Kaikoura is a town on the Eastern coast of New Zealand. Meaning “meal of crayfish,” the name derived from the language of the Maori people who are the descendants of the Polynesian settlers of New Zealand. The name applied because of the seafood-heavy diet of the town and is claimed one of the best places in the world to go whale watching. I had signed up to do so, however the water conditions were way too rough so it was cancelled unfortunately. Instead, I made my way to the coastline and was on the lookout for some fur seals.
I had never seen a seal in the wild before. Out on the shore I watched some big and blubbery mother seals slowly moving about. Their presence meant that the pups weren’t too far away! The coastline with its many nooks and crannies provides an excellent breeding habitat by offering protection for young pups from storms that hit the coast.
Since New Zealand was having so much rain, the pups temporarily relocated to a private cove not too far away that was booming with a waterfall and high water levels. It was a seal pup party over there! I saw about a hundred rambunctious seal pups that were splashing, spiraling, jumping, and wrestling with each other. They looked so cute and cuddly and were not shy at all coming up close. I really wanted to pet them but we were advised not to so I had to resist. Each winter the pups spend time at the waterfall for a couple days, and then they make their way back to the ocean shore to feed on their mother’s nourishing milk.