December 20,2015

The tour companies don’t seem very optimistic about spotting the lights tonight, due to the cloud cover. Instead, we are going dog sledding this evening. If luck will have it, we may have a good sighting of the Aurora Borealis.

DSC_0136-001This leaves us with an entire day at our disposal to do as we please. We look up a few fjord photography tours and decide to DIY it. There is a bus that will take us to Kvaloya island. From there we need to take another bus to get to Ersfjord. We stop at the visitor’s center for more information on bus timings and directions.”Everyone seems to be headed there today”, the lady at the visitor center informs us. “You’ll are the third set of people asking for the same direction since morning.” They have just opened, so that does say something if not a lot. She proceeds to give us directions to Kaldfjord. We would need to take a bus to Kvaloya island and from the bus stop, we could either walk or hitchhike.” There a a lot of whales this year.” ,she gushes. “It’s a big thing for the locals too. Many of them will be headed that way to see the whales. You can try to hitch a ride.”

DSC_0138We are not sure if we have understood correctly. “Can we see the whales from the shore, or do we have to book a safari at Kaldfjord?” “Oh no no.. you can see them from the shore.” The lenses on our camera are not right for this new plan and the next bus is after 30 mins, so we head back to the hotel and grab our zoom lenses. When we get to Kaldfjord, literally translated as cold fjord, I want to hitchhike, the boys want to walk. By time we resolve our dispute, we’ve reached the waterfront. As we walk along the scenic shoreline, we ask passing joggers about the best spot for spotting the leviathans. One shakes her head regretfully and says usually they can be seen all along the coast but she hasn’t seen them at all today.Just then an Asian couple comes up behind her and says they’ve seen whales five minutes away. It’s amazing how easily distance can be measured in units of time.


Photo Courtesy – Ganesh Sankaran

To our absolute delight, we see pair of whales frolicking in the distance. We chase after them up and down the shore. Soon it’s time we head back so that we don’t miss our evening adventure. We walk back to the bus stop. When the bus arrives, it is the same driver who dropped us off.

We were completely prepared to drop whale watching from our itinerary since the tour times were not fitting in with our plans, but this worked out to be much better. Taking public transport and walking around  has made the experience so much more real.


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