Latest News at Dolphin Encounter
Dolphin Encounter® Update for June 2016
Welcome to the Dolphin Encounter® Update for May 2016.
We officially finished our summer season with the busiest season on record. It’s been an outstanding season with great dolphins, awesome weather, lots of tourists and a determined team who have worked endlessly to ensure the smooth operation of our dolphin tours.
May has been another successful month with fantastic weather and lots of university groups participating in our tours. May can be somewahat changeable weather wise, however this year it has been perfect. For some of the University groups, dolphin swimming is kept as a surprise until the night before, so they arrive super excited not having slept much the night before and ready to embrace the challenge of swimming in the cold Pacific Ocean and attempting to engage with wild dusky dolphins. These students have been highly active in the water swimming in circles and diving down and singing tunes to the dolphins. The duskies have been highly responsive to these manoeuvres engaging and playing with swimmers until the horn blast signifies the swimmers return to the boat often with a dolphin swimming closely behind as if to encourage them to play for a little while longer.
With the onset of the winter season, we no longer operate our 0530am tours due to lack of sunlight and fewer tourists at this time of year. We have been steady with bookings on our 0830 and 1230 tours with the morning tours being the most popular due to the calmer sea conditions and generally dolphins being located closer to South Bay Harbour than the afternoon tours.
One of our swims this month was right in close on the Kaikoura Peninsula and we even included a swim with the New Zealand fur seals who were quite abundant close by...what a bonus for our swimmers!!
As the ocean temperature cools, we’ve brought back the popular gloves and boots in addition to our 2 piece 5mm wetsuits and hoods to keep swimmers just that little bit warmer. We’re still offering hot showers at the end of the swim and the warming hot drinks for the photo session are hugely popular.
We’re also running a promotion throughout winter for those booking a tour with Encounter Kaikoura direct or through the Kaikoura I-site. For each successful tour, passengers will be issued with a voucher entitling them to free entry at Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools & Spa. A great way to relax and warm up after a refreshing tour on the Pacific Ocean.
This month has been another exciting month for orca or killer whale sightings. It’s a common question to be asked how often we see orca and typically they are seen during summer, but due to the transient nature, we never know when they’re likely to show up. This month 3 different pods passed through Kaikoura. The main and easiest method of identifying each individual orca is through markings on their dorsal fins which can be highly distinctive and unique to each animal. One male orca know to us as “Groovy” was observed feeding on groper which attracted a lot of attention from scavenging seabirds that raced in to try and steal his catch. It was an amazing wildlife extravaganza and great to see orca hunting in association with seabirds in their natural environment. The other pods observed are not known to us and ID pictures were taken to pass on to the Orca research team for further identification. For further information on New Zealand Orca, see their website: http://www.orcaresearch.org/
The Westpac Helicopter Rescue conducted excersises with our Kaikoura Coast Guard just off shore of South Bay, giving a good spectacle for residents and onlookers.
So, that’s all our news for now...till next time..........
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