Our Crew

Whale Watch vessels are crewed by a friendly team of Skippers and Guides very experienced in interacting with the local Sperm Whales.

They have expert knowledge of Kaikōura's sea conditions and are fully trained in all aspects of safety. Whale Watch staff constantly monitor the weather and respond professionally to any changes. This may mean a tour is cancelled or safety restrictions placed on children or passengers with medical problems. Passenger comfort and safety are always our priority.


Jim Manawatu - Captain

I started working for Whale Watch Kaikoura back in 2000 as a guide. Since then I have moved on to become a captain. Over the years I have continued to be amazed and humbled by the marine life, its variety and the power of the ocean and the life that it brings. I love being able to share this with people from all over the world.


Shannon Gray - Captain / Guide

Kia Ora - I have been apart of the Whale Watch Kaikoura team for a few years now. I get a lot of enjoyment showing our visitors the beauty of Kaikōura, the whales and other animals we encounter on our tours. "I love the office I work in". I have the best job ever!


Aroha Tahau - Tour Guide

Kia Ora my name is Aroha, I work with as a guide with the Sea Crew team at Whale Watch Kaikoura. I love working alongside such vibrant and passionate people, what we encounter out on the ocean on almost a daily basis is nothing short of stunning. A dream job!


Chevy Allen - Captain

Kia Ora – I started working at Whale Watch Kaikoura in the early 90’s as a guide. I was then given the opportunity to work in other departments of the company which eventually led me to become a skipper.

Working in a company that has a 100% focus on customer satisfaction & value for our guests gives me pleasure in being able to show people who have travelled from the 4 corners of the earth what nature has to offer… beautiful marine life, the true natural wonders of the world.


SAMANTHA & TEHLIA RICHARDSON - TOUR GUIDES

Kia Ora our names are Samantha & Tehlia, we are both part of the sea crew team. It's a true privilege and pleasure to bring manuhiri out and show off what papatuanuku provides for us here in Kaikoura. No tour is ever the same and that's what keeps us excited and gives us the passion we have for our "job". Getting to experience what we get to on a day to day basis is amazing but getting to share it and show it off to our people is what we look forward to the most!

This week Kaikōura really lived up to its reputation of being a marine mecca, with a wide variety of marine mammals sighted in abundance on our tours! We saw a lot of large transient Sperm Whales visiting our Coast to indulge in the nutrient rich waters of the Hikurangi Trench, as well as Spotty Tail! A semi-residential Sperm Whale who we’ve been seeing for a while now.

We’ve also seen a great number of Pilot Whales over the week, on Tuesday we saw 50+ and then on Thursday we saw 150+! A couple of stray Humpback Whales have also been hanging around Kaikōura, which we don’t usually get to see in November, but we’re guessing they’re just enjoying the Kaikōura Canyon too much to leave!

Dolphin varieties we saw on our tours included the usual suspects, the acrobatic Duskies and endangered Hectors, and this week we saw a pod of 20+ Bottlenose. As well as seeing the smallest of the dolphin species, the Hector, we also spotted the largest – the Orca. That makes two weeks in a row of Orca sighting!

On Tuesday, the 14th of November which marked exactly 1 year on from when the 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck which raised our coastline and left our boats on dry land, we celebrated our official marina opening. Thank you to everyone’s support and well wishes over the past year, each word of encouragement has been truly appreciated.

ROAD ACCESS UPDATE

There is a possibility of short delays with it being 30km/hour through parts of the route. 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.