Whale Watching in Kaikoura

The beginning of the mistake started at breakfast. I was so excited we were going to take a tour to see Sperm whales with Whale Watch Kaikoura that I made a gigantic meal before we left. The WORKS. Egg/bean/cheese/bacon burrito with sour cream, coffee, orange juice, the whole shebang.

Clearly, I hadn’t been on a boat in a while and I had forgotten about my extremely bad seasickness. Seeing sperm whales cancels all that out right?

sperm whale swimming 2

We clamored aboard the boat and listened excitedly as our guides talked about how we were going to search for them using the sonar. Literally like a stethoscope for the ocean, to hear the calls of the whales.

Checking for sound

We found a sperm whale, but I honestly don’t remember much else about how we located it because suddenly I was violently seasick. I thought I’d be sick once and it would be done with, but nope. Its like once I started I couldn’t stop. Until Mike would call out, “hey! Get over here! There’s a whale at the surface!” I’d wipe myself off and run towards him with my camera pointed in that direction.

sperm whale swimming

We continued this game of sick-and tag whale for a few hours. Here are some photos I managed to take when I was not keeling over the back of the boat.

sperm whale swimming 7

sperm whale swimming 4

sperm whale swimming 5

birds of kaikoura

kaikoura scenery

I missed out on so many good photo opportunities since I stuck close to my paper bags the whole trip, but nevertheless I was still positive and excited I’d at least gotten a few good looks. The boat crew were super understanding, coming around to ask how I was doing several times.  Mike on the other hand being the sailor that he is was having a great time with one of the guides who he’d struck up a conversation with. The guide alternated taking to Mike and coming to check on me/change my paper barf bags. I was completely embarrassed, but I still felt lucky to be seeing any of it at all.

I also have a tiny bit of video which I’ll post at the end. Next time I’ll take my seasickness pill earlier in the morning and NOT eat a gigantic meal before we head out on a boat!


Have you had an experience like this with seasickness? Would you repeat it?

What kind of whales have you seen in the wild, if any? Any kind in particular you’re dying to see?  I really want to see humpback whales…

Sperm Whale from Mica Ivealis on Vimeo.


*We received a media discount on this whale watching tour from Whale Watch Kaikoura, but all opinions are our own.  


  • David says:

    Nice photos, especially the albatross at the end! We did this trip in Kaikoura and were lucky enough to see a sperm whale breach. We’ve seen Orca as well, but like you we desperately want to see a Humpback and get that iconic breaching shot!

    Hope you’re feeling better.

    • Mica says:

      Thanks David, definitely better!

      I cannot wait to go whale watching again. I wouldn’t even know if the tail splashed as you know….I was…sick. But, there is always next time!

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