Kaikoura - the Serengeti of the Ocean
Off Kaikoura, a small village on the East coast of New Zealand you can see the dusky dolphin – considered one of the real acrobats of the sea. These dolphins often make leaps and jumps to boggle the mind and love to ride on the bow of the dolphin-watching boat. They hunt for squid at night, so during the day they come together in large groups and spend the day in close to the coast, where they sleep, socialise and play. You might also get lucky and see the Lissodelphis – a strange looking dolphin without a dorsal fin. These long, sleek dolphins are usually found well-offshore, but occasionally come to feed on the squid with the dusky dolphins. The abundance of food, swept to the surface by the cold ocean currents, brings a wide variety of marine-life to Kaikoura. This includes the mighty sperm whale – the largest of the toothed whales.
Sperm whales also feed on squid, but at all hours of the day, and usually go on dives for over an hour. When they return to the surface for air, it takes them a while to catch their breath. It is this time that we have a chance to see them, resting and blowing at the surface. Then it is a quick flick of their tail and off they go, down to the depths again, often to over 2 km deep! In the winter, the stunning backdrop of snowy Southern Alps, with a sperm whale tail, or a bunch of dolphins swimming past is an amazing sight and a photographic opportunity of a life-time
Kaikoura is also known as the sea-bird capital of the world, and a whale or dolphin watching trip also boasts views of giant albatross and tiny Pintado petrels, as well as New Zealand fur-seals. You can take helicopter trips to watch the birds, cetaceans and seals from the air, or if you wanted to meet dolphins in their own environment you could take a boat trip.