Mighty Fine Blog

A Sighting

“There she blows!-there she blows! A hump like a snow-hill! It is Moby Dick!”

In recent years, whale watching has become a must do experience for many people. It's increasing popularity can help support many coastal communities as they transition away from whale hunting to tourism and at the Mighty Fine Company we offer whale watching holidays to some of the best destinations in the world, including the Azores, Canada, Iceland and Norway.

lazy seals in the straits of san juanOn a recent adventure to Vancouver (Canada), while we didn't see Moby Dick (and we would ever only go to watch him!), we were lucky enough to get some spectacular sightings of some magnificent mammals, off the coast of Victoria, Vancouver Island.

Close enough to witness some of the best wildlife sightings I can remember, our expert guides led us to the straits of San Juan where the whales were! As we travelled cautiously to several different points during our three hour journey, we saw countless seals sunning themselves on some of the smaller islands on our journey to the ocean. More...

22. August 2016 by Emma Smith

I'm forever blowing bubbles

We have been busy travelling and working but we thought now would be a good opportunity to update the blog with some of our favourite pictures and experiences from our recent travels. First up, a great picture of Dolphins from our trip to the Azores. These playful mammals often enjoy themselves with these fun activities, like blowing bubbles and are just one of the many marine species that can be seen while on our Whale Watching in the Azores holiday

12. April 2016 by Joanne Wilson

A word from our partners in Andenes - Part 3 - Top Tips

Northern Lights in VesteralenWe spoke to Marten about what he thought would be the best tips for photographing wildlife in Vesteralen. He was pretty busy, so it is brief but he did emphasize that he would be more than happy to expand on these if you wanted to visit Vesterålen on either our Ultimate Whale Watching or Orca Whale Watching holidays.

Tips for visiting Vesterålen
“Climate and clothing: Vesterålen has a maritime climate with mild winters (-5 to +8 degrees Celsius) and summer (+5 to +25 degrees Celsius), so Norwegians wear mostly woollen clothing, in multiple layers. This means you can easily adjust to changes in temperature by putting on or removing clothing. Other man-made wicking materials found in outdoor clothing are also excellent. When you are out on the RIB you need to wrap up warm. While in summer you can, sometimes, get away with summer clothes you will also need to make sure you have autumn clothing as well. “


Tips for your cameras and equipment: 
1. Set your white balance between 5000 and 8000 Kelvin (see the instruction booklet of your camera).
humpback whale2. Although the guide will make sure the boat is as stable as possible having good balance yourself is an advantage. The combined movement of the boat and the animals can make photographing wildlife a real challenge. 
3. Take more than one trip, that way you can get used to the behaviour of the animals and the motion of the boat.
4. Allow time yourself time to watch the animals without the camera. Some people can get quite emotional when they see them and you will give yourself time to study them. Regularly looking at the landscape without the camera can also help prevent motion sickness.
5. For the whales in the summer you can manage well with a lens between 200 and 400 mm and a “bright” (wide aperture) lens is a nice to have, but not necessary.
6. For bird photography, a teleconverter can be very useful, particularly if you are not in possession of an expensive 600 or 800mm lens.
7. In the winter, a lens between 100 and 200 mm to get pictures of the humpback and killer whales is recommended.
8. In the winter controlling your brightness is a must, from F2.8 and below is highly recommended at any time that the sun is not high in the sky.
9. During the winter nights, a wide angle lens for the Northern Lights will be useful.

 

20. May 2015 by Emma Smith

A word from our partners in Andenes - Part 2 - The Wildlife Opportunities

We asked Marten for his opinion on the best wildlife to keep an eye out for on Andenes, why it is best, and when would be a good time to see it?

wildlife photographer Marten Bril"Sightings of natural phenomena, wildlife's most beautiful moments, are best realized in Vesteralen, because, as with all animals.... you look for them where the food is."

Puffins
The photogenic puffins, visit Andenes, in their thousands. They feast on the fish, but in turn they provide food for the equally interesting eagles.  Vesteralen is one of the best places in Europe to see them. It is the most normal thing in the world, to come across at least a handful every day. It is almost like being in your own nature documentary.

Tent pegs?
The local nickname for the herring. Mind you, we are talking about the great Norwegian herring and not small guppies! Every winter, the "pegs" seek shelter in the Norwegian fjords south of Tromsø and north of Andenes.  The result is that orca, fin and humpback whales regularly put in an appearance. In Andfjord, in particular, over the last three years, the herring catch by whales has been recorded by many a photographer.

Killer whales

Getting the perfect whale picture is best done in Andfjord, on a RIB boat, at sea level, with the beautiful backdrop of fjords and snowy peaked mountains as a backdrop. You are closer to the whales. You are at their level! Your adrenaline level rises when you're surrounded by killer whales and humpback whales waving their impressive tail to the boat (without touching it, incidentally).
Your whales pictures will have a variety of different backgrounds, a red horizon, purples, pastels and blues, or gray if it is cloudy.  I've never seen a photographer come off the boat bored and they "fizz" with excitement when they dive or snorkel with them. You might not think it, but photographers also have feelings, and they often have to wipe the tears of joy from their masks so they can see :)."

So what times of year should I go?

whale surfacing

"For Whales: Spring and summer: Whale safaris are best from early May until September. At this time, the male sperm whales forage around Andenes, and you also have a chance to see fin and humpback whales and dolphins, sometimes even killer whales. Autumn and winter: killer whales, fin whales and humpback whales follow the herring towards Andfjord. So when the herring are seen swimming into the fjords, the whales are there to be seen. Best between mid-November and mid-February, while January, because the days are getting longer, is a top month!
For Birds: Spring and summer: puffins, eagles, several species of other predators, guillemots, kittiwakes, owls and more.
Autumn and winter: eagles, owls and king eider."

 

 

8. May 2015 by Emma Smith

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