Welcome to Banks Peninsula, home of The Hector’s dolphins and eco-tourism pioneers Black Cat Cruises


The image of James Bond stepping out of a wet suit with a dry tuxedo underneath becomes a reality for Akaroa dolphin swimming operator Black Cat Cruises from 22 July this year.

The company is introducing a world first dolphin swimming experience – the use of dry suits which are also used by New Zealand Armed Forces, the US coast guard and the NASA space programme for Escape Suit Life preservers.

Black Cat Managing Director Paul Bingham product tested the suits upon their arrival this week.

“I wore my normal clothes under the suit and remained 100 percent dry despite spending nearly half an hour in the water. Although the water temperature was around 10C I was very warm, and additional benefits were that they are very buoyant and after being in the water I could slip out of the suit and walk straight off the boat and jump into the car – just like James Bond”.

“You can lie flat in the water and almost go to sleep. The weightlessness is very relaxing. Under normal circumstances I would not be swimming in July but now dolphin swimming is a genuine all year round experience,” he said.

“This is a world first and I believe the investment we have made will really improve the experience that our customers have with us – it’s warm and enjoyable; of course the dolphins don’t mind if you are in a wet suit or dry suit, they seemed to be as friendly as ever.”

The dry suits will be available free of charge from mid July to September and there will be a small surcharge for the rest of the year. Normal wetsuits remain available at no charge year round.

Bingham said the dry suits have proven extremely successful with Canadian rafting companies operating in cold winter months.

Black Cat Cruises has been operating for 22 years and is a former winner of the Supreme tourism award and is the largest tourism operator on Banks