Day 237 on the Road
Super Close Encounters the Dusky Dolphins of Kaikoura
Today we are swimming with wild dolphins in Kaikoura! If you thought this video was at least half-decent and want more inspiration for your New Zealand adventure, then why not head over to our epic YouTube Channel?! Go on. You know you want to.
Today is our first full day in the wildlife capital of New Zealand, Kaikoura. And our first activity is a pretty special one we are gonna be swimming with dolphins in Kaikoura so I cannot wait to do this.
So we’ve just arrived at Dolphin Encounter for a 5.30am dolphin swim best time of day to swim with dolphins.
While Laura is struggling to stay awake at this ungodly hour of the morning we are getting a quick briefing before hopping on the boat before even the sun comes out. It makes it for an amazing start of our cruise today.
We are speeding on the Pacific ocean as the sun is slowly rising. It makes for absolutely amazing Instagram pictures. If you want to see more of those pictures by the way, check us out on Instagram @NZPocketGuide.com.
But we are not here just for the stunning morning pictures we are here to spot of some dolphins. Kaikoura is world famous for its amazing marine wildlife it has a massive trench at the bottom of the ocean which makes it for amazing feeding grounds for so many marine wildlife. And we are looking today for the dusky dolphin.
And what’s really incredible is that after spotting one or two dolphins along the way we actually already found a pod of dolphins within about 30 minutes. And it’s a massive pod. It is called a super pod it’s when multiple pods of dolphins are coming together to solialise.
We cannot miss our chance we are strapping on snorkel, mask and flippers and jumping in the water.
Yes you heard it right. It’s not even 6.30 in the morning and we are already in the middle of the Pacific Ocean swimming with some massive amount of dusky dolphins. That is a dream come true.
If I wasn’t feeling awake before I definitely am awake now as soon as I hit that super cold water but thankfully we do have wet suits on, and we end up being super close to huge pod of dolphins and I am so surprised that how quickly the dolphins come to check us out and how close they get to us.
This tour might be called a Dolphin Encounter but feels more like a dolphin party with the amount of dolphins swimming and diving underneath us they’re doing lots of acrobatics inside the water and out of the water. And one of the tricks that the team at Dolphin Encounter told us to do is to look interesting to them. We have to dive into the water maybe sing through our snorkel and try to attract the dolphins to us but really we barely need to do any of those things cos they’re the ones that trying to look interesting to us.
It’s no wonder that Kaikoura is one of the best places to swim with dolphins in New Zealand and that’s because there’s this deep ocean trench that’s situated pretty close to the shored of Kaikoura and this trench brings different nutrients closer to the surface thanks to its complex network of warm and cold currents. It’s attracts loads of marine mammals not just the dusky dolphins but also whales, seals and so much more.
As I mentioned previously we are swimming with a massive super pod of dusky dolphins they are the most common dolphins to be found in the Kaikoura area. On other tours you may be able to see maybe some Hector’s dolphins, some bottlenose dolphins some common dolphins and maybe even some orca.
But for now we are swimming with the beautiful dusky dolphins they are really awesome and super playful dolphins they are probably the most playful dolphins that there is. And they are also really easily approachable because they are not too scared of us due to their really big size. They range between 165-195cm long making them roughly around our size to even bigger than ours so we are not looking too intimidating.
One of the things that really strikes me with this amazing pod of dolphins is how different our experience is from other swimming with dolphins experience that we’ve had before. They look like they are the ones that really want to interest us some of them are bringing us seaweed the other ones are jumping and making some massive flips in the air the other ones are dive bombing under us and appearing out of the blue of the water it’s really awesome and it’s a feeling that’s really unusual. Usually it is up to us to work really hard to be interesting but oh my God how reversed are the roles right now.
Pods of dolphins can make between 100 to 1000 individuals which is really big and that gives those dolphins a lot of personality each of them is behaving really differently because within such a massive social group they have to create their own personality to stand out.
And once more a really interesting fact about all those dolphins, there is between 12,000 to 20,000 of them all around New Zealand and it’s really impressive to see such a huge number cos their pregnancy is actually super long. Female dolphins get pregnant for 11 months before having a calf which makes it really hard for them to reproduce. I mean, that’s a huge undertaking.
That’s not to say that the male dolphins don’t get around. They’re super promiscuous and mate several times in a matter of minutes so that kind of explains why there are so many dolphins here in Kaikoura.
Despite there being so many dolphins, it’s really interesting how one individual dolphin will swim around us over and over again checking us out and they’re even making eye contact with us which just goes to show how intelligent these creatures are. It ind of feels like we’re having a personal connection with the dolphins like we’re meeting animals from another world.
It’s also amazing the amount of stuff that we’re actually seeing underwater. There are dolphins jumping out of the water, diving underneath us, we see mothers with their cute little calves swimming underneath their bellies and we also even see dolphins mating it’s like an episode of National Geographic happening right in front of our eyes.
If you feel like you’ve seen us in the water enough right now brace yourself we are actually staying in the water for over half an hour which is absolutely crazy because usually wild animals get a bit bored of us at some point and move on because they are obviously much better swimmers than we are and if they deciding that this is enough they just swim away and there is no way we can follow.
So we are sticking around with those playful dolphins for even longer it’s absolutely incredible how much time we get with them and how much we get to see and the team from Dolphin Encounter is absolutely amazing on top of keeping us safe and making sure that they have an eye on everybody they are shouting instructions at us on what to do to attract them or what not to do. How to make sure that we’re staying safe in the water and also to make sure to point us out where the dolphins are and when they are about to come toward us. It’s incredible how helpful they are.
It was a mind-blowing experience spending so much time with those dolphins and getting so close to them. We are just over the moon right now and as we are making our way back toward the Kaikoura harbour it looks like the dolphins did not have enough of us just yet. They are swimming next to the boat making some speed and jump on the bow it’s really cool and it makes us feel that we did not disturb those animals too much because if we were they wouldn’t stick around that much.
How amazing was that introduction to Kaikoura. Kaikoura is a wildlife hot spot and this couldn’t be more clear than at this amazing tour we’ve done today. But this is only the first day we’ve got so much more planned in the upcoming week we have whale watching, seal swimming, even llama trekking so make sure to stick around for the next few episodes.
What did you say?
I just said my bikini was so frivolous thank God I had the wet suit on.