Orca in the Hokianga

Orca in the Hokianga

Written by Samantha Hale (from the USA)

The Hokianga is a picturesque spot any time of day, yet when the orca are in the area it glows!  This was my first time visiting the Hokianga and I can’t imagine how such a gem can have stayed hidden from the rest of the world.  We got a call early in the morning that there were orca swimming past Opononi and after rushing up we found Miracle, Magic, Merlin, Diane, Digit, three un-named adult males and about six other animals.  We found them hunting on the opposite shore from Opononi and we had a front row seat as they showcased their amazing hunting skills!  The sand dunes set an amazing backdrop as the animals expertly navigated the shallow waters, finally heading out towards the open ocean.  Once outside the harbour the juveniles spent a fair share of time socializing and being overly cute.

Written by Leonie Mahlke (Germany)

Surprisingly we received another call for orca in Hokianga only three days later.  Wondering, if it was the same pod again, we hurried up to the west coast, to figure it out.  Soon we identified the animals as the same group and we tried to keep up with them.  At first they didn’t care about us at all, as if they weren’t aware of us.  It was the first time, Ingrid saw them hunting for fishes in this harbour.  At least she assumed it, because they were swimming right into a swarm.  Those fishes tried to leap out of the water, probably to escape.  After a while, when it was slightly getting dark, they started to socialize, rolled over themselves and spend more time at the surface.  A big male orca slapped his dorsal fin onto the water, which was very impressive to watch.  He lifted his body high out of the water, sometimes even without breathing in between. We counted at least 20 slaps in a row.

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