ECHOES OF THE WHALES

Every winter, one of the most breathtaking natural spectacles occurs in Northern Norway. Orcas and humpback whales return to the Arctic following schools of herring northwards. Yet, with the onset of whales comes a stream of whale watching tourism. Historically, whales were hunted in Norway. While today, this practice is eradicated, now they are facing new threats as underwater ship noise and disturbance increasingly threatens to affect their feeding and breeding success. This story explores alternative solutions to merge whale watching tourism with sustainability on the first electric whale watching vessel to sail Norwegian Seas. This story has been published in National Geographic Serbia, Wildlife PhotographicOceanographic Magazine, and Female Explorer.

I linger on deck, frozen with my camera ready, as an incredible sight unfolds before my eyes. Approximately 20 orcas and four humpback whales are in the midst of a feeding session, as two sea eagles hover above them and bicker over a herring. The sunset paints the Arctic sky in pastel colours, as orcas curiously spy hop and dive in the vicinity of our boat. Meanwhile, the humpbacks emerge from the water with a loud thud, gulping down their prey with their mouths wide open.

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