A Look Back Over August 2017
See you next year Winter! We’re taking a look back on the last month of Winter here in New Zealand for 2017, and catching you up on some of our recent sightings during August.
Winter treated us well here in Kaikōura. It’s been another month in paradise with beautiful sunsets and sunrises complimenting the snowy Kaikōura Ranges and making for some epic days on the water full of sunshine and refreshingly crisp air.
Semi-resident Sperm Whales that we were able to view throughout August included Tutu,Slice, Holy Moly, Tiaki,Matimati and Aoraki. We’ve been seeing these guys for 20+ years on our tours off the Kaikōura Coast, and it’s great to still be able to see them hanging out in the Hikurangi Trench after all this time. Many transient Sperm Whales, who we haven’t seen before, also were sighted on this month’s tours and were welcome visitors to our region.
We had quite a few other visitors during August, making for some extra special tours:
2nd August 2X Humpback Whale
2nd August 1X Blue Whale
3rd August 1X Humpback Whale
9th August 2X Humpback Whale
12th August 2X Humpback Whale
15th August 1X Humpback Whale
24th August 4X Orca
In total, we saw eight Humpback Whales this month, much lower than last month which is to be expected due to their Great Annual Migration from Antarctica to the Pacific Islands drawing to an end. We’re currently in the transition months from viewing these whales to having Orca, the largest of the dolphin family, visit our shores. We can’t decide what’s better – the Winter season of viewing the most acrobatic whale species in the world or the Summer season that brings with it the wolves of the sea? You decide! Either way, any time of the year is a good time for whale watching, especially with our 95% success rate and Sperm Whales being in our region all year round.
One of our most exciting encounters this month was hitting the whale trifecta! On a single tour we saw three species of whale – Sperm, Humpback and Blue! This is a very rare occurrence for us and one not often achieved, making for a memorable trip for both our passengers as well as our sea crew.
As with all our tours, when time allows we take time to view other species of marine life that live off the Kaikōura coast such as Dusky Dolphins, Hectors Dolphins, NZ Fur Seals and the many marine bird species.
Bird species sighted during August included; Wandering Albatross, Royal Albatross,Bullers Mollymawk,Shy Mollymawk,Grey Headed Mollymawk,Black Browed Mollymawk,Cape Petrel, Giant Northern Petrel,Westland Petrel,Grey Faced Petrel, Hutton Shearwater,Sooty Shearwater,Bullers Shearwater,Fairy Prion, White Fronted Tern,Black Back Gull Black Shag, Spotted Shag and the Australasian Gannet.
Our whale watching vessel, Tohora, has been the only vessel operating this month while our other three are waiting patiently up in Wellington for our marina to be repaired and upgraded. Each morning we unload Tohora from our modified trailer over at South Bay and load her back up in the evening in time with high tide.
As the snow-capped mountains melt and the trees turn to bloom, we’re extremely excited to see what our Spring tours have in store for us! Longer and brighter days are on their way, and gearing up to be a great few months ahead for us.
We’ll check in with you at the end of September for another marine mammal sightings update.
The team at Whale Watch Kaikoura