March 1st didn’t just mark the beginning of Autumn this year but also the beginning of Seaweek 2014, ‘the national week about the sea’. As Seaweek serves to educate all about the sea and renew our connections with it, here are 5 species you may not know about that live right on Auckland’s doorstep in the Hauraki Gulf.
1. Kahawai – The Kahawai, like many fish species, comes in near the bottom of the food chain. These guys are a vital part of the food supply in the Hauraki Gulf making a great meal for birds, whales, and dolphins.
2. Gannets – These birds love to feast on Kahawai, as do some other larger predators namely dolphins and whales. When we spot these amazing birds plunging into the sea at speeds of up to 24metres per second, targeting Kahawai and other fish, we know that the whales and dolphins are probably not too far behind.
3. Blue Penguins (Korora) – These ‘little penguins’ enjoy life among the islands of the Hauraki Gulf. Sometimes spotted alone, seemingly in the middle of the ocean, they have great capacity to travel to find food with daily round trips of up to 75km.
4. Common Dolphins – These playful mammals are powerful swimmers who take up residence in the Hauraki in great numbers. They love to put on a show jumping in the boat wake and riding the waves. These hard working team players work together to round up schools of fish to feast on.
5. Bryde’s Whales (Tohora) – These large baleen whales live and breed in the waters of the Hauraki Gulf. The Bryde’s whale likes to travel alone or in pairs, rising for air every so often with often no more than a blow and a glimpse of a dorsal fin to identify them. Often when the common dolphin has worked fish up into a feeding ball the Bryde’s Whale will make the most of the opportunity to feed, diving steeply through the work up.
Still not feeling connected to the sea? Come out on our Auckland Whale & Dolphin Safari and see them for yourself.
To find out more about Seaweek 2014 see their website