Watching the whales

Trip Start May 20, 2010
Trip End Sep 05, 2011

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Flag of New Zealand  , South Island,
Saturday, November 20, 2010


Day : 190
Temperature : 20 degrees
Weather : Cloudy

It was hard to appreciate the sunrise at 5.30am, but it was beautiful. We packed up and headed into Kaikoura with Harold. Luckily, the weather for our trip was perfect. The seas were flat calm and there was barely any breeze.

After our safety briefing, our group were taken by bus to a nearby bay where we boarded the boat. We whizzed out to sea at some speed and after approximately half an hour we stopped to "listen" for whales. Well, the captain stopped to listen for whales using an underwater microphone. There were none there and so we moved on. After another 20 minutes we stopped once again. Apparently a whale could be heard in the depths below, and now it was a case of waiting for it to surface.

Everyone was very excited. I was trying to disguise my retching from the sea sickness that I was feeling. It was very embarrassing. The conditions were excellent and the sea looked like a mirror, but there I was, grey in the face, groaning at the back of the boat with a sick bag in hand. I couldn't give a toss about the seal that we saw, the wandering albatross or the flock of shearwaters, let alone the whale!

After another twenty minutes bobbing around we were informed that the whale could be spotted on the surface. The boat gradually approached the whale as it rested on the surface, recovering from the exertions of its dive. Overhead a light aircraft circled repeatedly, no doubt giving customers a spectacular aerial view.

Despite my waves of nausea I have to say that this whale was pretty spectacular. It remained on the surface for about 15 minutes, periodically spouting water from its spout. And then its head dipped below the surface, its tail flipped above the water giving everyone that classic “tail fin out of the water” shot, and it disappeared into the depths once again.

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