Norway is known, and often criticized internationally, for its annual whale hunt. This week a killer whale seemed to be seeking refuge, with an unusual appearance in Oslo’s inner harbour.
The Oslo fjord is far from the hunting grounds for the sperm whales that Norwegian whaling boats go after in waters off the northern coast. The Oslo area isn’t known for whales of any kind, but some skateboarders enjoying one of the capital’s first spring days got a surprise.
“Somebody yelled ‘there’s a seal’,” Nikolay Næss told state broadcaster NRK on Friday, He and friends were skating near the piers along Rådhusplassen (the plaza in front of City Hall) when a killer whale not only came into view but flapped its tail and blew a bit in the water alongside the jetty.
“It swam slowly and showed off in a way,” Næss told NRK. “I’ve never experienced anything like it.” He said around 15 to 20 people saw it, and he shared a video with NRK (external link, in Norwegian).
Tore Haug, a researcher at Havforskningsinstituttet in Tromsø, said killer whales are common off the sea coast but not inside the Oslo Fjord. “They mostly eat herring, but also mackerel, seal and other fish,” Haug told NRK, adding as a joke: “I don’t know what it found in the harbour basin, and it’s a bit early to go after people who are out swimming.”
He noted that killer whales also normally travel in pods and are seldom alone: “There may have been more whales that folks didn’t see.”