Anne Marie's Australian Adventure

Follow the Adventures of Anne Marie, Fergus, Cooper and Bean Sidhe in Australia!!

Swimming with the Dolphins

Posted by Anne Marie Serrano on December 11, 2008

This had to be the highlight of our trip to New Zealand. After the Waitomo Caves I never thought I’d have to get into a wetsuit again. I did and this time I had to tread water – oh how I wished I had my inner tube. The dolphin swim boat launched from the pier at Akaroa about 90 minutes south of Christchurch. This quaint village was a French settlement prior to the English taking over New Zealand. It has a cute waterfront with small shops and cafes.

The day was a bit overcast so it made it all seem colder than it probably was. The wetsuits we used this time , however, were newer and a little more stylish, and not wet prior to us getting into them so the preparation wasn’t as shocking as it was for glowworm watching.

The group was smaller too. There were maybe eight of us on the boat plus the captain and a crew member. We sailed out towards the opening of the Akaroa Harbor and then waited to spot the dolphins. The dolphins in this harbor are Hector Dolphins and this is a good place to watch them because the harbor keeps them safe from sharks.

Two Hector Dolphins along side the boat.

Two Hector Dolphins along side the boat.

I was the first to spot them jumping and even though I couldn’t say “Thar she blow!” I did shout to the captain “I see them!” We headed the boat towards them, stopped and then slipped into the icy cold water one at a time so as to not scare them away. We weren’t out in the open sea but the rolling waves were still pretty big and which made  it was hard to see the dolphins while we were in the water. The captain and the crew guy would yell from the boat, “coming your way on the left” or ” two right behind you” so we could position ourselves to see them.


IT WAS AWESOME! We were all separated by several feet so that the dolphins would swin in between us. They came by in pairs or sets of three so if we missed one we usually could see the other. These dophins are little and have a black fin so they were fairly easy to spot but they were fast so if  we were turned in the wrong direction we’d miss them.

Dolphins with the group.

Dolphins with the group.

We were in the water for forty minutes but it seemed like five. The skipper said we’d be leaving soon so I got out first so I could take some pictures and video. As I was getting into the boat one of them jumped completely out of the water – behind my back- so I missed it. I guess all those ohhs and ahhs were not for me.

I got some shots of the dolphins near Fergus and some with the other people on the boat.

Fergus and Hector

                             Fergus and Hector

They come so close you can almost touch them but they warn you not to because their skin is so delicate that it can be injured easily. It really was a wonderful experience. As we were preparing to leave a dolphin watching boat came near us and the dolphins went crazy swimming along side of the ship. We could see them clearly then. I think the people on the boat, bundled up in their jackets, were envious that we were down there close and personal with the dolphins – a much better view.


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