Jacques de Vos freediving with orcas
© Jacques de Vos

Experience Freediving With Majestic Orcas

Follow this underwater photographer through Norway's fjords in search of elusive killer whales.
By Francois Palissarde
3 min readPublished on
Freediving · 8 min
Jacques de Vos freediving with orcas
Jacques de Vos is an underwater photographer who spends most his time freediving with orcas.
Along with his crew, this South African is an expert in finding these incredible creatures in the ocean and spending time swimming underwater with them.
We followed the man who freedives with orcas on one of his most beautiful expeditions, completed recently in Norway, and had the opportunity to ask him all about it.
Watch the new episode (above) of our video series, Dedicate, devoted to those inspiring people who decide to focus their life on achieving a goal beyond the ordinary.
Jacques de Vos, en pleine séance photos.
Jacques de Vos, on location
RedBull.com: Freediving with orcas — is it something everybody can do?
Jacques de Vos: Not quite. When we bring people with us to meet the orcas, we have very strict standards. We want to ensure the well-being and safety of both the animals and the freedivers. Therefore we require anyone who wants to enter the water to be certified as freedivers with a reputable agency or, alternatively, have suitable experience as a snorkeler for the conditions we dive in.
Have you ever been scared while freediving with orcas?
You should always remember that these are still wild animals, so I'm always cautious, but I've never really been scared. Although they have the reputation of being "killer whales" (a name I avoid using and don't like very much), they are some of the most intelligent beings I have ever had the privilege of being close to and it's amazing just how cautious and gentle they can be when we're in the water.
Freediving · 2 min
Check out Jacques de Vos with his GoPro in Norway
Where are the best places in the world to freedive with orcas?
Different ecotypes of orca can be found all over the world's oceans. Although, Norway is one of the only places in the world where it's possible to enter the water with them.
How long does a freediving session last?
There are many different factors, such as the amount of daylight in winter, the season, weather, etc. But sessions can vary from three to five hours in a day to only 30 minutes. The amazing thing is that even on a "short" day, a single interaction can have a life-changing impact on someone's life. That's something we have seen happen countless times.
An impressive orca is swimming in the sea, shot during the film project
Are there other animals you'd love to freedive with?
I would love nothing more than to see other ecotypes of orca in different parts of the world, as they are all vastly different in not only their diet and behavior, but also their physical appearance. Apart from that, the list is long, but I would also like to see narwhal, beluga and polar bears underwater.