Day 8 | Packing up in the snow and a whale safari

The past few days have been all dependent on the weather. If the winds came from the west/northwest, then the platform we worked from would be too unstable to work on. Another delay was if the fishing vessel did not find us any herring to tag. The weather in northern Norway changes very quickly and we just had to roll with it. So we had a day of only a few hours to work, and the following day we tried to work since the wind was coming from the south. The platform was then pretty stable, but the wind was gusting snow and rain into our faces. It was a rough night, in my opinion.

This morning we packed up most of the gear. The weather was just too unpredictable and unstable to guarantee work today and the fishing boat wanted to get headed south again. We had to fill up more water and diesel in the sailboat after loading up the fishing boat with some of our equipment. I managed to shower (only the second time since I have been on board) while we filled the water tank. When I was finished and got dressed again there was a holler from on deck about a pod of killer whales in the bay.

There must have been at least 30 whales, including three humpback whales, circling and feeding on the herring. It was spectacular! There were a few different pods teaching the calves how to beat their tales to knock the herring at the surface unconscious. The intelligence is so fascinating! We were out with our cameras watching them and of course none of us got bored of watching the whales - we are all marine biologists.

Now we are sailing back into Tromsø. We will finish packing everything and maybe even have Friday evening to walk around town and go to dinner. As tough as this tokt has been physically, the northern lights and amount of whales made it an incredible experience. I'm not sure if I will do it again next year since you never know with the weather. When were were in "ok" conditions (wind, snow and rain from the south), it felt a little miserable. At least it felt really good to sit down, eat a warm dinner, and go to bed.

[The northern lights a couple of nights ago...pictures just aren't the same as in real life.
The sailboat down there in the light is where we are sleeping]

[The fishermen helped herd the herring into our keep net to be tagged]

[Our sailboat skipper, Ivar]

[whales whales whales!!]



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