Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Some of the marine life in Kaikoura, New Zealand

Kaikoura is a  great place to see male sperm whales that seek out the deep waters of the Kaikoura canyon to feed. It was these sperm whales that captivated me and led me to work in this area for a few years. However, there is a lot more than just sperm whales to see in this region. During one year I was incredibly lucky to see a rare and endangered southern right whale. I also encountered humpback whales that migrate through the region in the winter, one blue whale, plenty of dusky dolphins, some rare Hector's dolphins and even orcas on a few occasions. Kaikoura is also one of the best places in the world to see oceanic birds, such as albatross and petrels, off the mainland. In 2010 I left this beautiful area to see more of the world and explore the marine life that other places also have to offer. However, Kaikoura will always have a special place in my heart. 

Southern right whale (Eubalaena australis)

Juvenile humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae) upside down lobtailing

Hector's dolphin (Cephalorynchus hectori)

A big male New Zealand fur seal (Arctocephalus forsteri) drying in the sun 

A sperm whale diving close to one of the Whale Watch Kaikoura boats

Little pied cormorant (Microcarbo melanol)

The Kaikoura peninsula

Thursday, 1 June 2017

Winter whales in Kaikoura

Winter is a great time to see whales in Kaikoura. Not only can you see the resident sperm whales, but humpback whales also pass through the area during their north bound migration to their warm water breeding grounds. During the winter of 2007 I was thrilled to encounter humpback whales for the first time in my life. This time of the year is also great because the winter light is very soft and the backdrop of the seaward Kaikoura mountain range covered in snow makes for the perfect photo opportunities.

Humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae) fluking at sunset

Sperm whales (Physeter marcocephalus) are present year-round in Kaikoura, often very close to shore

Dusky dolphins (Lagenorynchus obscurus) are also always present in Kaikoura and are a lot of fun to watch as they are very acrobatic