a refund. Please note that this may not apply or be limited for the winter season, depending on company policy.

Good to know:

  • Book in advance
  • Cancellations may occur, so you should not stake everything on one single day
  • As the sea can become a little choppy it can be wise to take a seasickness tablet one hour before departure

What to bring:
Warm clothing and footwear

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Last updated:  2014-05-15
Whale safari from Vesterålen, Norway - Photo: Bjønnes and Lundqvist
Whale safari from Vesterålen, Norway
On the lookout for whales outside Vesterålen, Norway - Photo: visitnorway.com/Sonja L. Birch-Olsen
On the lookout for whales outside Vesterålen, Norway

Interest:  Wildlife safari, Coast and coastal culture

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Whale safari from Vesterålen, Norway - Photo: visitnorway.com/Sonja L. Birch-Olsen

Whale Safari

- Whale, shouts the captain as he points eagerly in front of the ship. Full of anticipation we make our way to the gunnel and see the whale’s blow.

Whale Safari

Source: Visitnorway

Related to Northern Norway

What to do in Vesterålen

Vesterålen has a lot of opportunities, whether you want to explore the islands yourself or are more interested in guided trips and safaris.

Attractions in Vesterålen

Visit the Whale Centre in Andenes, the fishing village of Nyksund, Møysalen National Park and experience the narrow Trollfjord from a boat.

Winter in Vesterålen

Try deep sea fishing under the northern lights this winter. This is one of several exciting activities you can enjoy in the Vesterålen Islands.

About Northern Norway

Key facts about Vesterålen

Some of the country's richest fishing grounds are located in Vesterålen.

Tourist information for Vesterålen

The tourist information for Vesterålen, situated in Sortland, is open all year round. There are also local tourist offices in each municipality.

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