Swimming with Dolphins!

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Oh quick something I forgot to say. I met two English guys at Cathedral Caves who said there was a backpacker’s carpark everyday of the week so we don’t have to be back in Auckland on a weekend, so I think we’ll be able to hit north of Auckland.

Woke up extremely early this morning, 4:30a to go to Dolphin Encounters and swim with the dolphins. It was the most amazing thing of which I unfortunately did not get any pictures of. I even bought an underwater camera but since we were going in several times, I figured I would just experience it once then take pics later.

We got all wetsuited up, got on the bus, then on the boat and went out 30 minutes. I had meant to buy dramamine the day before but unfortunately forgot, that will come to play later. These dolphin are wild so their not coaxed into this section of water or fed or trained, there’s a huge underwater canyon right off the coast of Kaikoura which makes a nice play pen for dolphins, seals, and whales who come there to feed. The boat drivers know the locations where dolphins usually are, so they just sort of guess until they see dorsal fins.

We got ready to go, they stopped the boat, blew the horn and we all jumped out. I looked underwater and at first didn’t see anything, then suddenly a dolphin came swimming right underneath me, then another and another. We were swimming in a pod of about 50 dolphins which is a good size, the guide said. He said any bigger then that and they usually aren’t that interested and keep on swimming. They said the dolphins are not there to entertain us, we’re there to entertain the dolphins so make as much noise as you can to attract them to investigate.

I made my dolphin call, others were singing, it was quite funny looking. They’d swim by to check you out and if you held eye contact and circled with them as they swam around you, they’d just keep circling. One circled me about 4 times, it was deadly! Then I tried my dolphin swim and they actually swam with me as though I were a dolphin.

Oh man, it was amazing. We were there for about 30 minutes before they finally lost interest and went on. They were so close, I touched one! Wild dusky dolphins.

We went back on the boat and then moved to another location and went out again but this pod was well into the 200s of dolphins so they just sort of swam through us and passed on. Then they boated around to get some good surface shots of the dolphins and told some dolphin facts, meanwhile I was being sick on the back deck.

There were a few others vomitting into buckets around me, but I refused to throw up. I actually made it through the hour without throwing up, I just focused on how freezing cold I was. :P

Here’s an interesting fact for you: Dolphins have to breath voluntarily, unlike humans, they have to conciously think to breathe. So if they were to go fully asleep they would die. So what they do is they go into kind of a meditative state and shut down half of their brain while the other one still allows them to breathe. Then when that side is good and rested, they shut down the other side. Pretty cool huh?

I also saw little calf dolphins. They were only like a foot long. So cute. I could tell you of the promiscuous nature of dolphins as well but I’ll leave that for when I have more internet time. We drove from there, up to Picton, took the Ferry to Wellington and then drove to this tiny little town with one hostel where we are the only guests besides two girls. To whom I am going to go chat with now. :)

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