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Dive Review of Lofotdykk Orca Safari/Same in
Norwegian Sea/Lofoten

Lofotdykk Orca Safari/Same, Nov, 2007,

by LeRoy Anderson, UT, USA (Sr. Reviewer Sr. Reviewer 7 reports). Report 3730.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 501-1000 dives
Where else diving Bali, Komodo Islands, California, British Columbia, Washington State, Cozumel, Florida Keys, Cayman Islands, Cocos Island, Galapagos Islands, Malpelo Island, Yap & Palau, Channel Islands, Milne Bay and Eastern Fields Papua New Guinea.
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny,windy,rainy,cloudy,dry Seas choppy,surge,noCurrents
Water Temp 32 to 38 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 0
Water Visibility 30 to 50 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions None. Advanced divers only on trip. Drysuits of course mandatory, and available for rental if needed.
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

Sharks None Mantas None
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles None Whales None
Corals 3 stars Tropical Fish 2 stars
Small Critters 3 stars Large Fish 1 stars
Large Pelagics 5 stars

Underwater Photography 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Subject Matter 4 stars Boat Facilities 2 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 2 stars Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments The water was so cold and the dive conditions so strenuous, it was difficult to motivate myself to take photos. Since I only take digital photos, accomodations other than a rinse bucket and a charging station are meaningless.

Ratings and Overall Comments 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Accommodations 3 stars Food 4 stars
Service and Attitude 4 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 4 stars Shore Diving 1 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ N/A
Beginners 1 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments Overall this was a good and a very unique trip. I decided to do this trip as I felt probably the coolest thing I could see in the ocean would be a pod of killer whales up close and under the water. I did accomplish this objective, which has left me very happy, but the reader needs to know more about the situation in Norway for these encounters. I became intrigued about going with the Lofotdykk operation after finding out they charged about fifteen hundred dollars for a week of orca hunting, and knowing that elsewhere you could spend about ten thousand dollars for the same experience. The difference is that with Lofotdykk you have to buy and prepare your own meals. Sounded like a good deal to me.
Very important to know for any potential customer for this activity, regardless of price point, is to know what is going on now with the orcas in Norway. The other dive report for this activity published in Undercurrent by another reader several years ago is unfortunately now obsolete. The large groups of orcas which used to frequent the fjords in northern Norway have not done so for last year (2006) and also this year (2007). The orcas follow large schools of herring for food, and during the past two years the herring have been gathering for winter in the open Årctic Ocean far from the coast and inaccessible to any liveaboards or shore based diving operation, both from a distance and also the very rough and hazardous conditions in winter in the open Arctic Ocean. In previous years the herring would gather in the fjords, bringing the large pods of transient orcas with them, offering relatively easy and frequent snorkeling and diving access to many orcas. What now exists in the fjords are small pods of apparent resident orcas which follow smaller collections of herring here and there. These orcas are now much more difficult to find and offer only fleeting interaction with divers as they swim rapidly in search of food. We roamed far and wide in an inflatable skiff, in subzero temperatures, with choppy water conditions dressed fully in drysuits, with of course the hammering from the waves and at times sleet of the Arctic Norwegian winter blowing full force on us in an unprotected way. Not for the faint of heart. After several days like this of searching, we finally found about five or six orcas in a pod, followed them for a couple of hours, but could not get them to slow down to snorkel with them. They can really haul, they seemed to be swimming very, very fast. We finally ran into a fishing trawler, which was dumping some herring, which was found by this same pod and allowed them to slow down to feed. We then entered the water several times to snorkel out to them. About two thirds of our group were able to visualize some orcas underwater for a few seconds after many attempts to intercept them in their paths to the herring. The interactions were too fleeting, dark, and unpredictable to allow for any photography of the experience, but it was still quite exiting for me.
Otherwise, on the days when we found it impossible to find orcas, we would usually schedule one dive. More than one dive per day in these cold and rough conditions was not physically comfortable for any of the divers in our group, many of whom were accomplished cold water divers. I found it interesting to compare the diving in Norway with my favorite cold water destination, British Columbia. Overall I feel the diving in British Columbia is quite a bit more colorful and diverse, with larger amounts of all types of life. We did have one very colorful reef dive with brilliant anemonies, large jellyfish, hermit crabs, large schools of minnows, a few codfish, and many small to medium sized crabs on this trip. The other sites were ok, with some of the above life in less abundant amounts.
One last word about financing a trip like this. The dollar at this point in Norway is next to worthless. Five dollars for a cup of coffee in Oslo, Twelve dollars for a cinnamon roll, twenty five dollars for a hamburger in Lofoten, twenty dollars for a shuttle bus to your hotel from the airport, three hundred dollars for a night in a hotel. It goes on. Incidental expenses made the trip much more costly than I had expected.
Still, overall, worth doing for me, a very unique and certainly very adventuresome trip.
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Note: The information here was reported by the author above, but has NOT been reviewed nor edited by Undercurrent prior to posting on our website. Please report any major problems by writing to us and referencing the report number above.

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