Seals: you’re bound to see them lying on rocks all over the coast of the South Island. They’re likely to fill up your camera lens sleeping on “Seal Rock” in Milford Sound, playing in rock pools on the Otago Peninsula, getting pecked by weka birds at Cape Foulwind… But in Kaikoura, you have the opportunity to see another side of the New Zealand fur seal. In Kaikoura, you can actually swim with them! We are super stoked to say that is today’s activity!
As a common theme on this trip, we rock up to our activity for the morning tour. Before you groan at the thought of getting up early during your “holiday” side of your working holiday or backpacking trip, perhaps it actually is the best time of day to do a wildlife trip in summer. If it’s early enough, you get a stellar sunrise mixed with the activity of dolphins after they have finished feeding their calves, or the seals still lively after their nocturnal summer feeding (according to a DoC summary of seal’s behaviour). Of course, wildlife does whatever the hell it wants to do and all our amazing wildlife sightings could happen all the freakin’ time, but maybe a morning wildlife encounter might just be worth noting!
A natural wildlife encounter
Today is no exception, as we rock up to Seal Swim on the main street of Kaikoura. We meet Vanessa and her Seal Swim team who first emphasise that this is a wildlife tour and that everyone is aware of what they are getting themselves into. (Basically, this is not a seal show with seals jumping through hoops in a wildlife park – Kaikoura is a lot more classy). Then it’s time to get suited and booted for a swim in the… relatively… cold South Pacific waters.
We squeeze into to sexy thick wetsuits with a hood, booties, fins, mask and snorkel. All we need to do is remember all our gear – something Robin seems to struggle with.