May 27, 2019 - National Geographic Explorer

Hellmoboton is situated in Tysfjorden in Northern Norway, cut so deep into this narrow part of the country that it comes close to the border with Sweden. Situated between steep fjord walls is a small, seasonal settlement where logging and fishing activities operate from. Under clearing skies, we landed at the shore to find a small amount of dry cod hanging, ready to be taken down. The houses, however, appeared empty, and the whole area was silent but for birdsong and the sound of water.

One particularly large waterfall could be seen from the landing site, with others of various sizes becoming visible as we made our way further into the valley. With spring just about beginning, large quantities of meltwater were being released from the mountain tops, flowing into the valley.

Though some chose to explore the fjord by Zodiac, most opted to land and walk deeper into the valley. Walks took different focuses – some were aimed at looking specifically for birds, others set out to specialise in photography. Some were just about walking and enjoying the broader landscape as much as possible, with one group getting deep into the interior, close to the border with Sweden, and enjoying spectacular views of one of the waterfalls plunging deep into a canyon.

We departed at lunchtime, and spent the afternoon sailing out of Tysfjorden, towards the sea. More than just a transit, this stretch of water is mesmerising in its beauty, and one could easily spend the afternoon just staring out a window and taking it all in.

The sea itself had one more welcome surprise for us, however. After dinner, the ship made it to the coast and out to where the seabed drops off. Here, as hoped, we found sperm whales feeding. The ship’s bridge team gently afforded us some incredible views of these remarkable beasts in the evening light. Once we had spent enough time here, we moved onward under the midnight sun towards our next destination, Tromsø, our last before sailing into the High Arctic.

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About the Author

Peter Wilson


Peter comes from the town of Cobh, County Cork, on the south coast of Ireland. He is both a working archaeologist and a naturalist.  Growing up and living next to the sea, he developed a fascination with whales and dolphins, along with birds and the broader natural world. Ever varied in his interests, he studied English at University College Cork and went on to complete a master’s degree in Old English. 

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