It’s mid-June, the start of the Southern hemisphere’s winter and I am stood on the back of a tour boat in wetsuit, teeth chattering audibly as I peer over the rails across the icy-blue horizon. We are in Kaikoura, a small coastal town on the South island of New Zealand, renowned for its abundance of marine wildlife. We have been searching the seas for dusky dolphins with Dolphin Encounter Kaikoura for about an hour now and my initial exhilaration has now curdled.
Yet fifteen minutes later, I am plunging into the achingly-cold water. I know I am 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 dolphins are swimming up so close to my goggles that I can observe every scar and blemish etched on their murky-blue skin and for a moment my heart goes out to each and every 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.