A Look Back Over February 2016
February was a great month in Kaikōura, we had fantastic summer weather, amazing sightings of semi-resident sperm whales along with various visiting cetacean. It was also very busy due to Chinese New Year with many Chinese visitors coming to visit us.
We had six regulars feeding close inshore this month: Tutu, Tiaki, Manu, Saddleback, Koru and MatiMati. Tutu, Manu, Saddleback and Tiaki have been visiting Kaikoura during our summer months for many years now with Koru and MatiMati becoming regulars over the last few years. We can tell individual sperm whales apart by different markings, scars and shapes of their tails. Tutu has quite a distinctive tail which droops down on either end – whereas Tiaki’s tail has an indentation on the inner section of his flukes.
Throughout summer we can at times also see many other species of whales & dolphins paying a visit to Kaikoura:
1 Feb – Pilot Whales & Bottlenose Dolphins x50
2 Feb – Pilot Whales & Bottlenose Dolphins x50
2 Feb – Common Dolphins x20
3 Feb – Orca x12
3 Feb – Pilot Whales & Bottlenose Dolphins x50
4 Feb – Pilot Whales & Bottlenose Dolphins x50
5 Feb – Pilot Whales & Bottlenose Dolphins x50
6 Feb – Humpback Whale x1
7 Feb – Orca x8
10 Feb – Orca x6
14 Feb – Common Dolphins x100
16 Feb – Orca x6
20 Feb – Orca x6
20 Feb – Common Dolphins x100
27 Feb – Orca x6
28 Feb – Orca x6
The Pilot Whales & Bottlenose Dolphins that were visiting with us for part of January and February seemed to stop off here for a time to give birth to same calves. One of our crew managed to get some great pics of these calves who still had their birth rings being just a few days old. So special.
With the water temperature being warmer during February we were able to see at times dark red patches in the water which was krill. Krill is a small crustacean that baleen whales fed on – Humpback, Blue, and Southern Right to name a few. It is always a good sign to us when we see krill that the food chain is healthy.
As always when times allows we move further inshore and do our best to view NZ fur seals resting up on the rocks along the Kaikoura Coastline. These seals although they look like they are being lazy are actually exhausted and building up strength before heading back out to sea for another 3-4 days feeding before coming back in to rest up again before their next feeding trip out to sea.
There were plenty of marine birds species also sighted this month, such as – wandering albatross, royal albatross, shy mollymawks, cape petrels, giant northern petrels, Hutton’s shearwaters, blue penguins, terns, gulls and shags.
As you can see Kaikoura is a very special place, we are blessed with the abundance of marine life that not only call Kaikoura home but also pass by our coastline at different times of the year.
We have a great app that is free to download and full of great information about the marine life we can see out on our tours, well worth checking out.
Until next month,