Andenes is famous for its popular whale-watching safaris, with a marine biologist on board to point out whales, such as pilots, minkes, humpbacks and sperm, as well other sea creatures like dolphins and porpoise. Operators claim – with every justification – a ninety-five percent chance of a whale sighting, and many will reimburse the price of your ticket if you don’t see any. The Vesterålen islands are a stone’s throw from the continental shelf, which is closer to land here than anywhere else in Norway: deep water and a nutrient-rich food supply such as squid make the area an essential feeding ground for sperm whales, though as they can dive down as deep as 3000m to feed, you’re unlikely to glimpse the same whale twice on a single trip.

The tours, which support the research and protection of offshore whale colonies, take place aboard small vessels and use hydrophone technology to pick up the sounds of the whales – essential for locating the mammals without disturbing them. Taking an evening safari during the midnight-sun period can be especially rewarding, as the calmer sea makes it easier to spot the surfacing sperm whales, and the light is simply enchanting.

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