Kayaker captures moment dolphin leaps high above Kaikōura tour group

Kayaker captures moment dolphin leaps high above Kaikōura tour group
Photo credit: Elaine Russell

A lucky tourist on a kayaking trip in Kaikōura says she was in the "right place at the right time" when she captured a dolphin jumping metres high.

Elaine Russell said her smile couldn't have gotten any bigger when she realised she had captured the moment on her Nikon 850 camera on Saturday. 

"I took quite a few shots over the space of an hour or so but this is one of my favourites from the morning as it shows the incredible height and agility of the magnificent dusky dolphin," she told Newshub. 

The tour group was lucky enough to be surrounded by over 100 dolphins for over an hour, but Russell said getting the shot wasn't easy as she hadn't set her camera on a continuous shoot and she didn't know where the next dolphin would jump. 

"You always hope that when you depress the shutter button that you got the shot, but with the dolphins moving so quickly, it's a bigger hope than normal that you captured it and it's sharp. I had to wait until we landed to check the images."

Russell said she wasn't originally going to take her camera out but was able to do so because the kayak was stable and the conditions were calm. 

Russell and her husband were kayaking in a group tour with Kaikōura Kayaks when she captured the moment. 

Dusky dolphin group sizes range from two to over 1000 and there are thought to be 12,000 to 20,000 of the animals living in New Zealand waters, according to DOC.