Whales in New Zealand

The day started early. One can not leave Kaikoura without trying to see whales in New Zealand up close. That is unless the day is stormy and one is suffering from seasickness.

Yesterday, we ended the day in the Fyffe Lodge, just outside Kaikoura. You can read about that food-themed day here. The hosts are very friendly people, the lodge was great, but the restaurant has had its better days. The host cooked us a meal last night, but the restaurant was nearly empty en we heard the sound of the microwave a little too often. If these hosts would stick to just managing this bed and breakfast, it would be a much better experience for guests (and hosts).

After breakfast, we went to the station where the whale watches are leaving. Arriving there, we couldn’t help noticing the signs warning for a rough sea and an increased risk of seasickness. You readers of our blog know that Vicky is one of these people that tend to be a little sensitive for that kind of weather. We decided last minute that Vicky would stay behind and that Koen would go alone.

And what an experience it was. We encountered a sperm whale (that’s a Potvis in Dutch), some dolphins whose names have escaped me (please comment if you know what species they are), we have seen the seal colony from the seaside and encountered a couple of Hector Dolphins. (fast little dolphins, hence no picture). Whales in New Zealand, check!

The tail of a diving sperm whale near Kaikoura, New Zealand
A dolphin jumps out of the water near Kaikoura, New Zealand

A stormy day like today is ideal to drive the 450 or so kilometers… not! The road was all but funny, we encountered floods, mud streams, fallen rocks, etc… When the elements in New Zealand have a special day, humans feel rather small. We were happy when we arrived in Tasman: it stopped raining and we were greeted by another great host. Our new home for the next days will be the Wairepo house. So lovely and calm, but the storm had taken out the internet – so more delay in uploading our pictures and updating the blog (It’s nice when nature sends one these little excuses :-))

A meal in the Apple Shed, a newly opened place in Mapua Wharf, was so lovely that we immediately decided to come back here tomorrow. Other plans for tomorrow: we have a booking to go by sea kayak to the shores of Abel Tasman National park, but even at the end of today the company that oversees the kayaks cannot give the green light for the tour. We’ll have to call them in the morning to find out how the weather will have changed (or not).

Tasman, New Zealand, the 18th of January, 2011


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  1. […] whale watching, and taking pictures of whales, it’s important to understand how they behave. Having a good […]

  2. […] morning, we had a good breakfast and the great company of Richard, the host of the Wairepo house in Tasman. We called the kayak company and all lights were green – we could go ahead and face the sea […]

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