Welcome to Banks Peninsula, home of The Hector’s dolphins and eco-tourism pioneers Black Cat Cruises

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World Animal Day – Celebrating and Protecting Hector’s Dolphins

akaroa dolphin

Today, October 4th is World Animal Day. It has become an internationally celebrated day to support animal rights and welfare and we are celebrating the Hector’s dolphin.

How World Ocean Day Started

The very first World Animal Day took place nearly 100 years ago on March 24, 1925, in the Sport Palace in Berlin, Germany. More than 5,000 people attended the first event, however today the movement is now celebrated worldwide. It was originally founded by writer and animal activist Heinrich Zimmermann, author of Mensch und Hund (Man and Dog). In 1929 the date changed to October 4. The reason was quite simple and nothing fancy…the Sport Palace in Berlin simply wasn’t available that day. And since then October 4th has been known as World Ocean Day.

As champions of Hector’s dolphins here at Black Cat Cruises we’ve included some fun facts, industry info and an opportunity to encounter our very own ‘Kiwi Of The Sea’.

akaroa dolphin
Akaroa hector’s dolphin

Hector’s Dolphin Facts

Hector’s dolphins are the worlds rarest and smallest oceanic dolphin. They are only found around the shallow coastal waters of the South Island in New Zealand making them a very rare and special native marinemammal.

The world wildlife organisation continues to recognise Hector’s dolphins as being endangered. They are very unique in their appearance, making them very easy to identify in the ocean. Not only are they very small (reach up to just 1.4m long), they also have a rounded black dorsal fin – just like a Mickey Mouse ear, along with a grey body and white tummy, similar in style to an Orca.

There is a also subspecies of the Hector’s dolphin known as the Maui’s dolphin this is critically endangered and estimated to have a population of only 55. The Maui dolphin is only found along the western shores of the North Island of New Zealand.

Given how rare this endemic species is we coined the phrase ‘Kiwi of the Sea’ quite a few years back…and even worked with a local musician to create a song to celebrate this magnificent marine mammal. If you haven’t seen it yet, check out the first video below here in this blog – we warn you though, it’s rather catchy!

Hector’s dolphin Image by Mark Kitchingham.

Hector’s Dolphin – Tiaki Promise

Check out this fantastic video that explains just why Hector’s dolphins are so important and as guardians of our environment we need to ensure we are doing our part as a tourism operator to take care of them, and the place we operate.

 

Hector’s Dolphin Research champions

A great source of information for Hector’s dolphins, latest research and how you can take action can be found from the New Zealand Whale and Dolphin Trust. Led by Professor’s Liz Slooten and Steve Dawson as featured in our short documentary above, they are the world’s leading researchers and have spent a lifetime studying and campaigning for the endangered Hector’s dolphin.

They are rarer than kiwi’s and continue to be threatened by commercial and recreational fishing

You can TAKE ACTION or find out how you DONATE via their website here.

Hector’s Dolphin Education

Did you know we run a Hector’s dolphin education programme?

This 9 week curriculum level 3 programme is completely free and available to all kiwi schools and students. Our aim is to raise awareness and inspire our next generation of young kiwi’s to care for their place and it’s precious ocean inhabitants. The more we can raise awareness of the Hector’s dolphins, and how important it is that our actions allow us to work and live respectfully and sustainably together, not just for our time but for future generations to come, the better the world will be for it.

Watch this video for more info….

Protect Hector’s Dolphins

akaroa hectors dolphins adopt a dolphinYou can join our Protect Hector’s Team! We set up a way to donate further funds back to the education and protection of the Hector’s dolphins.

Joining the Protect Hector’s team cost just $29 and in return, as well as helping to support the dolphins, you will receive a personalised certificate, plush Hector’s dolphin soft toy and a unique fact sheet. Read more about and join our team here

There are also some great ways to help support both Hector’s and Maui dolphins on the Department of Conservation’s website. You can read more about it here  

 

Encounter Hector’s Dolphins in Akaroa 

hectors dolphinsOne of the best ways to encounter Hector’s dolphins is on one of our Akaroa Nature Cruise. We have some great specials on our website, including a fab family pass saving over $90. You’ll spend two hours cruising with us through the volcanic cliffs of majestic Akaroa harbour. Take in the sights, sounds and fascinating facts from significant Maori history, awe-inspiring geology, and wonderous wildlife. We often see a range of Hector’s dolphins, New Zealand Fur seals, coastal birds and more. Free tea and coffee are served from our downstairs bar area, and under 5’s cruise for free. We also offer a Hector’s Dolphin viewing guarantee with every booking, all year round. If you don’t see a dolphin (just a 2% chance) you can come and cruise with us again for free! Akaroa is also a wonderful place to explore on the stunning Banks Peninsula. It’s just a 90 minute drive from Christchurch so makes for a great day trip, weekend escape or longer.

We are an officially permitted by the Department of Conservation. As a SMART operator we adhere to DOC’s guidelines to operate in a safe, responsible and sustainable way with our marine environment and marine inhabitants.

SMART operators are leaders in sustainable marine mammal viewing through intensive staff training, responsible advertising, and education.

We are also the only cruise operator in Akaroa to be rated as Qualmark Gold, in addition we also hold the Covid Clean Approved accreditation from Qualmark. This means that our operations, training, staff and overall experience is of the highest standard. In addition we are current winners of the Tourism New Zealand award for Conservation and previous winners for Business Excellence.

Hector’s Dolphin Threat Management Plan

In order to ensure the long-term survival of these undique marine mammals the Ministry for Primary Industries have an active threat management plan in place. Black Cat Cruises were actively involved in advocating for better protection and support for the dolphins in 2019. You can see some of our work here. In 2020 there was a revision of the plan.You can view a PDF copy of the latest plan here

 

#worldanimalday #hectorsdolphin #wildandfree #akaroa

 

 

School Holiday Fun! Quail Island Treasure Hunt, Kids Cruise Free in Akaroa and Ripapa Island

school holiday Christchurch activity

It’s all go these school holidays in Christchurch and Akaroa with Black Cat Cruises.

school holiday Christchurch activityThe school holidays kick off this Saturday, October 2nd and run until Sunday October 17th in Christchurch and we know just how important it is to find a fun and engaging activity that the whole family can enjoy. Choose from our daring pirate and treasure hunt happening daily on Quail Island, or jump in the car and head over the hill to Akaroa for a two hour nature cruise as kids cruise free during the holidays….and if that wasn’t enough we have also put on 3 limited space trips to Ripapa Island happening every Saturday.

Quail Island Treasure Hunt – Adults go at kids prices

Come and find the hidden pirates on Quail Island and we’ll reward you with treasure. Limited time only for the October school holidays. Choose from a morning, afternoon or full day trip when booking Quail Island.

Adults cost just $15 return – the same price as a child.

BOOK USING CODE: PIRATES21 

 

Kids Cruise Free in Akaroa

school holiday deal christchurch

Did you know 2 kids cruise for free (saving $80) in Akaroa in the October school holidays. Explore Akaroa harbour and discover majestic volcanic cliffs along with native wildlife such as the Hector’s dolphins and New Zealand fur seal. The cruise lasts for two hours and includes complimentary tea and coffee for mum, dad and the grandparents…along with a kids activity book on request for the little ones. There are two viewing platforms and a large inside cabin with a bar, seating and bathroom. We also offer a Hector’s dolphin guarantee. Did you know Hector’s dolphins are the worlds rarest and smallest dolphin…and only found here in New Zealand. The lucky thing for us is that Banks Peninsula is the home of the Hector’s and we get to see them every single day on 98% of our cruises which allows us to take you out again for free if you don’t see them 🙂

BOOK USING CODE: OCTHOLS21

Valid on our Akaroa Nature Cruise when accompanied by 1 adult paying full price of $95.

Ripapa Island

The little island with the big history is back for a limited time. Over the next 3 Saturdays once you’ve booked online you can jump on our boat in Lyttelton and cruise over to Ripapa Island for a fascinating morning of discovery. Check out the video below and if you haven’t yet been we highly recommend you take the opportunity to cruise over.

Ripapa Island

And remember under 5’s cruise and travel for free with us all year round!

We do recommend advance booking as spaces have been reduced to just 50 passengers per trip for Quail Island and our Akaroa Harbour Nature Cruise.

You can book any of these experiences directly on our booking page here

Please note that these experiences will only go ahead in Covid alert level 1 or  2. At the time of posting we are currently in Level 2 which means our Quail Island and Akaroa experiences are limited to 50 pax per trip.

Kids Cruise Free in Akaroa

akaroa dolphins

Kids cruise free in Akaroa these April school holidays with us at Black Cat Cruises*.

We are setting sail every day, twice and day and you and the whole whanau are invited!

Join us in Akaroa for our multi-award winning Akaroa Nature Cruise. Cruise through a majestic extinct volcanic crater on board our large double decker catamaran.

As we cruise through this geological wonderland we’ll go in search of native wildlife such as the worlds rarest and smallest dolphin, the Hector’s dolphin, along with New Zealand Fur Seals, Little Blue Penguins, and many types of coastal birds. With unimpeded 360 degree viewing platform, a large inside cabin complete with free tea and coffee for mum and dad and coloring activities for kids, this is a wonderful way to spend a few hours of your holiday.

Each cruise lasts two hours, and we even offer a Hector’s dolphin guarantee. If you don’t see a dolphin you can cruise again for free!

Simply book directly with us online.

When booking use code FREEKIDS to receive your discount

*1 free child per full paying adult

april school holiday activity

 

Protect Hector’s – The latest developments

On the 24th June, the Government released its long-awaited plan to help protect Hectors (and Maui) dolphins. This is the end of a process that began 2 years ago and is the result of many meetings, plans, submissions and feedback from all – including the fishing industry, conservationists, scientists, and us, the tourism industry who make a living from our interaction with this very special dolphin.

The reason this is so important is that it is a once in 20-year event to help secure the future for these rare native dolphins. 

So, what happened? We are going to focus on the area off Banks Peninsula, our home patch, and talk about the changes coming in from the 1st October 2020.

1.A nationwide ban on drift netting

This is a good move but in reality, this fishing method doesn’t exist in 2020, so whilst it does ‘plug a hole’ for the future it’s not that meaningful.

2. An extension of current set-net closures, and the creation of new areas closed to set-netting, around Banks Peninsula. (see map 1)

The decision is to create new ‘set net free’ areas both north and south of Banks Peninsula – good news for the local population of dolphins.

However, it creates a ‘death zone’ in the space between these two banned areas, ironically in the area outside Akaroa Harbour. We lobbied hard to close this area to set net fishing too. Not only do we know dolphins are present there, but also it creates a worse impact by forcing fishing activity from the banned area to the unbanned area outside of Akaroa.

The ministers have proposed to ‘consult on further extending the commercial and recreational set-net closures around Banks Peninsula’. They have said ‘consultation is required because this measure was not included in options discussed with the public previously.’ There is no information on how and when this discussion takes place.

In addition the proposal does not appear to plug the current issue which allows recreational flounder set nets inside the upper parts of Akaroa and Lyttelton Harbours,  Pigeon Bay and Port Levy from April to September which we know are a clear threat to dolphins. That is very disappointing.

3.Increasing marine mammal sanctuary area around Banks Peninsula. (see map 2)

The proposal is to extend the sanctuary up and down the coast and further out to sea, but to be clear this is not a fishing restriction.

The main benefit to this extension is it addresses the risks of future seismic surveying and seabed mining by prohibiting new permits in the expanded marine mammal protection areas. To our knowledge none are planned here but it does prevent a possible future issue.

You can submit your support for this here (deadline 21st July 2020) 

4.Roll out the toxoplasmosis action plan  

This is a disease probably contained in cat faeces washing into rivers with the dolphins somehow ingesting enough to kill them. There have been some dead dolphins examined on beaches with toxoplasmosis being the most likely final cause of death. This may be an issue for the dolphins or may not. We agree it needs further scientific research and planning

5.No restrictions on trawling 

There are NO new restrictions on trawling at this stage in or around Banks Peninsula. 

However, the minister (of fisheries) wants to look at the ways trawling is carried out, such as trawl speed and headline height of the net, in an effort to further reduce the risk to dolphins while still allowing use of the fishery.

It’s hard to know what this means but we suspect the status quo will be retained, a disappointing outcome.

Conclusion

We’re grateful for all the work that has been done by NZ government officials into coming up with the plan and for the ministers for their action to date. Further protections have been put in place to secure the future of these dolphins so we can’t be unhappy with that. 

But we’re very keen for the ‘death zone’ to be closed near Akaroa, and to hear more about the trawling study. And in due course hear more about the real threat from toxoplasmosis. 

Thank you for your interest and support of Black Cat Cruises as we continue to lobby hard for further protections for our Hector’s dolphins

Map 1
Map 2

Banks Peninsula Beaches – Our pick of beautiful beaches in and around the Peninsula

With the weather hotting up for the next week ahead we thought we’d share with you our pick of beautiful Banks Peninsula beaches.

We think of Banks Peninsula as one of New Zealand’s natural treasures. With it’s abundance of bays and beaches we are spoilt for choice when it comes to finding a place to swim, relax and have some summer fun.

On the doorstep of Christchurch yet remote enough to feel you’re a million miles away here’s our pick of some the best Banks Peninsula beaches to visit this summer….

 

Taylors Mistake Beach

Taylors Mistake is one of the coolest little beaches in Christchurch that arguably sits at the start of the peninsula. The story is told that it is named after Captain Taylor who ran his boat and crew aground during the night when he its believed he was passing over the Sumner bar.  Others argue that he thought he had found Lyttelton harbour and was most surprised when the boat became beached. Bizarrely just six years later another Captain Taylor also ran aground in the same bay. Originally it was called Vincent Bay

The beach is very popular with surfers as it usually gets a more powerful waved than neighboring Sumner and so it’s great beach to come to for a swim, surf, body board or to simply catch up with friends and get a nice tan.

Taylors Mistake has a great set of volunteer lifeguards that patrol the beach in the summer months over the weekend.

The beach itself is cradled between the port hills so a beautiful setting for a day out

There are some fantastic mountain bike tracks in these hills and you may even spot para-gliders floating down from above.

You can also do a couple of fantastic coastal cliff walks either the Godley Head track on the right-hand side (as pictured)  and the Taylors Mistake Track on the left-hand side where you can walk back to Sumner. Just remember to take a bottle of water and slap some sunscreen on!

 

Photo credit – @wanderlist_diary

 

Sumner Beach

Sumner Beach is another lovely beach in Christchurch….bordering that of the peninsula and Taylors Mistake it’s definitely worth adding to the list! A top tip is to head out for sunrise or sunset, and watch from above Cave Rock! Amazing views, and you can skip the busy traffic on hot summer days.

It’s a lovely long open beach affording views of the Southern Alps and sometimes even the Kaikoura peaks hiding in the distance. As Sumner is a good sized open beach it’s great for a game of cricket or volleyball with friends or family.

There are some fab cafes and bars in Sumner which make it a great place to visit during the day or later on as the sun sets. It does get quite busy in the summer holidays when the suns out, but being only approximately 20 minutes from the city centre it’s an easy place to get to.

You can even take your dog to Sumner, however they are only allowed off the leash under effective control in a a certain area so please read the signs carefully.

Sumner is also being patrolled by volunteer lifeguards during the summer months over the weekend.

Photo credit – @wanderlist_diary

 

Tumbledown Bay

Tumbledown Bay is a small little bay, 1 hour and 15-minutes out from Christchurch via Little River. It’s a steep drive down to the bay on a dirt road so a four wheel drive is recommend. The views however on the drive over are spectacular, possibly some of the best when discovering the Banks Peninsula beaches.

Tumbledown Bay is generally a quiet bay so a nice spot to relaxing and enjoy the beautiful scenery, the beautiful ocean and the nice walks around the bay. If you are lucky you might see some Hector’s Dolphins swim by. Tumbledown Bay has small sets waves so it’s good if you want to learn to surf or just a nice swim.

Photo credit – @wanderlist_diary

 

Akaroa Beach

Akaroa Beach is a nice small tidal beach that is in the centre of the Akaroa township.

Akaroa is a just 90-minute scenic drive from Christchurch. With many things to do in Akaroa it’s nice to end the day with a nice swim and a jump of the pontoon. Bring a bucket and spade for the kids and simply take a good book and relax.

You might even be in luck and see some friendly little Hector’s Dolphins come say, “hello”.

Check out our recent blog about Ten Free Things To Do In Akaroa for some further inspiration.

Photo credit @wanderlist_diary

 

 

Hickory Bay

Hickory Bay is a fantastic place to go surfing. Being one of the larger Banks Peninsula beaches a 4WD is recommended for the drive down into the bay where you can park your car at the bottom and then take a foot track to the beach itself.

A nice wide beach with waves ranging between 1 – 12 metres in height, it is the perfect spot.

Or if you are feeling adventurous you can hike over to the bay from Akaroa and then hike back again.

Hickory bay is approximately 1 hour and 46-minute drive from Christchurch.

Photo credit @wanderlist_diary

 

Corsair Bay

Corsair Bay is a small little sandy / pebbly bay just passed Lyttelton.

With its close proximity to the city, in the summer the bay can often be packed with kids and adults alike.

The kids have got places to jump off from into the water, including the pontoon that sits in the middle of the bay or you can go for nice short walks around either side of the bay.

Pack a picnic, paddle board or grab some fish and chips from Lyttelton on the way and enjoy just one of the little gems the peninsula offers.

Photo credit @wanderlist_diary

 

 

Le Bons Bay

Le Bons Bay is a bay approximately 1 hour and 38-minutes’ drive from Christchurch.

It’s a truly lovely bay on Banks Peninsula with lots of other bays surrounding it so you could visit a few in a day whilst you drive along the scenic summit road.

Le Bons Bay is a bay where you can play in the river that is connected to it and where you can bring your swim stuff to and go for a nice cool swim.

 

Okains Bay

Okains Bay is probably best known by the locals as a great camping spot. It also has a wonderful safe beach ideal for all sorts of family activities.

It’s well known for the Okains Bay Maori and Colonial Museum which contains over 3,000 Maori items.

There is also a general store which dates back to 1873 and is still in operation today. Be sure to grab an ice-cream before you head to the beach!

It’s only approx a one and a quarter hours drive from Christchurch and 22km from Akaroa.

Check out the Okains Bay campsite website for more details https://okainsbaycamp.co.nz/

 

Cass Bay

Cass Bay is another little bay just around the corner from Lyttelton, so pretty easy to access from Christchurch.

Residents of Cass Bay have the spectacular views out over Lyttelton Harbour and towards Quail Island.

Cass bay is another lovely bay to visit in the summer with the kids or with your family or friends.

Bring the kids down to the water or the playground or take them for a nice walk around the bays.

Photo credit @wanderlist_diary

 

 

Magnet Bay

Last on our list of beautiful Banks Peninsula beaches is Magnet Bay. Another surfer’s paradise where you can catch some great waves. A boulder beach so be prepared….the scenery is worth the trip though

Just under an hour and a half’s drive from Christchurch it’s a great spot to check out.

A neighbour to Tumbledown Bay you will pass through Little River along the way.

Not recommended for complete beginner surfers as you have to walk out over the boulders to reach the water and the surf can get quite big.

Photo credit @wanderlist_diary

 

 

We hope we’ve inspired you to visit one of these beautiful Banks Peninsula beaches…share your snaps with us if you do by tagging @blackcatcruises We’d love to see your adventures in our local back yard!

TIAKI PROMISE

TIAKI PROMISE

TIAKI PROMISE Have you heard of the Tiaki promise?

Well the Tiaki promise is a shared kaupapa (set of values, principles and plans which people have agreed on as a foundation for their actions) founded by New Zealand’s leading Tourism bodies and experts.

The Tiaki Promise is a commitment that both New Zealanders and visitors alike should follow. Most importantly this is in order to protect the country for our generation, and for the generations that are yet to come. What a beautiful concept we can all help bring to life…..

Tiaki In Action

The Tiaki Promise indicates how we can care for New Zealand, with five clear pillars for guidance as shown in this poster. tiaki promise poster

Such simple changes and small deeds can have a big impact. Therefore this might be as simple as…

  • Driving carefully on the roads
  • Being prepared for bad weather or a disaster
  • Showing respect to your peers and people you meet along the way
  • Protecting nature and your environment
  • Picking up litter

That great old saying of take nothing but pictures and leave nothing but footprints is a great way to describe an example of that!

Count Us In

We at Black Cat Cruises have proudly made the commitment to be a part of the Tiaki Promise. As a Kiwi eco-tourism operator since day one we will continue to search for ways in which we can better our environment and experience whilst respecting our surroundings and the wildlife within it.

Get Involved…

The coolest part is that the Tiaki promise is a call out for all Kiwi’s to become guardians of their home. By following this link https://tiakinewzealand.com/ you can find out a little more and show your support towards the Tiaki Promise and YOU can help by becoming a guardian of New Zealand starting today.

Feeling Inspired?

We’d love to hear what actions you already take and now plan to take to show your support. Leave a comment below and inspire us….

 

BIOMIMICRY AND DOLPHINS

If you’ve never had an experience involving a dolphin, it should, in my humble opinion be right up there on your bucket list!

Dolphins are a unique group of mammals; in fact their ability in the water is so astounding that it gave rise to ‘Grays Paradox’; where-by in 1936, British zoologist Sir James Gray hypothesised that “the high speeds and accelerations dolphins produce with their [relatively] small muscle mass, is insufficient to overcome the drag forces of water”! Basically he thought they defied the laws of physics!

As a direct result, what followed has been nearly 80 years of research into these fascinating animals that has not only advanced our understanding of the species, but of fluid dynamics itself!

The dolphin’s characteristic body, with its rounded front, crescent moon shape fins and fluke and slowly tapering tail, is nearly perfect at displacing water and minimising the effects of ‘form drag’ (caused by the friction of fluid on their skin). Like that of an elongated teardrop this ‘fusiform shape’ has a maximum thickness 34-45% the length of their body; which is so efficient it actually modifies the water as it swims, a by-product of which is something called ‘drafting’.
Drafting is defined as “the transfer of forces between individuals without actual physical contact between them”, and dolphins have figured out how to take advantage of this between mum and calf…

As the mother moves through the water at high speed, the pressure of water around her drops, this results in an attractive force called ‘Bernoulli suction’ that pulls mother and calf together!
It also creates the ‘displacement effect’; as the mother swims it causes the water in front of her to move forwards and out and the water behind her to move in and replace it. So by swimming next to her midsection in the forward-moving water young dolphins can gain a ‘free ride’ and save up to 60% of the energy they would need to keep up with mum!
Dolphin body shape is inspiring a redesign in both the aeronautical and naval industries as wing, hull and fuselage designs are taking into consideration ways to minimise drag, increase lift and save fuel, just like a dolphin. In fact the Civil Aviation Authority in the UK (along with major aviation manufacturers) is investigating flying passenger jets in formation to take advantage of drafting in the same way as a dolphin mother and calf.

But dolphin-inspired research hasn’t stopped there; magnifying the lens even further dolphin skin has even captivated scientists and biomimics alike, for 3 main reasons:

Dolphin skin cell production occurs at a rate 250–290 times that of humans! In fact some species shed their skin every 2 hours, up to 9 times quicker than we can! Early research theorised that the flaking skin broke down the turbulence around their bodies further minimising drag, but it is actually more likely it prevents build up of parasites and algae that would otherwise increase the effects of drag on their bodies by 4-times!
Most people would imagine their skin to be smooth, but researchers have found it’s not so; tiny ridge-like rings around their body (0.5-2mm apart) cover their body from head to tail. Initially it was thought the ridges might help channel the water, but they are so tightly packed with blood vessels and bundles of nerves they actually match the sensitivity of a human fingertip, eyelid or lip. It is more likely the ridges give the dolphin an ability to constantly sense each current, eddy and vortex in their watery world. But also create a surface that is difficult for parasites to attach to; reinforces the anti-fouling effect of shedding their skin.
And, as water rushes over them, their skin acts like elastic: rippling and undulating over the hard rubber-like blubber bellow. This may help cushion and absorb the effects of turbulent water; reducing drag by up to 7%!
As a result of these adaptive features, dolphin skin is inspiring biomimetic solutions to; reduce drag-inducing parasites/ algae on ships and submarines and ways to break up the effects of drag in water and air using microstructures to channelize flow and elastic layers to dampen turbulence on planes, boats and high performance vehicles.

The ultra-sonic clicks made famous by the series Flipper cant be ignored either! Dolphins can recognize a call of specific individuals up to 25 km’s away! By using several frequencies in each short burst of ultrasound, dolphins have found a way to cope with the challenges of passing sound long distances through water, and still get their message reliably heard. As a result a company called EvoLogics has developed a high-performance underwater modem that emulates dolphins’ unique acoustics! These devises are currently used in the tsunami early warning system throughout the Indian Ocean.

Lastly, the main time we see dolphins is when they surface to breath, leaping from the water and seemingly playing as they go. But there is much more to it than having a good time:

Just half a body length under water drag created by waves is 5-times the drag from friction deeper down! So, while maintaining high speeds, a dolphin leaps to the surface: “porpoising”. Models of porpoising show that at high speeds the energy needed to leap a given distance is lower than the energy needed to swim the same underwater; so ironically they leap to save energy and move quicker!
Also while underwater, during deep dives (more than 20m), dolphins can reduce energy costs by 20% by collapsing their lungs! Once collapsed their buoyancy reduces causing them to sink and glide rather than actively swim. When going back up the reverse happens and the dolphin actively swims up until its lungs re-inflate sufficiently to provide positive buoyancy to glide the rest of the way. How these might inspire biomimics in the future is yet to be seen…
And the list goes on…!

In fact, the inventory of adaptive features that dolphins have in order to manage their environment is almost endless; it’s easy to see how Gray and his paradox believed dolphins somehow challenged the very foundations of scientific thinking.

But each adaption, moulded over millions of years, are a sure sign we have a lot to learn from dolphins alone as each inspires new and exciting ways to adapt to the challenges fluids present to us.

Conserving and respecting these extraordinary creatures should be a priority for their success and, in fact for our own!

If you want to look further into Biomimicry you will find some great links here;

http://darwin.wcupa.edu/~biology/fish/pubs/pdf/2006B%26BGray’sParadox.pdf
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC416558/
http://biomimicry.net/about/biomimicry/case-examples/human-safety/

#AkaroaNZ A round up of Akaroa’s 1st ever InstaMeet

Last Saturday Black Cat Cruises in partnership with Christchurch and Canterbury Tourism and Kiwi Instagrammer Kyle Mulinder aka @barekiwi hosted Akaroa’s first ever instameet….and what a success it was!  We were overwhlemed with not only the wonderful mix of nationalites from Kiwi to Canadian that attended, but just how far some people had travelled! I mean seriously travelled…on planes, trains, automobiles and even a scooter all the way from Queenstown. All to visit our beauitful Akaroa, meet likeminded indiviudals whilst sailing out on the Black Cat to see and photograph the sunset over the pacific ocean. But before we go anyfurther i’m sure a few of you ( like we all did not too long ago) are asking the questions…..

What Exactly Is An InstaMeet?

”A group of instagrammers all meeting together to take photo’s, learn and network” – Plains Fm

In todays crowdsourced content culture Instagram has become one of the leading mediums driven by a passionate, dedicated and inspiring community. For us that means we not only get to share our beautiful slice of Akaroa Harbour and the surrounding wildlife, but allow our guests to create and curate their own content…..and we love it!

Plains Fm came along to report on the evening and created a fantastic podcast you can listen to here.

So what happens when you put an award winning eco-tourism operator, together with their regional tourism office, one of New Zealands most influential Instagrammers and over 70 inspirational and creative people on a boat….Take a look….

And The Result…

For us the Instameet has created a brand new tribe of inspirational advocates that have created stunning content that it still pouring through….

AkaroaNZ pics

To view all of the images use #AkaroaNZ on instagram

The Next Instameet

Visit www.christchurchnz.com/instameet to keep up to date with the future events

What you thought of us

In many ways we see ourselves as an entertainment company putting on a massive production. The backdrop is the wonderful scenery, the props the fantastic wildlife and the actors are our team. Every year we assess how you rate our production. This year was especially pleasing with our Swimming with Dolphins rated 9.3, Akaroa Harbour Nature Cruises at 9.3 and Christchurch Wildlife Cruises 9.4 (on average out of 10). We also asked how many people would recommend our cruises to friends and family. Those who answered quite or very likely were 99.5%, 98.1%, and 85% respectively.