tisdag 10 januari 2012
Humpback Whales in Polar Darkness
Yesterday was an amazingly beautiful winter day here on Kvaløya on the coast of Northern Norway.
I woke up in the morning to the blue light of dawn and felt that the temperature in the bedroom was around 7-8 degrees. What this usually means is that the sky has been clear during the night, allowing the temperature to drop both outside and inside, and when I looked out, the brighter stars were still sparkling like little gems over the snowclad landscape and the sky was crisp and clear.
It is still polar darkness here in the north, so the Sun doesn`t rise above the horizon until the end of the month, but the special light can make January one of the most beautiful months of the year.
What can then possibly be better than going out at sea and watch the mountain-peaks of the fjords rise like snow-giants out of the sea in the blue morning light? I was lucky enough to be invited out for a boat trip by another biologist and photographer (thank you so very much for an amazing trip Audun - it is a true pleasure to be out with such nice persons as you guys and great to meet people with similar interests).
Gulls feeding on herring around mid-day outside Kvaløya
After searching along the coast for any signs of humpback whales for the identification project - Humpback Whale ID - we couldn`t find any whales in the areas where they had been spotted earlier, but outside the characteristic mountain "Håja", we saw thousands of gulls and drove towards them. When we came closer, we saw the blows of two humpback whales feeding on herring, together with lots of gulls, razorbills, and no less than 16 sea eagles, that wanted to have their share of the food.
Humpback Whale in Polar Darkness
The short days only allowed for a few pictures before the dusk came, but we stayed out at sea as long as possible to enjoy the afternoon light and to see the Moon rise over the horizon. When Venus and Jupiter were climbing above the mountains, and more and more stars became visible in the sky, we headed back home as darkness fell once again over Kvaløya.
Full Moon rising next to Sandøya
Full Moon over Sandøya as seen from open sea
Humpback Whale in the dark
Dusk over Senja