Our Crew

Whale Watch vessels are crewed by a friendly team of Skippers and Guides very experienced in interacting with the local Sperm Whales.

They have expert knowledge of Kaikōura's sea conditions and are fully trained in all aspects of safety. Whale Watch staff constantly monitor the weather and respond professionally to any changes. This may mean a tour is cancelled or safety restrictions placed on children or passengers with medical problems. Passenger comfort and safety are always our priority.


Jim Manawatu - Captain

I started working for Whale Watch Kaikoura back in 2000 as a guide. Since then I have moved on to become a captain. Over the years I have continued to be amazed and humbled by the marine life, its variety and the power of the ocean and the life that it brings. I love being able to share this with people from all over the world.


Shannon Gray - Captain / Guide

Kia Ora - I have been apart of the Whale Watch Kaikoura team for a few years now. I get a lot of enjoyment showing our visitors the beauty of Kaikōura, the whales and other animals we encounter on our tours. "I love the office I work in". I have the best job ever!


Aroha Tahau - Tour Guide

Kia Ora my name is Aroha, I work with as a guide with the Sea Crew team at Whale Watch Kaikoura. I love working alongside such vibrant and passionate people, what we encounter out on the ocean on almost a daily basis is nothing short of stunning. A dream job!


Chevy Allen - Captain

Kia Ora – I started working at Whale Watch Kaikoura in the early 90’s as a guide. I was then given the opportunity to work in other departments of the company which eventually led me to become a skipper.

Working in a company that has a 100% focus on customer satisfaction & value for our guests gives me pleasure in being able to show people who have travelled from the 4 corners of the earth what nature has to offer… beautiful marine life, the true natural wonders of the world.


SAMANTHA & TEHLIA RICHARDSON - TOUR GUIDES

Kia Ora our names are Samantha & Tehlia, we are both part of the sea crew team. It's a true privilege and pleasure to bring manuhiri out and show off what papatuanuku provides for us here in Kaikoura. No tour is ever the same and that's what keeps us excited and gives us the passion we have for our "job". Getting to experience what we get to on a day to day basis is amazing but getting to share it and show it off to our people is what we look forward to the most!

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.