Day 222 on the Road
Close Encounters with Dolphins, Penguins, Seals and more!
Today we’re joining Coast Up Close for a wildlife cruise in Akaroa. If you like this video and want to see more 365 Days: 365 Activities in New Zealand then just head over to our awesome YouTube Channel!
Today we’re gonna hop on a boat and see almost every single species which are living in the Akaroa Harbour.
As you can see we are pretty stoked to heading out onto the water again this morning as we’re gonna be joining Coast Up Close for a special wildlife tour around the Akaroa Harbour and outside of the Akaroa Harbour.
We are meeting our skipper and guide Tony who is taking us straight to the wildlife. The first thing we’re seeing is a little blue penguin which is the smallest species of penguin in the world reaching up to about 25cm tall.
As we’re making our way toward the end of the harbour, Tony spots a huge flock of terns or ternery of terns. These are beautiful elegant seabirds and they seem to be around a patch of fish right now so Tony is getting out his fishing rod and hoping to catch some bait so he can put that in his crayfish pot which we’re gonna be looking at later on in the tour. However, about 15 minutes later Tony is saying that it doesn’t usually take this long to catch a fish. The birds are doing a lot better than him.
However, we don’t care that it’s taking him forever cos we’re actually in a really awesome part of the Akaroa Harbour where we’re right outside of Cathedral Cave, a huge cave carved into the cliffs as well as Elephant Rock which is this natural archway.
Tony might not be good at catching fish today but he’s certainly good at finding us some more wildlife and next up is the Hector’s dolphins which are another tiny species of marine wildlife right here in the Akaroa Harbour, this one is the smallest species of dolphin in the world. Reaching between 1m to 1.5m.
There is only 7500 individuals left of the Hector’s dolphins making them an endangered species on the New Zealand watch list and Tony gives us a lot of facts about them including the fact that they are living up to 20 years old and only have four to five calves in their entire lifetime. That’s very little and this is why we have to take really good care of the few individuals that we are seeing right here in the Banks Peninsula.
The Hector’s Dolphins are also a perfect advocacy marine mammal because they are so cute everybody relates everybody wants to protect them and it’s kind of a great animal to showcase and get people to talk about conservation and this is truly what a lot of conservation groups are doing around the Akaroa Harbour they use the Hector’s dolphins to raise awareness in the greater marine mammal conservation world. It’s really good.
Yes, good on them. We see the Hector’s dolphins pretty regularly throughout this tour probably every 20 minutes they’re jumping up to the bow of the boat even jumping out of the water sometimes which Tony really knows how to do that for them by speeding up the boat so they get a lot of wave pressure and they just go shooting out of the water. It’s super entertaining to watch.
The Akaroa Harbour clearly is one of the best places in New Zealand to see the Hector’s dolphins although they are an endangered species around 250 individuals come into the harbour every single year and we are seeing them on the waters pretty much every day.
Tony’s going around the boat and telling us all individually lots of different facts and information and answering all our questions about the wildlife we’re seeing today. It’s not like a usual tour where you have a tour guide on a microphone giving a sort of generic speech but Tony’s really just making it an individual and personal experience and it feels more like we’re just having a boat trip out on the water with a local.
We’re now leaving the Akaroa Harbour through and exploring more of the hidden bays and inlets around the Banks Peninsula. One of these little inlets has a seal colony and we get to see them being super playful in this area.
Anna, one of the other tour guides on this tour, is pointing our some seal pups that she can see on the rocks we are super lucky to be here during the seal pup season and they are just so so cute and so fluffy.
It’s so rewarding to see these animals behaving in their natural environment and they’re acting as if we’re not even here. What’s really cool about these seals as well is that they can actually dive deeper and for longer than any other species of fur seal diving 200m and up to 10 minutes.
However, the seals here in New Zealand haven’t always been so abundant. During the 1800s they were hunted to the brink of extinction but thanks to conservation laws they’re now a protected species and they are thriving once again.
This seal gave us a real show. I think that it was its cleaning time so it was taking its bath, scrubbing its nose, scrubbing its fur, shaking itself. It was really awesome and everybody was in awe of this spectacle.
After taking the time to pick up Tony’s hat that flew in the wind, we are now heading to a beautiful sea cave. It’s a cave that has been carved by the sea right in the limestone of the Banks Peninsula it’s a majestic sight like no other.
So tony had enough of the sun, it’s pretty hot today so he decided to get a little bit of shade so we’re gonna stay here for a little while.
This Coast Up Close tour is definitely getting us real up close with the coast. We are now moving onto the next section of our tour which is gonna be checking Tony’s crayfish pot which is basically a trap that lures crayfish into it so Tony can eat them I guess. However, I’m pretty upset cos I didn’t hear Tony inviting us for dinner.
As soon as he starts checking his crayfish pot he tells us that there is something in it. He can tell by the weight and this crayfish is huge.
Tony shows us how to differentiate males form female in the crayfish world and also tells us more about the activity and life cycle of the crayfish. They are really abundant in the Banks Peninsula.
The rest of the tour is gonna take us back through the Akaroa Harbour once again because we are making our way to the anchorage point of the boat.
This is an amazing tour and if you want to see everything that the harbour has to offer almost every single species we actually got to see them today. It was absolutely brilliant.
Today we doing Coast Up Close.
Maybe I shouldn’t do it without laughing afterwards.
Today we’re doing Coast Up Close.