"I had heard about the regular presence of orcas in the fjords, north of the Lofoten Islands in Norway. It was a long time ago. This great meeting with Nature took place in November. For different reasons, I never had the opportunity to attend. "
Orcas came there regularly every year, then they deserted this area to stay offshore and I thought I would never see them.
However, about ten years ago, they came back and I was lucky enough to be able to film them in 2015 for Blue Planet II. It was in the shallow waters of Vengsoya Island, a small island that in just a few years had become the Mecca of the orcas!
But according to scientific sources, in 2016 I had heard that herrings and orcas might not be at the rendezvous of Vengsoya in November 2017 ...
To anticipate the situation, I decided to operate from a sailboat instead of beiing land based.
So I left Grenoble by road on October 26, 2017 at 8 am and arrived in Tromso 6 days later, on the 31st at 3 pm, dragging a 6m30 Zodiac Pro Man 15 painfully over 4000 kms…. and after changing the trailer ball bearings twice on the side of the road. The Zodiac was the capital element to succeed because it was necessary to be able to reach the diving areas from the sailboat.
"Jabec" therefore made the trip! A big thank to Sami Atlantique and Brice Guitton by whom I was able to get the right vehicle to tow the whole thing, a Mercedes Vito 116. Thank you Brice!
On November 1st, I embarked with a few friends on Norbreez, a 44-foot Bavaria that I rented there and which was going to take us wherever we wanted!
And I am quoting my second captain, Pierre Vidalot, also newly patented on the Revo rebreather…
The time to go shopping (between us it was a huge blow) and on November 3 we left Tromso for Vengsoya, just to check for the presence of orcas or not. But Vengsoya had become, as expected, a desert without a single bird, without a single whale's breath ...
The network of scientists had informed me that the orcas were with the herrings much further north, but especially outside the fjords, off the coast, where it is beating ...!
So we headed north.
"Nearly forty whales arrive, on the front of the Skjervoy ..."
In the fjords, my first surprise was to see the large number of humpback whales. Two breaths here, three or four a little further and then a group of about forty whales coming and going in front of Skjervoy.
The herrings did not return to the fjords until a good ten days later. Unfortunately they were in depth and it was very complicated to film them because of the lack of light.
After ten days, the herring finally returned in greater numbers to these fjords and the entry of the purse seiners was authorized.
The real show was finally about to begin and it is at daybreak when the net is along the hull of the boat that the scene is most impressive. Herrings escape from the net and no less than fifty orcas and 5 or 6 whales benefit from this easy food.
Whales and orcas in the midst of a feast
Orques chassent les harengs
Les orques chassent les harengs
Orque en surface
Orques chassent les harengs