Dolphin Encounter News
Dolphin Encounter Update February 2012
Welcome to the Dolphin Encounter® update for February 2012, the last update for summer.
Sadly, we’re still waiting for summer to arrive this season. It’s been such an unpredictable summer that we’ve barely seen the sun and have experienced lots of rain, wind and even snow. I’m not sure that we are ready for autumn quite yet! As the mornings slowly become darker, there have been a few spectacular sunrises as the sky turns a fiery orange and the sun emerges from the ocean, a photographer’s paradise.
The dolphins have continued to be good to us being located in consistently large pods of at least 200 individuals. They have been located close to shore in areas known as Goose Bay, Oaro and the Mikenui. These locations are within a comfortable 30 minute journey away. On occasion, the dolphins have been so close to land that they have drawn crowds along the beach and stopped traffic on the state highway.
Interspersed amongst the duskies, we’ve caught sightings of common and Hector’s dolphins. The common dolphins preferring to surf the bow wave whilst the Hector’s either join in or shy away. It’s awesome to have different species of dolphins and even better if they’re swimming together to enable to people to spot the differences without having a have a trained eye. The Hector’s dolphins have taken great delight this month in actively interacting with the boat. Being one of the smallest and rarest salt water dolphins in the world, it’s a privilege to see them. We don’t encounter Hector’s dolphins very often and in fact on only 5% of our tours, so it’s extra special for the crew too.
The water temperature still sits at a comfortable 16°C, although swimmers still feel that instant cold water shock as they launch themselves into the water and the water trickles into their wetsuits. It only takes a brief moment to warm up though as the excitement of hundreds of dolphins swimming past distracts swimmers and prompts them into their dolphin entertainment phase. We’ve seen some amazing interaction this month and have had many comments from swimmers regarding dolphins with particular markings or colourations staying and playing with them the entire time they were in the water. We ask swimmers to entertain the dolphins using a variety of methods as this is more than likely increasing the chances of some form of interaction. Certainly by being active in the water makes life interesting for the dolphins and it’s an amazing feeling to realise that you can temporarily make a friend with a wild dolphin....definitely one to cross off many people’s bucket list!!
Orcas have visited the area 4 times this month and passengers have had some incredible views of them as they have approach the boat time and time again. The orcas here are transient in their nature so they don’t live in the Kaikoura area and are therefore sightings are unpredictable. We have seen individuals this month known as Nicky, Koru and Rudie distinguished by their distinctive dorsal fins.
Other noticeable events have been some spectacular sightings of large tides of squat lobster as well as one one occasion we had a cape petrel taking time out on our boat and having a quiet nap, oblivious to all that was going on around it!
So, that’s all our news for now.
Till next time..........
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