Discovering the Wildlife of Sunnmøre: Runde the birds Island

As usual, whenever I decide to visit a new place, I opt for field adventures and activities that allow me to discover the local fauna. During my three-day stop in Ålesund, I couldn’t resist the chance to embark on a Wildlife Sea Safari around Runde Island.

Runde Island is located off the western coast of Norway, near Ålesund and connected by the Runde Bridge to the island of Remøya. Runde is a small island with a population of 113 people (as of 2015), but it is very famous amoung tourists and birdwhatchers.

With over 230 species recorded, around 500.000 – 700000 seabirds inhabiting the island and the massive colony can be found on the cliffs, where thousands of birds nest during the breeding season. Puffins, razorbills, guillemots, and gannets are just a few of the bird species that can be observed in their natural habitat.

In addition to the rich birdlife, Runde Island offers beautiful coastal landscapes, rugged cliffs, and panoramic views of the surrounding ocean, providing a unique opportunity for birdwatching and photography.

The island can be esplored through hiking trails that lead to various viewpoints, providing breathtaking vistas and encounters with nature.

The Wildlife Sea Safari aboard of 62°NORD boat

After extensive research for a wildlife sea Safari tour in the area, I came across a option: the onboard trip aboard the 62° NORD. It stood out as the one-of-a-kind wildlife sea safari available in the surrounding region.
To avoid any unexpected surprises, I made an advance reservation for the 62° NORD boat tour, which offers limited seating of only 12 spots.

The meeting point is

The tour consists of a two-hour excursion along the coastline outside Ålesund in a high-speed RIB-boat.

The tour includes visits to a seal colony and Runde’s famous bird colonies, where you can observe majestic eagles and charming puffins. As we navigate the coastline, we will pass by some of the small communities along the way. Additionally, there is a possibility to spot a seals during the tour.

After a brief pause to observe the seals, the boat swiftly made its way towards the majestic bird cliffs of Runde Island. While it wasn’t the ideal time for birdwatching, I was fortunate enough to catch glimpses of a few puffins, a multitude of Northern gannets (Sula bassana), and, to my great astonishment, two magnificent eagles.

Opinions: Despite the sightings, I have some reservations about the wildlife sea safari. While I was aware that the boat tour lasted only two hours, my expectations were different. The majority of the tour involved long stretches on the boat, with only short stops to observe the wildlife for about 10 minutes. Additionally, the captain was unable to provide as much information as I had hoped for when choosing a wildlife safari. The information given was limited to the names of the most common birds. That being said, the boat remained at a distance from the shore, ensuring the best possible distance from the animals. From this perspective, the tour was conducted with the utmost consideration for the well-being of the animals.

Reformulated: Despite the aforementioned reservations, I must say that the tour itself is quite enjoyable! The exhilarating speed of the boat, the opportunity to be surrounded by stunning islands with the fjord in the background, and the chance to spot numerous animals make it worth the ticket price. This is especially true if, like me, you have limited time and cannot spend an entire day exploring Runde. However, if you have ample time available, it might be better to opt for a hiking excursion instead.

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