Whale watching

Kaikoura Travel Blog

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Whale begining it's dive

Kaikoura (meaning roughly "Eat Crayfish" in Maori) is known to be one of the best places in the world to view whales.  There are Sperm Whales here all year round, there are also many other whales that visit during the rest of the year - Blue Whales, Southern Right Whales (which we had seen at Peninisular Valdes in Argentina) Minke whales and Humpback Whales amongst others.  The deep shelf leads to a sudden and dramatic drop in sea depth which makes it a very good feeding ground.

We had an early start (although the benefit of this was to see the sun rise over the Pacific) before being hearded on to a bus and heading to the boat.  It wasn't long before we were out at the right sort of depth and Captain Jim used his whale locating tool to listen to them  "singing" in the depths (and hopefully soon on the surface!) and eventually we saw the white spray of the blowhole of a whale on the surface.

Seal yawning with the Kakoura Mountains in the background
  We moved out there in time to see it floating majestically on the surface, before arching it's back and giving everyone the "whale tale" shot for their photo collection and disappearing below the surface for round about 45 minutes.

Despite us having seen whales before, it was every bit as exciting to see these magnificent creatures again.  We saw 4 whales doin' their thang, seemingly unbothered by the presence of the boat before we headed back to land.  On the way. we saw a pod of Dusky Dolphins with a couple of Common Dolphins playing - just like the dolphins in the Doubtful Sound, they came from quite a distance away to come and see us and play around the boat.  It is always great to see the dolphins as they always seem pleased to see us and put on a show!

In the afternoon, Jeremy went kayaking with seals.

Another sleepy seal
  The water was very calm (unlike in Abel Tasman Park!) and the seals that came into the sea were very curious and came over, continually moving through the water in a corkscrew motion and showing the sort of grace that they don't seem to have on land.  They can be agressive on land because of their ungainly movement, but in water they are very much at home and display a different sort of behaviour.

We walked around the Kaikoura headland, although unfortunately stumbled across a sleeping seal on our patch, which meant that we couldn't get around him and we had to walk all the way back - quite a lengthy detour!

Kaikoura really does have a broad spectrum of marine life, from the massive whales right down to the creatures in the huge rockpools.  A nature-lovers dream destination!  We were surprised at how much Kaikoura had to offer - it is in a very pretty setting with beautiful views around the headland and over to the Kaikoura mountains. 

After a few nights here we headed back down through the Canterbury Plains to Akoroa, which was to be our last stop outside Christchurch before we head off to Sydney and on to Asia.

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Whale begining its dive
Whale begining it's dive
Seal yawning with the Kakoura Moun…
Seal yawning with the Kakoura Mou…
Another sleepy seal
Another sleepy seal
We think its a heron of some sort…
We think it's a heron of some sor…
Seal relaxing near the rockpools a…
Seal relaxing near the rockpools …
Dusky Dolphins, Kaikoura
Dusky Dolphins, Kaikoura
Whale starting to slip down to feed
Whale starting to slip down to feed
Whale starting to slip down to feed
Whale starting to slip down to feed
Last sighting of the whale!
Last sighting of the whale!
Albatross - this bird was huge!
Albatross - this bird was huge!
Dusky dolphins
Dusky dolphins
Cormorants / Pied Shags
Cormorants / Pied Shags
Seal.  Kaikoura
Seal. Kaikoura
Rock pools of Kaikoura
Rock pools of Kaikoura
Sunset at Kaikoura
Sunset at Kaikoura
Sunset at Kaikoura
Sunset at Kaikoura
Seal on rocks just next the the Nu…
Seal on rocks just next the the N…
Just South of Kaikoura
Just South of Kaikoura
Just South of Kaikoura
Just South of Kaikoura
Kayaking - Kaikoura
Kayaking - Kaikoura
Kayaking - Kaikoura
Kayaking - Kaikoura
Kayaking - Kaikoura
Kayaking - Kaikoura
Kayaking - Kaikoura
Kayaking - Kaikoura
Kayaking - Kaikoura
Kayaking - Kaikoura
Kayaking - Kaikoura
Kayaking - Kaikoura
Kayaking - Kaikoura
Kayaking - Kaikoura
Sun rising over the Pacific before…
Sun rising over the Pacific befor…
Thar she blows, maties!
Thar she blows, maties!
Dolphins at the front of the boat
Dolphins at the front of the boat
Kaikoura
Kaikoura
Is it a stork, is it a heron?!
Is it a stork, is it a heron?!
Seal - he watched us for ages walk…
Seal - he watched us for ages wal…
Kaikoura
photo by: bluemarbletreader