Orca Oceans Bays to OREC center

Orca Oceans Bays to OREC center

Written by Samantha Hale (from the USA)

Not all days out with the orca are sunshine and rainbows.  On this particular day we got a call that there were orca heading north from Oceans beach towards Tutukaka.  We rushed down to the Tutukaka boat ramp where we met Gines Pastor, a local production manager for TV.  As always we headed out towards where the animals were last reported but extremely high seas and glary conditions made finding them difficult.  After a bit of navigational help from some land based observers, we were excited to find that it was our old friends of Miracle, Merlin, Nibble, Digit, Dian, Flean, Anzac and some others.  It wasn’t long before they animals split into two pods and we followed Nibble, Miracle and Merlin for roughly three hours.  Before the split however we were able to watch as a female juvenile played in the rough waves, breaching at least 5 times in a row before Nibble took over and showed her how it was done!  At one point, whilst navigating an extremely shallow and rocky lagoon, we hit an uncharted rock and didn’t realize at the time that we had cracked the stern leg of the engine.  I guess our moto of “If the orca can fit through, so can we” doesn’t always hold true!  Soon enough we met up with the rest of the animals as Nibble, Miracle and Merlin took a nap.  At this point the animals became extremely hard to follow.  They were surfacing high out of the water and often changed direction and speed.  We tried to get a picture of them with the OREC in the background, but the conditions were pretty choppy throughout the day and wind and waves got the best of us.

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