Latest News at Dolphin Encounter
Dolphin Encounter® Update for October 2014
Welcome to the Dolphin Encounter® update for October 2014.
Spring has been far more unsettled than the entire winter and while we’ve enjoyed glorious “summer” like days, these have been closely followed by plenty of windy changeable conditions, typical of the change in seasons. It’s always best to be prepared for the 4 seasons in one day in New Zealand!!
Although the dolphins have begun to move closer to shore and towards South Bay harbour, their movements have been a little unpredictable with some travel time on some days being as little as 15 minutes and on other days travel time has been up to 1 hour in each direction. The dolphins on a few days have even been located to the north of the Kaikoura Peninsula, which is not a regular location for them to be found, but great to go north and enjoy the change in scenery.
We have already begun our early morning 5.30am tours, an invigorating time of day! While most people are fast asleep at that time of morning, early risers have been treated to spectacular sunrises and incredible dolphin interaction. We are frequently asked about which time of day is the best trip to undertake and if you can 'drag' yourself out of bed early for one morning, the rewards are truly amazing with passengers grateful that they made the extra effort. It’s a beautiful time of day in the early morning with stunning morning skies and incredibly friendly dolphins. The duskies at this time of the day are making their way inshore to spend their day socialising and resting. We often wonder what the dolphins think when a boat load of swimmers in wetsuits comes along and they find themselves interacting with strange wetsuit clad beings! They do always seem curious and seem to enjoy swimming amongst the swimmers, but of course we will never really know the answer to this question.
Spring is an important time of year for the duskies with some early sightings of young calves swimming very close to the females generating gasps of excitement from our passengers on seeing these tiny newborn calves. We don’t swim with these youngsters, but the females have on occasion brought their calves into the swimmers as if to show their calf off to the swimmers, or maybe to teach their calf that there’s an abundance of amusement to choose from when they get older!
As well as calving season, it’s the main mating season. We’ve witnessed lots of competitive mating groups characterised by impressive high leaps and jumps as the males pursue the females. Sometimes these jumps happen in full view of swimmers giving them a spectacular view from the water as well as delighting our spectators on-board.
Other species of interest this month have included Hector’s dolphins, common dolphins and the largest dolphin species, the orca or killer whale. The orca have visited 4 times this month with some incredible views from our boats. Their presence caused so much excitement that even one of the owners of the company, Dennis was motivated to jump on his boat for a spot of filming in order to obtain some remarkable footage and photos. Orca are the main predator for the dusky dolphins and this can mean that on some occasions the dolphin behaviour is simply not suitable to swim with. Our recent sightings however have seen the orca feeding on stingray and even one orca almost presenting a huge groper to our sister vessel Encounter II while she was out watching the magnificent albatross.
We have recruited two further guides this month and their sea crew training is well underway. Jenny comes from Scotland and Min comes from Australia. Our new seasonal crew have had a great introduction to the wealth of marine life in this area and look forward to learning and sharing their passion for the marine environment throughout the summer season.
That’s all our news for now. So, till next time..........
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