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Whale Watching

Whale watching off Kaikoura has become a popular tourist activity. It's being helped by a special hydrophone developed by Lealand Technical Services.

The sophisticated unit is lowered from a boat and uses high frequency sound to sweep across a segment of ocean. Unlike conventional hydrophones, the new model has a built-in reflector which can send out signals in a specific direction. It can spot whales up to two kilometres away and indicate to the skipper the best direction in which to proceed.

The hydrophone has been teamed with a tape deck which can record the clicks, whistles and screeches the marine mammals use. On the way back to shore, copies are made so that tourists can have a personal record of the whales they have spotted.