Dolphins in Kaikoura, New Zealand

Swimming with the Dusky Dolphins of Kaikoura, New Zealand

It’s mid-June, the start of the Southern hemisphere’s winter. I’m stood on the back of a tour boat in a wetsuit, teeth chattering audibly as I peer over the rails across the icy-blue horizon.

We’re in Kaikoura, a small coastal town on the South Island of New Zealand which is renowned for its abundance of marine wildlife. We’ve been searching the seas for dusky dolphins with Dolphin Encounter Kaikoura for about an hour now and my initial exhilaration has now curdled.

Dolphins in Kaikoura, New Zealand
Yet fifteen minutes later, I’m plunging into the achingly-cold water. I know I’m freezing but all I can focus on are the curious creatures dancing playfully in front of me, a cacophony of high-pitched squeaks and whistles drowning my eardrums.

The dusky dolphins are swimming up so close to my goggles that I can observe every scar and blemish etched on their murky-blue skin. For a moment my heart goes out to each one of them as I imagine the chaos and turmoil they must have encountered in their lives out in the wild ocean.

And whilst my body is begging me to climb back onto the boat, I know I must make the most of this opportunity.
Did you enjoy this travel story? Read more of my wildlife encounters here.

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