Northern Tales: PART 1 – The Spiny Dogfish

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Birgitta Mueck

Birgitta Mueck, certainly one of our PADI AmbassaDivers, exhibits us the thrills of dive exploration with this unique Three-part account of her newest chilly water adventures. Crusing by way of the northern fjords of Sweden and Norway, Birgitta has looked for deep, uncommon species and pods of feeding orcas. Learn on for her story…


Into the Fjords

Nicely above the Arctic circle through the darkest months of winter, deep within the fjords of Norway, there's something spectacular occurring. It's within the county of Troms, at round 69 levels north, the place lots of of orcas and humpback whales have began to collect in the course of the chilly and darkish winter months. A unprecedented wildlife phenomena that began solely 6 years in the past and that may doubtless solely final a restricted time.

Northern Norway has all the time been an excellent spot for observing whales of varied sorts all yr spherical. However these monumental numbers of orcas and humpback whales which have began to seem yearly within the fjords of Troms, has its peak between November and February. That is the time when nice portions of whales might be seen even far contained in the fjords.

The rationale behind this are the large faculties of herrings that come right here. The whales comply with the herrings, their principal meals supply, in Norway. This overwhelming wildlife occasion, the place such huge numbers of each feeding orcas and feeding humpback whales could be seen subsequent to a different, could be very uncommon.

In an effort to doc this distinctive state of affairs, we're crusing our means north in the direction of the lengthy arctic winter with our expedition yacht, the place we'll try and movie these spectacular marine mammals from each above and beneath the floor.

Will we are available time and nonetheless discover the majestic marine mammals that we're in search of? And what outcomes will we be capable of get when dealing with the very darkish and chilly circumstances that Northern Norway supplies throughout its lengthy winter?

And so the journey begins

Our journey began on an island off the Swedish west coast in early September. The identify of this flourishing island is Orust, which can also be the place the place I grew up, and the place our expedition yacht has her residence port. From right here the voyage continues north.

Sailing Yacht Eja

Our journey covers greater than 1300 nautical miles, throughout the strait of Skagerrak in Sweden to the southern tip of Norway, then up north alongside its majestic coast – all whereas exploring a number of the most spectacular fjords of Scandinavia. We might be making totally different dive stops alongside this nice Norwegian coast, earlier than lastly reaching the breathtaking fjords of Troms in Northern Norway.

The boat used for this expedition is our 45ft crusing boat “Eja af Slussen”. Over the past 15 years, we've sailed over 40,000 nautical miles together with her, to each heat and chilly latitudes.

So many miles have been accomplished with just one mission in thoughts: to doc the varied sorts of aquatic life we discover in our oceans. By means of our movies, that are primarily in cooperation with Swedish Nationwide Tv, we goal to unfold consciousness, increase curiosity and develop information for the marine inhabitants, and to point out how threatened they're by the growing human financial curiosity. This robust ardour for the ocean has turn out to be a complete way of life for me. When not at sea filming for our family-run firm, Crystal Water Film Production, I work as a information and PADI Divemaster on totally different places around the globe, from Antarctica within the south to the excessive Arctic within the north. Whether or not I'm in heat tropical waters, or within the rather more demanding chilly latitudes, my fascination for the superb life hiding beneath the floor by no means stops rising.

Our present crusing journey, right here in Norway, brings me to extraordinary dive locations the place I but once more have the prospect to expertise superb underwater encounters. Hold studying and journey alongside to the lengthy and darkish arctic winter and, like me, hopefully be amazed by the beautiful life dwelling in these chilly waters!

Drop Off Dives With Chilly Water Sharks

We make our first dive cease within the south-western a part of Norway. Our goal is to seek out the spiny dogfish (Squalus acanthias), a shark species that when was probably the most plentiful in Scandinavian waters. Nevertheless, on account of over-fishing the inhabitants has decreased by a minimum of 95% over the past three many years. Will we nonetheless be capable of discover them?

To attempt to discover this shark, measuring as much as 1.5 meters lengthy, we can be diving alongside a 300 meter deep wall. The murky water surrounding us has a temperature of 13°C. The deeper we go, the darker it will get. At 40 meters, which is our most depth for this dive, we hardly see any mild from above. The brilliant movie lights shine on an enormous number of chilly water anemones in numerous sizes overlaying your complete of the good, steep wall. It's such a tremendous sight to see this hidden cold-water magnificence. Everyone knows concerning the vibrant corals dwelling in tropical seas, however not so many people are conscious of the good magnificence discovered within the a lot colder and darker waters.

My consideration out of the blue shifts when a slow-moving shadow begins to seem on the wall. By watching the actions steadily coming nearer, I quickly perceive that it's certainly the spiny dogfish we're on the lookout for. This slender shark appears to be interested by our expedition and begins to flow into round us.

02 Spiny Dogfish

Sadly, this pleasant little being is assessed within the IUCN Pink Record of Threatened Species as critically endangered within the Northeast Atlantic. Since this shark species is a late maturing fish, the place the females mature at an age of 18–21 years, giving delivery to solely a small variety of dwelling offspring (2-11) after a two-year gestation interval, it is extremely exhausting for the inhabitants to recuperate. Like many different species of sharks, the spiny dogfish is taken into account notably weak to over-exploitation and is a species which might profit from higher and larger  protected marine areas.

As most of us know, all species nice or small play an important position within the stability of life on earth; none ought to be forgotten or be allowed to fade from their pure ecosystem.


Proceed to comply with Birgitta’s chilly water adventures in subsequent week’s Northern Tales: Half 2!

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