Hi guys, Sarah and Savannah here,
Today, we got the opportunity to go dolphin watching in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Kaikoura. In the beginning of the tour, the dolphins were slow and not really showing up, but as the morning went on we started seeing them everywhere we looked. We also got to watch the captain of the ship throw out fish guts in a little net to lure in the Albatross while 6 different species came and feasted. This bird has the largest wingspan of 3 meters or 9 feet. This food lured in some other bird species that included petrals, shearwaters, and red billed gulls. We got to see around 5 of the larger albatrosses fly in and see their wingspans in its entirety, which was really amazing to see just how big they actually were. We then released the fish guts and continued on our search for dolphins.
As we continued on to the rest of the tour we encountered two species of dolphins, which included the dusky dolphin, and the common dolphin. The dolphins started appearing left and right in their pods. We even were able to see some baby calves and the mother dolphins at a different point in the tour that was closer to the shoreline. Our captain had told us that the dusky and common dolphins would sometimes mate together and have an offspring that can’t reproduce (like a mule). We then headed back towards shore and looked at dolphins occasionally jumping out of the water, while admiring the view of the mountains around us. We then stopped in at the gift shop at the Kaikoura encounter main building. We then headed back to the bus and had lunch before returning to our hostel for a presentation from Lisa Bond.
At the hostel we met with Lisa Bond who works for a whale watching company here in kaikoura, and she said she has been working with the company since the 1990’s. She shared with us how the company started and how it is all maori owned.. The company got a start up cost of $100,000 and they started with an 8 person vessel boat to go out and look for whales. They have now expanded and have many more boats that can fit up to 48 people. They are currently designing a boat that can seat 116 people for the whale watching tours. Lisa shared with us about the earthquake in 2017 in Kaikoura, that had completely cut the city off for one year before reopening the roads back up. She had said that the seabed had risen a few meters, and it had really changed the coastline. The company had lost a lot of business and many lost their homes due to the earthquake.
After the presentation with Lisa, we boarded the bus once again and headed north where our bus driver Chris was taking us to see sea lions. We had to walk through some very aggressive winds, and some rocky terrain on the coastline to reach the sea lions. Once we made it to the area, we were able to see a lot of sea lions chilling on the rocks.
We even got the chance to see a few baby sea lions laying on the rocks. It was a really cool thing to experience and see. The whole day was an experience that I think none us us will forget about.