Kaik­oura

Glanc­ing around the Whale Watch Kaik­oura re­cep­tion, tourists lined up on ei­ther side of me are bub­bling with ex­cite­ment as they check in.

Go Travel New Zealand - - Contents - By Lisa Bond

B asic safety brief­ings and stan­dards are care­fully com­mu­ni­cated on an over­head screen with an em­pha­sis on child safety, which makes every­one feel more at ease and com­fort­able. We make our way to the bus and are wel­comed by our bus driver Wil­lie, who then tells us that this is “a pear­ler of a day” with near perfect con­di­tions. Af­ter the short bus drive over the peninsula to South Bay, we are taken to the ma­rina. Here our ves­sel is wait­ing for us with four crew mem­bers. We are seated and spo­ken to by our guide, Aroha, who in­tro­duces us to our cap­tain for the day, Paki, and fel­low crew, Wiremu and Ha­ley. Her re­laxed na­ture and lo­cal wis­dom is com­fort­ing as she nav­i­gates her way through safety pro­ce­dures. Within min­utes, we be­gin our jour­ney out to sea and are in­stantly wel­comed by marine wildlife, as birds soar over­head and seals bask in the seas still­ness. Aroha di­rects our at­ten­tion back to the main pur­pose of our visit; to see some of the world’s largest and most trea­sured crea­tures, whales. She tells us that Sperm whales are what we are most likely to see to­day as they found feed­ing in the Kaik­oura canyon year round. Sperm whales are the largest of the toothed whales and can reach an av­er­age of 16 me­tre in length and have the largest brain of any an­i­mal on earth. Aroha also tells us about how Sperm whales use a liq­uid sub­stance called sper­ma­ceti to reg­u­late their buoy­ancy. Sper­ma­ceti can so­lid­ify or be­come liq­uid de­pend­ing on whether the mam­mal wants to dive down for food or

we be­gin our jour­ney out to sea and are in­stantly wel­comed by marine wildlife, as birds soar over­head and seals bask in the seas still­ness.

Im­age: A sperm whale’s tail breaks the wa­ter off the Kaik­oura coast

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