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The Whales

I love the whales. But also the rough weather

"On a RIB at 30 knots, the temperature of 2 degrees below turns to freezing 15! It is called apparent temperature», Carolina Pena explains. She is at our Arctic Expedition team in Tromsø and her first meeting with Norway was windy and cold. "My hair froze. Mye eyelids froze. I could see my breath. It totally got me." It was the month of March and Carolina arrived from a Lisbon blooming in spring. Up here, 3.824 kilometers further north, the arctic capital was still wearing its winter clothes.  


"I love this. This true, arctic experience." 

Carolinas recommended activities

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The Portuguese student left the beaches of Comporta and the backstreets of Bairro Alto to test life in the arctic capital of Tromsø. She left home for the wild and unspoiled nature of Northern Norway. "It took me some time, perhaps a couple of minutes." She laughs and talks about how she almost suddenly fell in love with the luxury of roughness, the northern way of life. "I love this. This true, arctic experience." 

How is the weather in Tromsø in March?

"In March the days are getting longer." Carolina knows it all now, working to give our guests great experiences. "In the beginning of March, daylight is nine and a half hours. On March 31 it is close to fourteen hours of daylight!" The impression is that Carolina talks about summer, but she is not. It was still winter when she arrived. "The temperatures", she shivers. "They called it early spring." Carolina laughs and tighten her grip on the cup of hot chocolate. 

Strønstad and whale

Feel alive in Tromsø. 

The big heart of Tromsø embraced Carolina the moment she got there. The arctic culture showed its  warm hospitality. The stars. The full moon. The emerging hope of spring. But Carolina was not traveling through.  She arrived to stay, to make a life in the arctic capital and Carolina suspected her Norwegian boyfriend tested and challenged her comfort zone.

"It was wild", she says, "I was on a freezing, open ocean RIB tour and had never experienced nature like this before. My hair froze. My eyelids froze. I could see my breath. It totally got me." For some people this would be the biggest turn off ever, but not for Portuguese Carolina. "How can you not love to feel alive like you do here?" She laughs. "And here I am."

Northern Lights, Whale Watching or a Fjord cruise. Which is the best?

"I love whale watching", Carolina says. "And the fjords. And the mountains." She talks just as enthusiastic about being in the northern light. Or about the fantastic expedition cruises in the fjords and a hike in the mountains. Even a glass of wine is mentioned, as she recommends the great restaurants or the pubs in Tromsø.  "No. I can´ t pick one arctic experience. It is the arctic. The luxury of roughness. That is the true, arctic experience."

"It is all about feeling the elements. The rough wind. The cold temperatures. The snow. But also the summer. Swimming under the midnight sun. Partying in a day that never ends, never gets dark." Carolina refers to expressions from mindfulness and existential philosophy. "It is all there. All around you. It is just to open up and take it in."


Tromsø changed my life.

Carolina never dreamed of cold weather and snow, but sits relaxed as a native onboard this RIB outside Tromsø. It is January. The cold weather does not seem to be a challenge anymore.

"I have travelled a lot", she says, "and I always planned to move abroad - at least for some years." She comment something funny in Norwegian. "I am learning the language, but it is hard."  She is taking lessons to learn Norwegian. She started almost the minute she arrived and of course - Carolina finds our language hard to learn. But she says it is worth the effort.

I have been in a lot of nice places around the world and it has always been sad to leave. But in Tromsø I got a confirmation, a feeling of belonging. This was my new home.