Our group of 12 strong kayakers from Terra Santa Kayak Expeditions arrived late in the afternoon on November 30th. Omer and I had spent the morning and the previous day doing important research on the quality of the coffee shops and fine-tuning our plans, so when our group arrived, every factor that could be controlled, went smoothly. Winter gear was rented, kayak equipment was fitted, dinner was booked at the landmark restaurant Skarven, a Northern Lights expedition was planned for the next day. Then suddenly the weather forecast and the aurora forecast changed, and we rushed our group out to Ersfjordeidet where Anne Birgitte Fyhn gave them a lovely class of the tricks of Northern lights photography.
The next morning we rushed our group out to Kaldfjord log before first light to look for hunpbacks and orcas. Already on the bus going there we saw pods of orcas and lots of whales, and our bus was filled with joyful exclamations in hebrew: “yo, yo, YOOOOO”. Just as we got out of the bus, a large pod of orcas apporoached us, and I led the most impatient of the group out to see them. We had a wonderful half an hour surrounded by orcas while the rest of the group was getting ready to go on the water.
As the day moved on we saw scores of orcas and humpbacks, but the humpbacks didn’t let us come close. Once we approached, they showed us their tails and dove.
My hunch is that our group of 14 kayakers is too big and complex for the humpbacks, and therefore they prefer to keep us at a distance. On our next trip to Kaldfjord we will spilt into smaller groups, and let the whales find us.
After a couple of hours it was time to check fingers and toes, so we kayaked to Budeia for amazing kakes as well as lovely coffee and gløgg overlooking the fjord and the whales.
Photo by Omer Singer
Budeia is just the loveliest place, a café cum gift shop in a barn overlooking the Kaldfjord, run by the loveliest lady you could think of. It’s a perfect stop, and our group really loved it, so we had to pull them away from there after 90 minutes.
We got back on the water just as the daylight was waning, and we had a lovely paddle back through the blue light of dusk and into the night. For quite a while I kayaked parallel with a large male orca, watching him watching me watching him. I kept thinking: “Orcas, come to me! Find me!” And just as it got pitch dark I heard heavy breathing right behind me. A family of five orcas, a large male, a female with a baby right next to her and two young orcas came straight at me, dove under my kayak just a meter from me, came up on the other side – and disappeared. Moments like these are pure magic, I treasure them, and replay them over and over again in my minds eye and in my dreams.