Whale, bird and seal watching combined in one adventure!

With whale guarantee!
Our classic whale watching tour combined with bird and seal safari.

Location: Stø in Vesterålen (Please note that Stø is located about 7 hours from Tromsø)

Duration: The trips typically last 8 hours although this may vary depending on weather conditions or other unforseen circumstances.

Guiding: You will be accompanied by our qualified nature guides during the whole tour. Our guides have firsthand knowledge about the marine wildlife of this area.

Before the tour:

The safari begins with a presentation where one of our guides will inform you about the tour, safety on-board and the animals we can expect to encounter.

The whale area

We head towards the underwater canyon of Bleik, in search of the highlight of the whale watching tour - the sperm whale (Physeter macrocephalus). On the way offshore, we regularly encounter different whale species inhabiting these waters, for example:

  • Pilot whale (Globicephala melas)
  • Minke whale (Balaenoptera acutorostrata)
  • Orca or killer whale (Orcinus orca)
  • Humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae)
  • Atlantic white-sided dolphin (Lagenorhynchus acutus)
  • Harbour porpoise (Phocoean phocoena)

Each safari is different, which makes the experience even more exciting! When we set out from the harbor, we never know exactly what kind of whales wait for us at the sea on that particular day.

Return to Stø:

On the way back, we will serve you a hot meal: our delicious fish soup or vegetarian soup with bread. The soups contain local supplies and self-collected herbs. You can enjoy the boat ride and magnificent landscapes while summing up the experiences of the safari with our friendly crew.

The last stop on our whale safari is the island Anda. Here we will take you close to the bird cliffs, which are home to thousands of seabirds. We will also go close to the flat rocks north of the island to see if we find harbor seals resting on the rocks. Some of the bird species you can expect to see are:

  • White-tailed Eagle (Haliaeetus albicilla)
  • Atlantic Puffin (Fratercula arctica)
  • Cormorant and European shag (Phalacrocorax carbo and Phalacrocorax sinensis)
  • Kittiwake (Rissa tridactyla)
  • Common guillemot (Uria aalge)
  • Razorbill (Alca torda)

Our safari success rate is around 95 %, but occasionally, it happens that we fail to spot any whales (we are dealing with nature, after all). For such rare days, we have a whale guarantee: If we do not see whales, guests who are interested can join another safari free of charge. In this case, the guests need to contact the reception and we will do a rebooking for them.

Photo by: Ilkka Jaakkola

‍Important information

What to bring with you on a whale safari:

  • We have indoors, but it's always good idea to bring warm clothes, footwear, hat and gloves! It is cold out at sea!
  • Waterproof clothes in case of rainy days
  • Sunglasses and sun lotion
  • Binoculars
  • Camera, extra memory card/film and battery
  • Extra food, snacks, water and soft drinks 

Arctic Whale Tours terms and conditions

  • Confirm your booking latest the day before the scheduled departure
  • .Check in begins an hour before departure.
  • All passengers need to be at the reception latest one hour before departure.
  • Tours are weather dependent and can be cancelled due to strong wind or low visibility.
  • Minimum number of passengers: 15 (We reserve the right to cancel a departure if there are less than 15 persons on the tour.)
  • Payment is done at check-in before departure.
  • Length of safari: in average 7-10 hours althrough this can vary depending on weather conditions or other unforseen circumstances. 
  • Prices include local taxes.
Photo by: Ilkka Jaakkola

‍Departure times - 2017

Classic whale safari 

May 29th - August 31st

10:00

Departure times may be subject to changes due to weather conditions or passenger demand.

The summer whale watching season runs from the 29th of May to the 31st of August 2017. 

Please note: passengers are requested to meet up no later than one hour before departure at the ticket office in Stø harbor.

Photo by: Ilkka Jaakkola

‍Price list, season 2017

Our rates include the following:

  • Whale watching tour combined with bird and seal watching
  • Multilingual naturalist guide for the duration of the safari
  • Fish soup or vegan soup made of local products
  • Coffee, tea & hot chocolate (as much as you like)

Whale watching tour

Adults: 1100 NOK

Children (5 - 12 years): 600 NOK

Children (2 - 4 years*): 200 NOK

Students, senior citizens (>65 yrs) and family price for families with children: 1000 NOK

  * If you would like to bring a child under two (2) years old to the safari, please contact our office 

Dogs

We warmly welcome dogs on board with us. Since some of the guests may be allergic for them, human's best friends are not allowed to keep indoors. No extra charges will be taken from dogs. Our guides are happy to tell you more about having a dog in our boat. You may also contact our reception (info@arcticwhaletours.com) for more information.

Groups

We have discounted rates for groups. Please contact our reception (info@arcticwhaletours.com) for more information.

Whale guarantee

Whenever we set out to the sea, we always expect to see whales. However, as our product is based on the nature, it does sometimes happen that we do not succeed. For such rare occasions, we have our whale guarantee: In the unlikely event that we would not be able to see any cetaceans (includes all whale and dolphin species), passengers can join another available whale safari, free of charge. In this case, the guests need to contact the reception and we will do a re-booking for them.

‍Whale watching guidelines

In Stø, we have the privilege of living and working amongst the most magnificent wildlife found in Norway. This also gives us an opportunity to provide our visitors with quality whale watching experiences. However, these opportunities are associated with the responsibility to ensure the welfare of the animals at all times. We have therefore, in close collaboration with WDCS (The Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society), established whale watching guidelines to assure best practices for our whale watching. The aims of these guidelines are to minimize the impacts on the animals and for our trained naturalists to inform our visitors about the appropriate ways of interacting with marine mammals.

General

  • The whales should always be able to control the nature and duration of their contact with us.
  • If whales seem distressed, we leave them alone and slowly depart from the area.
  • Mothers with calves, or resting, feeding and/or socialising whales area approached and viewed with extra care and consideration, or left alone.
  • In addition to the captain, we always have at least one dedicated observer on duty at all times.
  • We never attempt to swim, snorkel, touch or feed whales for our safety and theirs.

Approaching whales

  • We approach the whales from the rear,  slightly to the side of the animals
  • We reduce the vessel speed at a 300 – 400 m distance from the whales
  • We never block their path but instead ensure that they always have an escape route

Viewing whales

  • We stay at a distance of minimum 50 – 100 m from the whales.
  • We keep a parallel course with the whales.
  • We keep all noise to a minimum and avoid sudden changes in speed or direction.
  • When encountering groups of dolphins, we limit our active viewing to ca 15 minutes.
  • When encountering sperm whales, we do not stay with the animal for more than one dive.

Signs of disturbance in whales

  • Attempts to leave the area or move away from the boat.
  • Sudden or regular changes in swimming speed and/or direction.
  • Sudden dives, or shallow dives to gain distance from the boat.
  • Aggressive behaviour, e.g. tail splashing, flipper slapping, etc.
  • Increased breathing rate.
  • Increased diving duration.

Allowing whales to interact with us

The guidelines presented here refer to our active approach towards the whales. Sometimes whales are curious about us and approach our boat. In these situations we maintain our course with slow steady speed or let the engine run in neutral.

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