Two rare southern right whales have been spotted hugging the coastline of Auckland’s North Shore suburbs and up the coast with reports that the large female was calving in Brown’s Bay.
There are only 2100 in New Zealand, and at this time of year they’re usually found in the sub-Antarctic Auckland Islands breeding ground.
However, two of our customers were super lucky to have the following encounter with them 2 weeks ago towards the back of Kawau on their way to Little Barrier.
“The whales were feeding and appeared to be going under and blowing bubbles to surface the small fish. They then worked together and lay on their side slapping their tails on the water. Must be to round the fish up before eating them.
Ryan and Hamish got in the water. I stayed in the boat as a safety person just in case one of them got flicked by a tail. As soon as they got in one passed directly under them and swam under the boat. They were just cruising but compared with a diver with flippers they moved very quick and it was a bit hit and miss to being the right place at the right time. They got about 4 or 5 very close passes. The comments coming out of the snorkels was very amusing to listen to.
We spent about 45 minutes doing this. Every now and again the whales would stand on end and poke their head out to have a look at us.
On the last pass Ryan and Hamish saw the whale surface in the distance. They knew they were amongst the krill in the water. Next minute a whale was coming head on towards them with its mouth open. Ryan went one way and Hamish the other.
All I heard from their snorkels was WOAHHHHHH then a lot of laughter. They were buzzing when they got out of the water. Definitely the highlight of the day.”
Thanks to Paul Moodie for this wonderful story.