Latest News at Dolphin Encounter
Dolphin Encounter® Update for November 2014
Welcome to the Dolphin Encounter® update for November 2014.
Well spring has continued to be somewhat unpredictable with all sorts of weather including rain, hail, snow and sunshine. We are commonly asked if we operate when it’s raining, but as swimmers are kitted out in buoyant wetsuits and the dolphins live in the ocean, a little rain really doesn’t affect out tours.
The dolphins have continued to be found in various locations throughout the area including Goose Bay, Haumuri Bluffs and the Conway. Pod numbers have varied considerably, ranging from small scattered groups up to massive pods of up to 500 individuals. These large pods always have the 'wow' factor, but interaction can be just as amazing with small groups that choose to engage and play with swimmers.
Conditions have at times been challenging for swimmers and although we always recommend some prior snorkelling experience, we do provide a comprehensive snorkelling lesson on board and have an abundance of extra flotation devices for those who are a little nervous. The crew keep a watchful eye over swimmers at all times and are readily available to offer assistance as required.
Some of the large pods we’ve been privileged to work with have been seen with a few small dusky calves. It’s likely that the female feels comfortable introducing her calf to the larger open ocean going pods we frequently encounter. On occasion, females have been witnessed actively deviating from their course to bring her calf towards a swimmer, swim around them just once, and take her calf away as if to teach her calf the entertainment value of interacting with swimmers when the calf gets older. Some calves, clearly older ones, are also just learning how to jump and it can be hilarious to watch their attempts at mastering the art of acrobatic displays.
As well as being well and truly into our calving season, we’re still continuing to see competitive mating behaviour resulting in spectacular leaps and jumps. It’s a challenge for those trying to get photos of these aerial displays, but sometimes it’s nice to put the camera down and enjoy observing their antics without the pressure of trying to catch it all on camera.
Other marine life of interest this month has included 3 visits by the orca (or killer whales). Due to the transient nature of New Zealand orca, we simply never know when they’re likely to turn up and usually we receive radio communication notifying us of their presence, or we just happen to be on the water and glimpse their highly distinctive and enormous dorsal fins sticking out of the water. Sightings of orca always create such a stir, for most people they’ve never encountered them in the wild only seeing them on a television documentary or in a captive situation. On one tour, we were taking a large group of school children out on a wildlife tour to educate them on Kaikoura’s abundant marine life, when a large and friendly pod of orca surfaced. Three orca raced over to the boat spinning upside down at the rear of the boat much to the delight and screams from all those on board. This particular group of orca were well known to us including Koru, a large male who stranded in the North Island in May last year and was successfully refloated by the Orca Research Trust. It’s great to see him and know he’s still doing well and travelling with Nicky and her pod.
That’s all our news for now......so, till next time..........
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