Latest News at Dolphin Encounter
Dolphin Encounter® Update for August 2015
Welcome to the Dolphin Encounter® Update for August 2015.
Well officially this is the last month of winter, so we are hoping for an improvement in weather conditions as we have had quite enough of these cold, wintry, days.
This month has been very similar to last month with tours dictated by weather and dolphin behaviour. Pods of dolphins that we’ve encountered have been located in a variety of areas, covering both summer and winter locations. As a result, travel times have been varied with some days, the dolphins being only 10 minutes away, while on others, the dolphins are located up to one hour away.
Enormous pods of dolphins have been located in the area making it easier for our dedicated team of “spotters” who go up every morning onto the Kaikoura Peninsula or vantage points down the coast in order to locate the dolphins for our tours. Pod numbers have been high this month with pods averaging 400-500 dolphins. On some occasions, estimates have been as high as 700 dolphins - a phenomenal sight. Duskies have been located both to the north and south of the Kaikoura Peninsula, offering passengers and crew a different perspective of the Kaikoura coastline.
The water visibility has been incredible, giving not only swimmers a great look, but also enabling watchers to enjoy the dolphins without feeling “left out”. While swimmers are enjoying the dolphins company, spectators are free to move around the boat, including the bow, which is one of the best places to watch the dolphins from. As the boat slowly travels through the water, it creates a pressure wave on which the dolphins are able to surf. Spectators are able to enjoy watching the dolphin’s bow-riding creating excitement as some dolphins roll over on their sides, “eyeballing” the watchers, it’s an incredible sight!
Main concerns in winter for swimmers are usually focussed around how cold the water is likely to be? The water temperature this month has been chilly, averaging a rather cool 9°C, but our two piece 5mm suits do a fantastic job of keeping people warm. It’s always worth being psychologically prepared for that initial cold water shock, but once you are in the water surrounded by dolphins, your mind gets distracted from the cold water. On conclusion of the swim, or for those who can’t stay in the water for the full swim duration, the hot water hose on board followed by hot chocolate or chicken soup, is a great way to warm up.
It’s always hard to point out a dolphin that looks different to the rest and on a few tours this month, there’s been one dolphin that’s quite different from all the rest. The crew have given him the nickname of “Jonah”!!! This individual is a melanistic or black dusky dolphin. Melanism is caused by the overproduction of the pigment melanin. Black duskies are mainly seen during the winter months and we used to believe that there was only 1 individual, until we saw two together last winter. It can be almost impossible to point out a single dolphin, but fortunately this month, Jonah has been seen on at least 3 occasions performing some great high leaps and jumps for all to see.
Take a look at this video on YouTube filmed by our own Dennis Buurman, just to give an insight to the dusky dolphin experience.
So, that’s all our news for now. Till next time..........
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