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Nov 10

Seals and Whale Watch in Kaikoura

Today's the day, sunshine and blue blue sky. At first we drive to the Seal Colony, the first seal is already sitting by the carpark. From there we go the walkway. If you go, check the tides in the Kaikoura Visitor Centre. You can't walk along the shoreline during high tide. As it's still high tide when we arrive, we start with the Cliff Top Walk. The landscape is stunning and almost unbelievable. You walk over lush meadows and see the mountains in the north. Their peaks are more white than yesterday, because snow has fallen during the night. We walk along cow paddocks, the white beaches and the turquoise blue sea below.

KaikouraCliff Top Walk · more Kaikoura pictures more pictures

Steep wooden stairs lead down to a little peninsula with a seagull colony and a rock in the middle. Here we start walking the Shoreline Walk, which is only walkable now at low tide. Some seals, far away. The path becomes narrow and leads quite near to another seagull colony. Two birds seem to be concerned about their brood and circle close above my head, I decide to move on quickly. The water has backed away from the rocks by the carpark and some more seals are lying in the sun there. The 2.5 hour walk is wonderful and absolutely worthwile.

KaikouraShoreline Walk · more Kaikoura pictures more pictures

Now it's Whale Watch time. Today Ralph doesn't want to take pills against seasickness at all and prefers to spend some time in town. This time I wait for the affirmation of the trip first and then swallow the Kaikoura Crackers. At the Whale Station we get on a bus and drive to the South Bay harbour where we board the high speed boat. On the way we have to stay inside the vessel because of the high speed. The waves are high and the water and the surf splash at the windows. I can't see the horizon anymore and despite taking the pills I get queasy. Steadily the guide is talking through a microphone, whale movies are flickering on the screen. I begin to sweat and my palms get moist.

Then the boat stops suddenly, and all the passengers quickly run onto the deck. Waiting. Nothing. We go in again and continue at high speed. Then, finally: Two Sperm Whales. Near each other. Near the boat. They take their time, one of them blows a fountain. I wish I'd feel better and could just enjoy this moment. But I have to hold myself together not be get sick. The slow swaying on high seas feels worse to me than the speed. The next whale surfaces on the other side of the boat, I get there just in time to see the fluke.

KaikouraTwo Sperm Whales · more Kaikoura pictures more pictures

Two thoughtful girls from the crew realise my seasickness. With the intention of taking my mind off the rocking vessel, they tell me some stories – and also, that the pills against motion sickness don't work for some people. After a little time I recover. Some small, agile Dusky Dolphins accompany the boat and jump out of the water. I enjoy watching them without taking any photos, because I don't dare to look through the finder anymore. After that I'm happy to feel solid ground under my feet again. To sum up: I'm glad that I didn't know beforehand that I'd get so seasick, because I wouldn't have gone then ;-) But I've seen the whales and that was a great experience I won't forget. I think less entertainment on the trip would've been more pleasant. I don't like constantly speaking guides and flickering screens, but some people do. Altogether, the Whale Watch team did a good job and the crew was nice. The price for one ticket is NZ$130. You are guaranteed to get an 80% refund if your tour doesn't see a whale.

KekerenguIn Kekerengu again · more Kekerengu pictures more pictures

Ralph is already waiting for me at the train station and we drive to our beautiful spot at Kekerengu beach once again. While walking on the beach in the evening I see one more seal, relaxing in the surf. This time even without any information board ;-)

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