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.

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