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Adventurous Freediving of Kiki Bosch with Orcas & Humpbacks

Adventurous Freediving of Kiki Bosch with Orcas & Humpbacks
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Kiki Bosch - a freediver, adventurer, in her story takes us on an adventure of freediving with Orcas and Humpbacks in the Arctic of Norway in Tromso.

Finding Orcas & Humpbacks in Tromsø, Norway

It was 3 am when we set off on our adventure, driving for 2,5 hours to get to the place where we would put our small dinghy in the water. An early start to a great adventure. By the time we ploughed through a few meters of snow we had to clear off the pier to get to the water the sun started to rise. Knowing that the timespan of daylight was ve-

Freediving with Orcas and Humpbacks in the Arcticry limited we quickly got into our freediving gear, using the last bits of warm water in our thermos. We knew we were up for a few hours of extreme cold.
Having launched the boat, the “real” adventure began. Trying to find Orca’s in the midst of the ocean is easier said than done. After a few calls to tourist boats and fisherman it turned out that no one had seen nor Orca’s nor Humpbacks that morning. We were left trying to find a needle in a haystack. But with the local knowledge of Jason an ocean conservationist we had a few possible spots they might be at. It was a gable since we wouldn’t have time to visit all 5 spots before the sun would set again which was in 3 hours from that very moment.
The Fjords towered like majestic giants over us, the scenery was so beautiful that we almost forgot the freezing reality that is the Arctic. But in reality, the cold has made its way through our wetsuits to our bones. Especially the face was hard to shelter from the cutting wind and splashes of water heading into the boat. We scouted the choppy ocean, looking for any signs of whales being around us. The weather wasn’t working with us and for a small boat like a zodiac it was hard to scan over the waves to spot any underwater activity. 2 hours and a few calls later there was still no sign of any large mammal.

None of the boats around have found them and we were getting ready to head back to shore. An unfortunate event, but knowing that this is the hard reality of nature, unpredictable.

The Whales Spotted

On our way back to the pier we all of a sudden received a message. Whales have been found! Two humpbacks were spotted in a bay not too far from us. And we headed over as quickly as we could. Waves crashing around us, it did not matter. We were determined to make it to the location before dawn.

When we arrived at the location, the biggest present of all awaited us. Not only were there two Humpbacks, but in the meantime a big pod of Orca’s had found its way to this feeding ground. From a quick glance we counted, 10-15-20 Orcafins on the surface! What a pleasant surprise.

Facing the Challenges & Freediving

Now the second challenge awaited us, trying to get in the water close enough that we could dive with them, yet far enough to give them the distance they deserve and need.
Over a couple of minutes more and more boats gathered around and it was pretty clear the whales didn’t like it that much, spending less time on the surface and more time in the deep blue.

Knowing that the light started to face we acted quickly, jumping in and hoping to see a glimpse once submerged. We swam around for what seemed a few minutes but in fact was more like half an hour. No luck. The whales seemed to be hiding in the depth…

Freediving with Orcas and Humpbacks in the Arctic

When I got called back to the boat to head to town, I was still grateful for this beautiful experience. Grateful that I had been in the water together with these majestic creatures. That I was able to free dive in the Arctic. I actually thanked the whales for having me in their feeding ground, allowing me to peek into a world that is theirs…
What followed next was more than extraordinary and there is nowhere I can describe what was yet to unfold.

Unforgettable Encounter with Orcas & Humbpacks

When I said my thanks, expressed my gratitude all of a sudden I heard the singing of a whale. A sound that cuts straight to your body, beautiful and calm. Out of nowhere I see a humpback coming up right where I was swimming, he was going to breach. Literally right underneath me. I tried to get out of the way by swimming backwards, something that truly was needed since it breached in arm’s length. Totally in shock and mesmerised by the beauty of these creatures I looked him right in the eyes, and what I saw was awareness, consciousness, a being that knows I am a visitor to what has always been his world. The moment I looked down another humpback appeared underneath me, swimming 10 meter under the surface from where I was. We swam parallel to each other for a few moments until also this whale breached and made its way back down. I followed them for a few meter swimming alongside of them and realised that I just witnessed something my mind could have only dreamed of.

An encounter I will never forget. With my heart and soul filled with even more gratitude and amazement I made my way back to the boat, where the other ones waited. They had seen the whole spectacle from the boat and were in awe of how close the encounter had been.

In the midst of the Arctic Ocean, we met. It made me feel so small, yet I was filled with a grandiose realisation of our shared connectives. Our shared emotions, a shared awareness about the world around us.

Make sure to follow our blog updates to keep up with the upcoming stories, trips and travels from Kiki about freediving.

Share in the comments what is your experience with these beautiful whales if you have oneJ.

Text by Kiki Bosch II Photo by Jonas Legernes / Zing Ocean Conservancy

Share in the comments what is your experience with these beautiful whales. :)

Make sure to follow our blog updates to keep up with the upcoming stories, trips and travels from Kiki about freediving.