The history of the Orca Express

Orca Express – breaking records!

By Martin Olaussen

Our beloved 50ft cabin cruiser the Orca Express has brought joy to many passengers throughout its history. Although perhaps not exactly the joy you expect from a whale watching boat!

Imagine being rocked on the gentle waves watching for the fluke of an orca, or splash of a humpback’s tail fin. Walk inside the cosy cabin and warm your hands around a hot cup of coffee – this is how our guests experience their time whale watching onboard the Orca Express. However this has not always been every passenger’s experience onboard!

The Orca Express was actually built back in 1985 as an Ambulance boat serving the west coast of Norway. Back then, she sailed under the name ‘Rygerfart’ named after the ancient norse word for people from the district in which it served ‘Ryger’.

Our Orca Express has the unofficial Norwegian record of child births onboard an ambulance vessel. When she was taken out of the ambulance service in 2001, over 60 children had been born onboard!

Ambulance boats typically had 3 crew members onboard; a pilot (sailor), at least one specialist nurse and a third student nurse. All medical staff were fully trained crew members. The Orca Express provided essential emergency medical assistance to the small remote islands in the west coast.

After 2001, Orca Express had several different owners before joining our Arctic Adventure Tours fleet in 2018.

We renovated, upgraded and redesigned the interior to comfortably accommodate our guests onboard. Now our guests enjoy a spacious cabin with large windows, perfect for our fjord and fishing and whale watching tours. Now the next chapter in the history of the Orca Express is waiting to be written.

Arctic Fishing
Skipper, Arctic Adventure Tours