A Look Back Over July 2016
Did you know that winter time in Kaikoura is not only incredibly beautiful but also the best time of the year to come whale watching?
When the conditions allowed we had some amazing tours during July with five of our winter semi-resident sperm whales being sighted feeding in the Kaikoura Canyon. Tiaki, Holy Moly, Slice, Tutu and Manu. Each of these whales being distinguished by the different shaped dorsal fins, tail shapes, marks and scars they have.
It is around this time of the year that we are able to view other species of whales passing through on their annual migration – mainly the humpback whales. This season was no exception with many humpback whale sightings which is fantastic:
2nd July – x4 Humpbacks
3rd July – x6 Humpback
4th July – x1 Humpback
6th July – x1 Humpback
7th July – x3 Humpbacks
8th July – x3 Humpbacks
9th July – 1 Humpback
11th July – x2 Humpbacks
12th July – x2 Humpbacks
13th July – x1 Humpback & x15 Orca
16th July – x4 Humpbacks
17th July – x3 Humpbacks
19th July – x12 Orca
20th July – x2 Humpbacks
21st July – x2 Humpbacks
22nd July – x3 Humpbacks
26th July - x1 Humpback
27th July – x3 Humpbacks
28th July – x2 Humpbacks
30th July – x2 Humpbacks & x1 Blue whale
Wow that is an incredible 46 individual sightings of a humpback whale passing through Kaikoura during July. Fantastic news and so great to see the numbers passing through on the increase (as a side note we have also have 5 more sightings over the first couple of days in August).
The humpback whale is a baleen whale meaning that it doesn’t have teeth but instead has baleen plates running down from the upper jaw that act like a sieve, filtering out the photo & zoo plankton (krill) and nutrients from the water. Baleen being a substance similar to our finger nails and hair. So, for being one of the largest creatures in the ocean they feast upon one of the smallest creatures in the ocean. Such amazing creatures.
When time allowed on our tours we were also able to view dusky dolphins, hectors dolphins, NZ fur seals and many different species of marine birds. This is the natural environment for such a wide range of marine life which makes whale watching so fun, never knowing from one day to the next what we are going to see when we head out on one of our tours.
As mentioned we were able to view many different species of marine birds such as: wandering albatross, royal albatross, shy mollymawk, northern giant petrel, cape petrel, bullers shearwater and also a white morph which is a very rare species of bird to see off our coastline.
As I write this there is a new layer of snow peeking out from under low cloud over the Kaikoura Ranges, winter has well and truly made itself known today.
Until next month, keep warm