A Look Back Over April 2016

Autumn is my favourite time of the year with all the beautiful colours as the trees start to shed their leaves. The sunrises at this time of the year are stunning and well worth getting up early to witness.

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Sunrise on ANZAC Day

We had such beautiful days both weather & sea conditions wise, really were very spoilt. This made for many happy guests both while whale watching with us and also while visiting our amazing wee town.

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The semi-resident sperm whales that we were able to view throughout April included Saddleback, Manu and Tiaki. Saddleback being given his name due to a patch found on his back that looks much like that of a saddle. We have been seeing Saddleback for over 20+ years now off the Kaikoura coast well and truly a local.

There were quite a few visitors during April which is always such a treat: 

2 April – Orca x4

4 April – Orca x4

5 April – Humpback x1

11 April – Humpback x2

13 April – Humpback x1

15 April – Humpback x1

16 April – Orca x3

26 April – Blue x2

29 April – Blue x2

 

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Young blue whale

It is this time of the year that we start to see humpback whales pass by on their annual migration from the colder Antarctic waters to the warmer waters for the winter period. Always a blessing to see these beautiful whales as they stop by Kaikoura.

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As with all out tours when time allows we take time to view other species of marine life that live off the Kaikoura coast such dusky dolphins, NZ fur seals and the many marine bird species we can view here.

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Hector's dolphin

Bird species sighted during April included: Wandering albatross, Royal albatross, Bullers mollymawks, Shy mollymawks, Cape petrels, Giant Northern Petrels, Westland Petrels to name a few.

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Buller's Mollymawk

With the winter months creeping closer we are hoping for some snow to appear on the mountains, they are beautiful without snow on them but when they do they are spectacular.

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Looking forward to snow on the Kaikoura ranges sometime soon...

Have a great month all,

Keep warm 

Lisa

This week has brought with it some crazy weather for us here in Kaikōura – with a lot of the Kaikōura District resembling a snow globe! The Kaikōura Ranges have seen a healthy amount of snow, making for a wonderful backdrop for our guests’ photos over the weekend. Last week we spotted semi-resident Sperm Whales Tiaki, Tutu and Aotearoa deep diving in the Hikurangi Trench. When time allowed, our tours have also seen pods of Dusky and Hector’s dolphins, New Zealand fur seals and various marine birds including the Giant Northern Petrel and the Black Browed Mollymawk. 

A few Humpback whales decided to pay Kaikōura an extra special visit on Tuesday – making whale watching possible from the beaches of South Bay! These humpbacks, who are currently making their way North from Antarctica to warmer waters, lived up to their playful and inquisitive reputation and put on a real show for people on their afternoon walks and lucky kayakers passing by.

NZ Travel blogger Bare Kiwi joined us on our Sunday’s whale watching tour for a ‘whale of a time’ with our semi-resident Sperm Whale Aotearoa. For the next six months Bare Kiwi will be somewhat of a local to Kaikōura so be sure to follow him on Instagram to keep up with the activities he gets up to here in Kaikōura. Check out this cool photo he snapped from our morning tour!

It was World Orca Day on Friday so we thought we’d post a wee throwback picture below of Summer 2016/2017 with the Orca. Did you know that even though Orca are referred to as Killer Whale’s, they are actually part of the dolphin family? The name ‘Killer Whale’ originated from the Orca being the only known predators to whales, mostly the young and injured. 

We are half way into the July school holidays here in New Zealand, are you still looking for ways to fill up the rest of the break? Winter is a great time to visit us here at Whale Watch, especially when children travel for free! We are offering a July School Holiday Special, so please consider taking the time to visit Kaikōura with your family and seeing our spectacular marine life.

REGULAR, SCHEDULED CLOSURES OF STATE HIGHWAY 1 SOUTH OF KAIKOURA

There is a possibility of short delays and it will be 30km/hour through parts of the route. Inland Route 70 remains open 24 hours a day 7 days a week.

As we enter into the cooler winter months it is a good reminder to take extra care on the roads and to check the NZTA website for road updates before traveling.

Progress is continuing to be made on the repair of the Kaikōura Marina, with the modified trailer and public jetty now being used for launching our vessel Tohora. This is due to tidal restrictions and repair work as a result of the coastline lifting by +1.0m. All our berths have now been removed. This is an end of an era but we are excited to see our new and improved marina once it is completed! The use of the modified trailer and public jetty will continue until further notice. It is anticipated that the Kaikōura Marina will be fully restored in October 2017.

Currently our available tour times are based around the tide times on the day and may differ from the tour times originally advertised, please bear with us as we continue to work toward being fully operational again. For an update on the tour times available, please contact our Customer Service team directly either by email on res@whalewatch.co.nz, phone +64 3 319 6767 or free phone 0800 655 121 (within NZ) and they will be able to help you with your inquiry.  Please note we are operating at a reduced capacity in the interim with up to 3 tours available per day. Please contact our team prior to arriving in Kaikōura to secure a space on one of our tours and to save disappointment.

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. 

TRANSPORT UPDATE

IntercityHasslefree Tours & Canterbury Leisure Tours have daily services from Christchurch to Kaikōura with a return service from Christchurch, as well as Kiwi Experience now having the option of a day tour out of Christchurch for their travellers.

Progress on the work being done on roads (along with harbour repairs) can be found on this dedicated KAIKOURA EARTHQUAKE RESPONSE page provided by the team at NZTA. This page is updated weekly on Friday. Work is also starting to take place on the railway network, please be aware and take care when using rail crossings.

The team at Whale Watch Kaikoura.