14 April 2014

Is It Dolphin Snot Or Dolphin Spit?

Is the spray you see on the camera lens dolphin snot or dolphin spit?

I'm hoping you can settle a little argument Scott and I have been having. When the dolphin pictured above was swimming alongside our boat in the Bay of Islands, it sprayed us with something. I think it was dolphin spit and Scott thinks it was dolphin snot. Scott's theory is that because the liquid in question came out of the dolphin's blowhole, it has to be snot. But I would much prefer to think the dolphin spit on us - it seems marginally better than having a dolphin blow his nose all over you. Has this ever happened to you and was it snot or spit?

This dolphin was one of very large group that came up and started swimming and playing around our boat as we were leaving the Bay of Islands. There must have been at least 30 of them and I even saw a little baby dolphin among them. It was a fantastic send-off and the most amazing dolphin encounter we have had. They were incredibly close to our boat and at times we couldn't move the rudder as the dolphins were swimming right up against it. We were both jumping up and down with excitement and Scott was madly trying to capture all the action with his camera. And then just like that, it was over and they all turned and headed off in another direction. We hadn't seen too many dolphins this year and especially not up this close and personal - it was incredible experience that I won't soon forget. 

Here is the rest of the scoop on our time up in the Bay of Islands. We've chartered up there previously (which you can read about here and here), but we focused more on sailing on those trips. This time we got a chance to do more exploring of the islands and had some great walks.

Sunday, 2 March 2014

Paradise Bay, Urupukapuka Island
We left Whangamumu at 9:30 am and anchored at Paradise Bay, Urupukapuka Island in the beautiful Bay of Islands at 1:30 pm. Right after we dropped the hook, the local gang of kingfish came around to pay us a visit. I wonder if kingfish wish they were dolphins as they always seem to "play" around our boat. Except their form of "play" seems to involve smashing into the hull and generally making a nuisance of themselves. Scott tried to get one of them, but they seemed less interested in his lure and more interested in our boat. Eventually they left and we dinghied over to the island and went for a hike. Urupukapuka is probably one of the nicest islands I have been to in New Zealand and they have some fantastic trails. Highly recommended if you are ever out this way! 

We rarely swim in New Zealand as we find the water way too cold, but after our long and sweaty hike, we had a nice swim before heading back to our boat. Strangely, we were the only boat in the anchorage that night which was a pleasant surprise as we're so used to having other boats around, many of whom like to anchor way to close to us for comfort. Unfortunately, the wind kicked up during the night and bay ended up getting quite roly-poly over night, so it wasn't the most restful sleep. You would think I would be used to that by now - I'm not.

Monday, 3 March 2014

Parorenui Bay
The next day we focused on some sail training running through our tacking routine but then the winds got to be too much of a nuisance to practice anything else. So, we took the sails down and headed into Parorenui Bay around lunchtime and anchored there for the night. I needed a shower pretty badly by this point, but I decided that it was too windy and cold to be stripping down and washing up in the cockpit. I'm setting a new standard of personal hygiene and it is getting to be a pretty low one. 

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Waiwhapuku Bay, Moturua Island
On Tuesday, we planned to do some more sail training, but we were only able to get in a short session of tacking and man overboard drills before we got hit by a squall and decided to call it a day. We anchored at Waiwhapuku Bay, Moturua Island and then went for a nice walk on the island after lunch.

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Waipiro Bay
It was another wind warning day with gusts of 35+ forecast, so we moved over to Waipiro Bay where we would get better protection. We had planned to head up to Whangaroa, but the weather kind of ruled that out for us. So instead, we dinghied over to the mainland to try to find the trail to Whangamumu where we had anchored a couple of nights ago. We walked along the road for awhile but eventually gave up and headed back. If you've ever walked along roads in New Zealand, you'll know that sidewalks are rare, there are often blind curves and you always wonder if a car is going to hit you. It was one of those days where the walk along the road didn't seem worth it.  So instead, we headed back to the boat and got ready for an early start the next day to continue our adventures up north. 

Thursday, 6 March 2014

Dolphins, dolphins, dolphins! This was the day of the great dolphin send-off as we left the Bay of Islands and as if the up close and personal encounter wasn't enough, we also got to see a group of dolphins a bit further out once we left the Bay of Islands and started heading up north. I think it was the dolphins way of trying to make it up to us for the bad weather we had while visiting their playground.  


Total nautical miles = 27
Number of dolphins playing around our boat = 30+ (plus another group later on!)
Number of walks = 3
Number of days impacted by the wind = 3 (damn you wind, damn you!)

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Chart of Bay of Islands showing the bays where we anchored. Sourced from LINZ. Crown Copyright reserved.


  1. Replies
    1. You've totally made Scott's day knowing that someone else thinks it is snot too! Hopefully, someone else will side with me and vote for spit :-)

  2. Sorry, but I've got to vote with Scott on this one too.

    Looks like you are having a great time. Very nice pictures.

    This Rat Sailed

    1. I almost didn't publish this because I don't want Scott to start gloating that it is currently 2-0 with snot winning :-)

  3. You're killing me here, Ellen! It's been a while since I've missed New Zealand (The Bay of Islands in particular) so much, but I'll never miss all of the anchor watches we had to stand during those 35 to 45 knot nights!

    1. We're going to miss NZ quite a bit too once we leave. I guess maybe we'll just have to sail back here one day!


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