Towards the end of our awesome road trip we ended up in the idyllic seaside town of Kaikora on the east coast of New Zealand, known for its amazing marine life. From whale watching tours, dolphin encounters and swimming with seals to bird watching and nature walks around the ruggedly beautiful Peninsula, Kaikora is a nature lovers heaven.
While my parents headed off on a 3 hour hike around the bay, Ali and I set off on our full day Dolphin Encounter. The excitement I expereinced at the thought of swimming with dolphins in the Pacific Ocean reached a whole new height once out on the open sea. It was not some small pod of tamed dolphins showing off around hundreds of pesty tourist boats, it was a HUGE pod of between 200 and 500 wild dolphins jumping, flipping and frolicking in the open ocean. Similar to white backed dolphins, dusky dolphins are known for their displays of aerial acrobatics!
Our small group of 15 quietly slid into the water to observe the beautiful creatures. We were not allowed to reach out and touch them and were simply told to ‘sing’ to them and swim around in fast circles to attract their attention. The dolphins would often simply ignore us and swim off in the opposite direction where upon we would all swim back to the boat as fast as our flippers would allow us and follow them from a safe distance then slip into the water to play with them a little more.
Once we were all exhausted from jumping in and out of the water the tour guides fed us with cookies and hot chocoalte and we had a photo taking session as the dolphins swam majestically in front of the boat, occasionally jumping out of the water and doing flips and turns. It was a truely unforgettable experience and the absolute highlight of my 2 weeks in New Zealand.