Swimming with Dolphins

Trip Start Aug 10, 2007
Trip End Dec 27, 2007

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Sunday, September 23, 2007

We woke early from our picnic spot just outside Kaikoura and we headed into town to check in for our Dolphin Encounter.

We got our wetsuits, gloves, goggles, snorkels, hoods, fins, boots etc., watched a quick video explaining we would be swimming with wild dusky dolphins and so this meant we would not necessary find any, and that they may not wish to swim with us ................. so they gave us a few tips on how to entertain the dolphins and try to ensure they hang around, if there are any!

It was cloudy and drizzly as we headed off to South Beach.  We boarded our catamaran and were reversed into the sea on a trailer.  The boat then shot off towards the Pacific Ocean, out of Kaikoura's South Beach.

We all moved about the cat, hopeful that we would in fact find some dolphins to swim with.  Jules and I went up to the top deck and looked with the captain.  Then, excitement, he had a radio call to say there were some Dusky's off to the right.  We were all asked to get ready, get all our gear on and sit on the back of the cat.  The siren then went off (the signal to gently slide into the water so as not to scare the dolphins off).

We slipped into the water and began to swim, not knowing what to expect ................ then suddenly a shadow moves under you and before you can even react, a body flies past your face .......... a dolphin!! 

What an experience - as we swam, the dolphins came from all directions and swam around us, over us, under us etc.  Some come very very close and you can see into their eye.  We were told to make weird noises through our snorkels and to try and maintain eye contact, as this would help to keep them interested in us.  Well we were squealing and swimming round in circle, trying everything we could to keep their attention, and they stayed!

Jules and I had taken her camera and sealed it in the underwater case we had bought in Cairns and now we were trying to take photos underwater with it.  The dolphins were so quick that this proved quite impossible - I have included a few of the photos we took underwater, just so you can see what they look like.

It is hard to describe in words what it felt like.  To look into a dolphins eye as it swam around you is something quite special and hard to describe.  I had this huge stupid smile on my face all the time and every time I looked for Jules, she was also smiling and making weird noises for all her life!  We had a few moments to laugh and swop the camera before we were down again and swimming with the dolphins.  We swam and swam and swam, and eventually we were all called back to the cat.  I did not hear the siren, but realised it was time to go when I was the only one left in the water.

We jumped out our suits and were having hot chocolate while trying to describe to each other how it felt. 

The captain then took us near the dolphins and we were able to video and photograph the pod from up above.  The dolphins put on a great show for us and were acrobatically throwing themselves all over the place.  Jules was adamant it was the female dolphins trying to get attention who were doing all the fancy tricks in the water.

We watched for a long time, took lots of photos and video, and then we were heading back to shore.  We managed to see a huge albatross fly by and we sailed into a massive flock of Hutton Shearwaters who were all floating on the surface of the ocean.  They flew away as sailed into them, the strange thing with them is that they fly inches above the water's surface, something to see to believe!

Then we were back and sitting here writing this for you ............................ we're now off to sample Kaikoura's namesake (Kaikoura in Maori means "meal of crayfish").  We are having a BBQ crayfish with rice for lunch from one of the local fisherman who braai's them along the roadside.

After that we're off to Akaroa (near Christchurch) and then on the 26th it's all over and we leave for Auckland.  New Zealand's South island has been one highlight after another and we will always remember so many things about our great journey around this wilderness in the monster! 
Slideshow Report as Spam


beling- on

Hi greg and jules
what an experience! rob and i were still saying that that is one thing we would love to do,go where u can walk on the ice and thro the ice like that, looks awesome.showed dad the fotos now and he just shakes his head, not something i think he would opt for! how suprising! well all i know is that the more i look at the fotos the more i want to travel, u two should be tour guides when u get back. yes, bronwyn did say that there r no direct flights to nashville, so when u fly there will be one connecting flight, she had to check with dad first but he said he doesn't care he wants to go even if its only for one nite. i think that he is starting to get excited about this trip, tells me that he had better sort out all his credit cards because he is taking little clothes in his bag, he's bringing back cd's and a cowboy hat! want to c that one! he is reserving one whole bag just for u and jules so that he can bring back your 'stuff'. your papers arrived from the uk for the car, i have been in contact with gary and will be seeing him next week. have made copies of everything that is in the envelope. ok, then, keep on enjoying yourselves and have loads of fun. can't wait for the next pics and comments. lots of love michelle

beling- on

from the moment u told me that u would be swimming with the dolphins, i have been so excited for u and from what u wrote and the pictures, it didn't dissapoint!! it looks fantastic and to be so close to them must have been awesome. just sitting here in awe with tears in my eyes seeing u in that wetsuit, miss u.
lots lof love me

wendykay on

Hi Greg and Jules
Jules, you have really fullfilled a childhood dream by swimming with the dolphins...we can always remember you wanting to do that from a very young age. Tomorrow we are off to Haga with Brad &La, so we will be away from the farm until Sunday. We will have our cell phones with us. I see you leave Auckland tomorrow. I take it you then leave for S America, which could be a culture shock after being in Oz & NZ!!! Keep on enjoying & God bless you & keep you safe on the next leg of your journey. Love you lots. Dad & Mom xxxx

beling- on

Hi u two
hope that u have arrived safely on the other side of the world!! just a quick note, we have decided that we r going to throw a new years eve, 40th, welcome home party on the 31st December. food and dj already organised, venue=16 edge road. our question to u two, is who u would like us to invite on your behalf ? let us know so that we can get the ball rolling so long. ok, chat soon, be careful over there, i believe that u have to hold on to everything else it will be stolen in a flash!! lots of love me

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