Latest News at Dolphin Encounter
Dolphin Encounter® Update For April 2016
Welcome to the Dolphin Encounter® update for April 2016.
It’s amazing how quickly our summer season has flown by, however in saying that, the daytime temperatures have been unseasonally high, so no one would believe we are in autumn!! We’ve had an incredible season taking thousands of passengers out and introducing them to the world of the dusky dolphin. It has been by far one of the busiest seasons we’ve seen in years and we’ve had an exceptional team working hard each day to enable people to achieve lifelong dreams or “bucket list” experiences.
Sadly, as we near the end of our summer season, we’ve had to say goodbye to some amazing staff. Jade and Justin left early April, with Justin pursuing his important role as a lifeguard on one of Cornwall’s busiest beaches. Jade has just secured a fantastic opportunity working with manta rays in the Maldives, where the water temperature is definitely much more tropical than Kaikoura. Tarryn also returns to the UK to study marine conservation. It’s been a fun season with a team of passionate and enthusiastic crew and their presence will be sorely missed.
We’ve met many fascinating people including one American tourist who travelled to New Zealand for a mere 2 days, simply to fulfil her dream of swimming with dusky dolphins in Kaikoura. Luckily we had lots of dolphins for her to engage with and create an everlasting memory.
The dolphins have moved much further north and have been very close to South Bay harbour, with travel times a short ten minute journey away. This has enabled us to spend much longer with the dolphins with some great interaction.
Common dolphins have been busy hanging out with the duskies this month and although they have a preference to race around and bow-ride keeping up with the boats, they typically don’t interact with swimmers. We’ve decided that swimmers in the water are far too slow for the high speed common dolphins, but from time to time, the occasional common dolphin will engage with swimmers and this is something one of our guides Jess experienced recently while out on a swim on her day off. Being an experienced snorkeller, Jess is able to dive under the water, something that caused excitement with the commons and she had some amazing interaction with them. Common dolphins are an occasional visitor to Kaikoura with regular sightings of them this month. They are frequently seen in North Island waters possibly preferring the warmer waters.
Orca or killer whales have visited on three occasions. We’ve been able to recognise the pods travelling through due to distinctive markings on their dorsal fins with individuals known as A1, Nicky and Koru. Groovy is a local nickname due to the “groove” at the back of his dorsal fin.
The real highlight was on one of our final 0530 tours of the season. As the beautiful morning sky developed with the dawn orange/pink colours, a local commercial fishermen radioed to let us know that they’d seen orca. It wasn’t long before a large male surfaced closely followed by Nicky and another male. Nicky began rolling over on her back, pectoral fins raised high in the air and then began to tail slap. She carried this behaviour on for quite some time and was even seen tail slapping on the northern side of the Kaikoura Peninsula.
The presence of orca always creates excitement as usually very few passengers have encountered them in the wild before. On this particular occasion, one lady, whose favourite animal are orca, became emotional and had to “Face Time” her family back home to tell them the incredible news. No doubt her parents expressed their concern as to why their daughter was crying, however, once she composed herself and explained that the reason was due to orca and that she finally fulfilled her life-long dream of seeing them, her parents were very excited for her too.
So, that’s all our news for now.
Till next time..........
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