A Look Back Over November 2015

This year has gone by at a rapid speed of knots. November is behind us and we are moving into our busier summer months. During November we had a couple of days where we woke up to fresh snow on the mountains but this soon melted away but those mountains are still very beautiful.

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Kaikoura ranges reflecting in the tide pools

We had transient sperm whales come in and out of the Kaikoura canyon throughout the month with a whale that we have unofficially named Jonah (very big whale and in memory of New Zealand rugby legend Jonah Lomu) being a frequent visitor close inshore. Looking back over photo ID records we have been seeing this beautiful whale off our coastline from 1991. Amazing.

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It is around this time of the year that we start to see Orca passing by the Kaikoura coastline – usually between the months of November to March. And it seems they were right on cue again this year with sightings of them on the 26th & 30th November with between 6-8 individuals each time.

 

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Orca sighted on one of our tours during November

Other species of marine life sighted at times throughout this month included: dusky dolphins, hectors dolphins, NZ fur seals and the cute blue penguins. Did you know that you can view the blue penguins in their nesting boxes which are found under the local Coast Guard building? Check out what the team at K.O.R.I have on offer and be sure to check out their P.E.A.P (Penguin Education Awareness Program) one night, really is a great experience.

We are very blessed with the abundance of marine life we can see of the Kaikoura coastline including the many species of marine birds that feed off the nutrient rich waters here such as: Hutton shearwaters, cape petrels, bullers shearwaters, Wandering  & Royal albatross, various species of mollymawks and giant petrels to name a few.

 Wandering wing span

It is hard to believe that December is upon us, not long until Christmas now. The team at Whale Watch Kaikoura would like to thank all of you who have visited us this year, those who have followed us on facebook, twitter and you tube and shared with us your photos / videos and feedback. For those of you who are thinking about joining Whale Watch Kaikoura over the summer season please remember to book well in advance, if you have any questions at all please feel free to contact us.

Enjoy the beautiful summer weather,

The team at Whale Watch Kaikoura

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***WHALE WATCH KAIKOURA UPDATE***

Over the last week we have had around 3 to 4 sperm whales feeding close inshore which has made for some fantastic sightings. There has also been a humpback whale visiting Kaikōura over the last couple of weeks which has been making itself known on our tours also much to our crew and customers delight. Dolphins, NZ fur seals and marine birds have also regular viewings on our tours.

For guests who are planning on joining us over the next week please note NZTA have issued a notice to all travellers that State Highway 1 Coastal Route south from Kaikōura to Christchurch is closed to all traffic from 8pm on Sunday 26 March to 7am on Tuesday 4 April. This is to allow remedial work to take place and to make the coastal route more resilient during times of unfavourable weather. Please use Inland Route 70 which is open 24/7 during this time, please also allow extra time in your travel plans when using this alternative route.

Progress is being made on the repair of the Kaikōura Marina and we continue to switch between using a berth and our modified trailer unit for launching our vessel Tohorā, when and where possible we are also making use of the public jetty that we have modified, (this is a first for us but when presented with challenges we have embraced them post-earthquake and used our ingenuity) this is due to tidal restrictions and repair work as a result of the coastline lifting by +1.0m. It is anticipated that the Kaikōura Marina will be fully operational by the middle of this year.

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 or 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.

Kaikōura 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:

All subject to weather conditions, slips, repair work and seismic activity. Updates available from the NZTA WEBSITE.

Intercity & Hasslefree 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.

Please consider taking the time to visit Kaikōura, your support is most welcome.

The team at Whale Watch Kaikoura.