Now that we have seen some seals and taken a short break…it’s time to continue our journey northwards to Picton.
I took a few photos of Kaikoura when we passed through… it’s little wonder that you can see references to whales and whaling here: because naturally the place is famous these days for its’ whale watching possibilities.
In other photographs I tied to capture the various hues of blues and turquoise colours in the sea, also a tell-tale signs that the whales are close by because the coastline here has some very special undersea geography that bring whale here in vast numbers.
If you were to set sail east from Kaikoura and ventured far far out into the Pacific ocean, you would eventually hit the Chatham Islands.
Now imagine a massive underwater mountain range, deep under the sea connecting the Chathams and New Zealand. Basically this acts like an undersea wall, with very deep water on either side.
Plankton and other microbial sea life get swirled around on the deep undersea currents and hit this wall, eddying up in a large circle and it’s this large whirlpool of food that brings whale here to feed.
The other piece of the undersea geography puzzle is that at Kaikoura the continental shelf makes a sweeping dent from the Pacific towards land, coming within three kilometres of the South Island so it’s possible to travel by boat the short distance from land and see whales in their deep water feeding areas.
What was one hundred years ago a whaling station for hunting whales is now a multi-million dollar tourist industry for whale watching.
The mountain range in front of us are called the Seaward Kaikoura’s…
and the even bigger ones behind them are called the Inland Kaikoura’s…
Kaikoura is also famous for lobster…
The camera doesn’t do it justice, you have to see it to believe it….
The top of the South Island becomes drier and the distinctive rows of grapes tell you that you are entering the famous Marlborough wine region … the road winds onwards and we follow where it leads.