We sailed on the Fox II, the oldest gaff-rigged ketch in New Zealand, which offers cruises in Akaroa Harbour twice a day, from December to May.
We headed out under engine power, but once we were close to the harbour heads the sails were unfurled and skilfully manipulated.
Many Hectors Dolphins dived and swam alongside – or maybe it was just a few staying nearby.
The Captain played music which he assured us attracted the dolphins – a variety of sailing songs. We also saw seals, shag colonies, a giant petrel, and an albatross. The three hour cruise was an exhilerating experience. When we were out on the Pacific Ocean there was a heavy swell and the boat rocked violently. A crew member handed round candied ginger ‘to settle the stomach’. I’ve twice been out on the Black Cat, and would strongly recommend Fox II as the better experience. There were just 11 passengers on our trip, although she can take up to 30.
When we returned to shore (after complimentary hot drink and biscuit) we found our mooring spot usurped. The crew then moored mid-harbour, got us all to put on life jackets, and we transferred to a zodiac which ferried us back in.
This was an exciting end to a wonderful cruise.
“Who knew that dolphins like a song
and that it makes them swim along?”