Try Crayfish in Kaikoura
If you haven't tried crayfish (New Zealand rock lobster) yet, you won't find a better place, there are roadside 'cray' shops that dot the highway, even if you aren't in to seafood, they provide some pretty cool kodak moments. If you are a sea food lover, you could well be in heaven. The Kaikoura coast offers some of the best seafood, or kai moana as we call it, in the world, it doesn't get any better than this. It's not only people that enjoy the seafood along the coast, a huge variety of marine mammals live along the coastline. Perhaps Kaikoura's most famous residents are it's population of dusky dolphins, fur seals and sperm whales.
The sperm whale, named after the oils it contains in it's head, is the largest toothed mammal on the planet weighing up to 70 tons and spanning nearly 60 feet. The sperm whales located around Kaikoura are generally adolescent males. Mum's kicked them out of home and told them to go look after themselves and they aren't quite old enough to go chasing girl whales yet either, so they just hang around Kaikoura to eat and entertain visitors. So why do they hang around Kaikoura? Kaikoura is at the southern end of a deep subterranean trench that runs from the Pacific Islands of Tonga all the way to New Zealand. This abyss is known as the Kaikoura canyon. The current is one of the most nutrient rich waters in the world, here cold and warm waters mix causing the nutrients to up-well just off the coast. Deep below the ocean, some 3km deep in fact, in a world as unexplored and as unknown as the dark side of the moon, lives the giant squid, the sperm whales favourite food. Thousands of metres below the surface natures most titanic battle between predator and prey rages on. These frightening alien like monsters have been reported to grow up to 60 feet long, they have eye's the size of a human head, the largest of any animal. Some fisherman claim to have seen squid up to 100 ft long, but then again, who'd believe a fisherman about the one that got away! A giant squid has never been seen alive, they have either been removed from dead whales stomachs, fishermen's nets or occasionally wash up on beaches.
Did you know?
Sperm whales dive at around 200m per minute. Their swim speed is around 10 kmph. They can dive for up to 90 minutes at a time. They have been recorded at depths as far as 1000m. Sperms whales sleep floating upright, as do a number of dolphins.
» Go whalewatching - from a plane with Wings over Whales Kaikoura