Day 241 on the Road
Up-Close to Kaikoura’s Sperm Whales
Today we are joining Whale Watch Kaikoura to see the amazing sperm whales of Kaikoura. If you like this video and want more inspiration for your New Zealand bucket list then don’t miss our 365 Days: 365 Activities over on YouTube!
So today we are embarking on a boat to check out some whales real up-close.
We are waking up especially early this morning because we are joining the team from Whale Watch Kaikoura so after watching a quick whale documentary we are hopping on the bus.
Early morning bus driving. That’s the best way. Sunrise bus journey.
The bus journey is really short though and it’s a stunning one since the sun is slowly rising. As soon as we arrive on the harbour we are giving our tickets and hopping onto the beautiful boat. It’s an absolutely amazing catamaran which has been purposely built for whale watching and this one here is Tohora. It’s basically a private cinema we have leather seats beautiful huge screen and commentaries from one of the staff which are telling us all about the whales around but hey we’re here for the marine wildlife.
Hey they might not be whales but we’re super stoked to be seeing some dusky dolphins and these are the most common type of dolphins found in the Kaikoura area they’re super playful and they’re really giving us a show. They’re jumping out of the water and they’re really attracted to the boat as well.
We spend about 5 to 10 minutes taking heaps and heaps of photos of these amazing dolphins
We could stay here and watch dolphins all day. Cos they’re not really going anywhere but the team from Whale Watch Kaikoura are reminding us that we are here for the whales and there are some whales up ahead so we’re getting back into the vessel and speeding on.
Sadly the whale that our captain has spotted was on its last breath on the surface of the water and is now back underwater. So we need to use the latest technology to find more whales to check out.
Because sperm whales use sound waves and clicks created by the spermaceti oil in their head to communicate and stun prey we can use a sound wave detector to find out the rough location of where they are and where they might pop out to the surface and that’s exactly what our captain is doing right now.
However, he cannot hear anything right now but while we’re here we get the chance to check out more wildlife there is some beautiful albatross. You can’t really go too far away from the wildlife when you are somewhere in Kaikoura.
What do we want whales. When do we want them? Now!
And just as Laura is getting impatient we finally spot our first sperm whale.
Everyone on the boat is super excited as we can start to see the first spray on the horizon coming from the whale’s blow hole. We get in for a closer look to see this huge ocean giant. it’s one of the largest well it is the largest toothed predator in the world and you can just see parts of it’s body coming out of the water at this angle but the most impressive part is when the tail comes up and it goes in for its deep ocean dive.
Seeing a beautiful huge sperm whale so close was absolutely amazing but our captain is not done just yet. He really wants to find us more whales to check out so he brings up the tech again and finds in no time another sperm whale resting at the surface.
After feeding at the bottom of the Kaikorua Canyon for about 45 minutes each whale goes back to the surface to breathe and rest for about 10 to 15 minutes which gives us plenty of time to observe them. It’s absolutely fascinating to see them just slowly float at the surface and slowly breathe it’s really cool and it gives us so much time to check them out before seeing the beautiful fluke that they are showing us before plunging all the way to the bottom of the canyon again.
The world famous Kaikoura Canyon is what attracts all the whales in the area. It creates a massive currents with a tonne of food and sediment for those whales and this is why we saw so many of them today. It is basically one of the best feeding grounds in the Southern Hemisphere for sperm whales.
As we are watching our third whale of the day we are actually getting an amazing view of the fluke patch which is left behind by the whale when it dives into the water. We get super up-close to the circular placid water which shows that the whale is pretty much diving vertically right down into the ocean. it’s something that I had no idea happened when whales dive so it’s a really awesome thing to check out.
Believe it or not, this is not our final whale of the day we time to check out one more whale which the captain can see on the horizon. We speed towards the whale while the narrator is giving us commentary the whole time and the really cool thing about the narrator giving us commentary is that he can tell us the best time to take the perfect photo of the whale diving into the water and slowly lifting it’s whale fluke. it’s the perfect shot that everyone wants to get.
The slow dive of the whale just emphasises how giant these sperm whale are. They’re about 12m long as adults and we’re just left in awe of these amazing ocean giants. We’ve got so many photos of them today. Our cameras are full to the brim there is no memory left. And now we’re heading back on to the whale watch kaikoura bus and back to base.
So this morning [phone ringing]. Can you hear that or no? Ok, just gonna wait a minute. Alright so this morning…