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Hector & the Search For Happiness (in Akaroa)

Shades of blue painted a landscape of tranquility. For a moment, the sky and the sea seem to have merged. Either the sky was too blue or the sea must have been too clear. Staring ahead, I was dazed by the majestic beauty of Mother Nature.


We were setting sail onboard the Black Cat, a modern catamaran that is known for the Akaroa Harbour Nature Cruise. Departing from Akaroa Harbour, this popular day cruise promises sightings of the rare New Zealand native dolphins* along with penguins and other sea birds… …

*If you don’t see any dolphins (average 2% of cruises), the operator will give a cash refund or a ticket to come back another day. 

(Top deck of the Black Cat Cruise)


“Let’s set off to see the world’s smallest dolphins in the world’s largest ocean!”

The skipper caught me out of my reverie. Witty and informative, his words gave food for thought. We were heading for the Pacific Ocean to find Hector! Well, this name “Hector” was what lured me to Akaroa in the first place. It was the name of the main character in Francois Lelord‘s interesting series of psychological books for ordinary readers.   


The Hector dolphins have fantastic eyesight (as good as humans!) but it is their keen hearing skill that keeps them alert. Being a hungry bunch, they are always fishing for food! Hector(s) loves children, and are as friendly as the other species of dolphin. Born and bred in the cold Pacific Ocean, these tiny mammals generally swim 180km per day but always within the same area.


The skipper says they stay here all their life and “just don’t get anywhere”.

I cannot help pondering on these words. Is the grass always greener on the other side? Apparently not, if that’s up to Hector. No matter how far they travelled, they are “just there” at their starting point. The more cynical beings may scoff at Hector(s) for being a silly, useless bunch. Yet, these adorable dolphins portray the picture of a happy family. Perhaps, Hector(s) know something of happiness, which us ignorant humans are not privy of.

Sometimes, the ability to maintain constant is a form of bliss.


Akaroa Harbour Nature Cruise
Schedule: Departs daily at 1.30pm
Duration: 2 hours
Cost: NZD71/adult, NZD25/child

To find out more about the cruise tour, please click:

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