We swam with the Hector’s Dolphins, the rarest (and endangered) dolphins in the world. There are only about 7,500 of this species remaining, and their numbers are decreasing at about 6% per year. Their birth rate, with the females maturing late and having only one pup every two to three years, is about 2%.
The amazing thing is that we saw dozens of the Hector’s Dolphins, a very rare event, indeed. Our boat captain, Chris, said it was the most dolphins he’d ever seen in the 14 years he’s been leading these adventures. They usually see only one pod at a time, with between two and six dolphins. This time, though, we had up to six pods at one time. It was simply amazing.
During the boat ride out to and back from swimming with the dolphins, we saw several of the also-endangered White Flippered Little (Blue) Penguin, the smallest and rarest of all the world’s penguins, found only in this part of New Zealand.
I don’t know if there are more than one outfit which will take out to swim with Hector’s Dolphins, but we went with Black Cat Cruises, because we got a great deal (half price) from Grab One.