A Look Back Over August 2015

Winter time is always such a beautiful time of the year in Kaikoura! We can have such calm beautiful winters days out at sea with the glorious Kaikoura ranges and their snow-capped peaks in the back ground, along with fantastic whale sightings.

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We had 6 semi-resident sperm whales feeding in the canyon throughout the month: Manu, Tiaki, Aoraki, Tutu, MatiMati & Saddleback. Saddleback was given his name due to a large scar across his back that from above looks a bit like a saddle, we have been seeing him for the last 20+ years so he is very well known and one of our favorites.

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Semi-resident sperm whale Manu

We also had quite a few days where we had visiting species cruise past the Kaikoura coastline which is always a treat to see not just for our passengers but all the sea crew:

1 Aug – x2 Humpback Whales

2 Aug – x3 Humpback Whales

4 Aug – x3 Humpback Whales

7 Aug – x1 Humpback Whale

17 Aug – x1 Fin Whale

18 Aug – x1 Southern Right Whale

20 Aug – x1 Humpback Whale

23 Aug – x3 Humpback Whales

24 Aug – x4 Humpback Whales

29 Aug – x1 Humpback Whale

29 Aug – x15 Common Dolphins

 

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Fin whale

Seeing a Southern Right Whale was definitely a highlight for our sea crew during August, as they are critically endangered. Quite the contrast to the days of old. Kaikoura was where hundreds of Southern Right Whale mothers and calves would congregate so much so that people would complain about how loud they were at night!

Southern Right Whales

Southern right whales

When we have time on our tours our captains will always do their best to show any other species of marine life that is within a viable distance from where we were watching the whales. During August we were able to see hectors dolphins, dusky dolphins and NZ fur seals.

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Kaikoura Marine Life

There were also many other species of birds sighted throughout the month, petrels, shearwaters, and various species of albatross. It is during this time of the year that we especially see many cape petrels as they frequent our waters during our winter months. These birds have black and white splotches on their backs making them quite distinctive and easy to tell when out at sea.

Spring is starting to make itself known with plenty of blossom and daffodils blooming along with lambs and calves bouncing around in the paddocks. Here is hoping for a great September in the whale department with fantastic sightings and many happy passengers.

Please let me know if you have any questions, or if you have visited us and have a story you would like to share we would love to hear from you.

Until next month,

Lisa

There have been some beautiful sunrises in Kaikōura over the past week, with more sunshine forecasted for the upcoming days too!

Out on our tours we saw semi-residential Sperm Whales Aoraki, Tutu and Tiaki feeding in the Hikurangi Trench as well as Sperm Whales new to our region. When time allowed, we were able to view NZ Fur Seals on Barney’s Rock, a rock thought to be used as a lookout point by early whalers.

This week we had only one juvenile Humpback Whale passing through our waters. It’s coming to the end of their annual migration which only means one thing, the Summer Orca season is approaching us!

We currently have an end of winter sale on at our Retail Store at the moment, a whopping 25% off all hoodies, jackets and merino items! We need to make room for new summer stock, so head over to our online store to get your hands on some winter goodies.

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.

From Tuesday, 22nd August, drivers will need to watch for 28 metre truck loads moving bridge beams to Kaikōura, via the Lewis Pass and the inland road via Waiau/Mt Lyford. The beams are for a new bridge build as well as smaller bridge sites north of Kaikōura. Some minor delays can be expected due to the length of the load and the slow and winding nature of parts of the route. These truckloads are scheduled to follow this inland route until September.

During 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. Below is a graphic (indicative only) of what is being restored at the marina.

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

Hasslefree 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.