After spending a brief day in Christchurch, I headed to the coastal town of Kaikoura on the south island of New Zealand. We had the choice between spotting sperm whales or swimming with wild dusky dolphins in the ocean. Feeling a bit hungary for physical activity, I decided to jump into the sea with flipper. Everyone needs a little porpoise in their life, right?
It was an expensive trip ($145NZD gets you a wet suit, snorkel gear, boat charter, and all the hot chocolate & cookies you want after your swim) and I was a little skeptical of what we'd actually find out there. A 25 minute ride took us to a spot where we slid into the water and tried to "entertain" the dolphins into coming to us. You do this my making as much noise as you can (I did a lot of "mooing"), making eye contact with the dolphins, and swimming in circles.
The moment the first dolphin appeared under me, I freaked out with excitement. I circled around and around mooing, squealing, and gasping as I tried to follow it. As soon as the dolphins swim away, we race back to the boat to find another group. And what a group it was. Our guide estimated that there were at least 300 dolphins out and about. The curious little guys were jumping out of the water, swimming under and around us, and appearing to have a grand ole time watching us humans flailing in the water. It was beautiful. As tempting as it was, I resisted the urge to grab on to one for a ride.
On the way back to shore I caught a glimpse of the large albatross that inhabit the area. Their wing spans were as large as the dolphins below. After a much deserved nap in the late afternoon, I woke up to a steak dinner that Amy and Carlien had cooked up. Not a bad day at all and what a nice start to my south island adventuring. Next stop, Nelson.
(the photo above is of a sperm whale's tail taken by the girls on their whale watching trip)
Labels: New Zealand