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Close encounter with orca

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A pod of orca spotted near Moturiki [Leisure Island] off Mount Main Beach yesterday caused a bit of stir with people gathering on the beach to see the marine animals.

Iwan Thomas and Kenneth Macpherson from Assault Boardriding Centre took to the water yesterday to see the orca.

Click the image above to watch the video

Iwan Thompson getting up close with the orca spotted off the beach between Clyde Street and Papamoa. Photos: Assault Boardriding Centre.

"Myself and my flatmate Iwan were having our morning coffee at home when we spotted a large black object, after checking it out with binoculars, we raced out to grab our SUP’s (Stand up paddleboards)," says Kenneth.

"Within two minutes we were in the water but not able to keep up. A quick dash to the house loading up the van we planned to cut them off at Given Rd. Back in the water as they were cruising to coast line, three small calf’s around 10 - 15ft very close, 20m from the shore playing in the small swell."

Kenneth says the mother and another larger orca were out around 100m off shore.

"We were careful not to get between the mother and calfs so stayed on the beach side the whole time.

"The closest we got was within two meters of the calfs, they took a little notice of us, staying above the water and slightly rolling on their sides to look us up and down. Not once did they show any aggression towards us or change of pace to leave.

"The mother had two or three direction changes towards us but never got close, maybe just keeping an eye on us also, her fin standing around 5ft out of the water.

"Only my second time paddling with them off the Mt Maunganui coast line. Always very impressive and very special."

The orca are reported to still be in the area today and are believed to be chasing stingrays, which, including sea lions, walruses and even large whales, are part of their diet.

Comments on SunLive


Posted on 24-08-2014 09:39 | By EtcEtc

Wow, that’s so cool, and an amazing experience that they will never forget.


Posted on 23-08-2014 15:50 | By NZgirl

Great video Summer is on its way for sure...

Fab video guys

Posted on 23-08-2014 14:59 | By captainbirdseye

This is what living in NZ is all about, where else in the world could you enjoy wildlife like we do here in the mount. well done guys, awesome!!

The orca

Posted on 23-08-2014 13:30 | By mlow

What a fabulous photo!!!

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