We were visiting Akaroa on a cruise ship. We had decided since it was such a small town that we wouldn't book anything to do in advance other than possibly a tour of the harbor. Or the bay, or the crater, or the caldera…whatever it is. You see if you look at Akaroa on a map, you will see that it is a caldera of an old volcano that has a cut out of one side that gives it access to the ocean. And inside that huge caldera/bay/harbor is a wonderful body of water teeming with wildlife in it and around it. So we decided to take a boat tour of that bay. (From this point on I will call it a bay cruise because it means I have to type less letters.) There are a number of tour companies that do that. At first we attempted to book with Black Cat Tours but again, luck was on our side. They refused to answer our e-mails. I tried to get some kind of reservation confirmation from them for more than two weeks, but no luck. So we started looking for alternative tours and we found Akaroa Sea Ventures. And we are so glad we did. You see when we got to Akaroa we discovered that Black Cat Tours runs boats that hold more than 100 people and all the fun that entails. You get on in a line. You sit in one chair or seat the whole time. If you don't get on first, you get to sit in a bad seat with no chance to take decent pics, you get a canned tour lecture over their public address system.
￼What did we get with Akaroa Sea Ventures? A boat that held 12 of us. Fast, quick and able to go where ever they wanted. A guide who actually talked directly to us and would answer any question we had. Plus he took us places in that boat that the Black Cat boat couldn't get near because of their size and their speed. We were reminded of the wonderful experience we had with Harv and Marv doing whale watching in Juneau on an Alaskan cruise. Same size boat, same personal service (not as much fun as H & M but close). We went everyplace in that harbor. And here's the really great part. We did it for exactly what we would had paid Black Cat for their tour, ($60 NZ) what a bargain! We strongly recommend if you are going to Akaroa, skip the big tour boats and the ship's shore excursion tour and go with the fine folks of Akaroa Sea Ventures.
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