A Look Back Over November 2017
Throughout November we saw semi-resident Sperm Whales Jonah, Spotty Tail, Zeus and Aoraki. We also continued to see transient Sperm Whales on our tours, the sheer size of them was very impressive. They tend to be on the larger side of the Sperm Whale size spectrum, reaching up to 20 metres in length – much longer than our whale watching vessels! Can you imagine being out on the water with a creature so big?
Kaikōura is home to Te Rohe o Te Whānau Puha, a whale sanctuary that provides a large feeding ground with a thriving eco-system. So it’s no wonder we had quite a few other visitors during November, making for some extra special tours:
11th November 5X Orca
14th November 9X Orca
14th November 150X Pilot Whale
14th November 20X Bottlenose Dolphin
15th November 1X Humpback Whale
16th November 1X Humpback Whale
17th November 1X Humpback Whale
19th November 1X Blue Shark
27th November 2X Blue Shark
One of our favourite outings during November was seeing Orca. When the days get hotter and longer, you know there’s the chance of seeing Orca on our tours. Tuesday, the 14th of November marked exactly 1 year on from last year’s 7.8 magnitude earthquake that raised our coastline and changed Kaikōura forever. What better way to celebrate 1 year on than with Orca!
At the official marina opening, which consisted of a dawn service, a blessing, the unveiling of a whale bone sculpture and further mid-day celebrations, people spotted Orca from the Marina, so the only logical next step was to head out on one of our boats to get a closer look. Seeing 9 dorsal fins reaching metres out of the ocean swimming next to you? Absolutely breath-taking!
November 2017 in itself is a milestone for us here at Whale Watch Kaikoura. After being badly affected by the earthquakes raising of our seabed, the Kaikōura Marina had to undergo extensive repair and enhancement work that involved dredging to make it deep enough for our boats to navigate at both high and low tide. Whilst this effort was underway, 3 of our vessels had to be stored in Wellingtons Marina, leaving us with only 1 of our vessels to launch via public jetty to carry out whale watching tours. Here are some quick stats, courtesy of NCTIR, that gives you a fair idea of what was involved in the rebuild:
- 22,000 M3 of material dredged from the Kaikōura harbour
- 130 piles installed, the length of 7 rugby fields
- 50 metres of capping beams installed
- 880 truck-loads of material used to form a work platform above water
The new Kaikōura Marina is now large enough to hold all 4 of our vessels (such a great sight to see them all lined up together!), has a jetty for Dolphin Encounter as well as a tender jetty that cruise ships are able to use to unload passengers – just in time for the upcoming busy 2017/2018 cruise season.
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.
75% of the world’s species of seabirds can be seen here in our little slice of paradise. Bird species sighted whilst out whale watching during November included; Wandering Albatross, Royal Albatross, Bullers Mollymawk,Shy Mollymawk, Grey Headed Mollymawk, Cape Petrel, Giant Northern Petrel, Westland Petrel,Hutton Shearwater, Sooty Shearwater, Bullers Shearwater, Fairy Prion, White Fronted Tern, Black Back Gull, Black Shag, Spotted Shag and the Australasian Gannet.
We’ll check in with you at the end of December for another marine mammal update.