Saturday, November 18, 2017
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The big blue of Tauranga Moana

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The power of the ocean and its inhabitants. It’s something that has fascinated me since I was a young boy, with all its creatures in a real ’good vs evil’ kind of world.

You know: the sharks vs the dolphins, kind of world.

Click the image above to watch the video

Although my life is completely different now, these incredible sights of nature were something I was not able to see, other than in books and on TV as growing up in South Auckland limited us to only occasional trips to the beach and the sight of a shark was generally only seen whilst standing on the conveyor belt at Kelly Tarltons.

Luckily for me, that passion for marine life has stayed close to my heart over the years and since moving to Tauranga over 24 years ago, I’m now fortunate to be able to share many of my kayaking adventures with these animals, with people from not only New Zealand, but all over the world. 

One thing I distinctly remember being told as I grew up was that if you wanted to see dolphins the best places to go were either the Bay of Islands, Whakatane or Kaikoura.

They were apparently the dolphin capitals of New Zealand and while I see some awesome animals inshore here in Tauranga when I am out paddling (sharks, Orcas, rays etc), I am often curious as to what is further offshore, and what Tauranga really has to offer so far as marine life goes.

Just how do we stack up against the other towns as well as other dolphin and whale watching places that I have been to around the world. 

Recently, I ventured out on a dolphin watching boat and headed to Mayor Island to find the answer to that question, and I have to say, I was amazed at what I saw. Simply amazed, and as it turns out, we stack up just fine.

Upon leaving the Tauranga Harbour, we throw biscuits to the statue of Tangaroa, God of the sea. An ’offering’ of sorts to grant us a safe passage and to look over us as we venture out into the deep blue.

It would later turn out that Tangaroa must have really liked those ginger nut biscuits!

The boat chugs along as we head out, and whilst it’s not the fastest boat on the water, the steady cruising speed enables me to scan over much more water looking for anything that might swim by, or anything that might create even the smallest wake, or the slightest disruption to the surface of the water.

The last thing we want to do is race past something and possibly miss it and whilst out there, I managed to spot two main ’characters’ in the video attached to this story which I credit to the perfect viewing pace that we were on.

At this time off year, dolphins are a relatively common sight, and can often be seen in small or large pods.

Because of this, I try to concentrate on other types of life such as sharks and rays, which can be harder to spot, but incredibly rewarding if you do see one.

Their grace through the water is unparalleled and they will often swim just below the surface as they warm up in the sun.  

There is not much more I can say because the video itself really tells the story, but I will say this: what I loved so much about this experience, was the fact that it was all in our back yard.

This is Tauranga, the place that we call home, which is also the home to some incredible wildlife, and that is what made this trip so special.

Seeing Mauao in the distance really does bring out a sense of pride, and while you may not see what I saw on this trip, you may get lucky with something different. (Apparently, a whale shark, a leatherback turtle and the very odd looking Sunfish had been sighted the week before.)

Nothing is guaranteed when it comes to nature, but I quite like it that way as that is what adds to the excitement and suspense.

How boring would it be if we knew exactly what we were going to see every day?  At this time of year though, there is quite a mix going on out deep and I’m sure you will enjoy your day out in the big blue.

So, without further-a-due, enjoy my video because Tauranga Moana is awesome!.

Comments on SunLive

Orca Wildlife Adventures

Posted on 21-01-2015 07:59 | By jsp

I went on this same trip a few weeks ago and saw over a hundred dolphins and a marko shark. You get to hang onto a bar at the back of the boat band use a snorkel to watch the dolphins swim with you. An amazing day that I will never forget. And it’s right here in the beautiful bay!

Life jacket requirement -leuberts

Posted on 20-01-2015 09:43 | By Murray.Guy

The wearing of a life jacket is not a requirement subject to the size of the craft and other considerations. I have NO doubt that all appropriate emergency apparel and equipment was on board and readily accessible (available for those who would prefer to wear a jacket). Just as with aircraft, those in control apply common-sense and when it become obviously necessary to impose restrictions passengers would be instructed accordingly. Clearly in this situation the conditions are near perfect. What an absolutely beautiful capture of reality, our natural environment.

awesome fish

Posted on 19-01-2015 06:51 | By Me again

Very good camera work and they are beautiful fish. But noone on board that boat seems to be wearing LIFEJACKETS or is the company exempt from having their customers wearing them. It only take a freak wave!!

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