At last, the time came for my evening tour with Akaroa Dolphins (Sadly, this is the name of the tour company, not a tour lead by dolphins). Turns out, most people tend to go on earlier tours, so it was just me and one older couple. We were treated to some wine before heading out into the harbor.
Before long, we spotted a pod of dolphins nearby. Akaroa is home to the Hector’s dolphin, a species found only in New Zealand. They’re quite small and very different from your standard Flipper in appearance. As soon as we neared the pod, they eagerly came up to the front of the boat and put on a show for us.
They seemed just as intent on observing us as we were on observing them.
More and more of them came to join in on the fun. As the captain sped up the boat, they matched our speed and continued to play along the bow.
Their coloring reminded me of orcas more than that of dolphins I’ve seen in the past.
Soon after the dolphins decided to move on, we spotted a little blue penguin near the coast.
They typically take off when people get too close, but this one seemed perfectly content to just float along.
We continued our trip along the breathtaking coast of Akaroa. The whole harbor is the caldera of an ancient volcano, so the rock formations are incredible.
Not to mention the color of that water! The temperature must have been in the low 80s, but as soon as we neared the open ocean, it quickly cooled down.
Cue the Jurassic Park theme song.
We headed towards a cove known for seals and passed a giant natural archway.
We only saw one seal in this spot, and it didn’t seem to approve of having its rest disturbed.
We headed to another cove where the rocks were scattered with baby seals, left there for safety while their parents went out to hunt. None of my pictures came out great, though, since they blended in perfectly with the rocks.
We turned around and headed back along the coast towards Akaroa Harbour.
The sun was sinking lower in the sky, and the view from the prow of the boat was wonderful.
We slowly made our way back into the port, and I couldn’t have been happier with all that we’d seen on our two-hour voyage.
I climbed up to a lookout spot on my way back for some great views out over town and the harbor.
As evening progressed, I headed back along the beaches of Akaroa to my hostel.
I planned to get an early start the next day so I could hike up into the hills around Akaroa for some more amazing views. Stay tuned for plenty more to come.