Marine Mammal Spotlight - Blue Whale

Kaikōura plays host to not only the largest of the toothed whales – the sperm whales all year round but we also play host too many other species of whales and dolphins as they migrate past our coastline one of which is the mighty blue whale.

The blue whale is the largest animal known to have ever lived on Earth and is the largest mammal in the world. These massive creatures are ginormous from the moment they are born and continue to add to their girth throughout their first year. A blue whale calf weighs two tons at birth and gains an extra 200 pounds each day of its first year.

Blue Whale Side View

Blue whale - largest animal on the planet

Blue whales are able to breathe air, but they are very comfortable in the ocean waters where buoyancy helps to support their incredible bulk. They can move along at great speeds in short bursts which can make them hard to watch at times. Here is a short video of one of those beautiful creatures that one of our crew managed to capture. Blue Whale passing through Kaikoura

These mammals are found in all the world's oceans and often swim in small groups or alone. They usually spend summers feeding in the polar regions. 

Blue Whale 4

Thar she blows!

These giant creatures feed on tiny shrimp-like animals called krill. Blue whales are baleen whales and feed through a comb-like filter of some 400 plates equipped with bristles to capture tiny morsels of food as the whale swims. When in full feeding mode these whales can eat up to 3-4 tonne of krill in one day.

Krill Side View

Krill - a small crustacean that the blue whales feast upon

Blue whales are the loudest animals on Earth! Their call reaches levels up to 188 decibels. This low-frequency whistle can be heard for hundreds of miles. The blue whale is louder than a jet, which reaches only 140 decibels! Human shouting is 70 decibels; sounds over 120 decibels are painful to human ears.

Only a few thousand blue whales are believed to swim the world's oceans. They were hunted for many years for their blubber and oil, and they were almost hunted to extinction. In the 1930-31 season alone, whalers killed almost 30,000 blue whales.

Blue Whale 7

Baby blue whale sighted on one of our tours

They were protected under the 1966 International Whaling Convention and are now considered to be an endangered species. 

Fun Facts

Blue Whale 6

Given their name due to their blue colouration.

Kaikōura’s Summer weather has been a treat this past week, making for some epic sea conditions and amazing clear sightings of marine life out on the water.

It seems like Tiaki and Tutu, two of our favourite whales to see out in the Canyon, have been getting reacquainted since they’ve reunited, as this marks the second week in a row that we’ve seen catching a breather up on the surface and diving down to feed together. Looks like they missed each other as much as we missed them whilst they were away!

Other semi-residential Sperm Whales we saw this week included Mati Mati and Aoraki as well as many transient Sperm Whales who are constantly drawn to Kaikōura due to the abundance of food on offer. As with the majority of our tours, we sighted NZ Fur Seals, Hectors Dolphins, Dusky Dolphins and a variety of seabirds including the Great Wandering Albatross.

Who else is planning to kick start their Summer with a whale watching tour? Bring your family and friends along too and make it an adventure! Buy a whale watching gift voucher or, better yet, check out our Marine Combo deal! Get above, on and below the water with a scenic flight, whale watching boat trip and swim with the dolphins! The ultimate gift this Christmas and one of the best ways to make some lasting Summer memories.

Don’t forget, State Highway 1 North is re-opening this Friday afternoon. And yes, the world famous Nins Bin caravan will be ready to welcome you back! So if you’re making your way along the Coast, stop to enjoy the warm weather, soak up the scenes and take in this incredible new landscape that Kaikōura is quickly becoming known for. They’ll be serving freshly caught crayfish and all that other good stuff including mussels, whitebait and the classic Kiwi fish n’ chips right on the beach – does it get any better?!

ROAD ACCESS UPDATE

There is a possibility of short delays with it being 30km/hour through parts of the route. The full rebuild of the highway will continue in 2018. Check the NZTA website for road updates before traveling. INLAND ROUTE 70 IS OPEN 24/7.

KAIKOURA BUSINESS UPDATE

Kaikōura is open for business. For latest updates on accommodation, restaurant and retail information please contact the team at the Kaikōura I-Site who will be able to help you find what suits your needs during your stay in Kaikōura. 

ORGANISED TRANSPORT OPTIONS FROM CHRISTCHURCH

Hasslefree ToursCanterbury Leisure Tours & Kaikoura Express have daily services from Christchurch to Kaikōura with a return service from Christchurch. Kiwi Experience now have the option of a day tour out of Christchurch for their travellers. Intercity Bus also provides a bus service between Christchurch and Kaikoura return.

Progress on the work being done on the roads (along with harbour repairs) can be found on the dedicated Kaikoura Earthquake Response page provided by the team at NZTA. This page is updated weekly on Fridays. Work is also underway on the railway network, please be aware and take care when using rail crossings.

The team at Whale Watch Kaikoura.