an area bursting with interesting things to see the Dolphin
Adventures tour out to spot and swim with dolphins is a
are both morning and afternoon tours and the likelihood
of seeing the beautiful creatures is almost guaranteed.
four-hour adventures begin at Paihia - with a pick-up at
nearby Russell - and believe me if you get the right conditions
you'll be in for an absolute treat.
Fullers' crew of Tammy and the wonderfully named Floppy
begin the trip by explaining about what you can and can't
do and also how the sea conditions and make-up of any dolphin
pods will determine whether or not you can swim with the
is illegal in New Zealand to get into the water with a dolphin
pod that contains juveniles - both for the mammals' safety
and your own. Dolphins are wonderful but a 200-kilo mother
protecting her youngster from a perceived threat is not
something I'd like to face.
the gals did say we would at least see them and so out we
motored on a stable and comfortable jet-powered catamaran.
the dolphins are wild their exact location varies depending
on their whims and feeding patterns.
about an hour of cruising the beautiful Bay of Island's
coastline we were led to a super pod of about 40 dolphins.
Normally there are about 15 in a pod so on the day we journeyed
out we were very lucky.
can recognise individual dolphins by their dorsal fins and
any scars they may have and each sighting is noted down
along with times, locations and weather conditions.
is to build up a picture of dolphin behaviour in the Bay
of Islands, although the highly mobile and unpredictable
mammals will more than likely make a mockery of trying to
pin them down through science.
it is one of the greatest joys of seeing dolphins in the
wild. You are completely at their mercy and it all depends
upon whether they feel like being sociable.
our trip the pod was keen to come to look at us and then
once they'd worked out we were pretty cool looking guys
and gals they performed and showed off.
hooked seaweed over its fin and began a game, while others
sped by and around and leapt out of the water in a billow
of spray that culminated in a whopping splash as it re-entered
the blue of the bay.
oohs and aahs and clicking cameras we marvelled at their
antics and I have to say this cynical journalist forgot
all the garbage going on in the world and just took in the
pure enjoyment of witnessing such wonderful creatures in
I had to spend much of the time looking through my camera
viewfinder but, hey, we hope you like the pictures.
super pod did have juveniles within its midst and so swimming
with them was out, but I reckon there was no-one aboard
the boat who was too disappointed because the spectacle
the way back to Paihia we stopped in on Urupukapuka Island
for a toilet stop and food and drinks at the local cafe.
You can also take a quick dip in lovely Otehei Bay.
Dolphin Adventures is a really well organised operation
that mixes a terrific tour, with a professional, informative
and really friendly service.