Swimming with the smallest and rarest dolphins

Trip Start Feb 26, 2010
Trip End Feb 26, 2011

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Where I stayed
Okains Bay Campground

Flag of New Zealand  , Canterbury,
Thursday, November 11, 2010

Erica woke up and did her sneaking out of the van trick with all the duvets a few knee drops and a couple of door slams, the time was 6am so that was me up, she obviously nipped to the loo and went straight back to sleep. I moved across to the camp kitchen to stay out of the way and did a bit of writing and charging. We had a breakfast of chocolate rice pudding (this was our emergency rations). We then headed back into Akaroa to do our midday dolphin swim. Whilst Erica was tremendously excited I was not overly excited. Having cancelled the rafting due to financial issues the thought of spending 60 each was making me a bit sick. Hectors dolphins are the smallest and rarest dolphin in the world as well as being one of the shyest and least likely to interact with humans.

Anyway we rolled up in Akoroa a bit early and just lazed around in the glorious sunshine. The temerature is about right for us being about 24 or 25 degrees. It soon became time to don the wetsuits and jump on board the boat. The small talk between fellow customers was non existant to be fair with everyone keeping themselves to themselves, before long we spotted about 3 dolphins near the boat, after explaining that we have to wait for the dolphins to decide they want to play instead of feeding which they have to spend about 70% of their time awake doing. It seemed quite obvious they were feeding so the skipper soon made us move on. We then found about another five who were jumping and swimming right up to the side of the boat. Chomping at the bit Erica was first into the water and the dolphins hung away a little bit just checking her out (which I think I was still doing) as I still hadnt got into the water. There were about 8 of us in the water and at one point we must have had about 20 dolphins around us (when I say around they were swimming within about 10cm of us at one point I had three swimming around me at once so fast). The lady would spin around with them screaming and the dolphins just seemed to love this game.

We also had a spanish lady in our group who just could not stop screaming and laughing and was almost crying. It was a crazy hour or so in the water which just went so very very quickly. It had been another truly magical day in New Zealand and this to be fair had been one of our highlights. Indeed it had been so good that the skipper suggested this had been the best and most interactive day with the most dolphins in a few years. Well that has pretty much seemed to sum New Zealand up we seem to have been so fortunate in all the things we have done with weather and nature.

We then headed back to campsite and cooked up our last meal of red curry with a bit of cheese and olives and half a pie each mmm nice combo. We finished off the rest of our wine and listened to some tunes in the end forgetting to pack our bags. Oh well that is a job for tomorrow now.
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