Frustration & remedy
During the Lofoten search for Orcas a sticky sort of frustration was building up. It was unavoidable during long wavy days in howling weather without a sight of a killer whale. Sitting in a small aluminium boat watching the surface in a bone-chilling wind is not even remotely fun.
These days in the zodiac drained my body of energy and made my mind dull. I was left in an “I have to do something” state every evening.
I quickly found a remedy. I rigged the UW-housing, put on a crisp macro lens, and mounted double strobes and a strong torch with 8 hours burn time. I put on loads of undergarment. Then I jumped into my drysuit and I strapped on the deep frozen dive equipment and went into the sea. Aaaaahhh…and I mean as in a nice aaaahhhh even if people on board raised eyebrows at my choice of treat. This became a habit to do a therapeutic night excursion in the pitch black sea.
No fixed target, random search and finally no waves. I found myself diving around like fish searching for food in the night… and every night I came up with a deep frozen, but big, smile on my face.
These dives were charging me with energy for searching for Orcas the next morning.
Into a dark closet?
Non-divers tend to believe that diving in the night must be like walking into a dark closet. The homesick and seasick Australian guy, who was forced by his lovely wife to come to Lofoten, was sceptic. “What is the point, Magnus?”
He even raised the question regarding my sanity and wellbeing with the other guests. Fact is, however strange it might seem, night diving is one of the most enjoyable and thrilling ways to enjoy the sea.
The first dive was in a harbour that actually is a narrow channel with water passing through all the time. The harbour was literally packed with large schools of coalfish, and it also had a great number of cods.
Half an hour into the dive I found an unusually striking Nudibranch that I have never seen before. After 20 years of diving in the eastern Atlantic it was in this harbour it was.
The deep fjord
After a couple of days of fruitless rocky and snowy Orca search we ended up with the expedition boat ‘Sula’ in the deep and narrow fjords. We spent some nights along Ofotfjorden and Tysfjorden with its majestic walls and amazing marine life. Tysfjorden is almost 900 metres deep while Ofoten is approximately 500 metres deep. Here I got the chance to explore amazing walls and to encounter some deepwater creatures.
The fjord system offered stunning marine life in stable conditions making it possible for a high variety of species to live there. On one dive around Löddingen I encountered the deepwater flatfish witch, Glyptocephalus cynoglossus, which can actually live at more than 1000 metres’ depth.
This big specimen was sitting at only 10 metres’ depth. Another surprise in Ofoten was a monster sized monkfish, Lophius piscatorius, dozing on a sand slope in clear water. The anglerfish did not mind at all that I came close and let me roam around him with the camera for a long time.
When diving around a wreck close to Svolvaer, the capital of Lofoten, I experienced a surreal scenery. When I got close to the steel hull - probably startled by my appearance - a great number of big-sized scallops took off from the substrate and started to swim around in midwater. It was a strange scene watching these bivalves Pacman style swimming behaviour.
On my last dive in the fjords I found a large area completely covered in large anemones. It looked like a field of flowers creating a true sense of Nordic underwater landscape. I just sat down, left the camera on the sand, and stayed for 20 minutes enjoying the scenery in my torch beam.
That moment shrank the entire struggle we have had trying to find the big Orcas. It was just great to be there. In the cold and silent soup. A simple moment of greatness. No Orcas but I was still amazed.
Next report will be from the front of the cloud of Herring travelling down the Norwegian coast. Stay tuned.
Please note that blogs reflect our photographers' opinions and not necessarily those of the directors of Wild Wonders of Europe.