Thursday, 23 January 2014

Day 47 Whale Watching

There were three things I wanted to do in Kaikoura, I only had time for one because of the weather delays but I'm so glad I picked Whale Watching as it was so incredible!

Kaikoura lays claim to having one of the few ocean Canyons in the world which combines the nutrient rich icy southern waters with the warmer northern waters to create an area of ocean which supports and incredibly diverse range of sea life. The most exciting of which, I think, is the largest toothed whale, and fourth largest whale in the world, the Sperm Whale!
 The iconic shot of the whale diving and the kaikoura mountains as a backdrop!

You have a choice between boat, helicopter or plane to locate the whales with the most popular being boat, not only because it’s cheaper, but because it’s the more successful way to find them and the closest you can get to them. On average Whale Watch average at one or two sightings for each 2hr tour- mainly because Sperm Whales can dive for up to an hour and only surface for ten minutes or so before heading down to incredible depths of 3000metres. But I got 4 whale sightings! 4!
 The first glimmer of a whale surfacing is when they blow out some steam! It's really hard to spot out at sea but you can see in this picture a plume of steam!
Our first whale of the day!
There’s usually two boats on the water as well as a helicopter and they all communicate to let the others know if they’ve seen anything or in our case, heard anything (there’s a microphone the crew bring out and place underwater to locate how deep the whales are).
 This was another boat which helped us find this one, you can just see, hopefully, that the whale's body is about the size of the boat - excluding his tail!
 It was very cool to get to see whales in the wild, especially as we got to see so many, we saw one whale twice, we tracked down another, and then just as we were heading back to land one appeared right next to us giving us a quick glimpse of his tail as an added surprise! There was a strange thrill in trying to find these rather elusive mammals as you really only have a few minutes to fly across the waves to spot the whale before it dives and you've lost it for another hour! 
 This was usually our last glimpse as they dived!

I should probably mention I was in a dark place for most of the two hours. I was hunched at the back of the boat with 8 others, grasping our sick bags for dear life. It wasn’t so much the sea as such (I really am getting better at boats….) It was the fact we’d zoom off to a sighting, stop, set off again, stop.. and the stopping was bad. Really bad. The boat was being battered whenever we stopped moving…

Finding some beautiful flowers certainly made me feel slightly better!
Some shags I stumbled across while tried to calm my stomach!

Seeing the whales made up for how awful I felt on the trip, only just though. As the rest of the day was spent on a quiet corner of the beach bemoaning my terrible ability to handle motion sickness, and avoiding anything which sold food as the smell made me feel awful. So I spent around 8hours feeling like a dying zombie, but it was worth it!
Possibly my favourite photo from the beach :)

Tomorrow I’m off to Picton for the night and then I start my journey to reclaim my suitcase (which is turning into a fiasco as everyone has gone home for Christmas and suitcase is being held hostage by Bernard) and catch my flight… And yes mum, catching my flight and getting home ‘in one piece’ is my priority!

No comments:

Post a Comment