Kirsty & Nick's New Zealand Adventure travel blog

Sperm whale (some of it anyway)


Hard to catch on camera, those pesky dolphins

Last night was pretty quiet. The gulls woke us at about 5am, and we too, a quick loo visit that seemed to scare them off, so we slept through until 8.30. The weather today was cloudy and cool and after a leisurely breakfast we decided that the best thing we could do on such a day was go whale watching. I know, I know, we just swam with the dolphins yesterday, but how often are we likely to have such an opportunity.

So we went into town and booked in on the 16.00 trip and then went to the butchers (our new best friend) and bought some sausages for lunch and steaks for dinner. Well, who knows where our next meal is coming from!

The whale watching was amazing, and a much more sedate affair than scurrying around after the dolphins. The same short bus journey as yesterday, to the same launch point and onto a catamaran. This one however was a little more luxurious, as it didn't have to tend with wet swimmers. We travelled out for about 15 minutes, then they killed the engine and listened over the side (aquaphone) for the sperm whale's sonar. They know pretty much what they are looking for, as the same sperm whales tend to hang around in the same spot. They dive down for food for about 40 minutes, then come up to the surface for air for about 10 minutes. The trick is to spot the whale as soon as possible to get the most viewing time. I would say they did a pretty good job, given only a small percentage of the body is visible from the surface (less than 10% I think). So we watched 'Little Nick' (not named after Saint Nick but because he has a little nick in his dorsal fin) for about 10 minutes as he took in as much oxygen as he could. Then we watched as he majestically stuck his huge tail up in the air and sunk down to the depths again.

Then we spent about half an hour or so watching the dusky dolphins again. Fewer than yesterday but just as boisterous. After a while I gave up trying to take photos and just took it all in, they are really entertaining creatures.

The boat then went back for Little Nick's next feed. It took a little while to spot him and what was really amazing was that as we waited, all eyes on the seas, everyone (about 40 people?) was silent. It was like being in a library. It was passed six by then, and really chilly, but it was very serene. Then someone spotted him, we rushed over, and everyone went quiet again as we watched him. All you could hear was the sound of peoples' cameras. We didn't really bother with pictures by then, because we were looking right into the low sun, we just tried to enjoy the moment!

On the way back we stopped by a seal colony and also to take in a couple of huge albatross.

The trip was really good, and very informative. Lots of information on the marine wildlife and natural history of the area. An excellent complement to yesterday's excursion.

Lovely steak for dinner. Cooked on the barbi and enjoyed with red wine, asparagus, mushrooms and a tomato salad.

Tomorrow we head north. Hopefully the weather will hold off because the clouds are really cloudy.

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