We are pleased to announce some very exciting news.  

The Arctic Sense expedition has been selected as a partner to supply immersive 360 content and linear footage to create a virtual reality educational program for schools and museums across the Nordics. Our target audience will be children aged 11 – 14 years. This was made possible by a Nordplus Horizontal grant, and coordinated by the University of Iceland. 

Whilst Barba collects the content, Whale Wise with the University of Iceland will develop the story – 

To advance marine conservation, we want to immerse the public in the Arctic Sense expedition – to involve them in the science, share our experiences and ignite a passion for our ocean. These next few months the Barba crew will continue to collect footage of scientific fieldwork and wildlife encounters to be used for the program, while Whale Wise will work towards creating the educational program with the University of Iceland. 

As the UN Decade of Ocean Science begins, we have a duty to share the wonder of marine life with the public and inspire the next generation of ocean advocates.

“On behalf of the team, I am honored that we have been chosen as a partner for a program that underlines our ambition to provide adventures with purpose. With spectacular whale and nature interactions we make education exciting, whilst infusing it all with a nature conservation message.” – Andreas B. Heide, Mission Director

“We are thrilled that students and individuals across Norway, Iceland and Denmark will have the opportunity to be immersed in Arctic Sense – the research and the wildlife. This is a rare chance for many to glimpse a rapidly changing environment and see for themselves what is there so they can want to protect it.” – Alyssa Stoller, Whale Wise Co-founder

Meeting these aims will involve a diverse team of educators, explorers, scientists and interns.

Coordinating institution: University of Iceland 

Partner institutions: 

Atlanten lower secondary school 

Húsavík Whale Museum 

The North Sea Oceanarium 

Gedsted School


Whalesafari Andenes


Featured image: Tord Karlsen

Photo description: Andreas capturing 360 footage of white-beaked dolphins on route to Svalbard.

Arctic Sense Chapter 2 begins – Svalbard

Today marks the beginning of Arctic Sense – Chapter 2. The crew will depart from Tromsø this afternoon to start their journey to Svalbard. Transiting across open ocean will not be an easy feat, but luckily the Barba crew consists of seasoned sailors, including Captain Andreas who has made the crossing to Svalbard in the past. 

Svalbard will also mark the beginning of Arctic Sense’s major research projects, which focus on gaining a better understanding of whale populations in the area and their vulnerability to current environmental/anthropogenic stressors. In partnership with leading research institutions including the University of Iceland and University of Stavanger  and Turku University of Applied Sciences, the Arctic Sense scientific programme will be led by the collaborative research group Whale Wise.

Read more in the Barba blog: Arctic Sense: Svalbard Research

We will share more in the coming weeks, but for now, we wish the best of luck to the Barba crew on their voyage to Svalbard! 

Featured image by Tord Karlsen

Arctic Sense Chapter 1 Complete

We’re happy to report that Arctic Sense Chapter 1: Norwegian Coast is now complete, having sailed from Stavanger to Tromsø.
It’s been a remarkable start to the expedition that included an encounter with Hvaldimir the renowned white beluga, listening in on sperm whales in Andenes using our hydrophone array and a hair-raising journey navigating S.V. Barba through Saltstraumen, the world’s strongest tidal current. 
Check out the articles from our blog
Along the way Arctic Sense was featured in science media platform Seeker and an Instagram Live from the boat with the British Embassy Norway for World Ocean Day.
Featured image by Tord Karlsen

Arctic Sense Begins

Barba and her first crew of five sailing onboard for the Norwegian chapter of collaborative research and communications project Arctic Sense have set sail!

The crew left the dock to a wonderful wave-off from friends and family and an international audience via an Instagram Live feed which is now available to watch on Instagram TV.

Ahead of departure they were visited by NRK, Norway’s national TV broadcaster who featured the departure on the evening news. Watch the news report here (skip to minute 5:12) – in Norwegian.

Follow on social media with the hashtag #barbaboat via

You can also keep track of the boat and crew (and their whale sightings via our tracker) here

Thank you to everyone who has worked so hard to bring this expedition to life on shore and on board especially our main mission partner TD Veen.

Barba Prepares to Depart

Preparing for Departure – Arctic Sense 2021

On June 1st 2021, Arctic Sense, a collaborative four-month scientific and communications expedition, will set sail on a 3,000 nautical mile investigative voyage to the polar Atlantic.

On board S.V. Barba the expedition will start and end in Barba’s home port of Stavanger and will see a diverse multinational team of experts sail via Svalbard, Jan Mayen, the Faroe & Shetland Islands, Edinburgh and London.

In partnership with leading research institutions including the University of Iceland and University of Stavanger the Arctic Sense scientific programme will be led by collaborative research group Whale Wise

The team will research, document and share valuable information and untold stories about marine life in the region, with a focus on keystone Arctic and sub-Arctic whale species, the sentinels of our ocean. 

Read the full announcement introducing Arctic Sense here.

National Geographic UK Features Barba Expedition

We’re proud and honoured to be featured in National Geographic UK for our collaborative expedition to document sperm whales in the arctic.

The route took the team of scientists and storytellers past the island of Senja, across Andfjorden and around the tip of Andøya to Andenes and Bleik before a southward sail through Lofoten to Bodø. During the 10-day expedition, we covered 300 nautical miles through some of Norway’s most marine-life-rich waters.

Thanks to the whole crew: Captain Andreas B Heide, helmsman Emil Gundersen, crewman Aksel E. Ørstavik, photographers Tord Karlsen and Sophie Bolseworth, acoustic engineer and marine researcher Fabrice Schnöller and onboard reporter and adventure journalist  Hugh Francis Anderson.

Hugh’s powerful and inspiring article for National Geographic along with incredible photography by Sophie Bolesworth and Tord Karlsen can be seen here on the National Geographic website.

Feature picture by Sophie Bolesworth.

Podcast with the University of Stavanger

The podcast is in Norwegian, and was brought to life by our good friends at the University, Mari Mæland Nilsen and Inge Christ.

Dykke med hvaler

Sailing Svalbard

Memorandum of understanding with The University of Stavanger

Good news from the Barba headquarters in Stavanger, Norway. Today we received a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the local university, for collaborative work for the upcoming Arctic Sense expedition. The University can provide us with resources as well as help us with our outreach to both the University and its´ affiliated partners.

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