With dreams to see whales, Kaikoura was on the list of places we had to visit! Recent cyclones almost put a stop to our journey there, because of severe damage to the surrounding roads that resulted in closures. Luckily for us, the main road reopened a few days before we arrived, phew!
The beach here is wild; it stretched endlessly before our eyes. Sauntering along it on the day we arrived, the salty wind whipped our hair as the waves pounded the shoreline, desperately trying to pull us into its foaming lair.
It’s a cute town, with sea-themed murals gracing shop and cafe walls, and striking sculptures in park areas.
At one end of the town, there is a huge expanse of flat rocks, like giant irregular pancakes stacked up. Navigating the cracks and crevasses, we stumbled across hundreds of New Zealand fur seals basking in the sun!
Gazing towards the horizon, we wondered how the seals and boats tackled these pretty high seas. We would find out for ourselves the next day, upon our whale watching tour!
Up bright and early, safety briefed, we boarded our vessel bound for adventure.
Now, the skipper is able to fairly accurately and cleverly predict where and when whales (sperm whales in particular, which are common in this area) will surface. They don’t use any unnatural signals, but simply listen for the whales underwater, as well as watch out for the blowholes that indicate a whale is surfacing and will dive back down after a few minutes. Everyone was on blowhole look out!
Adrenaline coursed our bodies, as excitement built. The joy of sighting a blowhole and, subsequently, the whale’s body stretching the length of our boat is indescribable!
The moment the mighty mammal’s tail began to lift into the air, flip skywards and finally disappear softly into the ocean was incredible. It was one of those face-splitting-with-smiles moments!
One whale sighting would’ve been more than enough for us, but would you believe it if we told you we saw three?!! How awesome is that?! If you’re on Instragram, and don’t already follow us, check out our video clip of the whale action; we’re listed on there as ‘travellingtamlyns’.
Skirting the bay, post-whale exuberance and as we came back down to earth, our breath was stolen again as literally hundreds (300-400!) of dolphins frolicked in front of our very eyes! We didn’t know where to put ourselves! They were under us, in front of us, behind us…wherever we glanced there were masses of the beauties; the sea was alive with their dancing! Absolutely phenomenal! We learnt that we luckily had the company of three different dolphin species: the rare Hector, dusky and common. This is apparently an uncommon event, as the tiny Hectors usually get picked on by the other species and therefore travel on their own.
Sorry that our photos can’t do this mesmerising occasion justice, but we had to put cameras down and just absorb this bewitching moment that will be forever ingrained in our memories.
Look, we don’t want to boast, and it seems obscene to continue, but we also enjoyed the allure of fur seals flipping in the ocean and basking on the rocky shores, plus tiny blue penguins swimming courageously over, what must seem to them like, rollercoaster waves.
This was one hellavu day!