There was for several centuries an organized hunting of porpoises in Lillebælt. It is not known exactly for how long, but the history is traced back to the 1600th century. The track is an account book, which listed a supply of porpoise flesh from Middelfart. It is known that the vassal at Hindsgavl has supplied the king with porpoises in 1520.
The world's smallest whale - the porpoise – has been hunted for centuries in Lillebælt. It was the porpoise hunters' guild (30 men), which was in charge of the extensive hunting. Since 1959, the town has had a guild that cherishes the unique history.
The porpoise hunters sailed their 10 boats from Middelfart to take their known positions in Lillebælt south of Fænø and at the entrance to Gamborg Fjord, following a proven system. When the porpoises, usually in a small flock of 3-5 animals, came up through the belt from the Baltic Sea, the first boats alerted to the other boats.
The porpoise hunters struck with branches in the water to scare the sound-sensitive animals to deviate from their course. The boats then forced the porpoises toward the mouth of the fjord east of Fønsskov Odde. There, other boats were ready, and some of the first boats took part in the pursuit too. The frightened porpoises were forced into shallow water at Svinø, where the hunters surrounded the animals using a long yarn, and pulled them towards the shore. The dead porpoises were loaded onto boats and sailed to Middelfart. The oil from the porpoise fat layer was extracted, and used for lamp oil.
Middelfart's history is closely linked with the porpoises. The porpoise lives in Lillebælt, and are often observed in the waters between Strib and Fredericia, under The New Lillebælt Bridge and towards the Old Lillebælt Bridge.
Porpoise Day is a recurring event, focusing on the history of the porpoises. Visit Middelfart this day in May, and get the story, watch the parade through town and see the beautiful porpoise well in Middelfart old town.
Today, whale watching is a popular attraction in Middelfart. It is a wonderful experience where you are out on the water for 3 hours. The story of the porpoises and porpoise catch is exciting, and the nature is wonderful. The whale watching tours tell the story, and the AVENTURA and Mira3 have listening devices on board, so you can hear the porpoise’s special clicking sound.
"High praise to Aventura for a super experience. You have not promised too much when you advertise with top-class experiences. Extremely friendly and children-friendly treatment, as well as good information, we saw lots of porpoises, albeit from a distance, but it did not make the wow-effect less :-). It is fantastic to see the animals in their proper environment! Thank you, we recommend this very much :-) Thanks from Joan"