Each day we went out we left the cosy comfort of our host vessel, the Ostee Star, donned several layers of thermal undergarments and enclosed our selves in dry-suits. Two layers of neoprene hoods and gloves later and we were ready. I added another twelve kilograms of lead on my weight belt just to male sure I’d stay under the water with all that undesired buoyancy.
We spent our days out in the fjords on the fast and nimble inflatable runabouts, ‘Brig’ and ‘Nemo’. These small but quick boats were essential to moving us around quickly as we followed moving pods of orca or traveled to flocking seabirds hinting at an orca hunt in progress off in the distance.
These little boats and their drivers, Norbi here on the Brig and Ali on our boat Nemo, not only gave us a sense of freedom out on water but also of vulnerability, excitement, and adventure. The other advantage of these stable little boats is being able to get into the water and back onto the boat quickly again. I lost count of how many times Ali called “into the water’ and then “back in the boat”, over and over and over and over.
Of course we did not have to get into the water for every orca encounter. There was plenty to see from the boats as well. Sometimes not jumping in was the better option as many of our underwater encounters were just brief glimpse when the pod choose to dive below us or change direction.
Most of the peopIe I know think of an adventure like this one with the orca in Norway as being a ‘once in a life time’ experience. I’d like to turn that around into ‘a lifetime of’ experiences. I’ll be back!
Photo: Robert Rath, ‘The Brig’, 1/800s f/2.8 ISO640 70mm