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

We had some stunning weather over the weekend along with some great sightings on our tours. Not only were we able to see sperm whales but also the rare opportunity of seeing a pod of beaked whales pass by the Kaikōura coastline. Not a common sight at all and one that is very treasured by all when we do.

Over the weekend we also had a visit from a couple of the crew from Emirates Team New Zealand with the America’s Cup. It was great to have the opportunity to see the cup up close. Check out this video to see how the afternoon went.

The Huttons Shearwater (Tītī) are special to us in Kaikōura. Their habitat sustained considerable loss during the Nov 2016 earthquake. Please take the time to vote for them as Bird of the Year and this status will help secure the much needed funding for more research so we can plan for their future.

REGULAR, SCHEDULED CLOSURES OF STATE HIGHWAY 1 SOUTH OF KAIKOURA

The highway will be open during daylight hours on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and Mondays (perfect for a long weekend getaway) from 7AM to 7PM.

The highway will be closed on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays for repairs to take place. 

The closure schedule is expected to remain in place until December 2017.

There is a possibility of short delays and it will be 30km/hour through parts of the route. Check the NZTA website for road updates before traveling. Inland Route 70 remains open 24 hours a day 7 days a week.

Please be aware that this week is a full closure week - Monday 16 to Friday 20 October. The road will reopen to the public midday on Friday 20 October for Labour weekend travellers. Another full week closure is scheduled for Monday 6 to Friday 10 November. 

Something worth celebrating...

Restoration work on the Kaikoura marina begun 10 months ago, and over the weekend we celebrated being able to now use berth 3 & 4. We have been using our trailer unit & the public jetty for some time now so to be able to pull up into our berths is quite an exciting feat. We still have a wee way to go but this is a HUGE step closer to being fully operational. We are very thankful for the amazing work the harbour repair crew are doing in what are at times trying conditions. We are excited to see our new and improved marina once it is completed! We cannot thank the tireless effort that the workers have put in to get us to this stage especially in what has been trying conditions at times.

More great news…

We thank you all for your patience over the last 11 months with the changing tour times with having work in line with the tides but with being able to now use berth 3 & 4 it means that we are now back running on our original fixed tour timetable. 0715, 1000, 1245 & 1530 (Nov-Mar)

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 ToursCanterbury Leisure Tours & Kaikoura Express 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.

11 months on and we are starting to see some real progress – the teams out on the road, rail and the marina are all doing such an amazing job for which we are so thankful. And, we cannot thank you all enough for your continual support.

The team at Whale Watch Kaikoura