Scan Magazine, Issue 99, April 2017

Page 82

Scan Magazine  |  Special Theme  |  Top Attractions in Vesterålen

Whale spotting guaranteed “We will refund your whale safari trip if we fail to spot whales,” promises Geir Maan, general manager and owner of Hvalsafari AS. By Stian Sangvig  |  Photos: Thorleif Lundquist

Hvalsafari AS is based in Andenes at the isle of Andøya, which is the northernmost island of the Vesterålen archipelago in northern Norway. It was founded by Maan and his colleagues in 1989, following the discovery of a tribe of sperm whales in the waters off Andenes and successful trial whale safari trips. Since then, many thousands of visitors from around the world have spotted whales during thousands of trips from the company’s fleet of former fishing vessels. “Our experience and knowledge of the local waters enable us to provide our ambitious guarantee,” Maan explains. Sperm whales form the principal breed of whales and, while occasionally travelling as far as to the Azores, can be spotted throughout the year. These magnificent animals can potentially grow up to 18 metres, weigh from 35 to 45 metric tonnes, and can live for over 70 years. 82  |  Issue 99  |  April 2017

Other whales that may appear include killer whales, minke whales, humpback whales and fin whales. Trips typically start at Hvalsafari’s Whale Centre at the harbour, where a large sperm whale skeleton is on display and a briefing on what to expect from the trip is provided. Guides, who are qualified and experienced marine biologists, accompany the tourists on the trip. Food and refreshments are brought along too. In addition to the guarantee of whale spotting, trips may well become eventful. “Whales are often intrigued by human presence and may not be shy of jumping out of the water close to the boat,” Maan explains. Visitors can enjoy drinks and local food at Hvalsafari’s Riggen Restaurant. “We collaborate with local hotels, camping sites and car rental firms for accommo-

dation,” he continues. It is easy to get to Andenes with direct flights from Oslo during the summer, and the town is well connected with other airports during the rest of the year. The future looks bright for Hvalsafari. “A new Whale Centre has just been built and a new quay close to the town centre and the local light house is currently under construction for more frequent trips, greater flexibility and better experience,” Maan concludes.

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