Orca in the Bay of Islands

Orca in the Bay of Islands

Written by Samantha Hale (from the USA)

Leonie and I had the opportunity to go out in the Manawhanui, a gorgeous 22m cutter-rigged ketch, owned by John Zaeschmar and his mascot Moby of Ecocruz in the Bay of Islands (http://www.ecocruz.co.nz//index.html).  After two days in the wonderful Bay of Islands we came across some Orca coming south into the Bay.  We were able to get see the Orca for a short while before nightfall when they came over to our dingy to check us out.  The next morning, I spotted Orca bright and early and after calling Ingrid we travelled parallel to them, for a few hours until she arrived.  The animals turned out to be our old friends from both days in the Hokianga.  John was able to spot out Diane, Digit, Anzac and a few others.  This experience was especially great for me, because the passengers on the Manawhanui, most of whom had never seen an Orca in the wild, had an absolutely great time.  Once Ingrid arrived, we jumped ship and Leonie and I headed off with the Orca Research boat.

Orca Research Team headed up to the Bay of Islands to find that there were two separate groups of orca in the area.  Given their separation by distance and with islands between, they were clearly travelling as two separate groups.  The first group we encountered consisted of all adult females and their offspring and included Digit and Dian.  We followed them south of Cape Brett and then lost them in the swells.  The second group was hunting rays in the inner Bay of Islands and we watched them take at least 15 rays.  We stayed with them until just on dusk.

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