We had originally planned to get up and head right out on the first
whale watching tour of the day, but when we checked in to our cottages
the night before, the owner Graham asked us if we wanted to go
Crayfishing with him in the morning. Crayfish are warm water
lobster. How could we pass up a chance to go out onto the sea to
check some lobster traps? We met Graham in the morning and he
took us and his boat down to dock and we quickly set off.
The surf was actually pretty rough, so I quickly put my camera away and
hoped it wouldn't get wet. The current was really strong, so 2 of
his traps were underwater and the one trap we hauled up was
empty. He said this is one of only a few times in his life he
didn't get at least one crayfish. I really wished we would have
gotten to catch one, but it was still a fun boat ride.
Next up was whale watching. We were all really excited about the
whale watching tour. We lucked out and had good weather even
though it looked like it was going to be rainy all day. The
clouds hung on to the hills near the shoreline, but it never really
rained in the ocean or in Kaikoura. We signed up for a tour (in
general you should book ahead
as they can fill up) and didn't have to wait too long until it was time
to leave. We got in a bus and were taken to the docks. We
boarded the boat and took off in search of whales. I think we all
expected large groups of whales that you just drive out to and take
your pictures, but the Sperm whales that inhabit the area don't really
travel in groups. They are more solitary, so we headed off and
tried to locate a whale.
Looking for whales
While we were on our way to find the whales, we spotted a couple of
seals that waved to us as we passed by
We continued on and also saw a few Albatross flying around. They
can be quite large birds. It was pretty neat to see them flying
We finally spotted our first whale. You can start to see them
from quite a ways away as you can see them blowing air out of their
As soon as somebody spots one, the captain takes off as fast as he can
to get close to it before it dives back under. They stay under
for about 45 minutes, so you really only get one chance to see one.
Our first whale!
We didn't get to see very much of this whale because it went under
right as we were nearing it. One nice thing is that the guides
know right when they are going to go under and they tell you to get
ready to take a picture of the tail. It didn't take us long and
we spotted another whale. We got to this one earlier and were
able to watch it much closer and for longer. It was neat to be
able to hear it and see it up close. Everyone was really amazed
at the experience.
Sperm whale on the surface
Sperm whale headed under
Enjoying our tour
We ended up seeing a total of 4 whales on our trip which the guide said
was a pretty good number. They will refund you 80% of your money
if they don't spot at least 1 whale on your tour. Here's a few
more whale pictures.
Yes, I took lots of pictures of the whales
We were headed back and noticed that Tyler had fallen asleep
again. He seemed to take a nap almost everyday on this vacation
which was very weird because it had been a long time since he had taken
a nap before this vacation. One of the things we were very
worried about was how Tyler would sleep on vacation and he did
great. He seemed to really get the sleep that he needed most
days, which is more than we can say at home a lot of the time.
Tyler squeezing in a nap
We made it back to the docks about 2.5 hours after we left. We
agreed that it was truly an amazing sight to see the whales up close.
Pictures from the dock area
We absolutely loved the whale watching, but it isn't cheap. It
cost $145NZ per adult and $60NZ for Tyler. We may have somehow
ended up with a 10% family discount, but I'm not sure why. I
think my dad just asked if there were any discounts and she just gave
us 10% off (thanks Dad).
tour, we went back to our cottages to relax a little bit. Since
the weather was still holding, Erin and I decided to go for an easy
hike along the Kaikoura peninsula. My parents said they would
watch Tyler, so we headed off in the late afternoon to start the
hike. We followed the trail up onto the tops of the cliffs of the
peninsula and were rewarded with some nice views.
We continued on with the hike and found a trail that led down to the
shore. There we found a colony of seals hanging out.
Down to the sea shore
I switched out lenses and took a few closeups of the seals
The waves were really crashing against the rocks and it was quite cool
to see. I tried to take some pictures, but they don't really
capture the power that you feel when you are actually there to see,
hear, and feel the waves crashing.
We then decided it was time to head back. We had noticed along
the way that it looked like you could walk along the shore the entire
way back so we decided to give that route a try. As we were
going, we noticed that the tide was coming in pretty quickly and we
were rapidly running out of shoreline to walk on. We were
debating about what to do, but we kept pushing on. We got to a
few narrow spots and eventually got to a large seal blocking the way.
We couldn't really find a way around him and we knew that we were
probably going to run out of dry space anyway, so we examined our other
options. We saw a very faint trail a few feet back that basically
went straight up the cliff. I put the camera in my pack so that
I'd have both hands free and we started climbing up. Eventually,
we got to some rocks and were able to find some more level
ground. We then walked forward a ways and saw a sign that was
facing the other direction. We walked up to it and it was a
warning sign to not go past that point as it was too steep and
dangerous. I would agree and was glad we were going up and not
down as it was very steep and exposed. We followed what looked to
be an old 4WD road and it took us back to the main trail. We
hopped a gate and were back on the main trail heading back to our
van. As we got closer to the car, we could see the shore again
and were glad that we had abandoned that route as there was absolutely
no path there anymore as it was all covered up by the incoming
tide. Next time we'll check the tide table before we head out.
We got back and it was time for dinner so we headed back to downtown
and ate at the fish and chips place again. Once again it was
excellent. After dinner, we headed back to our cottages for the night.
Continue to Day 9
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