Kaikoura is the place in New Zealand to see whales, I’m told. So I booked myself on a (not cheap) whale watching trip. They do 13 trips a day and I wanted to be on the trip that saw the most whales. Though the booking agent said that the whales were equally active at all times of the day, she mentioned that the sea was calmer first thing in the morning. So I booked the second trip of the day – which required me to be at their office at 6:45 am for a lot of farting around before we were on the water at 8:00 am. I was looking forward to seeing heaps of sperm whales, orcas, and possibly a shark or two, just as people had the day before.

We saw two sperm whales. I paid $130 for two hours on the water and two whales. I’m still trying to determine whether it was worth the money. Particularly as, after speaking to a number of people who did the same trip on different occasions, they also saw the same two whales (they’re identified by the unique shape and markings on their tail flukes). I’m starting to think they were mechanical. Am I too cynical? Also, there were no orcas and no sharks. Sigh.

But we did see lots of dusky dolphins and several albatross (pictures over on Flickr). That was great.

Sperm whale - Kaikoura
The second whale (yeah, I can’t load pictures up in their correct order) about to take a dive.

Sperm whale - Kaikoura
One of the whales doing riveting stuff. Like… breathing!!

Sperm whale and whale watching boat - Kaikoura
We were in a boat just like this one. At one stage there were three of these boats watching the whales. Watching them breathe. Taking photos every second. Snapping away at a big grey thing that looked like a massive piece of driftwood.

I am a cynic, aren’t I?

Sperm whale - Kaikoura
The first whale (Little Nick – so named because he’s got a couple of nicks in his tail fluke), heading down. We would spend about 10 minutes sitting in the boat, just waiting for the whale to dive so we could get this one shot.

I did have a great time. So I suppose it was worth it 😉


2 thoughts on “Whale-watching

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