On Monday I said goodbye to Kaikora (sad to leave the town but happy for what was ahead) and caught a ride with Jens again to Christchurch. I stayed at Kiwi Basecamp and was not very impressed. The front desk personnel were very brusque and off-putting. Also it was probably about a 15 minute walk from the supermarket (though closer to the city center and CBD) which is a bit much.
But to meet Ian and his friend Eric flying into Christchurch it worked out just fine. Before they got in I spent a while on the Internet planning and such. Then to bed and awoken at 4am to an awesome familiar face. Got to sleep in and then tagged along with the boys to the mall for some errands. After dinner we walked around the botanical garden which was quite pretty and then Maccers for Internet again.
Wednesday we drove out of Christchurch to Akaroa to swim with the dolphins again! This time it was with Hector’s Dolphin, an endangered species that is endemic to New Zealand and the smallest dolphin species. They were so cute!
It was a very cool experience. Much different from the Dusky Dolphin experience. Hector’s dolphins are much more shy and less acrobatic. Also there were a lot fewer of them. We maybe saw 10 different individuals. That being said it was a much more peaceful experience. The guides encouraged the group to stay together in a circle and work to attract and entertain the dolphins. Also they emphasized staying above water mostly and using your snorkel to make noise either singing or tapping it together.
I liked the fact it was cooperative rather than competitive. Also on our trip we stayed in one spot for the entire 45 minutes which was kind of cool. The Hectors dolphins also seemed less like they were testing you and showing off and more just plain curious. Though I loved how the Dusky dolphins were so very playful.
Actually being in the water was a little less pleasant because since we weren’t swimming (just treading water) and didn’t have hoods or a jacket so by the end I was really cold. Hector’s dolphins are also just really cute.
Overall I just feel so lucky to have had two awesome swims with two different species of dolphins in the last 3 days. Again, I love this country.