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Swimming with free-living dolphins in Kaikoura

Swimming with free-living dolphins in Kaikoura

November 2019 · 4 min read · Canterbury

My favorite pic :)

By far we had the most amazing experience in New Zealand in Kaikoura. Yes, the name of the city is probably very unknown to the most of you. To be honest, the city of Kaikoura was not on our screen before we flew to New Zealand. We really never heard of the city before. To be honest, that's not a miracle. Actually, Kaikoura can also be described less as a "city". There is exactly one "long" street with a few shops. I would rather call it a small place. I do not remember how we came up with the idea of swimming there with dolphins, but we heard about dolphin tours that started from there.What we were particularly excited about: The tour went out to the sea and the dolphins we were to visit were free-living dolphins. In retrospect, it was the best decision we made in New Zealand to join the tour. As many places in New Zealand, Kaikoura was only accessible by car. Kaikoura is located along a long, north-easterly bay directly on the Pacific Ocean on the former alluvial soil of the Kowhai River. By car, the journey and the return together took about four hours. But now to the actual dolphin tour. We should not only see the dolphins from the boat, but also swim with them in the ocean!

For this we got thick swim suits and fins. Before that we had to sign that we would not get seasick and have sufficient swimming skills. Then the crew showed us a small film before the boat tour, which everyone had to see before going to the boat. There safety measures were shown and how we could make the dolphins with loud and buzzing to pay attention to us.When we finally got on the boat we drove out to the ocean for about 45 minutes until we discovered the first dolphins. There were really many, a whole colony and about 100-200 dolphins. They jumped out of the water all the time, so they could not be overlooked. We had already asked ourselves how it was done that they stayed with us and will not swim away. So when we found the dolphins, we were left one by one from the boat with the help of noodles and the crew. The waves were stronger than we expected. Before the tour, my sister and I were very sure about our swimming skills, but on the ocean it is so different! The dolphins found a direct hit with us and swam around us all the time.

Me and next to me a dolphin. I did not realized it in this moment. really funny pic!

Some have also lured them with loud noises and sounds. We were surprised how fast the dolphins swam. As soon as we had discovered a dolphin next to us, it was already gone again. But that was perhaps also because of the dark water, you could barely look a meter further - it was the pacific ocean! It was like a miracle that our gopro still took some great pictures. Admittedly: The dolphins were so fast that we had to cut out all the photos from videos we made. After about 15-20 minutes, we were called back to the ship with a loud sound, because the dolphins at some point had no more interest in us and swam away. Then the ship followed them again. As time went by, the waves got stronger and stronger. After the third time in the ocean, it was very difficult to get back on the boat. That was due to the extreme waves. Even with noodles it was very difficult. The crew had many problems with getting the whole people back on board. It was also the last time we were left on the ocean.

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On this pic you can see the speed of the dolphins very well! They were so fast!

My sister is actually a very good swimmer and athlete, but she was thrown back into the ocean three times in a row by the waves from the boat. To be honest, at the moment I was a little scared for her, because the boat was not really soft and she was banging against the walls. Afterwards she also told me that she was a bit afraid. Another woman felt the same way. In the end it has to be said that it was a unique experience and we were more than happy to swim with the dolphins. The crew was super friendly and there were also snacks on board. However, I would recommend this trip to safe swimmers or you choose a day out, where there are just little waves. You can also ask the crew before.

I was so happy and excited lol

A dolphin which followed the boat next to us

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