31 January 2016

Wild dolphins in Tauranga New Zealand - Love Travel Linkup

Honestly, I could almost just write this post as 'wild baby dolphins' ad finitum. Wild baby dolphins, wild baby dolphins, wild baby dolphins, wild baby dolphins, wild baby dolphins, wild baby dolphins, wild baby dolphins, wild baby dolphins, wild baby dolphins, wild baby dolphins, wild baby dolphins. There, got it out of my system. Wild baby dolphins. Ok, now I have.

Wild dolphins in Tauranga New Zealand - Love Travel Linkup

(Ps. If you don't want to read about a dolphin love-in, keep scrolling down for the travel linkup widget that opens the 1st of Feb - we've all got that lovin' feeling this month...)


Wild dolphins in Tauranga New Zealand - Love Travel Linkup

We woke one morning before Christmas to calm grey skies that cleared to an endless cloudless horizon over turquoise waves, and breathed with relief. It was my third attempt to spot these elusive creatures in New Zealand coastal waters. Our last two tries to see wild dolphins off the coast of New Zealand (in Tauranga and Kaikoura respectively) were thwarted with freak storms rending the seas dangerously high to take boats out, and I knew that if this attempt didn’t succeed that I was fated never to do it. (A bit dramatic I know…) 

Wild dolphins in Tauranga New Zealand - Love Travel Linkup


This time however we launched the boat from Tauranga wharf loaded with muffins and wetsuits, the plan being for us to spend an hour or so getting away from the coast into more open water (we sat back, drank coffee and tried not to get our hopes up). 

Before we knew it a shout came down from the crows nest and we were sat along the bow of the boat dangling our shoeless feet (apparently the dolphins are attracted to playing with them). A pod of around 30 then a second pod of 50-70 dolphins had found us in the midst of feeding and were shadowing the boat.

Wild dolphins in Tauranga New Zealand - Love Travel Linkup

Wild dolphins in Tauranga New Zealand - Love Travel Linkup

Our captain told us all kinds of interesting facts - we were hanging with the common dolphin, who grow to a maximum of about 2.6 metres and have beautiful colouration of cream/grey/black and yellow in a kind of hourglass pattern on their sides. Both the pods we discovered had quite new babies swimming alongside their families, so we couldn't swim with them this time, but honestly by that point I couldn't care less.

Wild dolphins in Tauranga New Zealand - Love Travel Linkup


LOOK ANOTHER BABY!! We were told if a little 'un is being naughty, the mumma dolphin will actually nip it lightly in the tail, reminding the youngster to behave.

If your day is in any way stressful, you HAVE to watch this video right to the end, it gets better and better. Use it as a meditation. I have, several times.



Then, with one last flick of a dolphin's tail (and our boat's time allocation up - the New Zealand Department of Conservation allow the boats one hour of time only to keep from stressing them out - though like our captain said he adores them because they come up to the boats and start scratching their backs and getting up to mischief alongside) we headed back to shore.
 Wild dolphins in Tauranga New Zealand - Love Travel Linkup

Wild dolphins in Tauranga New Zealand - Love Travel Linkup

So, yeah, it was love at first sight.

We stopped in afterwards to Phil's Place, a restaurant owned by the severely misbehaving Phil Rudd (the drummer from ACDC) for some ridiculously good lunch and a few marina-side beers.

 Wild dolphins in Tauranga New Zealand - Love Travel Linkup


 
So, how about you?

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