Kaikoura Part 1

Trip Start Sep 06, 2004
Trip End May 22, 2005

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Sunday, May 1, 2005


We left Christchurch at 8am and had a long drive to Kaikoura arriving early afternoon.
A combination of the Pacific Ocean, deep trenches and underwater canyons up to 3 KM in depth that are only a few Km's away from the shore and a marine environment that is so rich in nutrients makes Kaikoura an amazing place full of Marine life and the main reason that people come here.
The town it's self is very small and is basically there for the tourist.
We had many activities to choose from including whale watching, swimming with seals and/or dolphins and flying a plane.
I chose to go whale watching and to fly a plane. Yes I know but I thought that this time if I was in control of the plane it might be better. But more of that in part two.

First the Whales.
I had time for some lunch and then I made my way down to the whale watch center.
We paid our money and headed onto the boat. Our guide explained the local environment and why the whales love the place so much. While we watched a short video the boat headed out to the trenches on the screen you could see the depth of the ocean, it was very strange to see the depth drop so steeply so fast.
The boat was full of equipment for tracking the whales and other boats were already out and passing back last sightings etc.
Within a short time we had a whale on the surface and were racing towards it, you had to stay inside the boat while it was travelling, but we were aloud out as soon as it stopped.
It was a very exciting trip to our first whale, as soon as we drew along side it the doors were opened and we were allowed outside, I was speechless.
I knew that sperm whales were big and that they can grown up to 20 meters and weight 45 ton's, but nothing prepared me for seeing one up close and personal. It was massive and you only get to see about 30% of the whale lying on the surface, there other 70% is below the water.
The beautiful creatures spend most of their time below the water feeding, they can stay down for 2 hours and then they resurface for air staying up for up to 20 mins. This is when we get to see them. The spray they send up is amazing.
Its really hard to show the true size and beauty of these creatures in a photo, especially when there is nothing to gauge their sizes against.
After watching the whale for a while our guide told us to get ready for the tail shot, as he would be diving soon.
As you can see from the picture it is a gorgeous picture.
On our trip we were really lucky and saw three sperm whales and several pods of dolphins.
I'm not much of a dolphin fan (penguin killers) but the pods we saw blew me away. The first pod were Hectors dolphins, our guide told us that from the radar there were about 200 hundred in this pod. They are very small dolphins and were all over the place.
The second pod we saw were dusky dolphins and the pod was so large it was classed as a super pod, on the radar the pod spanned for nearly 4 km and there were thousands of them. All jumping and messing around, for as far as the eye could see there were dolphins.
This was an amazing trip to see so much beautiful and stunning marine life was wonderful.
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