On Sunday we were up early again, as we had to check out of the motel, get ourselves breakfasted and over to the Whale Watch centre an hour earlier than yesterday. This was achieved with the minimum of fuss and in fact we had plenty of time to spare. We confirmed that the trip was running and were then given a short safety briefing before being bussed around to the marina to board our vessel. On the ride out our guide gave us some information about what we were likely to see, and whilst he was talking we saw a small pod of dusky dolphins leaping out of the water. Later we found a larger pod, and the captain stopped the boat so that we could get some pictures:
After about 10 minutes, we moved on, as the captain had information about where a whale was, and when it was likely to surface. The main attraction is sperm whales, some of which live off the coast of New Zealand. They’re not migratory, and you’re pretty well guaranteed a sighting of one as the captain and crew can locate them by sound, and know roughly how long they stay down for before resurfacing. The whales we were looking for were all males, as the smaller females stay in more tropical seas nearer the equator.
Sure enough, a whale duly surfaced. The crew were able to identify it by various markings on its dorsal fin and flukes as Tutu, who’s been living in these waters for around 15 years.
Unfortunately, the movement of the boat was by this time causing me major problems, so I wasn’t able to capture any pictures of the final dive when the whale shows its flukes; nor, indeed, any of the even larger pod of dusky dolphins we saw on the way back, many of which were leaping clear of the water and doing all kinds of acrobatics. Nicola took these:
When we arrived back on dry land, I handed over driving duties to Nicola. I had intended for us to lunch at Nin’s Bin, a famous crayfish stop, but was still feeling queasy so Nicola and Julian dined on the remains of yesterday’s lunch whilst I had a bit of water. We then drove on north via Lake Grasmere near Seddon, which was very windy indeed. We didn’t stay long! We completed the final leg into Blenheim, and searched for somewhere to get a cup of tea. Eventually (most of the cafes were closed on a Sunday afternoon) we ended up in the Corner Stone pub, where we spent a restful afternoon drinking tea and cake and watching tennis and cricket – the Black Caps taking on India in their first ODI of the series.
Eventually we drove off to Blenheim airport to take our Sounds Air flight back to Wellington. The wind in Wellington had picked up again and we had a slightly bumpy approach into the landing, which didn’t do my recovering stomach much good. Fortunately we only had to take a taxi home and we were back in good time.