Norway - Meeting the King of the Sea

Norway - Meeting the King of the Sea

Travelling to the Arctic circle in winter, it may seem like madness, but even just the idea of swimming with the king of the sea, was enough to leave behind the warm comforts of summer and set out on a...
Chasing Slabs, Again. Reading Norway - Meeting the King of the Sea 4 minutes Next The Great Escape - the year of 2020.

Narration by Phil Thurston - "Travelling to the Arctic circle in winter, it may seem like madness, but even just the idea of swimming with the king of the sea, was enough to leave behind the warm comforts of summer and set out on a new adventure of unknowns and uncertainties. There’s always ideas and expectations running through my mind when travelling to new places like this. However, I don’t think there’s anything that could of prepared me for what lay ahead in the rugged and wild fiords of Norway. The scenery is otherworldly, rugged, snow covered mountains tower out of the ocean all around you and the dark, cold sea is rich with life of many different kinds. It’s truly a magnificent scene to be immersed in.

The elements here can be challenging to endure, let alone work with. We fought the wind, snow, and sub zero temperatures day after day in hope of an opportunity to encounter Orca. But they were elusive creatures and getting a moment with them was going to be their decision, not ours.. After a few days attempts, the conditions we experienced served as a reminder that true beauty does not give itself away so easily.

On one of the days we noticed some familiar blows coming from across the fiord. Our skipper, Ali, took us a little closer in to investigate. As we gently approached, the blows grew in number. A large gathering of North Atlantic humpbacks was beginning to happen and within minutes it became the largest pod of whales any of us had ever seen. Despite the cold, and despite the absence of sunlight, the Norwegian fiords had gifted us with yet another grand spectacle of nature. An encounter that I will personally look back upon, for years, to come.

I found it almost poetic, that we had to venture so far out of our comfort zones for just a brief and often fleeting moment with this mysterious animal. You can’t just come here and take a moment from them, they decide whether they will give you a moment, and you have to be patient about it. Finally, toward the end of our trip, the clouds pealed away to reveal a sky full of colour and promise. I really had the feeling that today was going to be the day that I finally get to meet, with the king of the sea.

When I first saw the iconic and powerful dorsal slowly rise from the surface, I was completely captivated. This animal feared nothing, and it was evident in their behaviour. When we slipped beneath the surface, it was like, entering another world, thier world. Coming face to face with an Orca, is a moment that I will treasure for the rest of my days. They were kind, and inquisitive beings, treating us with a sense of mutual respect. I was just there to observe and admire, and I felt as though they knew that. They cut through the water so effortlessly, mindful of us but happily continuing about their business. They were feeding on a school of herring, taking one at a time, while generously sharing it with several hungry humpbacks. I felt absolutely no threat at all from these apex predators, as I watched on, in admiration. It was an exhilarating, and emotionally moving experience.

In the end, it turned out, that the cold fingers and toes, the layers and layers of thermal wear and preparation to withstand these kind of conditions, became just a small price to pay for the truly magnificent feeling of being in their presence. I don’t think it could happen any other way though, it’s as if the long journey here, the travel, the organising, the courage to face the cold, was all part of the preparation process before we could somewhat earn a moment in the presence of an Orca.

The chilling burn of the arctic fades away quickly, but the memories and moments we gained, will last forever."

Read more of the adventure and see the photos at

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