Dolphin Swimming and final night in C'ch

Christchurch Travel Blog

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Getting ready for dolphin swimming


Final full day in NZ! Has it really been a fortnight, and over already?! My previous night's sleep was again BAD. Bad b'cos the French ppl staying in my room had to leave at 4am for an early flight out to Auckland, and all I remember is sleeping late last night, and within a couple of hours hearing bedside lights go on-off, lots of whispering, tinkering and steps everywhere. Some people don't realise that their whispers are louder than just saying the same thing in a lower voice.

Anyways, got up, met Paul on the way to breakfast and looks like he'd had a rough nite too. Or was it ...?;-) The bus to Akaroa arrived sharp 8:30am.

wild Hector dolphins, Pacific Ocean
I chose the express this time, so thankfully no stops at Agate collection museums (I'm still LOL-ing about y'day's experience) or at cheese factories. We reached sharp at 11:30am and my dolphin swimming was at sharp noon.

The thing that struck me was WEATHER. I swear, it was so sunny and clear skies in C'ch you could've counted the no. of clouds in the sky. All we do is cross those volcanic hills to Akaroa, and it's damp, cloudy and looks like we'll break into a storm anytime. Forget cloudy (everyone knows I love cloudy), the thing is it got cold with windchill and I'm going - "how the f*ck am I expected to swim in the cold Pacific waters now?". Also note, a lot of the cold currents blow northwards from Antarctica so even on a warm sunny day, the beach is still cold.

I ran into a Japanese family who'd just done the dolphin swimming (you could tell, they were gleefully looking at their pix from the swim) so I asked them how it was.

wild Hector dolphins, Pacific Ocean
They said nothing to worry, those rubber suits keep you warm and afloat.

It was 12 by this time, so after a few panoramic shots of the harbour, I headed to "Black Cats" for the swimming session. Everything was promptly done, you could never tell seeing how dilapidated the place was. We were ushered into a separate room where we were given instructions for both in-water and the swimming gear. Within minutes, we were on a speedboat and we rushed away into the Pacific. My word, it was COLD! And at a point, he stopped. Well into the ocean (as seen in the pictures below). The tides were high, you could feel it. First time I've been this far out into the ocean on a small boat (You don't feel tides when on a big cruise-type ship).

We were told that we have to power down the boat, and wait.

Akaroa harbour
Wait till the dolphins come. Mind, these are wild, untrained dolphins that love human beings so they'll know when humans are around. We spotted a couple, and were then signalled to jump into water. And stay a good distance apart. My jump into water was weird... it was cold, salty, I drunk a good amount of water on my first jump in. But got with the flow later. Those black rubber suits they'd provided us were amazing. When I wore them, I was thinking why are they so heavy and thick. But now in freezing seawater, I know why!

I really don't know what to make of the dolphin swimming - it was cool. Cool b'cos it's one of those stories you'd want to live to tell your grandkids. I could already imagine myself going back to office and proudly putting up pictures of myself with the dolphins, and explaining to one and all about the experience. At the same time, at *that* time in the water, it was a bit scary.

Akaroa harbour
All alone in the cold Pacific waters with the jetboat at a good distance. The dolphins don't give you any indication they're near you (they're very silent swimmers) and suddenly just appear out of nowhere, VERY close to you. And their breath is like a human's, after a long run on the treadmill.

Overall great experience. We were pulled in after 2 hours and returned to shore. Bought pictures, and grabbed the 2:30p bus back to C'ch. Slept the distance. Once back, I rested for a while, and met my new roommates (now that the French had vacated). One of them was Helen.

I shopped around for a bit, had dinner @ "Little India" and got back to the hostel thinking I'll call it an early night. But Helen was leaving for a drink, asked if I wanted to join the others and so I did. It was good fun. The other British girls were there - Emma, Bronwyn, Rebecca, etc and Dermus. We went to 'Saints and Sinners'. Had a few Speights before I called it a day at around 11pm.

I came back, packed, 1 final round of email and slept.

All I could think of was, am I really going home t'row? Going back?! Already???


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Getting ready for dolphin swimming
Getting ready for dolphin swimming
wild Hector dolphins, Pacific Ocean
wild Hector dolphins, Pacific Ocean
wild Hector dolphins, Pacific Ocean
wild Hector dolphins, Pacific Ocean
Akaroa harbour
Akaroa harbour
Akaroa harbour
Akaroa harbour
Christchurch
photo by: Fulla