Through November to January and during the Polar Night, Humpback Whales are passing the shores of Northern Norway.
The Island Of Kvaløy (Whale Island) Is particularly magical at this time of year, but ensure you are prepared for the cold and a very slow camera under these low light levels and minus conditions.
Although there are tour operators running boat trips to see Humpbacks throughout the winter months from Tromso which take you to the Island of Sommaroy, I was delighted to be shown a few incredible Whale Spotting areas from land.
From Tromso City, take the 862 road to Kvaloya and meet the Fjordvegen Road which runs along side the Kaldfjord. Its worth considering a stop off at this wonderful little place called Bryggejentene a beautiful variety shop and cafe situated at the tip of Ersfjord. Whether during the daylight in the summer or the blue light whilst whale watching in the winter months, you will be charmed by the warmth of the cafe’s many little seating areas, comforting food, the stunning views of the fjord, as well as their home furnishings, gifts and clothing selections.
Taking the Fjordvegen road again, you are directly following the Kaldfjord where you are likely to see a pod of humpbacks travelling through this calm and very deep Fjord of the Troms area. When spotting them for the first time, you cant help but wonder whether to stop or move on towards Grotfjord and Tromvik for further viewing. Patience and assertive thinking is needed, whilst remembering its their path and respecting it may not always give you certainty. This is also part of the exhilaration, after all this is the most ethical way one can see Humpbacks whilst staying on the shores. All adding to the thrill when you are met with them in abundance so close to land. This area of Tromso does not disappoint.
The road takes you inland for a while, past frozen lakes and stunning scenery, being careful as I understand moose can use the roads for a more steady footing.
When you reach the sea view once more, this is the road to Grotfjord. A small little fishing village where the Humpbacks feed in abundance, and an unforgettable experience of mine seeing them for the first time. It’s worth spending some time on the raised level on the side of the road here. Within 15 mins, if they are there, you will see the pods. Some could be closer than you think and others on their way in or out of this extraordinary cove. (my blog shows this the exact location)
Depending on the light you have left, or whether a second day / week is needed, I urge you to continue this journey to Tromvik. The coastal road is incredible in the winters blue light with the snow reaching all the way to the shore, you start to see exactly what this area offers in all seasons. On the other side of the bay to Grotfjord, there are white golden sand beaches stretching for miles around this beautiful island. The road offers mountains to one side and island sea views to the other. Even in winter the flora is colourful with lichen coated rocks and trees, frozen grasses are still a spring green in colour, all set in front of a back drop of electric blue skies.
My guide & dear friend Randi and I spotted a family of whales close to shore here. In excitement we leapt from the car to walk to the waters edge, only to find the traverse to the sea was not all it seemed. Thick snow was disguising a rather beautiful but rough terrain, large granite boulders and trees were giving a false sense of security and we ended up pushing waist deep whilst clambering to the shore.
It was worth it! what we thought was shallow waters seemed to give depth enough for 5 humpbacks to jump straight out of the sea through their bubble nets to feed. Spectacular in every way. This viewpoint was facing directly towards Greenland but we were surrounded by the jutted coastline of Northern Norway.
Please Note: Should anyone prefer to find and pay to have a personal guide to take you, please email me and I will gladly track someone down for you.