Marine Mammal Spotlight - Blue Whale

Kaikōura plays host to not only the largest of the toothed whales – the sperm whales all year round but we also play host too many other species of whales and dolphins as they migrate past our coastline one of which is the mighty blue whale.

The blue whale is the largest animal known to have ever lived on Earth and is the largest mammal in the world. These massive creatures are ginormous from the moment they are born and continue to add to their girth throughout their first year. A blue whale calf weighs two tons at birth and gains an extra 200 pounds each day of its first year.

Blue Whale Side View

Blue whale - largest animal on the planet

Blue whales are able to breathe air, but they are very comfortable in the ocean waters where buoyancy helps to support their incredible bulk. They can move along at great speeds in short bursts which can make them hard to watch at times. Here is a short video of one of those beautiful creatures that one of our crew managed to capture. Blue Whale passing through Kaikoura

These mammals are found in all the world's oceans and often swim in small groups or alone. They usually spend summers feeding in the polar regions. 

Blue Whale 4

Thar she blows!

These giant creatures feed on tiny shrimp-like animals called krill. Blue whales are baleen whales and feed through a comb-like filter of some 400 plates equipped with bristles to capture tiny morsels of food as the whale swims. When in full feeding mode these whales can eat up to 3-4 tonne of krill in one day.

Krill Side View

Krill - a small crustacean that the blue whales feast upon

Blue whales are the loudest animals on Earth! Their call reaches levels up to 188 decibels. This low-frequency whistle can be heard for hundreds of miles. The blue whale is louder than a jet, which reaches only 140 decibels! Human shouting is 70 decibels; sounds over 120 decibels are painful to human ears.

Only a few thousand blue whales are believed to swim the world's oceans. They were hunted for many years for their blubber and oil, and they were almost hunted to extinction. In the 1930-31 season alone, whalers killed almost 30,000 blue whales.

Blue Whale 7

Baby blue whale sighted on one of our tours

They were protected under the 1966 International Whaling Convention and are now considered to be an endangered species. 

Fun Facts

Blue Whale 6

Given their name due to their blue colouration.

Even though we’re still in the last month of Winter, it’s starting to feel more and more like Spring! It was a cracker weekend here in Kaikōura with amazing sea conditions and picture perfect days to go along with it.

This week we saw semi-residential whales Tiaki, Matimati, Tutu and Aoraki as well as some visiting Sperm Whales to our region. It’s so encouraging to see these whales returning to our region time and time again as they are always our favourites to see out on the water.

Four Humpback Whales were seen on our tours this week. September marks the end of their annual migration, so it’s not too long until we stop seeing the most acrobatic whales on the planet on our tours completely until next year’s journey takes them back through Kaikōura waters again.

Wednesday’s tour got to see a pod of 300 Dusky Dolphins playing with a Giant Warty Squid, also known as the Longarm Octopus Squid. These squid grow up to two meters in length and are a staple part of the Sperm Whale’s diet. A truly spectacular sight to see!

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.

As we enter into 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

IntercityHasslefree 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.