. We both had moments where we felt noticed by them, making eye contact and swimming in a circle with them. They liked it when you dived down under the water or made funny noises - Alex talked to them in her calming voice (e.g. "Oh, you're a dolphin!" - harder to do than you think in a snorkel); Dean attempted communication in their own language (e.g. "errck, errck, errck!"). We were both successful, and came out of the water with huge smiles across our faces. We had a final swim which was equally as amazing. We talked about it the whole way home even though we had to do the walk twice because someone (!) had left her keys at the office!
The really good thing about the swim was that the dolphins are totally wild. They are not tagged or trained in any way. We go out into their world and they decide if they are going to play with you. It was really cool to be able to see these guys in their own world and on their terms. It was absolutely brilliant!
P.S. We have more photos of Kaikoura, below the surface (& Abel Tasman) on a disposable camera...to follow soon.
Alex & Dean: We came to Kaikoura for the same reason as everyone else - to swim with dolphins. We set out in the boat early (well 9 O'Clock!) kitted out in full wetsuits and hoods, gorgeous. Our boat found the first pod, of about 150 dolphins, very quickly and we all slid into the water. It was amazing, as soon as we put our heads under all we could see was dolphins. We had been told how to make ourselves more entertaining so the dolphins would want to interact with us but for the first swim we were just too spellbound to remember the advice and just swam and watched them swim by. When that pod had passed we went in search of more and, after a couple of false starts, we were in the water with another, smaller pod. We didn't have long with them as they seemed to be on a mission to get somewhere. Heading back to the main pod we discovered that they had been joined by another and now numbered between 300-400! This was the best swim, there were just so many of them and they all seemed to be interested in knowing what these strange creatures were floating on the surface and making strange noises