Sunday, August 24, 2008


Well we left Blenheim early and headed down to Kaikoura, with one of the most spectacular drives I've ever been on. Highway 1, (which, don't be fooled by the name, is a 2-laner) rides the east coast all the way to Kaikoura. I can't even really describe it, but it's just this turquoise water, crashing onto these big, black, volcanic rocks and onto the beach. Just the sheer height and force of these waves is truly stunning and overwhelming. Then you let your eyes travel upward and rising out of the water is just this green, green grass on snow-capped mountains. The pictures just don't even do it justice. But it was truly spectacular.

So once we got to Kaikoura, we were on to the activity that I was most looking forward to... WHALE WATCHING!! We got on the 10:30 trip out (a choice of 3), which is typically the most successful. It was cold, and a little rainy, but I didn't care... this was my thing!! We were "oriented" on the boat and then we were off (with a seasickness warning level of "high"... Dad, you would not have lasted 10 minutes... no offense). We had been out not even 10 minutes and our crew spotted our first sperm whale (the one with the flat front)!! I was so excited I could barely even contain myself... I ran out on deck and there it was! Kind of far at that time, but you could see it blowing through its blowhole and once we got closer, you could see from its nose to the back of its dorsel fin... HUGE!! We really didn't get a good look at the back of it, so it was kind of hard to tell exactly how long it was, but you knew it was enormous.

Once it decided to duck under the water, we were off again, and it only took about 15 minutes to find our second whale, a Kaikoura regular, named Little Nick and the show really started. Little Nick swam around a little bit, but mostly just posed for pictures until he prepared for his "dive" under water. We all readied our cameras and Little Nick lifted his head a little bit, and dove deep, lifting his back out of the water a bit and giving everyone on the boat an outstanding "tail shot"!! Soooooo COOL!!

We saw one more whale, returned to the spot where Little Nick went down and saw him one more time (about 40 minutes after he went under), and then, much to our surprise and complete delight, we found a pod of Dusky dolphins! Now when I say pod, I don't mean 5, 10, or even 20 dolphins... No joke, there had to have been 75-100 dolphins completely surrounding our boat!! From far away we couldn't even really tell what they were because there were so many of them, we almost didn't believe it. It was totally awesome and a great way to end our whale watching excursion!

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