Swimming with dolphins was something high on my list of things to do down here in New Zealand. I had no interest in the dolphin encounters that had you in with a captive/penned dolphin. After swimming with wild sea lions of the Galapagos, I wanted to try the same with wild dolphins. New Zealand gives you that opportunity, in spades.
Resident year round to Kaikoura, the Dusky Dolphin is one of the smaller types of dolphin, but also very acrobatic and is well know for it’s jumping from the water. In addition, they tend to be more curious than other types, routinely investigating people in the water. Which makes them great for swimming with. On an early Monday morning I found myself, with 11 other eager swimmers, waiting in a boat in our wetsuits. After a 45 minute boat ride, the guides gave us the signal and we were in the water with 3-4 Dusky Dolphins. They came and swam around the group for a few minutes, to the joy of everyone.
Then it was back in the boat, and off to another small group of dolphins. Everyone hopped back in the water for round 2!
This group of 3-4 amused us for a few more minutes then went on their way as well. And we all clamoured back on board for another search. 5 minutes later the guide told us to look over towards land.
We’d found a BIG pod of Dusky Dolphins this time, numbering well over 100! We all eagerly got ready and jumped in the water as soon as we could. And were surrounded by curious dolphins!
The dolphins would circle you slowly allowing lots of good looks at them. They also got plenty close! Could easily see them watching you as they swam around!
Finally the dolphins started to pass us by, though not without some giving us some last looks.
And we were back on the boat, everyone beaming from this amazing encounter. For the next 20 minutes or so we followed the dolphins as they swam together, lept out of the water, and generally put on a wonderful display.
One of my favourite experiences here in New Zealand! Simply incredible to swim with such wonderful animals in their habitat.