Under the auroras between snow-capped peaks, scouting for whales!

Winter sail - Whales & Auroras
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Every autumn and winter, huge shoals of herring come from the open seas to our North Norwegian coast. The herring enters the fjords, and with the herring the whales follow; killer whales and humpback whales. Together they set the sea on fire, and we want to share this ecstatic chaos of a whale adventure with you. In addition, the magical light is perhaps the most special thing about our trips at this time of year. Join us on this winter sail adventure with whales & auroras!

Magical winter light in wonderful winter landscape

This trip is for you who want to experience the raw nature of Northern Norway at the most wild time of year. And for those who want to experience the very special winter light. Some claim that winter here in the north is dark. However, we know that it’s during the darkest months we get the most beautiful light. With the strongest contrasts and a completely unique lighting on the area’s peaks and rugged coast. On board the boat, we don’t have street lights or other light pollution, so we get to experience all the shades of light we have. Clear days consist of a constant sunrise and sunset that lasts for hours. During the evenings, we hope to be visited by the dancing northern lights across the sky.

From Tromsø to the whale adventure

On this departure we aim to spend a couple of days playing with the herring, killer whales and whales. A real whale adventure! The weather forecast for the week, as well as the location of the herring, determines where we look for this show. We sail from Tromsø and spend a week in the areas around Skjervøy, Kvænangen and Nord-Troms, before ending the trip in Tromsø again. Along the way, we hope to find whales and orcas, race with the northern lights, and learn more about sailing and the areas we sail through. And about ourselves.

Be part of the crew on board

As on all our trips, you do not need to be able to sail to participate, but you will learn a lot about sailing along the way. Our skilled skipper will take care of the sail training and navigation on board. Including local knowledge of the area and life in the sea. Regardless of whether you have a lot or little experience, we want to challenge you. You will feel a sense of achievement and have memorable experiences for life! If you are a first-timer, we want to make you a sailor as soon as possible. Are you on the other hand more experienced, you will quickly get more responsibility and bigger challenges.  We will take you with us as part of our crew. So you get the opportunity to participate in all tasks on board. Stand at the helm, hoist sails, cook, clean, navigate, take a morning swim, gut fish, serve anchor dram, tie knots – the complete sailing experience!

Awesome experience with the whales swimming up to the sailboat to check us out. Fantastic displays of Northern lights as well as all the varieties of sailing: fair winds, storm, snow, hail and fog. All taken with good cheer in good company!

Ling Kituyi (Wintersail - Whales & Auroras 2023)

Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival and sail towards Kvalsundet

 

Welcome on board! We meet at the dock in Tromsø at 16.00, check into the sailboat and get to know each other. Before we hoist sails, we familiarize ourselves with the boat and go through safety routines. We check the latest weather forecast and look at the route for the week before we set off towards Kvaløya and Kvalsundet. Along the way, we practice handling the boat, man-overboard and other emergency situations.

Day 2: Sailing day to Rebbenesøy and Vannøya

 

We wake up on our first morning of adventure, who takes the first morning swim? After breakfast, we sail further around Ringvassøy in the beautiful archipelago here at the entrance to the open sea. We pass, among other things, Gåsvær, which may be worth a trip on land. For the evening we find a suitable anchorage or harbor, maybe on Rebbenesøy or Vannøya. Possibly we also get some fish on the hook for dinner?

Day 3: Looking for the herring and the whale

Large shoals of herring enter the fjords in North Troms every winter, and it is these shoals that attract humpbacks and orcas. In addition to quite a few boats of various kinds. We have a whole week, and have time to look in different places for both herring and whales. So hopefully we will get some good moments with these majestic animals to ourselves. We sail on past Vannøya and Arnøya and finally end up around Kvænangen and Skjervøy for the night.

Day 4: Kvænangen and Spildra

 

At this time of year, there aren’t too many hours of daylight in the north, so we make sure to be there with the whales when the light is at its strongest. We spend the whole day around Kvænangen. Towards the evening we sail into the fjord to Spildra, a small island with around 20 permanent residents. This is a historically important island, and hopefully the local islanders will heat up the sauna and open the pub for us tonight!

Day 5: Whale watching and sailing among the Lyngen Alps

 

Maybe you didn’t think it was possible to sail through the Alps? Today we get to disprove that with a sail through the fierce Lyngen Alps! After a full day of alpine sailing and hopefully more contact with the whales, we moor at Hamnes on Uløya. Hamnes is a historically important trading place and was one of the few places north of Tromsø that the Germans did not burn at the end of the war.

Day 6: The magical winter light

In our opinion, the best thing about the dark season is the light. Although we don’t see the sun that much here in the north these months, the light we get is quite special. Perfect for exploring and experimenting with the camera, with the majestic landscape as a self-written motif. We spend our last full day on our way back to Tromsø, and we circle the whole Lyngen peninsula with its mighty alpine peaks. Once back in Tromsø, we celebrate a great week together with dinner and something good to drink on land.

Day 7: Bye for now in Tromsø

 

The last morning, we only clean, wash and unpack ourselves out of the boat in Tromsø harbor. And we say goodbye and end the trip latest at 10.00 this morning. Breakfast is perfect to enjoy in one of Tromsø’s many cozy cafes. Thanks for a great memorable adventure!

Changes to the program

 

The program should be seen as a starting point which we adapt to weather and conditions. We reserve the right to constantly improve the program for the better. With us along the way, we always have dinghies for beach landings and small expeditions. We have fishing equipment for the cod, and hiking equipment for bonfires and summit hikes – we are ready for adventure, are you?!

What is included?

  • A trip experience with sailboat – experienced skipper/instructor with local knowledge on board
  • All food we eat onboard during the trip
  • Our Comfort Package, which consists of accommodation onboard in a shared double cabin (bunk or double bed) with a ready-made bed (warm and nice duvets and pillows!)
  • An environmentally friendly, local, sustainable, unique, exotic and exclusive Norwegian adventure holiday
  • A shared experience and friendship with like-minded adventurers from around the world
  • A lot of time outdoors – raw and honest nature experiences
  • Use of our shared equipment: dinghies, kayaks, fishing equipment, etc. when possible
  • All boat-related costs such as diesel, propane and harbor fees
  • Personal safety equipment; Helly Hansen inflatable lifejacket
  • Instruction, advice, guidance and practical training in boating and sailing

What is not included?

  • Travel to and from the start/end location
  • Optional meals at a cafes/restaurants during the trip
  • Entrance to galleries, museums, or other alternative activities that you/we may come up with
  • Rental of equipment and/or activities from external operators, ex. paddling, glacier hiking or surfing where possible
  • Drinks such as wine, beer or exclusive apple juice and other luxuries (yes, we drink beer and wine on board, bring your own)
  • Travel insurance and/or cancellation insurance – (up to you, but recommended!)

Important info

Travel

This trip start and end in Tromsø.

You find more info on travel, equipment and other tips under Practical info.

Deposit and payment

You only pay a deposit (NOK 6000) upon registration, the remainder of the payment is due 60 days prior to departure.

Safety and risk onboard

We are all about people, and so we also take safety very seriously. On our trips we practice sail- and boat handling also for safety, and we spend time going through various situations that can arise at sea, how to handle them and how to avoid them.

Onboard a boat everyone must know what to do in critical situations and in the event of an emergency. Our philosophy is that partaking and participation builds safety. It is important for the safety of the whole boat that you are a participant onboard, not just a passenger.

Therefore all our trips are to be considered sailing courses in addition to being great  holidays and adventures: You are trained to make up the crew onboard and so we build a capable team onboard.

Feel free to contact us for a chat about safety and risk on our adventures.

Level of the trip

No sailing experience? No problem! Our sailing adventures welcome both novices and seasoned sailors for an inclusive and enjoyable experience. Whether you’re new to sailing or a salty sea dog, our trips cater to all levels.

We aim to transform beginners into sailors quickly while offering experienced participants greater responsibilities and challenges. Our mainland sailing journeys involve 44-50 feet boats navigating coastal and protected waters, occasionally crossing open stretches for excitement. Route adjustments based on weather and conditions ensure a safe and adaptable voyage.

Trips are not overly strenuous; with rotating positions, participants can balance sailing and relaxation. Active engagement minimizes seasickness, and if it occurs, it passes swiftly. Weather, however, is unpredictable, with the potential for stronger winds and various conditions in northern Norway and the Arctic, making each trip a true sailing adventure. Be prepared for calm winds and rough weather—embracing the elements for an unforgettable experience.

What we expect from you

Our trips require a little effort from you who are joining – everyone on board must be ready to contribute and to give of themselves also socially; the more you open up, share and interest yourself in the others onboard, the more enjoyable it gets. 

When you’re sailing with us you are invited to take part in the running of the ship and all that comes with it. You will be sailing, docking, navigating, looking out for whales and icebergs, but also making food, serving others, doing dishes and helping clean the boat during the trip, and contributing in other ways when needed. Onboard we are all in the same boat and when all help out, the ship is most happy. 

Our experience is that doing things together with others out in nature, and not least cooperating and doing activities with new people and different personalities than you might have around you normally, is what creates the best, most interesting and memorable moments and stories:)

Equipment and packing

As with all activities, there is plenty of special equipment and clothing for sailing. If you don’t have any of this, you will get very far with normal hiking/outdoor equipment. You do not need to buy a lot of new equipment to join our trips. Use what you have, borrow what you need from a friend, purchase used equipment, and if you have to invest in new equipment – buy quality items that will last! What you need is something waterproof and windproof on the outside, and layered warm clothing underneath.

Some jackets may not be waterproof “enough”, or might not perform too well in salt water, so you can consider a set of oilskin for the wettest days (available for rent or purchase onboard). A pair of higher rubber boots for disembarking from the dinghy is very good to have, as well as indoor shoes below deck. Out at sea and in the Arctic it can be cold even in summer, so bring both swimwear and plenty of warm clothes. Well before departure, we will send you a detailed recommended packing list.

Read more and see our packing tips here:

PS: In a sailboat, you pack in a bag or sack, not in a rigid suitcase. 🙂

Food & cooking onboard

On our trips, you will be part of the crew onboard and get the chance to participate in all tasks for the operation of the boat. This includes cooking and preparing food – everyone take turns in the galley! Skippers and crew assist as much as they can along the way.

We have great menus with tasty, healthy and “boat-friendly” food, and for each trip we order provisions for all meals onboard. If you have allergies or preferences, let us know in the registration form and we will take that into account as best as we can. You are also most welcome to bring any special food or drink with you. Why not bring some specialities from your country or region for the boat to enjoy? 

During a weeklong trip we often sail by a good restaurant or two where we can have dinner on land. Some places we need to pre-book and we will then need to choose a menu before we arrive. More about all of this when you come onboard!

Life onboard & accommodation

Life on a sailboat is super social and fun, but it might feel a bit intimate at first. No worries though, that vibe usually fades after the first hour. Everyone chips in to run the boat, and we’re all part of the crew, which means quick bonding.

We’re keen to get to know you and hope you’ll connect with the rest of the crew. It takes some patience, generosity, and an open mind to thrive, but soon you’ll be focused on making new friends and enjoying raw nature experiences once sea life feels like home.

Sleeping arrangements in shared cabins with double or bunk beds can be a bit of a puzzle, but we’re pretty good at figuring it out. Let us know if you have preferences. You’re on your own for land accommodations before or after the trip.

The boat provides heating and good food, but fresh water isn’t always abundant. Water conservation means not showering every day, but when near freshwater sources, we make the most of it. But nothing beats a morning sea swim for that fresh feeling.

Til og fra Tromsø er fly det raskeste hvis du skal til Sør-Norge, sjekk ut SAS, Norwegian eller Flyr. Dersom du har tid til å reise sakte så er det likevel noe vi heller anbefaler! Hurtigruten til/fra Bodø og toget derfra er en flott reise i seg selv!

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