Ciarán & Elaine's Travelog

Monday, August 21, 2006

Swimming with Dolphins - Kaikoura

We spent a few days chilling out in Kaikoura. Stayed in a lovely hostel (Dusky) with a swimming pool, sauna, spa pools and even a thai restaurant - that's my kinda hostel! We also met up with Ciaran's friend Dave which was really great but the big highlight of Kaikoura was definitely swimming with about 300 dolphins - wow!

We booked a trip with Dolphin Encounter and set off in the boat in search of dolphins. For some reason (which I can't remember) they normally get huge pods of dolphins in this area. We were on the afternoon trip but that morning they had had a pod of 300 and in summer they often have up to 1000! I couldn't wait to see them!

A spotter plane went ahead to look for them and after about 1 1/2 hours (too long for some people getting sick over the side!) we reached them.

It was the coolest thing ever to see them jumping through the air, doing crazy acrobatics. There were so many of them I didn't know where to look first. The boat stopped in the centre of the pod and it was time for the first group of swimmers (two groups of 13) to go in. We were in the second group so had to wait for them to get out - felt like forever!

When it was our turn we slid off the back of the boat and looked straight down into the water (we had wetsuits and snorkling gear). Under the water there were hundreds of dolphins darting around. The guide told us to make screechy high pitched noises and swim in circles as this makes them curious and want to play. Looking down in the sea and seeing ten dolphins trying to play with you, circling around you was just amazing. Then you look up and all around you they're jumping and diving - WOW! They are the cutest things ever and a major highlight of the trip - wish I could do it everyday! Click here for a tiny video of them...


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