Get close to eagles
A fish is thrown into the sea. On cue, an eagle approaches from the right, dives down and comes up with the fish. It's so close that you can hear its wing beats. It clutches the fish in its talons and lands on an offshore rock to enjoy its dinner. On a nature safari in the Vestfjord, you won't believe how close you will get to eagles — and your photos will be extraordinary.
Nowhere in the world has as many sea eagles as Northern Norway, and the highest concentration is in Lofoten. With a wing span of up to 2.4 metres, they are Northern Europe's largest bird of prey. They live on fish and sea birds, and can be seen soaring high up on currents of air all year round.
The nature safaris take you on the calm waters of inner Lofoten, overlooked by the jagged, sculptural peaks of the thousand-metre high Trolltindene, snow-covered right down to the shoreline. Dotted about are small settlements with colourful houses in remote places. The trips visit the narrow Trollfjord, which passes between the high mountains, if it isn't ice-bound and there is no danger of avalanche. If it's closed, you will still get amazing views of it from the mouth of the fjord.
The abundance of fish in the sea also attracts whales, including killer whales. These wolves of the sea hunt herrings in the Vestfjord in winter. A pod of them will ruthlessly circle the shoal, and one by one, the killer whales will enter the shoal and eat their fill. You don't always see whales on nature safaris, but the chance is always there and the crews keep their eyes and ears open.
MS Orca goes out twice a week in winter on whale-watching nature safaris on the Vestfjord and in towards Raftsundet. It's a comfortable sightseeing boat, with plenty of room on deck and a cabin serving hot coffee and fish soup for lunch. The trip starts with a short introduction to fjord wildlife and what you can expect to see. Then you get on board, put on thermal suits and head off. The whole trip takes five hours.
Rib tours go out four times a week in winter; these are fast rubber boats with a stable keel. Wrapped up in thermal suits, hats, mittens and goggles, you sit on padded benches and hold tight while the boat powers away. The route, wildlife and landscape are the same as the other trip, but it's short and intense — over in less than two hours. Whether you're a thrill-seeker or more laid back, it's up to you which trip you choose.
www.lofoten.info is Destination Lofoten's website, where you can also book the trips.