Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Whale Watch

To top off this morning's Albatross Encounter, we took a Whale Watch cruise this afternoon with the 'promise' of seeing Sperm Whales and Dusky Dolphins. This activity is so popular that there are tours leaving every 30-45 minutes all day so you're not alone out there.

Whale Watch boat, Kaikoura, Canterbury NZ
Pentax K-5, Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 70mm, ISO 400, f/8 1/500

This does mean that the skippers always know where there is a whale. For our trip the known whale was a few kilometres offshore so there was time for some dolphin spotting on the way.

Dusky Dolphin, Kaikoura, Canterbury NZ
Pentax K-5, Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 200mm, ISO 400, f/8 1/500

The dolphins are attracted to the boat

Dusky Dolphin, Kaikoura, Canterbury NZ
Pentax K-5, Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 70mm, ISO 400, f/5.6 1/1250

so it wasn't long before we had them all around us

Dusky Dolphin, Kaikoura, Canterbury NZ
Pentax K-5, Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 107.5mm, ISO 400, f/5.6 1/1000
Dusky Dolphin, Kaikoura, Canterbury NZ
Pentax K-5, Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 70mm, ISO 400, f/5.6 1/500
Dusky Dolphin, Kaikoura, Canterbury NZ
Pentax K-5, Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 70mm, ISO 400, f/5.6 1/400
Dusky Dolphin, Kaikoura, Canterbury NZ
Pentax K-5, Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 200mm
ISO 400, f/5.6 1/500

with some performing for the crowd!

Dusky Dolphin, Kaikoura, Canterbury NZ
Pentax K-5, Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 200mm, ISO 400, f/5.6 1/1250
Dusky Dolphin, Kaikoura, Canterbury NZ
Pentax K-5, Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 200mm, ISO 400, f/5.6 1/1250

The skippers may know where a whale was last seen and the boats are equipped with aquatic microphones so the crew can listen for whales but Sperm Whales can dive very deep for extended periods of time so some patience is required waiting for one to surface. Eventually one was spotted a few hundred metres away and it spent about 30 minutes swimming slowly around allowing three boat loads of tourists time to watch and photograph it from many angles.

Sperm Whale, Kaikoura, Canterbury NZ
Pentax K-3, Sigma 300mm f/2.8, ISO 400, f/5.6 1/1000
Sperm Whale, Kaikoura, Canterbury NZ
Pentax K-3, Sigma 300mm f/2.8, ISO 400, f/5.6 1/800

frequently accompanied by a dolphin or two

Sperm Whale + Dusky Dolphin, Kaikoura, Canterbury NZ
Pentax K-3, Sigma 300mm f/2.8, ISO 400, f/5.6 1/800
Sperm Whale + Dusky Dolphin, Kaikoura, Canterbury NZ
Pentax K-5, Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 200mm, ISO 400, f/5.6 1/2000

and boats,

Sperm Whale + Dusky Dolphin, Kaikoura, Canterbury NZ
Pentax K-5, Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 200mm, ISO 400, f/5.6 1/4000

along with the spectacular scenery.

Sperm Whale + Dusky Dolphin, Kaikoura, Canterbury NZ
Pentax K-5, Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 70mm, ISO 400, f/5.6 1/1600
Sperm Whale, Kaikoura, Canterbury NZ
Pentax K-5, Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 70mm, ISO 400, f/5.6 1/1600

Eventually it was time for this one to depart giving us the chance to see it dive.

Sperm Whale + Dusky Dolphin, Kaikoura, Canterbury NZ
Pentax K-5, Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 70mm, ISO 400, f/5.6 1/1600
Sperm Whale, Kaikoura, Canterbury NZ
Pentax K-5, Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 70mm, ISO 400, f/5.6 1/1600
Sperm Whale, Kaikoura, Canterbury NZ
Pentax K-5, Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 70mm, ISO 400, f/5.6 1/2000

which meant it was time for us to head back, with some time to take in more of the scenery

Kaikoura, Canterbury NZ
Pentax K-5, Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 160mm, ISO 400, f/5.6 1/3200

...and we did manage to spot some birds along the way.

Cape Petrel, Kaikoura, Canterbury NZ
Pentax K-5, Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 200mm
ISO 400, f/5.6 1/2000
Northern Giant Petrel, Kaikoura, Canterbury NZ
Pentax K-5, Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 200mm, ISO 400, f/5.6 1/1250
Salvin's Albatross, Kaikoura, Canterbury NZ
Pentax K-3, Sigma 300mm f/2.8, ISO 400, f/5.6 1/1250
Salvin's Albatross, Kaikoura, Canterbury NZ
Pentax K-3, Sigma 300mm f/2.8, ISO 400, f/5.6 1/800
Salvin's Albatross, Kaikoura, Canterbury NZ
Pentax K-5, Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 200mm, ISO 400, f/5.6 1/1000
White-chinned Petrel, Kaikoura, Canterbury NZ
Pentax K-3, Sigma 300mm f/2.8, ISO 400, f/5.6 1/1600

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