From February 5th to 7th, we were in Kaikoura, on the South Island.
Kaikoura is a nice little town with one distinctive feature to our eyes: we thought we were in a ski resort but on the seafront because there is a very warm atmosphere.
Our free campsite was located near a seal colony, so we went to see them every day. On the first day, while we were walking along the beach, Lauriane almost stumbled over a seal. They are really lazy animals, so when they sleep lying on the beach in the middle of seaweeds and rocks, they blend into the landscape…
You should not get too close (at least 10 meters, even 20 according to the recommendations). Obviously, some tourists are smartasses and get attacked, this happen to a 60 years old woman in front of us. Luckily, more fear than casualty, but a mad seal does not make you want to cuddle him!
We also saw a lot of ‘original’ birds: cormorants, herons, oyster catchers…
We also went to the I-Site to book our tour to watch the wales the next day with Whale Watch Kaikoura (145$ per person!). The next day, unfortunately, the sea was too rough so the tour was cancelled. Consequently, we booked again for the next day, hoping that it would not happen again.
Luckily, we were able to go on our tour. The vessel was realy comfortable despite a rough sea. We saw a ‘Sperm Whale’ which is not a whale like we expected ((Physeter macrocephalus). Well, ‘see’ is a very strong word: we saw its back and a part of its tail. Big disappointment for the naives that we are, who thought they would see several whales jumping out of the water…
After that, we saw albatrosses and a lot of dusky dolphins (Lagenorhynchus obscurus) follow our vessel and perform acrobatics: have you ever seen a dolphin doing back flips? This moment was amazing.
Anyway, we found that this tour was way too expensive for what it is. If you do not see a whale, the company refunds 80% of the ticket price: we would have liked better not to see this sperm whale and only pay 20% of the price to see the dolphins and the albatrosses.
We left the next day, after a last visit to our favourite seal colony.