Day 226 on the Road
Dolphins + Sailing = Fox II in Akaroa
Today we are experiencing the Fox II sailing tour in Akaroa with lots and lots of Hector’s dolphins! If you like this video and want more 365 Days: 365 Activities in your life then why don’t you just check out our epic YouTube Channel? Go on! It’s Ok!
Today we’re going to be sailing under the magnificent red sails of the Fox II. Argh, Foxy.
This morning we are waking up in the Bank Peninsula and it is a stunning morning. The main jewel of the area is the Akaroa Habour and Laura and I are absolutely in love with but today our activity takes us on the water on the Fox II.
What happened to Fox One? that’s what I wanna know.
The tour starts of Daly’s Wharf which is the oldest surviving wharf in the township of akaroa. We learn that from Roy which is our skipper and super knowledgeable tour guide. We’re not eve out on the water just yet and Roy is already giving us super insightful information about everything that is surrounding us. It’s absolutely incredible how much he knows about the area.
As the oldest town in the Canterbury region there is a lot to unpack during this tour we’re passing historic sights like the Akaroa Lighthouse which is weirdly situated in the middle of town rather than in the edge of the harbour. Roy also tells us about the French history of the town as well because the French were the first to arrive in Akaroa so it’s kept that heritage but apart from the history there’s also a lot of wildlife in the Akaroa Harbour which we’re seeing today.
What wildlife do you expect to see today?
Well if it’s anything like the other ones I would say we’ll see some Hector’s dolphins, we’ll be seeing some shags I can see one now, we will also be seeing some terns, some little blue penguins and maybe some albatross if they’re still around.
Once the sails are up and we are gliding peacefully along the Akaroa Harbour Roy is putting on some music. We just think this is for some sort of ambiance to our trip but apparently it is his little trick to attract wildlife.
As soon as I see the dolphins coming close to the boat I am grabbing the rope ladder and making my way on top of the mast. This is going to be the best spot to view all the dolphins surrounding the boat.
The boat is entirely surrounded by heaps of Hector’s dolphins. It’s crazy how many there are. I’ve never seen a pod of more than 10 individuals and right now I can count 19 from the top of of my mast.
The Hector’s dolphins are endemic to New Zealand and are actually the world’s smallest dolphins. So in my book they are the world’s cutest dolphins because what’s small is cute right?
They are actually a very endangered species with only less than 7000 individuals in the wild. The Hector’s dolphins are facing multiple threats which are taking to the brink of extinction sadly but they are found only around the South Island of New Zealand so it’s much easier to protect them as they are concentrated into such a small area.
On the North Island there is a sub species of the Hector’s Dolphins called the Maui dolphins and they are even rarer with only 55 individuals left in the wild.
Those Hector’s dolphins are super playful around the boat and this is because the bow of this massive sailing boat is extremely different from most of the motor boats which are running around the Banks Peninsula so it makes it for a much more interesting boat to them and so they are much more attracted to it. It’s really fun to see them weave in and out the bow. And it’s also really cool to see them so close to us we are literally within a metre from them and from that distance we can actually notice how small they are the Hector’s dolphins are actually very small dolphins they only reach 1.4m at a maximum.
Also from this distance we can see the features of these dolphins which makes them a bit different from other species of dolphins in New Zealand for instance they have a round dorsal fin as well as black markings on their fins, tails and faces.
After at least 30 minutes of the dolphins hanging around they sadly decide to swim away leaving us to do the rest of our sailing tour around the Akaroa Harbour.
We’re getting much closer to the coastal cliffs of the harbour which have been formed by various volcanic eruptions over the years and you can tell this with each layer we can see into the coastal cliff.
These cliffs are also home to various other wildlife as we see seal pups and shag colonies as well.
Another thing we can’t help but notice is just how blue the water is around here and that’s because all the sediment taken from glaciers in the Southern Alps has been washed into the ocean around the area of Akaroa.
And while slowly sailing on these beautiful turquoise waters we spot some more tiny wildlife which are the little blue penguins these are the smallest species of penguins in the world.
The little blue penguins are quite abundant in the Banks Peninsula and especially around the Akaroa town. We spent two days learning more about them with the team from Pohatu Penguins and it’s quite impressive how our skipper, Roy, succeeded to spot those really small penguins across the massive stretch of water.
But although the wildlife is tiny between the tiny dolphins and the tiny penguins the landscape is grandeur there are gigantic caves surrounding the whole Akaroa Habrour and we are arriving in Cathedral Cave.
The reverberation of the music played by Roy make it all sound like a real cathedral it’s real awesome.
On our way back toward the Akaroa Harbour we are served a little bit of tea and a bit of a snack just to help us warm up because despite the fact that it’s a beautiful day on the Banks Peninsula it has been a little bit chilly because there is a lot of wind so this refreshment is very much welcome at the end of our tour.
Camera. Action. Action. Action action action….
You spent far too long indoors today.