Skipping over Day 5 because I did nothing much and didn’t take any particularly great photos.
Day 6 was my last day in NZ, and since my flight was late at night and Steph was working, I had the day to myself. I chose to go see dolphins.
First, let me tell you something: the Auckland bus website is useless. Steph checked the route for me online and told me I could find a bus stop about 5 minutes’ walk away from her place. But… when I actually went there, there was no bus stop in sight. Except on the other side of the road, and going in the opposite direction. I asked around but finding no bus stop, had to walk almost half an hour into town. That wouldn’t have been so bad if it hadn’t actually been hot. I’d planned to go into the Viaduct Harbour area and shop a bit before going for my dolphin-watching trip but by the time I got there, I was in no mood to really shop and only bought a few souvenirs before stalking into a mall to hide in the air-con and grab something for brunch.
Anyway, finally, at 12 it was time for the “Whale and Dolphin Safari!” It would’ve been nice to see whales, but I wasn’t counting on it since it wasn’t whale season. I hoped for dolphins at least.
It was a sunny, sunny day. Behold, Auckland city as the boat pulled out of the Viaduct Harbour.
View of the city area from further out.
Initially I was out on the deck with the other passengers (there were about 20-something passengers in all, which was a fairly small number for a boat that could hold over a hundred people) but it got too noisy and hot and I retreated to sit inside, where the crew were seated. The guy holding the binoculars is keeping a look out for dolphins and any other interesting marine life.
I assume that’s a lighthouse.
A gannnet flying over blue, blue water.
It was hot outside.
We went on and on for over three hours without seeing anything besides tiny penguins and gannets and some other sea birds. It was really disappointing. But then!
Intriguingly, the dolphins heard/sensed the boat approaching and they came to us. I’m serious. One minute they were far-off specks, and then they decided to come do some human-watching and the whole pod came splashing in our direction.
They like being under and around the boat, riding the waves.
Humans watching dolphins.
(It was good that there were only twenty-something people on board. A larger number would’ve made it much more difficult to see the dolphins.)
Dolphin watching humans.
This adorable one kept going vertical, as if trying to get a good look at us all.
I much prefer seeing dolphins out in the wild than performing in aquariums and theme parks.
A dolphin and the horizon.
It’s hard to gauge their size from the pictures, but they are big. I want to swim with them.
I was an idiot and forgot that I could use my camera’s shutter priority settings to get clearer pictures. I could’ve thrown myself overboard for my stupidity… But look at the lovely streamlined shape and the patterns on this dolphin!
I’ve seen wild dolphins before, years ago, on a similar dolphin-watching trip in Australia. But those dolphins didn’t hang around as long. This lot frolicked around the boat for about half an hour, which was simply delightful. (Apparently, they like to hear noise and applause, so the crew encouraged people to clap and “talk” to the dolphins.)
I was sad when we finally had to leave the dolphins.
On the way back, a boat with a bright yellow sail. (City of Sails, this Auckland. I didn’t see that many people out sailing though. Maybe it’s not the sailing season.)
Dolphins. A good way to close the trip, I say.