From Picton I travelled to Kaikoura, a small city at the east coast of the south island. I already booked my whale watching tour a couple days in advance. The whole time I stayed in Kaikoura the weather was just perfect and very warm, except from the day I went whale watching. On that day the sky was completely covered in clouds.
But it could have still been worse. After a short security briefing we went onto the boot. The time on the water was about 2 hours.
We first drove offshore to deeper waters where the spermwhales usually feed. The captain used a hydrophone (an underwater microphone) to locate a wahle. Spermwhales use clicking noises to locate obstacles and other animals in the very deep and dark water, what enables us to locate them.
Sperm whales can grow to a length of 20 meters and can dive for about 80 minutes.
So we had to drive and check for their noises in turns, after about an hour we maneged to locate a whale who was about to dive up for a break.
And there he was, the largest of the toothed whales. Unfortunately we could only see a small part of him, as you can see on the pictures. It felt very good to see such an amazing animal with my own eyes, after about 20 minutes the whale went back under water and greeted us with his tail fin.
I really hope to do whale watching somewhere else, where you can see the whales jumping out of the water. The whales near Kaikoura come there to feed and stay a long time under water, so they just dive up to regenerate and don’t do anything awesome.
On the next day I wanted to swim with dolphins, unfortunately there were no more tours available. Thats why I decided to do a seal swimming tour(definetely recommendable: see yourself). Which happened to be even more exciting than the whale watching. We got all the snorkel gear provided, including wetsuits. The water was quit cold, but with our gear we could stay about 1 and a half hour in the water.
We drove to a seal colonie on a huge rock in the water. After less then 10 seconds in the water the first seals approched to us. They were not feared at all, none of the guides fed the seals to get closer or anything. They were just in their natural environment.
So there I was, swimming in the ocean surrounded by 20 seals playing around. Some of them swam about 20 centimeters up to my face and dodged in the last second.
I will never forget this unbelievable close to nature experience.